Saturday, January 30, 2010

New York: Day 4, Part 1: Moving Downtown

Today was a very lazy day for me... for some reason my ankles were making their discomfort known and that combined with the brutally cold temperatures (a high of 20 according to the newscast I'm viewing while I type this) generally discouraged me from doing much. But that's not to say I did nothing:

Changing Hotels. The three night stay I booked at the Waldorf was finished and it was time to move to my hotel for the last night of my stay: The Hilton Times Square. Thanks to an extremely accommodating desk staff, for a about 3 hours this morning I was technically checked in to two hotels simultaneously.

I have a total of three bags including my laptop. I decided to do two trips: The first trip I carried my laptop and overnight bag (now the swag bag) onto the 6 train, then the 42nd street shuttle to the Hilton. I took MTA back to the Waldorf but decided to hail a cab for my roll aboard (I didn't feel like throwing it over a turnstile and based on the headways I encountered on the first trip I didn't really want to waste any more of the morning).

I had watched other tourists try to hail a cab without much luck and was expecting some difficulty for my first time. Such was not the case. Literally, I got to the curb on Lexington, had my arm out for no more than 2 seconds before a cab was in front of me.

Based on what I've seen so far, I actually much prefer this property-- it's much more my style, the location is far more convenient (Both the Hilton and Waldorf are within about a 3 minute walk of a subway station... but Times Square/42nd has more lines and generally goes more of the places I want to go without needing to transfer). In addition there is a huge amount of contemporary art around the property... including a collection of Tom Otterness's very cute sculptures-with-a-story*

The service is also much more "we're being hospitable because we want to be hospitable" than "we're being hospitable, damn it, because you expect us to"

The Empire State Building. Tourist trap, pure an simple. At $20 it's overpriced and they try to get you to buy extras at every turn. Decent view, but I have pretty much the same view from my hotel room window. Add a security detail that's more aggressive than any airport I've transited** It's not something I ever need to do again.

Lunch. My violin teacher suggested -- actually the only suggestion I got -- eating at Veselka in Manhattan's East Village. Fantastic atmosphere, and amazingly crowded at 2pm. The place is a mix of Ukranian and American Diner; based on my aforementioned picky eating tendencies once I fought my way to an empty bar stool I stuck to the diner side of the menu with Mac & Cheese and a side of fries.

The Rest Of The Afternoon. I sat quietly and relaxed. Until the time came to head to Carnegie Hall, the subject of the next post.

More Photos over at Flickr


*- Mr. Otterness' work The Gates can be found at the Cleveland Public Library. A photo of one of the little people is the centerpiece of my living room's south wall. If I could afford one of the sculptures, I would love to have the real thing.
** - The buttons on my jeans set off the metal detector. Seriously. Then the gaurd made pull up my pant legs to double check.

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