We made it!
How many blog posts can I write in one day, you ask? (Answer: at least three, apparently.)
We’re in the hotel now, smack in the middle of Manhattan. Tall buildings, narrow streets, people selling stuff everywhere, everything crammed into as little space as possible. Taxicabs are all over the streets, and there are people everywhere there’s not taxicabs.
Anyway, we got here fine. There was a brief moment of concern in Ottawa when it was unclear where Pamela’s luggage was going (the airline agent in Winnipeg didn’t give her a customs form or tell her to pick her bags up, so we were suspicious about whether or not it was actually going to make it to NYC, but it all worked out.
The flight from Ottawa to New York was hilariously small and empty. The flight itself is just under an hour long, and it was on this little tiny plane (a “Bombardier CRJ”, apparently). The plane only seats 50, but there were a total of 12 passengers, including us. We could have each had a full row to ourselves. It’s the only time I’ve ever been properly served on a flight: the flight attendant actually walked around, asked us what we wanted, and came back with a tray full of drinks for everyone.
The plane itself had sort of this “little plane that could” vibe to it – it sounded like it was straining just as hard as it could to make it to New York (making noises that reminded me of driving Heather’s Hyundai up a steep mountain road). It was very glad to get to LaGuardia, and hit the runway very enthusiastically.
LaGuardia itself is kind of…dingy. It’s like a bus station, with airplanes. It was really weird and low-key with bad lighting and low ceilings and didn’t feel like a big-city airport at all.
Anyway, that’s the flight, which is supposed to be the not-very-interesting part of the trip. “What about New York City?” I hear you say.
Well, it’s all big and New Yorky. We went and walked around Manhattan for a while, and saw some neat stuff. Lots of big old buildings and mis-matched architecture and garbage piled on the sidewalk and people jaywalking and basically everything you ever see in a movie or TV show that wants to make it clear it’s in New York.
Touring this place makes it feel like you’ve just got a big checklist of landmarks and whatnot that you’re working through. Today’s list included:
- Rode in a yellow taxicab
- The Flatiron Building
- Madison Square Park
- The Empire State Building
- Madison Square Gardens
The Empire State Building confused both me and Pamela, because when we saw it from several blocks away, we didn’t think it looked right. Something about the spire didn’t match our memories. But it certainly was the Empire State Building, all big and tall. What stuck me about it was the size; not the height, because you know it’s really tall, but how wide it was at the base.
Overall, it’s been a neat experience. Nothing mind-blowing, nothing that really makes you sit back and go “Wow”, but you know you’re in New York. It’s not Winnipeg, or Toronto, or really any other place I’ve been. One weird thing has been that, since this is Labor Day (no “u” ‘cuz it’s American), a lot of stuff has been closed, which doesn’t really match what I expect from New York.
We had supper tonight at an Irish pub called the Triple Crown, which was a nice quiet break from the insane throngs of people everywhere else. Later on, after we were back at the hotel, I had a craving for a hot chocolate, and we found a little…I don’t know, deli-bar/coffeeshop/cafe/convenience store. It actually reminded me in a way of the breakfast bar I went to in Rome – if you took that idea, and transplanted it and re-analyzed it from a New York mindset, you’d probably get a place like this. Anyway, my hot chocolate craving resulted in the absolute unarguable #1 highlight of the trip so far…we passed a guy walking the other way in full Ghostbuster gear. Pamela and I did a massive double-take, and then laughed ourselves silly for the next five minutes.
I’m probably missing a lot of things – the trip has really been a chain of small experiences like that. Assuming that keeps up, this blog could get very…talky.
Plans for tomorrow: Breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then off to the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Plaza, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, and Broadway. Wish our feet luck!
Blog note: I’ve added an email subscription link, over there on the right, so you can sign up if you want an automatic email every time I post something.
Blog sidenote: I spent about two hours tonight in the hotel room arguing with this blog software, trying to get it to post my pictures properly. Grr…