Sunday, November 8, 2015

New York City Day 2

One last airport story before I delve into Day 2. My right armpit alerted the TSA agents at the St. Louis airport. Yes, you read that correctly - my armpit. That meant I qualified for a pat down. What a nice, cheap thrill for my birthday! After she slid her hands up my armpits, the agent told me that sometimes deodorant sets the machine off. Apparently the explosives detectors look for products containing ammonium nitrate, and some deodorants, lotions and make-up contain this ingredient. Who knew? She obviously allowed me to board, but the interesting thing is that I checked my deodorant when I got home (I have a different, travel-sized one that I use on my trips), and it doesn't contain ammonium nitrate. I wonder what set the machine off?

Pershing Square Cafe
Thursday, October 29th was our first full day in New York, and the only thing scheduled with a time was a trip out to the Statue of Liberty in early afternoon. First thing in the morning we walked over to Pershing Square Grand Central Cafe for breakfast. It is located under an overpass, which is pretty cool.

After we ate we crossed the street to Grand Central Station to admire the architecture. Going inside always makes me want to bust into "Don't Rain on my Parade", and strut through the station like Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl". Out of deference to my companions, I restrained myself. It is a beautiful, busy train station, great for people-watching as much as anything else. I held out a small bit of hope that a flash mob would choose that exact moment to sing, dance, issue a wedding proposal - anything. It happens all the time on YouTube. Alas, it was not to be.

ticket windows

Grand Central Station

me with Jim in Times Square
Our next stop was Times Square, because no trip to New York is complete without rubbing shoulders with tens of thousands of your best friends. I don't remember ever being so accosted by hawkers in the past - play tickets, comedy shows, bus trips, bicycle rides - you name it. I guess the big DSLR hanging around my neck pegged me as a tourist. I had better success evading the sales slugs when I put my camera in my purse. But then it was a pain to drag it out every time I saw something I felt was photo worthy, which was often for a shutterbug like me.

We hopped on the subway for a ride down to Battery Park where we stood in a long line waiting to go through security prior to boarding the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. It was similar to airport screening with the exception that you could leave your shoes on. And the fact that I did not have a deodorant malfunction with their screening machine.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
Manhattan from the ferry

Our tickets to the Statue of Liberty only entitled us to go up to the pedestal level. While it would have been great to go all the way to the crown, those tickets were sold out until January, 2016! We decided to walk the 215 steps from the lobby to the pedestal instead of taking the elevator. Burn, baby, burn! It was quite crowded when we finally exited the doors at the top of the steps. Did I mention that in addition to normal New York crowds, there was the addition of World Series fans as well as New York Marathon participants? There were 50,000 people running in the marathon that Sunday, not to mention the family and friends they brought along with them. To say that the typical tourist spots were packed is an understatement.

Once back on Manhattan soil, we took off in search of some New York style pizza. Taking the advice of a couple of New York's finest, we enjoyed a slice at Masterpiece Pizzeria before working our way over towards Wall Street and Trinity Church. Completed in 1846, the church is a wonderful example of Gothic architecture.

Trinity Church exterior

Trinity Church ceiling

Trinity Church interior
Getting back on the subway at Wall Street we encountered our first (but far from last) taste of rush hour, subway style. Oh my! Squished together and hanging onto a pole for dear life, I got a true sense of what the working class deals with on a daily basis just getting home from work. It sure makes you appreciate the more laid back life style here in the Midwest. After relaxing at the hotel for a bit, we walked a few blocks for a late dinner before retiring for the night. Fitbit counts: 16,289 steps or 7.21 miles including 38 floors of stairs. Yay for the 60 year old me!

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