New York, New York… Madness in Manhattan

Standing on the steps of the Met, after viewing a tiny portion of its incredible holdings. Dar and I had a decision to make.  Like all tourists we wanted a chance to be able to see the city skyline from above.

We had two clear options available to us, The Empire State building or Rockefeller Center.  Debating the merits of both over a street dog, consensus was reached, a cab hailed and we sped towards 30 Rock.

The Rockefeller Center is a tourist destination all on its own.  The famous skating rink that has been a staple of holiday movies and postcards, was to my surprise open and being enjoyed in October!

The rink at Rockefeller Center

Giggling in amazement at the scene below I took in the famous architecture, that I had seen on the screen so many times.  Here I was, running like a school boy, clicking pictures and pointing at everything around us. The art deco designs leaped from buildings like gods from a Greek tragedy. Warning anyone who looked upon them of the hubris of man.

Art Deco design at Rockefeller Plaza

Art Deco design at Rockefeller Center

The clarion call of barkers, offering tickets, woke me back to reality.  A deal made and tickets in hand we started our long trip to the “Top of the Rock“.   Now it must be said that the staff here are experts in crowd management. People streamed in from the street eager to get to the rooftop.  Hardly without effort we were sorted into our designated lines and whisked into the elevator.  As we climbed a light show played on the roof of the car, but it paled in comparison to the show outside.

The City lay beneath us in 360 degree panorama, to the North Central Park, to the South The Empire State loomed above us.  Below the chaos of Time Square raged.  Every degree offered an unparalleled view, as we gazed from above.

Central Park From above

Empire State from above

After a short walk chatting about the incredible view, we came into the heart of darkness in the city, Tony Bourdain’s white whale.  Times Square.

To say that Times Square is over crowded is like saying there are a few grains of sand on Copacabana Beach.  To me, it seemed like every tour bus and passenger train right out of Midwestern Hell had opened up and dumped its contents willy nilly about the street.  In my short time navigating the sidewalks of Manhattan I learned to get out-of-the-way when taking a picture, or speed up when in a pack of locals.  Apparently the assembled hordes were not privy to the same instruction.

Specially designated police officers were tasked to keep tourists off of the street when gawking open-mouthed and drooling skywards. It seemed as if the flashing lights and cacophonous noise had sucked every piece of street sense out of 99% of the rubes gathered.

Time Square

Times Square

Flippin off the Bubba Gump Shrimp

Our legs weary and stomachs growling we fought our way through the throngs and into the Hard Rock Cafe a free meal thrown in by the Radio Station, counting down the scant hours till our first concert at Madison Square Garden.

Naked Cowboy

Next UpThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert Series.

6 responses to “New York, New York… Madness in Manhattan

  1. I was at Rockefeller Center on July 2, 2008, and ate lunch on that skating rink, but there was no ice. The pit was filled with tables shaded by umbrellas. Very glam to be there, but the food was lousy and expensive. At $25 for a sandwich and drink, you’d at least expect the potato chips to be fresh.

    We stayed at the Marriott Marquis right at Times Square, and it was like a city unto itself.

    I always love walking around New York. So much energy. But I’ve never noticed an over-abundance of rubes, as you did.

  2. Great pictures, once again. The first time I went to New York, I was 21, and I remember being positively terrified to cross the street (yes, there were automobiles, then). And I felt that I had to walk as fast as I could to keep up with the pedestrians. We stayed in a hotel in Times Square (the Hotel Astor — recommended by Arthur Frommer), and it did have a lovely Art Deco lobby, but the carpeting in the room probably hadn’t been washed since the crash of ’29. Times Square had begun it’s slide into scary by then, but we were so charmed by being in Manhattan that it all seemed wonderful. And there was an Automat right around the corner, so what more could we have asked?

  3. Holy geeze woman, Automats… Didn’t those go out in the 50’s????

    Not saying your old or anything, but was Mary Magdalene really a tramp???
    I kid cause I love…

    Glad you’re liking the story so far!!!

  4. Mary Magdelene was swell — she liked a good time, but she was pretty smart and hardly a whore. Actually, I think the last Automat closed in the early ’70’s, and I was there for the first time in 1968. Didn’t get back again ’til 2002 and again in ’04. The last 2 trips, I stayed at the Mariott Financial Center. It’s literally right next to Ground Zero, and in May 2002, we got an incredible deal on a room. I think next trip, which I hope will be soon, I’d like to stay on the Upper West Side. I do love the Village, Tribeca and Soho, though.

  5. In spite of many layovers at JFK airport, I have only spent part of 2 days in NYC.
    Husband & I have talked repeatedly about taking Amtrak up for the day. This is making me want to do it soon.

    • Welcome to the blog Cindy… Glad that I could get across some of our excitement in the trip.
      Personally I can’t wait to be able to get back to NYC with a pocket full of cash and the time to do it up properly.

      It really was a dream trip, whirlwind though it was. Writing about it brings back so many memories!