Is there anywhere like New York city on a sunny fall day? The place was humming with activity, crowds of people outside everywhere enjoying the sights and sounds of a vibrant city.
After a quick direct morning flight from DSM (thank you delta) we had an afternoon to play in the city. What a treat! We took the 6 train south from the upper east side where we are staying at my aunt S’s apartment to 14th Street, stopped at The Strand bookstore (where I did find a copy of a 20-year old book about Vietnam that I hoped to find, except it was hardback), and then walked west along 12th street (relatively quiet and charming compared to 14th), past 5th Avenue (and One Fifth Avenue, where my parents had their wedding) thru Greenwich village to Gansevoort market, where we had delicious ceviche bowls at a Peruvian stand, Mission Ceviche, sitting on seats around the cooks. Across the street, we bought cardamom buns at Fabrique, the first nyc outpost of the bakery we discovered last summer in Stockholm.
The High Line seemed narrower and even more jam packed than usual, which added to the excitement and frustration. Many people speaking foreign languages. Stunning plantings, art installations, architecture, city and river views from on high. Very slow walkers (and I am not exactly fast.)
The eight Amy Sherold portraits of ordinary striking black people (not Michelle Obama this time) jumped off the stark white walls of the large airy open gallery on 22nd street. Stunning. As with the Obama portraits in DC at the National Portrait gallery, I saw black people in particular posing next to these portraits, which I found moving.
We continue north on the High Line to the glittering new colossus of Hudson Yards, which felt like a cross between a Batman set and Disneyland, with huge hulking dramatic buildings and skyscrapers and a copper-colored tower of tunneled walkways that tourists and presumably locals were lining up to walk up and up and down and down. Overwhelming and disorienting and showy and unnecessary are the words that came to mind. (Here’s a promo blurb: Hudson Yards is unlike anything ever built before — a living, breathing neighborhood that champions first-to-New York experiences. Climb Vessel, the interactive centerpiece of Hudson Yards. Visit The Shed, a new center for art and inspiration. Or take in the scene from thrilling new heights on Edge — an outdoor space a thousand feet in the air.)
For a far more charming encounter with architecture, we sat in the ornate cavernous Moorish Central Synagogue and enjoyed the gorgeous singing and ceremony of a Shabbat service (we are here for a family bat mitzvah). Also was relieved, sadly, that we had to go through a metal detector to get into the sanctuary.