Tuesday, December 01, 2009
New York City #4
Sunday was a different day. Heather got stuck at a photo shoot all day with Sarah Silver, so I got to roam the city myself. I started off by - you guessed it - riding the A train to 14th, then a short walk to Murray's Bagels where once again, I got an onion bagel with chive cream cheese and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Since this would be my last morning with time to go to Murray's, I bought a half dozen onion bagels for my dad and toted them along with me ALL day. I smelled of onion, and not just faintly. People around me probably thought I had a hygiene problem, but my dad was so happy with real New York City bagels, so it was worth every pungent second. You just can't find a real bagel in Utah.
I got back on the subway and rode to Penn Station at 33rd Street, and that was the first time since arriving in NYC that I saw a few crazies. A little shocked, I quickly walked along 8th Ave to 34th Street and B&H Photo, the superstore. I'd heard about the conveyor belts and the Orthodox Jewish men working there (with names like Moshe and Shlomie), and just how different it was from any other photo store, but that was only half of it. I didn't realize it was three levels of photography and various technological wonders, and I surely didn't realize that there would be a million people there. It was a very cool experience. I bought a small stash of my new favorite film, Kodak Porta 400NC in 35mm and 120mm. It has the most beautiful tones and the grain is so small it's almost unnoticeable. Sorry Fuji. I jumped ship. I wanted to pick up more Fuji Instax Mini film though, but it was out of stock.
Back at Penn Station an hour or so later, I hopped on the A train to 81st and the Museum of Natural History. I walked around for three hours inside probably the coolest museum ever, burning through a lot of film on butterflies alive and not, gems, minerals, fish, human skulls, and of course, the amazing animal dioramas. I never shoot with a tripod and I didn't have one with me, but after all the long exposures and breath-holding, I sure wished I'd had one. I happened to glance outside in the afternoon and realized that the golden hour was fast approaching so I hustled outside and walked along Central Park West, past a small farmers market with fresh meats and cheeses, milk, and hard pretzels, which I should have brought home for my dad. I still regret not buying a bag. Sorry, Dad.
I turned the corner and headed into Central Park near the lake and for the next two hours, stopped practically every ten feet. The weather was sublime, and the sunshine gorgeous and warm. I shot more in that short time in Central Park than I did the entire trip. Leave it to me to go all the way to the concrete jungle of New York City and come back with nature photos. I walked autumn leaf-lined, meandering trails around the lake, past the boathouse where I picked up some delicious frozen chocolate custard, to the Bethesda Fountain, up through the terrace, past Sheep Meadow, Tavern on the Green, and out to Columbus Square. I could spend days in Central Park, and maybe I will next time I go back, but I'll be sure to take a lot more film.
Once at Columbus Square, I jumped on the D train to Rockefeller Center where I got to hassle the Top of the Rock front desk people about letting me use my expired City Pass to go up for free. The night before, we tried to go but doorman Frankie said no one was going up because there was zero visibility and to just come back the next night, which was Sunday. I argued and argued and finally, they let me through for free. Apparently Frankie was misinformed and I hope I didn't get him in trouble, but I sure as hell wasn't going to pay $21 more to get to the Top of the Rock when I'd already bought a City Pass. I think I displayed a little New York attitude, but it worked (and I know I sound like a big dork saying that). I rode the elevator up to the lower observatory and the escalator to the middle observatory and started taking pictures, and once again got really funny looks when I whipped out the Polaroid. It was dark out, but the weather was lovely, so I found an empty bench and called my dad. As we were talking, a couple on the bench next to me got engaged and the girl was jumping up and down and screaming. He must be quite a catch! After about an hour, I rode the elevator down and walked around the corner to Magnolia Bakery again. I wasn't about to leave New York without one more delicious cupcake. I set the little white box inside my messenger bag and hopped on the D train to Columbus Circle and transferred to the A and headed back to Heather's. For a small town girl, I am so very impressed with myself for navigating the subway system and a few of NYC's streets. It has given me a lot of confidence in public transportation and solo traveling, but I'd still rather drive my car most days and travel with my husband or a friend. But I did it!
I got home to Heather's around 7:30 and organized all my stuff and packed my suitcase because the next morning, I was headed home. I got out my iPod, dug into the cupcake and watched Once for the very first time. I absolutely fell in love with it and can't for the life of me figure out why it took me so long to see it. I watched a few other things on my iPod too, talked to my sweet husband on the phone for a while, took a nap, and finally Heather came home around 1AM. I got to buzz her in downstairs from her apartment above and I felt all big city-like. At 2:30, we finally went to bed.
Last day tomorrow...