Sunday, 13 December 2015

New York Part 6: Day 2 Begins

Central Park, Its' Zoo, And Maybe I Was a Bit Harsh

Today my personal expert New York City tour guide has us starting with exploring Central Park further on the way to the Central Park Zoo.

Central Park (like pretty well the rest of the city) is iconic and once you visit it you will realize how many scenes in movies are shot here and begin annoying those around you while watching such films by incessantly pointing out that you've been there.

It's actually really gorgeous.  It has cliffs, waterfalls, lakes, beautiful huge trees, and lots of green space.

It never quite makes me forget that i'm surrounded by a steal jungle (with the omnipresent, yet dazzling, New York City skyline always in the distance), but it really is quite charming.

The cities energy is certainly flowing through it's park as well.  We actually took a moment to just sit on a bench and people watch for a short while and it was really great.

You'll have your joggers, your dog walkers, your office people out for a stroll, lots of nannies pushing rich peoples kids around, tourists like us and horse drawn carriages going by.  

Meanwhile throughout the rest of the park you'll have people kayaking, picnicking, enjoying a small carnival, or performing for a crowd.

It was really pleasing just walking from one musician to another.

One performer was actually doing a psychic act that Penn had both performed and educated us on the night before.

A little bit more exploring and then off to the Central Park Zoo.
She always has a drink in her hand.  At least this one isn't alcoholic...wait is it?

So here's the thing.  All I knew about the central park zoo was derived from the Dreamworks Madagascar kids film.

Which means that everything I knew about the park was wrong.

Contrary to what the film depicts, there are no lions, zebras, giraffes or hippos.  There were penguins but not a single one of em talked!

I was disappointed, dismayed, and deceived and declared, from that day forward, to never to stray from the safety of Disney films ever again.

Silliness aside.  The zoo actually did a remarkable job with such a small space.  The zoo is very small but they did manage to have an acceptable ammount of animals and experiences.  They also did a great job with themeing and created seemingly lush flora environment, fittingly nestled within central park.

That being said, I really couldn't help thinking about the quality of life, or lack thereof, of the animals.  They really were very small enclosures.

While we did have a nice time in the zoo we actually had to rush through it since my personal tour guide (Amy) had to hurry us to another Broadway show.

Before I get to that I do have to point out a realization I had this day.  I'm not sure if any of you have noticed but I was decidedly critical and downright cranky of alot of my views of the city.

I found it dirty, stinky, noisy, crowded and often refer it to a steel jungle.

Heres the thing though.  I didn't realize I had been experiencing all the symptoms of a migriane the previous day until today.

I get headaches and migraines regularly.  As such I know that certain circumstances are likely to trigger an episode and I knew travelling and experiencing New York would be a definite trigger.  So prior, and during, our visit I made sure to take pain medication pre emptively as it is much easier to stop a migraine from coming on then it is to stop it.

Therefore the day before I wasn't experiencing any pain (due to the pain pills) but I was experiencing all of my other symptoms of migraines.  Such as extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smells or pretty well all sensory input of which a city like New York is on overdrive.

Furthermore I also had tunnel vision which forces my vision to narrow (probable as a means to limit my sensory input) eliminating all perepheral vision and kind of forcing me to look down at the ground instead of experiencing the city as a whole.

So I was absolutely viewing tons of filth in New York.  But thats because I was looking down at the ground for the most part.  I was missing out, for the most part, of the beauty that New York had to offer.

I realized this on the way out of Central Park when, due to no more migraine, I was able to appreciate all of the beauty of architecture around me.  So while Amy handled all the directions and navigating through the city (Truly an excellent personal tour guide) I just started looking up and taking pictures of the buildings.

I also felt immensely comfortable in the big city.  Felt like being back home in Montreal.  Sure Montreal isn't as large but it does have a similar feeling to it.  For example I had jay walking perfected.  Honestly Montrealers have New Yorkers beat on this front.

But overall this day was where my love of New York began to grow and I was really started to appreciate what this city had to offer.

Speaking of which, it's time to get back to Broadway and watch that play.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

New York Part 5: New York at Night

New York at night

Penn and Teller performed in the Marquis Theatre which is within New York Marriott Marquis hotel.  This hotel offers one of the best views of the city.

But first you have to go up the incredibly scary elevators.  They are housed in clear glass and shoot you up to the upper floors of the super tall skyscraper.  Really did feel like a mini ride.

Upstairs is a bar and desert buffet.  The drinks are overpriced, while tasty, and we forgo the expensive desert buffet (which also looked tasty).

However the price of the drinks really reflect the incredible view that you get to witness within New Yorks only rotating restaurant that gives you a 360 degree experience of the city.  It's actually a really cheap and relaxing way to view all the major skyline landmarks while also avoiding the super touristy empire state building.

Now remember when I said those drinks were tasty?  Well I actually meant to say incredibly strong!  I asked the waiter what he recommended and he asked if I didn't mind stronger drinks.  I said no and boy oh boy people should really heed his warning.  Pretty sure those drinks were pure liquor and since we wanted to get back down to the city we pretty well chugged em.

As such we were certainly a little tipsy as we head out looking for some late night food.  Luckly my sweet, lovely, so helpfull, beautifull....i just love her soooooomuuuuuuch......woah.  Did I mention those drinks were a bit strong?

Anyway she had researched a perfect late night eatery afterwards.

Shack Shack!
Now I don't know if it was our slightly inebriated state or our super late night dinner but we absolutely loved this place.
Sure it was just burgers and fries but it was burgers and fries to perfection.  Nothing fancy.  Just exactly what burgers and fries should be.  And just to keep our buzz going we ordered a couple of beers.  That were served in fairly large cups, and unbeknownst to us prior to ordering, they were about to close.  So we kind of had to chug some more alcohol....

But that is ok because were were about to get blasted by the crazy never sleeps New York times square mega illumination to help wake us up.

Yep definitely a little buzzed

It truly is the city that never sleeps and really appeals to the late owl insomniac inside of me.  It is so bright that even in the dead of night its as if the cities glow is an artificial sun in of itself.  Everything is still packed and we saw plenty of kids milling about at midnight.

Now there really isn't much to Times-Square.  Other then the fact that its an iconic landmark that we've seen in countless films and shows there isn't any real activity going on here, unless you are into getting your picture taken with some random super heroes with questionable costumes.

But Times Square does serve as an energy hub that expands for countless blocks throughout the city where the energy keeps on flowing and you'll find all the clubs, shows and lounges to keep you busy throughout the night.

We only decided to go to shake shack at like 11pm at night and were surprised when they were closing shortly afterwards.  This being due to the fact that the energy of the city puts you in a (not so) false state of believing the city never winds down.

Brought me back to my youth where I would revel in the night and stay up till I heard the birds chirping and heralding the start of a new day, bringing me much dread that I had once again forgotten to sleep that night.

Hmm upon further thought, and reflection of my current struggles with insomnia, maybe this whole city that never sleeps isn't such a good thing.  As a matter of fact, despite my internal urges to the contrary, my better half reminded me we had another big day tomorrow and we probably should get to bed.

 So until tomorrow city of light.  Let us see what you will bring us in the day.