NYC, Day 1: Hit-or-Miss

Note: I’ll be posting a list of the places that are documented in the post at the top.


The Scenes: 

  • M60 Bus
  • Metro Diner
  • Central Park

Drama on NYC Transit 

“What do you mean, get my foot outta the door? I can’t. It’s stuck!”

I jerk to alertness from my peaceful melancholy on the one hour bus ride from LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal D to our accommodations on 908 Amsterdam Avenue. First, I glance toward the front of the bus, where the bus driver is sitting and glaring into his rearview mirror. Then I turn around.

A man is standing just outside the rear doors, his foot caught squarely in the middle of them. He hops slightly on his other foot, trying to free himself.

“Stop holding the doors open,” The bus driver shouts.

“I’m not joking. I’m actually stuck. Open the doors,” The man outside yells, the sound slightly muffled through the glass. There is a pause, and then the driver slams his hand down. The doors open and the man jumps in, breathing a sigh of relief; he remains standing in the way of the doors closing, however.

“Son, are you still holding the doors open?” The driver is nearly apoplectic.

“Quick,” The man whispers to the lady who is hurriedly inserting her Metro Card into one of the machines at the bus stop, “I can’t hold it much longer.” The lady makes it inside with the doors closing right behind her.

That’s a lot of effort for a bus that’ll come in another 10 minutes.


Diner Don’ts 

After we settle into our Airbnb, Irina and I wander out into the city, intent on grabbing a bite to eat. It’s past 4:00pm and I haven’t eaten since 8:00am that morning, before we left for the airport. Though our original intention is to eat at the Broadway Restaurant, we bypass it in favour of another place: the Metro Diner.

The decor is very typical of a diner, what with its red-and-white checkered floors and walls, and red booths. Service consists of finding your own seating and grabbing the attention of waiters as they pass by. I ordered a salad dish topped with salmon called, Organic Field of Dreams.

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The spinach, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and feta cheese dressed with light balsamic dressing was enjoyable.

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The salmon that came with it, however, was not. Rather than being juicy and flaky, it felt like a cold lump of meat.

It’s worth keeping in mind that food in NYC is quite expensive. I paid $15USD for my salad, while Irina paid $12USD for her Greek salad (no add ons).

Needless to say, I’m really curious about the Broadway Restaurant after the Metro Diner experience.


A Pleasant Stroll through Northern Central Park 

The entrance to Central Park from West 103rd Street is about a 10-minute walk from our Airbnb. Though I had heard much about it beforehand, I am not prepared for the idyllic beauty of the location. It is, in a way, both an escape from and the beating heart of New York City. All around us, people are riding bikes, jogging briskly, walking their dogs, and playing recreational games with each other; it seems to me that Central Park is to the New Yorker as Times Square is to the tourist.

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We walk around for hours, to sunset and beyond. Occasionally, I glance at Google Maps, trying to make sure that we drop by and see certain spots in the park that are near us. Mind you, the park is enormous; all of our walking results in us viewing only some of the northern stretch beyond the reservoir.

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The Huddlestone Arch, built in 1866.

At one point, as we are approaching the Conservatory Garden (which is actually composed of three smaller gardens), we notice police officers dismounting from their mopeds in our periphery. One of them brandishes a gun and disappears into the bush. Irina and I look at each other, eyebrows raised.

“I know that it’d be damn stupid,” She finally says, “But I really want to follow him.” I chuckle, nodding in agreement, and we keep walking.

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The French garden.

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The Untermeyer Fountain in the French garden, featuring the Three Dancing Maidens.

Though we don’t see the English garden, which can be accessed through Vanderbilt Gate at 5th Avenue and 105th Street, we walk along the central plat of the Conservatory Garden.

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The Italian Garden.

After spending some time in the Conservatory Garden, we head up to Fort Clinton, which is right up the hill nearby. Fort Clinton, named after the mayor of New York during the time-DeWitt Clinton-was built as a fortification by the British during the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War. It was an important strategic site that was a part of a defense system consisting of two other forts: Nutter’s Battery and Fort Fish.

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Fort Clinton marks the last major spot in Central Park that we see that evening. The sun is setting as we make our way out, casting the sky soft shades of pink and orange. The onset of evening doesn’t change the influx of visitors to the park; daily activities carry on and bubbles of laughter ring out across the open space. We slow the pace of our walk home to a crawl, looking out at the buildings on the radiant skyline, thinking ahead dreamily to the days and nights in NYC that beckon us.

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~A

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