85. New York City (Day Five)

USA

Other than the brief saunter for our picnic dinner last night (of which we saw maybe 1% of the park), I had no idea what Central Park had to offer. So how did I plan to explore it? Running, of course. Off I went, following loads of other runners and cyclists around the main path that reached the furthest edges of the park. It blew me away how big the place was - I kept running and running but there didn't seem to be an end in sight. Smaller side paths led off in a multitude of directions, giving endless possibilities of running routes. The weather was fantastic, the humidity low - this was the type of running I craved.

 

Today's hit list:

  • Flatiron building.

  • Macy's. I hate shopping so I didn't know why I entered the gigantic department store. Maybe to see what the fuss was about. I managed a quick loop of two of the 10 levels before becoming bored and leaving.

  • Madison Square Garden. Would have been cool to actually see a show/event/game while we were here, but it wasn't to be.

  • James A. Farley Post Office Building. Long name, long building. If you like columns, check this place out.

  • Salad bar for lunch (have I mentioned that I love salad bar?)

  • Times Square. As one of the most visited places in the world, it was just as crazy as you would imagine it to be (with people and LEDs alike).

  • Bryant Park. Downtime - I sat and read for a while with hundreds of others in the peaceful gardens.

  • Public library. Incredible architecture.

  • St Patrick's Cathedral. Beautiful if you could look past the interior scaffolding.

  • New York pizza. Seriously, how do they make it so good?

The Museum of Modern Art offered free entry on Friday afternoons, so that's exactly where I headed. I met Danny out the front but he took one look at the crowds and left. I stayed, squeezing my way through the throngs of people to see it all. It was sensational. I don't like all modern art (some of it is way too abstract for me) but there was so much here that I loved. Warhol, Van Gogh, Picasso - all the hits were there. But by far the highlight for me was the pieces by Monet. His enormous waterlily paintings seemed to take over the room, transporting me to another world that was quiet and tranquil (in stark contrast to the streets outside). I stared at his artwork for a long time, unwilling to draw myself away.

Not far from MOMA I found a bar offering happy hour, so naturally I took them up of their offer and sat down to an overflowing glass of white wine. I sat and read my book, trying to retain the peaceful feeling that Monet had instilled in me. The size of my drink assisted in this, one glass being enough to unwind even the most tense person. With the alcohol going straight to my head, I knew it was time to leave and find some dinner. 

 

I picked up a takeaway veggie wrap as I strolled up to the Morgan Library, also free on Friday nights. This museum was much quieter - I guess everyone was over at MOMA. The building itself was fascinating, with a fairy tale-like library room. I admired the Gutenberg Bible and a few sketches by some famous artists, but other than that there wasn't much that interested me. 

 

On the way back to the hotel I stopped for another $1 slice of pizza (it's probably a good thing I didn't live in NYC) and made my way through Times Square again to see it at night. At least I thought it was night. When I arrived I could have sworn the sun had reappeared. Talk about a sensory overload. It reminded me of New Year's Eve but multiplied by a billion. The lights, the sounds, the crowds were all captivating but overwhelming. I stayed for about half an hour, trying to absorb everything that was happening around me. Definitely not somewhere I would like to visit often, yet glad I had experienced it.

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