Monday, January 25, 2010

Almost Spring in Central Park

Friday morning of our trip to New York City came early. Mom wanted to go to The Today Show (which I never watch) and I wanted to go to Good Morning, America! (which she never watches). I think I could have talked her into going to GMA if the weather had been bad, because GMA's studios were right near us in Times Square and visitors stand inside. But I am a fan of Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer is

So we got up very early and walked down to Rockefeller Plaza, where several people were already lined up to be let in around The Today Show corral. We went through a light security check (we had to open our bags) and then lined up around the gates. There were those that had been there before and told us that usually the group came out a few times, on the half hour.  But not today.

Because of the situation in Haiti, NBC didn't want to have too much cheering and hollering during the show, so they decided to come out only once, in spite of the unseasonably warm weather - at least 10° above normal.

TV view of NBC Studios in Rockefeller Plaza. I'm where the red arrow indicates. Trust me.

Once again, we were right in front, but the crowd they showed was to our left and to our right.  But we got to see Meredith and Matt, as well as Al Roker and Natalie Morales - all beautiful people.

We then walked to The Ed Sullivan Theater to see where The Late Show with David Letterman  is taped.  We considered trying to get stand-by tickets, but we had too many other things we wanted to do to take a chance of standing in line and not getting in.

Around the corner from the theater is the Hello Deli, which Dave has made famous, so we walked in and there was Rupert Jee. He graciously allowed us to have our pictures taken with him.

Rupert Jee's Hello Deli

Rupert Jee and Me!

 Just up the street was Central Park, so we walked there and spent a few wonderful hours on a beautiful day that the news people were calling "almost spring-like."  The temperature reached a high of 51° and the sun came out eventually, so Mom and I were thanking God for the blessing of such wonderful weather. January in New York City has the potential to be nasty, but we weren't having any of that.

Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle

We had a nice chat with James the Doorman at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, located at the southwest corner of Central Park, and he promised us a free room "next time" we were in NYC.  I asked him if we couldn't have a free room that night and he said, "Next time." At $500-$3000 a night, I thought he was quite generous, don't you?

As we entered Central Park at Columbus Circle, we were approached by a young man selling rickshaw tours of the park.  We were a bit hesitant to take him up on what seemed to be a good offer, but decided to take the chance, and we were so glad we did.  Central Park takes up 863 acres, or 6% of the island of Manhattan, and there was no way our legs were going to cover as much ground as a rickshaw ride.

Peter, our tour guide, was a native New Yorker and as he rode us all around the southern part of Central Park, he shared wonderful historical information about the park and pointed out the highlights both in the park and the buildings visible around its perimeter. At $60 for the two of us, the hour tour was well worth every penny and then some.

Mom and me at Bethesda Terrace. It looks like we were cold, but we weren't. It was a lovely day with temperatures in the 50s.

The Mall in Central Park

We recognized several features in the park that had been in movies and television shows. The bird lady scene from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was filmed here:

The Angel of the Waters fountain at Bethesda Terrace has been seen in many TV shows and films, such as Ransom, Elf, Gossip Girls, Enchanted, Grand Theft Auto IV, Lipstick Jungle, and The Amazing Race.

Angel of the Waters Fountain by Emma Stebbins (1873)

Bow Bridge has also been seen many times on screen, in Autumn in New York, Uptown Girls, and You've Got Mail.

Bow Bridge (1862) spans over 60 feet

As Peter said, it's hard to imagine a Woody Allen movie without a scene from Central Park. He simply loves it and I can understand why.  Even in winter it's beautiful, maybe even more so because without leaves on the trees, you get the backdrop of the architectural buildings that border the park.

Because of the warm weather, the skaters at Wollman Rink were out in number.

Peter dropped us off at one end of Strawberry Fields, the teardrop-shaped garden that Yoko Ono commissioned in memory of her husband, John Lennon.

As we began our walk, out of the corner of my eye I saw something I couldn't believe - snowdrops!  Central Park lies in USDA Zone 6b, which is a full zone warmer than ours, but snowdrops in January??

Galanthus nivalis

We walked through it and met him on the other side.  There, we could see The Dakota, where Lennon and Ono lived, and where Mark Chapman shot and killed Lennon on the front sidewalk.

The Dakota

We met up again with Peter and he took us back to where we'd started. Mom and I then walked back into the park to the Carousel.

 The Carousel

I'd always said if I ever made it to Central Park, I was going to ride the Carousel, and I did.  For two dollars, I had it all to myself and it was a glorious ride.

We continued walking, over to Madison Avenue, where we got on the bus north, getting off at 89th Street, near the Guggenheim Museum.  Both Mom and I are Frank Lloyd Wright Fans so we wanted to see the eclectic building he designed and it definitely stands out.

 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

When we walked in, we found out we'd just missed the special Kandinsky exhibit and most of the museum was closed for re-installation of the next special exhibit. They gave us a reduced admission of $7, which allowed us on only two floors to see their permanent exhibit.

