Monday, December 31, 2007

DAY 28 - Random NYC #2 - 28 Dec

Another late morning resulted in a hurried dash to central park. I got to the Wollman rink and proceeded to devour the leftovers of last night's Korean and an apple still from San Fran. Central Park itself was quite bare as it was winter, but it's vastness is breathtaking. Beyond the literary walk and some ponds and nice architecture I found myself in the random bushes called the rambles. Think Blair Witch project and that's what it was like, very serial killer movieish. In a guide book I read it actually warns against walking through it's area at night. I wonder why, it felt pretty creepy even in daylight. I was so excited to see an area marked on the map as the Shakespeare gardens, cause been the uber Shakespeare fan I am, but once I got there it was a tiny patch of dirt with plaques hailing quotes from Twelfth Night and the like. Note to self...come in summer next time.

I got as far as the Jackie Onassis Reservoir which felt bigger on the map, but it was still pretty damn big. One thing I hated about central park was that since it was winter was that they turned off all the water bubblers, presumably so the pipes don't freeze and crack, omfg, if I was running in central park I'd be totally pissed off.

One thing about America and to a degree the northern hemisphere are squirrels. Everytime I see one, I squeal in delight and now my camera is just full of squirrel pictures and there are many a squirrel in Central Park. Possums don't even come close in novelty and cuteness.

I head back down to 9th Ave Pizzeria for lunch, it came as recommended on but frankly it was pretty average. The food was relatively cheap so I didn't really mind. Then I made my way down to 44th and found the much famed Actors Studio started by Lee Strasberg and made such greats as Al Pacino. It wasn't greatly exciting though, I'd though they might have had pamphlets but they probably don't even need the extra publicity.

9 Avenue through the 40s is the area known as Hell's Kitchen, a district known for its links to the theatre and the arts, it's close to the Broadway theatres and many famous actors made their homes here since rent was cheap. Now the area has been much gentrified but the remnants of the old district still survive, the ubiquitous delis, small restaurants, laundromats and greengrocers. It has the largest collection of essentials which I have seen around mid-town and although 9th avenue is a bit old and dingy compared to say 6th or 5th, it really embodies a great cultural atmosphere.

Megan's flight still hadn't arrived so I thought I might go check out Bryant Park which I knew from my research had a free ice rink during the winter. Consulting my map I realised it was actually behind the NY public library I went to yesterday. How did I miss an entire park? I definitely need my eyesight checked when I get back. Seeing the ice rink made me think about the ice skates in the sports store i encountered yesterday before I got to Grand Central Terminal. So on a whim I thought I'd go seek it out, since they sold cheap thermals. So around i walk, 41st, 5th ave, nothing, i got another 3 blocks the other direction nothing. Ask 3 cops and 1 security you know a sport store around here?...No. Nothing...1 hour later, 5 circles of around 4 blocks each I finally find it, adjacent to Grand Central terminal and a block away from where I started. And indeed it was a sports called Modells. Perhaps people would understand if I actually asked for Modells...*collapses from exhaustion*

So I'm browsing skates at Modells, $50 with 20% off, so $40 for a pair of Bauer Supreme Elites, or CCM hockey skates and Bauer Vapours for $57, Bauer vapours are like AUS$300, I squealed then realised the last 3 pairs are all not my size. I debated heaps long, and ended up purchasing the $40 CCM ones, + skate guards, bag and my thermals, it was like $80. I didn't even think about the fact that I'll have to lug around ice skates through half the world, I just wanted to skate.

So I hurriedly got back to Bryant park to drop my newly bought skates to be sharpened, upon taking them out of the box, I realised...shit, only one skate had laces. I asked the sharpener dude he's like sorry can't help you. So I run the 4 blocks back to Modells, take some laces out of another box and run back to my hostel since it had been an hour since Megan called to say her flight had landed. I get to my hostel drenched in sweat, look up the address of the hotel we're meant to be staying at the made my way downtown. I'm so glad everything is so insanely close and runnable and subwayable in New York.

I met up with Megan's clan and ended up having a very unsatisfactory dinner of Viet food cooked by Japanese people.

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