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  • A Not-So-Accidental Tourist in New York – Part IV

    Posted on July 8th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    Day 4 of my New York trip — The 1lb hot pastrami sandwich and 3” thick cheesecake had me in food coma last night, I was so fed and so heavy to move after dinner, so I had gone to bed early last night. This morning I woke up at 7:30am and was glad to find New York was rain-free finally. I was going to United Nations and already knew and kind of glad that there would be about 10 blocks of walking needed.

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    Climbing out of the subway station and walking in the post rain New York City, suddenly I had this déjà vu that I was actually in Taipei. The trees, plants and sidewalks were still a bit wet after constant rains from last few days, but New Yorkers were hurry to come out of the concrete jungles to walk their dogs, go to groceries stores or do their dry cleaning in this nice and cool early summer morning; that’s how I remember Taipei was like after summer shower. People seemed to be very happy because sun was out again.

    The United Nations was located on First Ave between 42nd and 48th Street, and I had to pass the UN security before entering the compound. I signed up the guided tour and was led through areas where were considered less sensitive. United Nations has it’s own police, posttage..etc; I bought couple stamps and sent out several post cards from there — the stamps only worked if mails going out from this UN location. For me the highlight of this an hour and half tour was the chance to go in and sit in the assembly hall; that was quite interesting for me since Taiwan hasn’t been part of the United Nations members since 1971. I could see the name plates representing each member countries on the seats and walls, and I sit down and used the headphone pretending I was one of their representatives. It was actually a really neat experience and I had enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Strongly recommend this to anyone visiting New York, especially if you have school age kids.

    Since today’s weather was so nice, I decided to cover New York more by feet today and Serendipity was my destination for this walk. The result? 14 blocks of honest walk and I was slightly sweaty. Yippee!! But wait, I could see people waiting out side of Serendipity from couple blocks away. Bad sign… 🙁 I remembered the long line from my previous visits with my friend Anthony, and this place was always packed. Lucky for me, my wait was only 35 minutes and was seated on second floor near the window with view of the “back yard”. The dining areas seemed to be converted from a living room and bedroom, with beautiful chandeliers in both rooms. The very metrosexual waiter handed me a huge menu with items like “Can’t Say No Sundae”, “Frozen Hot Chocolate” “Princess Sundae”…etc. Oh no, I wasn’t planning to say NO at all. But the dilemma was what I should order, it’s so hard to pick from all the awesome items. Sigh…

    After the heavenly nice treat at Serendipity the whether was even nicer, and it’s time to board the Staten Island ferry. On the day arriving New York, a Mafia family from my Mafia Wars had suggested to go out and back via this free ferry, however the weather had prevented me from doing so. Today was just a perfect day for that! And I was totally wooed at the ferry terminal on Battery Park – the ferry actually runs 24/7, 365 and it’s completely free. Hard to find that else where, doesn’t it?

    Standing on upper deck, I could see Manhattan Island, Liberty Island, Brooklyn Bridge and  New Jersey became smaller and smaller as the ferry approaching Staten Island. My Mafia family was right — this was the most perfect way to see Manhattan after spending so many days in the underground subway or inside of massive buildings.  I took the ferry out and back and just let the sun and wind kissed my face — this was the most relaxing time I had in many days since my arriving New York.

    On my way back to midtown, I decided to detour to Grand Central and see how busy the train station could be at 6:30pm. The station was a very grand building with “classical” façade, with distinctive ornamentation like monumental cast-iron eagles with wingspans of 13-feet — I found it on the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue. The hurried people and the smell of the bakery inside this sttion all reminded me the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof train station from last trip. I leaned against a glass window at a shop to take a picture of the Chrysler Building, and by accident I captured the reflection into my camera as well. It looked like there were two Chryslers! The smell of the pastries reminded me of the bakery at the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof train station.

    Left the Grand Central and continued to walk down on Park Ave, and I past the New York Library with people sitting on the front lawn enjoy their light meal and drinks in a nice evening.  I was enjoying myself as well — this had been a beautiful day!

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