 Ceiling of the Guggenheim Museum

Though we couldn't take photos anywhere except on the ground floor, we got to see several paintings by great artists such as Renoir, Monet, Manet, Picasso, Degas, Chagall, Gaugin, C├ęzanne, Van Gogh, and Kandinsky.

After discovering I'd lost one of my good earrings (and not finding it), we crossed the street and waited for a bus to take us back to 59th Street, where we got off and walked the rest of the way to 50th along Fifth Avenue.

On the Central Park side of 5th Avenue

Cole Haan storefront on 5th Avenue

It was here that I felt truly out of place.  Strutting their stuff along this avenue, going in and out of the high fashion stores were The Beautiful People.  And many of them truly were physically beautiful.  Hanging on their bodies were several thousands of dollars worth of clothing and perhaps millions worth of jewelry.  Even their makeup probably cost more than I make in a week.

5th Avenue

As we made our way south along Fifth Avenue, we came upon St. Patrick's Cathedral and decided to go in.  What a beautiful church!


Across the street from St. Patrick's is Atlas, by sculptor Lee Lawrie.


We continued back over to Rockefeller Plaza, where we decided to take a trip up to Top of the Rock, an observation deck on the 70th story of Rockefeller Center, where we could see some of the best views of the city, especially on a beautiful sunny day like the one we were having.

At the ticket kiosk, the young woman who sold us our ticket asked if we were having a good time in New York and if people were being nice to us. We assured her we were having a great time and that people had been very nice to us, to which she replied, "Well, you must have met the right people then, because usually they're not."  I asked her why she would say that and she said, "I'm a native New Yorker and it's true. We're not usually very friendly." Hmmm.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is just one of many buildings in New York that have great Art Deco features inside and out. It overlooks the skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza, which features a very gold Prometheus sculpture by Paul Manship and today was displaying the flags of United Nations member countries.  At other times, flags of states of the United States and our territories are displayed, with only the U.S. flag flown on all the poles on U.S. holidays.

We took the elevator up to the 70th floor and spent a fair amount of time oohing and aahing at the view from all four sides.  I enjoyed seeing Central Park to the north most of all.

Central Park and the Hudson River from Top of the Rock

View of Empire State Building from Top of the Rock

 Just outside Rockefeller Center is Radio City Music Hall 

As you can imagine, this day was pretty hard on our backs and feet and Mom and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and soak our feet and take a nice hot shower.  Mom decided her problem was that she wore too many socks in her boots, thinking it would pad her feet more, but all it did was make her boots too tight.  My problem was my back, which hurt so bad by the time we got back that I felt like I was the 75-year-old instead of my mother.

Putting our feet in some cold water refreshed us a little bit, but the hot shower was a little harder to come by. We'd had problems getting hot water since we'd arrived and we had to call the front desk about it for the third time. Another engineer came up and worked on it again and we finally had hot water. Mom had a discussion with the front desk about the issue and they gave us a free breakfast buffet for the next morning. (Almost worth the trouble of having no hot water! Yummy!)

There you have it.  Just a typical tourist's day in New York City.  What did you do last Friday?


Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

I love hearing the adventures you have with your mommy! She is such a sweetheart and I love your relationship!

My mom and I are close too.
Shirley Bovshow

Teresa O said...

Hi Kylee,

What a wonderful trip to NYC you and your mother had! Seeing the little snowdrops must have been such an unexpected bonus surprise. Thank you for taking me along on your tour of Central Park, that's a place I long to explore at great length.

JP said...

you guys did everything! sounds like a great trip, but definitely exhausting. I don't think I can even remember last Friday...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a day. No wonder you were tired. I was wondering how Mom's back would hold up during a siege like this and it was your back that gave out.

Me last Friday??? Well, I can tell you it wasn't near as exciting as this.

I bet the hood of your coat pulled out one of your earrings. Too bad you didn't find it.

Gail said...

What an amazingly wonderful chance of a lifetime to see all these sites. Thanks for allowing us to travel with you.

Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...

That was fun!

Jean said...

I feel as if I have been in NY from your descriptions and comments. I know it was exciting! Thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

Kylee, Thanks so much for sharing such an entertaining tale of your visit to NYC. I enjoyed it very much. Your photos and description were (almost) as good as being there! I'm glad you had the opportunity to go and that you shared this with your readers.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

What a great account of your very-long-busy-destination-filled day!! All your photos are really great, but that one of the Empire State Building was stunning!! I would be uber tired too! I am impressed with your itinerary to make the most of each second. well done.

Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...

To me, the view south, toward the Empire State Building, and further, to the tip of Manhattan, is haunting.

Peg Wiggins said...

Amazing that the two of you could cram so much into one day!
Your photography of the day's adventures is stunning.
As usual, your photography angles are wonderful.
A treat for the eyes.

Layanee said...

What great pictures accompany your narrative. You and your Mom sure do cover a lot of ground!

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