DAY 1: Welcome to New-effing-York
After parking in White Plains, I headed over to the train station that was connected to my parking deck. I was only able to pay to leave my car for 24 hours, but I noticed they had a call-and-pay system, so I could pay again from my cell without leaving NYC. Good news, since I planned to stay in the city a few days. Just as a side note to anyone who decides to park their car for a few days in White Plains – the deck I left my car in was only universally available after 10am on Friday through 5pm on Sunday (or a similar weekends-only schedule). So don’t go parking your car there during the week.
I waited an hour for the train, jumped on when it arrived, and rode the rickety thing 30 minutes to Grand Central, where I transferred to another line and met my friend Evan. The transferring was pretty easy. If you’ve ever used a subway system consistently before, you shouldn’t have any problem.
I dropped my stuff off and we headed downtown to check out all the happenin places (i.e. the Mac store on 5th ave where Evan works as well as Dubspot, the music production school he attends). The school, located in New York’s meat-packing district, had just opened some new labs and built them around an ultra-modern style mixed with beautiful exposed brick walls. I also noticed a number of African tribal masks lining the walls.
After checking out the school, we made our way to the Chelsea Market, and admired some of the cute shops and restaurants there. Ended up getting side-tracked by cool books (typical) in Posman Books, and spent a good half hour there before moving on.
After the market, we walked over to the High Line Park and walked along the bridge. The bridge was built in the 1930s “as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district” (High Line Website). There haven’t been any trains running on the bridge since the 1980s, and in the early 2000s, the High Line was transformed into a beautiful park stretching from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.
It was fashion week in New York, and there seemed to be some kind of photoshoot going on on the bridge and around it. I actually almost walked right into it – and the security guy wasn’t going to stop me! Evan had to tell me I was going the wrong way before I turned around. Guess it just goes to show that if you walk like you know where you’re going, few people will question you.
Strangely, there was a plant in all of the planters on the bridge that smelled overwhelmingly like cilantro. But it definitely didn’t look like cilantro. For those of you who don’t know, cilantro is my one and only food allergy. Weird, huh? I tolerated the smell as long as possible, but we left the bridge sooner than intended (but not before snapping some cool shots of local architecture and signs!).
The spot where we got off the High Line Bridge was right next to a bizarre site. It was the strangest parking deck I have ever seen. Take a look.
Umm, yes, those are cars stacked on top of each other. And they are not in line to be impounded or on a truck being shipped from one state to another. These are literally electronic car shelves, and they remind me of the system in the home of Pixar’s robot Wall-E (if you haven’t seen that movie, don’t worry about it. It’s not really that great). Regardless of how difficult it is to find a parking spot in NYC, I’m surprised by how many Beamers I see in this shelving unit. Although I suppose it pretty much guarantees your car won’t be broken into.
We wandered around a bit more then grabbed dinner and decided to go to the top of the Empire State Building (“Don’t go to any high-risk areas this weekend since it’s September 11th,” Evan’s dad had told him. Clearly we took that advice seriously).
It was dark out by the time we got to the top of the building, so we had some beautiful views of the city. There was even a saxophonist playing! Unfortunately, it did cost a good bit to climb the tower – $20 or so. But there were some perks to going in the evening. It wasn’t crowded so we didn’t have to wait in line very long. It was sweet passing through all those ropes that had been set up in case the line got extra long, like we had a fast pass. Also, the nighttime view is incredible. The wall surrounding the lookout is high enough that you can rest your camera on it like a tripod and get some pretty sick photos. Here are a couple of mine.