Our first day in, and it sure didn’t take long for things to get interesting.
At the outset, we knew we would need to grab some food, so we decided to head over to Macy’s, having eaten there before. This would also allow us to satiate our appetite and possibly do a little shopping at the same time. They have a decent little fast-food pasta place down there, and so that was the goal… unfortunately, the pasta bar wasn’t open when we got there, and in fact never opened. Jerks! So we ended up at a bar/grill next store, which actually worked out reasonably well.
After that, we took the subway from Penn Station up to 53rd and Lexington, at which point it was a quick walk to our hotel. Well, on the walk from the station to the hotel, we came across a small fire station, built right into the bottom of a high-rise (in retrospect, I really should have taken a picture, as it really was quite strange, and positioned up the street from what appeared to be a makeshift police detachment, composed of a series of trailors (yes, trailors) consuming one of the lanes). Not too remarkable by itself. Until you add the firetruck outside with a bunch of firefighters standing around. Oh, and the other firefighter scaling the wall of the building, trying to worm his way in through an open window a storey up.
Apparently, they locked themselves out.
So, after chuckling to ourselves, we moved on to our hotel, which, as it turns out, was just completing a large series of renovations, transforming itself into The Pod Hotel. And why “The Pod”, you ask? Well, the name better reflects the rooms, which can only be described as little pods… in our case, a 2-300 square foot little space with enough room for a slightly-larger-than-double bed, sink, and weird little combined shower/toilet area, all decked out in modern, Ikea-style chrome and melamine. Pretty nice, actually, considering the price and location. And, really, what else does one need other than a bed and shower (though, as we discovered later, the shower drain was either slow or non-functional, and allowed water to leak into the room, thus soaking the carpet… good thing we only planned to be there for four nights).
If only the rest of the day turned out as well. It was best described as semi-controlled anarchy. First, we figured we’d check out TKTS, with the goal of seeing a show some time in the evening. ‘course, we arrived at around 3:30, at which point the line up was three rows wide and down and around the block. Yeaaaah, no.
So then we went to scope out the American Museum of Natural History (the plan was to go on day 2 or 3, but we wanted to check out “the sitch” first), then perhaps dinner and a movie. Well, part one worked out, and we got a tiny preview of what was to come. The trip to the movie wasn’t nearly so smooth… turns out the V line, which takes one from 50th and 8th down to the NYU area doesn’t run on the weekends… grrrr! Unfortunately, by the time we figured that out, we were already too late for the film…
Okay, no movie, let’s try for The Soda Shop for food and desert. Hop the E, get off on 8th Ave and Washingon (if I recall), walk down a few blocks and… Le Bonbonniere?? sigh Yeah… I took us to the wrong frickin’ restaurant.
Okay, backtrack, hop back on E, take it down to Chambers. This time it works! A bit of walking, and we find ourselves at a cute little restaurant and ice cream shop in what I think is called the West Village. Tasty food, yummy desserts, and a selection of candy that I hadn’t seen in years. Good times were had by all (I think).
Lastly, before headin’ back to the hotel for some much earned rest, we decided to walk down to the WTC site and memorial. Definitely a sobering experience… though, now all that’s left is a construction site that makes it hard to believe the two massive towers even existed (apparently the plan is to build a new tower on the old site… I have very mixed feelings about that plan, but, such is life). The memorial that’s currently there (a new, permanent one is planned to be built sometime in the future) is also very moving, with various photos and so forth. Though, I gotta admit, the constant reference to the victims of that attack as “heros” irritates me more than a little.
And that was day 1… confused, disorganized, and basically par for the course.
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