With only a few weeks left of the calendar year, I found I was this close to attaining MVP status with my mileage plan, something I’d never attained before. So of course I decided I needed to jet off to New York City. Okay, so I didn’t really need to go as far as New York, but it turned out to be the best deal with the minimum miles I needed. Well, that or Raleigh, NC. Maybe next time, North Carolina.
Problem was I didn’t have a lot of time for a trip and ended up with a whopping 25 hours in the city, landing at 6am on Wednesday and flying out at 7am the next morning.
I couldn’t check in until 3pm however, so as soon as I stepped off the plane in JFK I made my way into Manhattan. The sun was just starting to come up and I worried about wandering around the city before true daylight, but since I came up to street level right at Madison Square Garden, it wasn’t an issue. It wasn’t any different than Times Square in that it never really gets dark, though it wasn’t nearly as crowded. A couple years ago I had the “pleasure” of staying in the Marriott Marquis right in the thick of Times Square… Never. Again.
Now before I started this journey, I’d made a list of the things I wanted to do in the short amount of time I had. Even mapped it out with what order to visit them.
That went to pot the second I stepped off the train. I had decided that I would visit High Bridge park up north first, then work my way down the city. But as I was making my way in, I realized most everything was going to be south of me, and a lot closer to Penn Station, my arrival point on the island. So maybe I would work my way south, then go north at the end.
First up was the High Line Park, an old elevated railway that had been transformed into a green space. And I’m glad I did because it was the perfect place to catch the sun come up as I walked along the amazing trail.
I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find runners galore on the path, and for a time I worried I might just be in their way, but eventually I crossed plenty of walkers as well. But I’m pretty sure I was the only non-local since no one else kept stopping to take pictures. Hard to say if this was because it’s just off the well (tourist-) beaten path or because I was on it so early in the morning. It was clearly used by the residents though so I’m glad I made the trek to it and along it.
The trail is just shy of a mile and a half, however I was getting hungry for breakfast so I broke off just before the end and found myself in Chelsea surrounded by high-end clothing stores. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my bank account) they weren’t open just yet so I kept wandering.
Eventually I stumbled upon this tiny little café in Greenwich Village. (Sadly, I never caught the name as I walked in and I didn’t kept the receipt since I paid cash.) As I sat in the corner booth eating my hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and potatoes, I watched children with backpacks, heading off to school I presume, the younger ones holding on to their parents’ hand. It was all so…ordinary, and relaxed. The few other times I’ve been in Manhattan, it’s always been in the busier, louder parts. I’ve decided if I ever have to move to New York, I would like to live in Greenwich Village.
With my belly full, I continued my journey south until I made it to Washington Square.
One of my favorite books is An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance. It’s set in 1880s New York and mentions Washington Square where the main character is having a house built near the new park, along with other high society families. I’d been to New York twice since reading it and wanted to see the area, if only to give life to what I’d read, but it never worked out. I was determined to make it happen this time. The park is beautiful and surrounded by old buildings, most of them housing NYU departments now. Although, when I first approached, I thought maybe I had seen it before after all, until I realized the park I was remembering was one in Philadelphia, it was so similar. I suspect a lot of these old squares in the historical cities of the original thirteen coloniesare very similar. Though that doesn’t lessen my desire to see them all.
There were a few things left on my list to do in the south end, including walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but I was running out of steam already and decided it was time to head north…