I think it’s going to take me a few days to recover from the one I spent in Manhattan. I spent fourteen hours on my feet (twelve if you deduct the time I sat during The Nutcracker), plus two nights in a row trying to sleep upright in a seat with only about a square foot of space to try to get comfortable in. I might have said this before, but I think I’m done with overnight bus rides. For now, at least.
I noticed something during this trip. You know that effect a city that’s new to you has once you arrive? You know what I mean…everything seems to be aglow, you’re excited beyond containment, and all you want to do is get out and pound the pavement in order to see as much as you can? It’s almost like you can hear those *ping* sounds that cartoon characters have when they flash a smile, except the sparkles would be “pinging” off the buildings. I used to get this for New York, and I’ll admit I got a wee bit of it when I stepped off the bus, but once I started walking it was almost like I was making my way around my own city of Toronto. There wasn’t any more “pings”. Just familiarity.
I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely adore New York City — but it just feels like enough of a second home to me now that I no longer feel that excitement, or the urge to act touristy and do touristy things. I realized I felt this same way about Vancouver the last time I was there. I think a sure sign of being comfortable with a city is having enough knowledge to get yourself around without the use of a map. I’m proud to say I never once pulled out my map during this trip. That’s a first for me.
In the end, I’m going to say that this familiarity is a good thing. However, I think it’s also a sign that it’s time to move on to other new destinations. New York will always have a special little place specifically reserved for it in my heart, but it will probably be a while before I return.
As you might have read in my previous post, I had planned on seeing a lot during this trip. I’m ashamed to say I only got through a fraction of what I had put on my itinerary.
I arrived around 6:30am and immediately took off on foot to start my walking tour of holiday window displays. Armed with a list of intersections where I’d find particular stores, I started at W 28th and 7th, and eventually meandered all the way up to W 61st and 3rd. On my list were Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Tiffany & Co., Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. I found all the stores I had on my list except for Barney’s (I was so tired I didn’t even care at that point), and Bloomingdale’s. Actually, I found Bloomingdale’s, but the windows were a bit lack lustre so I didn’t bother taking any photos. Shame on me, I know.
I also came across some others on the way, like Cartier and Fendi, so I snapped some shots of those as well.
I have to say that my favourites were Henri Bendel (look at Woody Allen and Sarah Jessica Parker!), and Bergdorf Goodman, whose theme was Holidays On Ice — each window represented a different holiday of the year. BG definitely had the most intricate and beautifully designed pieces, however the one window display that caught me off guard and made me press my nose up against the glass like a kid, was the one I found at Saks. How could you not fall in love with this guy?!
The windows at Saks told the story of Yeti, who left his home to travel the world in order to search for the perfect environment to create snowflakes. Turns out the Saks store on Fifth offered the magic that he’d been looking for all along.
During my walk I also hit up Bryant Park to walk through the Winter Village and Rockefeller Center to admire the Christmas tree.
I had originally wanted to pop into FAO Schwarz while I was in that area so I could pick up a gift for my darling niece, but at 8am on a Sunday morning the store was understandably closed. So, once I hit the uppermost street of my itinerary — E 61st — I started to make my way back down 5th to E 34th with the intention of FINALLY going up the Empire State Building. The line outside the building was long enough to deter me. So I continued walking.
I then considered going to the MoMA, but then I didn’t want to spend the $20+ on the entrance free (it’s Christmas, I’m broke). I also wanted to see Santa at Macy’s, but again money was a factor (you can’t get your picture taken with the old man and not buy a copy), so instead I continued walking until I hit Broadway. I had hours to spare and nothing but my inner compass to follow, so I started going north up Broadway.
I finally got breakfast ($3.75 for eggs, sausage and home fries — the place looked shady but I didn’t get food poisoning), and continued walking up to the New York City Ballet at the David H. Koch theatre. I was early, so I rested my wary feet, got my ticket to G. Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and waited.
Eventually they let us in so I took my seat and got comfy. I was bracing myself for the joy that was to come. Unfortunately, the fine people at the NYCB don’t allow you to take any photos once you’re in the theatre, but I was able to sneak in a shot of the view from my seat prior to the beginning of the performance.
The ballet was everything I expected it to be. I particularly enjoyed the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. There’s a reason why those dancers are in this iconic production. They’re fantastic. My eyes were glued to the stage for the entire performance.
Once the ballet was over I walked very slowly down 9th to W 34th. I still had three hours to spend before my bus arrived, yet I was so unbelievably tired that I actually didn’t want to do anything. I was angry at myself for not having more energy to do more, but after walking everywhere I couldn’t help it. I ended up arriving at the bus stop three hours early. Then, my bus was almost two hours late. By the time that damned bus came I was so irritated that I just wanted to go home.
I slept the ENTIRE ride home, yet I didn’t feel rested by the time I arrived back in Toronto. I had the stench of New York City and the bus on me, I desperately needed to brush my teeth, and my feet were so sore I practically limped home. It was a good stint in NYC, but I was exhausted.
Here are some random shots I got throughout the day. Just a note: I know that Philomena is a new movie starring Dame Judy Dench, but it was also my grandmother’s name, so I had to take a photo.
New York, I love you and I’m thankful that I finally got to see you at Christmas. Until next time, whenever that may be, stay awesome.