31 May 2017

Travelogue NYC: Enjoying it in spite of myself

I don't really like New York very much. I serve on the board of Mazon, an anti-hunger advocacy organization. Mazon has a yearly board meeting in New York. That's really the only reason why I go there. If it weren't for Mazon, I probably never would go to New York.

And yet ...

It seems like my wife and I always have a good time when we go to the yearly meeting in New York. We walk around a lot. We see a lot of interesting things. We enjoy some good food and hear exciting jazz. Sometimes we visit acquaintances who live there. My wife usually does some shopping.

Our most recent trip in May turned out that way. Here's what we did.

My board meeting was scheduled for Monday. We flew in on Friday. Our flight was supposed to arrive early afternoon. But, first we had a delay taking off from Minneapolis. That put us an hour behind schedule. Then when we landed, at 2 p.m., we encountered horrendous traffic delays getting to our hotel. That took an hour and a half. (Our driver lamented that normally, it should have taken no more than 30 minutes.) By the time we got checked in, it was 4 p.m., and we hadn't had any lunch yet. Luckily, happy hour at the hotel's rooftop lounge started at 4 p.m. So that's where we went for a bite to eat and liquid attitude readjustment.

Our dinner reservation (9 p.m.) was at a jazz club. It was a 2 mile walk down Broadway; took us right through Times Square. Then after dinner, at midnight, we walked back. Times Square was still hopping.

The next day, was a major walking expedition. We walked over to the High Line trail. In case you don't know, it's a walking path that follows the route of an old elevated railroad line. The north entrance is on 34th St. W. and 11th Ave. and it stretches to the Meatpacking District, ending at the Whitney Museum.

The TriBeCa Band performing at a street fair

On a previous trip, we went into the Whitney after walking the High Line. But this time, we had a different destination in mind. After coming down from the High Line, we picked up Greenwich Street and followed that all the way to the 9/11 Memorial and the new World Trade Center building. It was really an impressive and sobering experience. Before beginning our hike back to the hotel, we went into the Oculus, which is the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub.
At the 9/11 Memorial

Along the walk back to our hotel, we took a break for shopping in the West Village on Bleeker Street. Linda scored a piece of jewelry. The route to our hotel took us through Times Square for the third time. On a Saturday afternoon, it was unbelievably jam packed. I swore that I would not go through it again (at least on this trip).

By the time we got back to the hotel, we barely had enough time to rest up before we had to leave. We had an 8 p.m. table reserved for the first set at a jazz club back in Greenwich Village. After all the walking, this time we took a cab. Once again, the traffic was horrendous. We should have gone by subway. Our 10 p.m. dinner reservation was back up near Central Park. So when the first set ended, we hopped in another cab and headed back uptown. Thankfully, by this time, the traffic had thinned and it didn't take too long to get there.

Total walking distance for Saturday in New York: 10.8 miles.
Brilliant day for the AIDS Walk

Sunday we spent much of the day wandering through Central Park. By coincidence, Sunday was the New York AIDS walk. We went over to the main stage and listened to the speakers for a while, then continued our stroll. We took a break for brunch and to browse through the Greenflea Market. It was fun checking it all out, but we didn't buy anything. Then we went back into the park. It was a beautiful day for walking aimlessly with no destination in mind.

Our dinner on Sunday night was near our hotel. Afterwards, we took a short walk to settle our stomachs. We enjoyed seeing Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle at night. With my board meeting the next day, we didn't go out for music after dinner. Total walking distance on Sunday: 10.7 miles. (It didn't seem that much, but that's what the app on my iPhone said.)

On Monday, while I was at my meeting, Linda went shopping. Rain had moved in overnight. But fortunately the shops she planned to visit were close by. When the rain let up around midday, she even went back to Times Square one more time, this time to stop in at the Hershey Store. In the evening, we were heading to TriBeCa for dinner. The weather was still threatening, but after sitting in a meeting all day, we decided to walk it, figuring we could duck into the subway if the rain got too heavy.
Looking across the Hudson River at New Jersey

After dinner, we fully intended to take the subway back to the hotel. But we'd been tipped off to a walking path along the Hudson River that we'd never walked before. We ended up walking all the way back. Total walking distance on Monday: 7.5 miles.

I'll post some additional information about our hotel, the jazz clubs we visited, and the restaurants we ate at. But I'd have to say that despite my general disregard for New York, we did have a nice time.