Sunday, August 03, 2008

A rainy day in New York

It had never actually rained while I was in North America before. The thunderstorm and two (two) torrential downpours during yesterday's open top downtown bus tour more than made up for that. In my Englishness I was determined to brave the first one out, but reluctantly went down to the lower deck briefly. Then we returned to the upper deck and carried on the tour in our sodden gratis ponchos, very slowly in Saturday traffic, with a sense of deja vu because this was the bit that overlapped with the uptown tour we took a couple of days ago.

Then came the second downpour, at which point even I thought "sod it" and we got a cab back to the hotel to sample the delights of room service lunch.

"I could get used to this," opined Bonusbarn as he tucked into his Ambassador pizza with fries.

"Please don't," I said through a mouthful of medium-done sirloin burger with blue cheese and also fries.

"Damn," he lamented.

I only really wanted to do the tour because it took us past Ground Zero, so in the afternoon I took myself. Subway to Bowling Green at Battery Park, wandered northwards, browsed the Borders at 100 Broadway, and then Ground Zero - which is a large open space between towering office blocks, invisible behind construction hoardings with just the heads of cranes sticking out. Ah well, I've been.

And I popped into St Paul's chapel, which stands opposite the site and amazingly escaped the destruction unscathed - not even a broken pane of glass. The rows of trees in the graveyard took the force of the collapse.

Then I meandered further northward, found myself outside City Hall, and while looking for a subway station discovered I was at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. So I walked up as far as the first tower, and back. (No actual desire to walk to Brooklyn ...)

Then back to the subway again, intending to see Washington Square Park, but overshot due to unfamiliarity with what the numbers on the front of the trains mean. Walked back to Washington Square Park and found it all sealed off for repaving, but I photographed the arch.

Then finally the subway back to Grand Central, and so back to our room.

In short, a lot of walking, in lovely and not too hot sunshine. That downpour was a blessing.

I'm formulating thoughts on New York that will probably appear in a future post. All in all, I'm more of a fan than I thought I would be.

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