Monday, June 24, 2013

Walking up and down

Our first real excursion was a walk along the Hi Line - an old elevated railway used in the old days to move meat into the "meat packing district" near here. It was abandoned, poised for redevelopment and then saved as a very stylish long park a few metres wide. One end is just around the corner from the apartment, and it's a pleasant stroll above three neighbourhoods.

Sunday evening we ate Italian fish sausages with some mushroom pasta, washed down with a little too much wine. Watching True Blood and Mad Men on live TV was a novelty, but the adverts were very intrusive. We're well settled in, fresh food and fresh laundry and getting orientated. Hudson Street is one of the long N-S spines on the west side of Manhattan and goes through several neighbourhoods.

This morning I had some Uni work to do first up, so we got going about 10.00am for a walk to Washington Square in Greenwich Village. It's hot and humid - low 30's - so water vendors are doing a brisk trade. It reminded me very much of the water vendors in Istanbul - opportunity knocks in the same way worldwide.

From there, we went to Broadway and had coffee at an upmarket cafe/gourmet outlet and looked at the shops further downtown and towards Chinatown (which is apparently now on both sides of Cedar Street at the expense of Little Italy). Lots of naughtiness in stalls on the way - rude T-shirts and gas masks fitted on the end of glass pipes large or small, as Sir requires.

Chinatown is very Chinese; and in Columbus Park there were lots of old people playing a card game and speaking loudly. A whole class of Chinese-looking kids turned up from a nearby school and I wonder how the locals felt about the statue of Sun Yat Sen there. It was interesting - we've seen the statue of Garibaldi in Washington Square and a statue of Kościuszko in Philadelphia.

Down to the business district, Wall Street and the various Masters of the Universe. The business types don't wear the tourist uniform of baseball hat and runners, so are quite out of place. The security around Wall Street is massive and perhaps the only outcome of Occupy New York.

The crowds were thick around the former Twin Towers site - apart from massive construction of several large buildings there is a 9/11 condolences centre and several other flag-waving opportunities. Most of the crowds were taking pictures and queuing up for the exhibits - as if it was the hottest ticket in town. There were about a dozen men walking up to people to sell them a glossy book about 9/11 and they seemed to be Arabs (as these things work out). Lots and lots of unionised construction workers on lunch break, eating from the food carts nearby. The union suit is now a yellow T-shirt.

We stopped for lunch at a Tintin-themed Belgian Beer House, which was pleasant. There were TVs tuned to the news, so I was able to hear the breaking news about the Fisher v University of Texas case (where the Supreme Court has had another conniption about university affirmative action policies). I had been listening to the uni's General Counsel talking about how meticulous they'd been to not only cover the existing Supreme Court rulings but also the dissenting opinion of Justice Kennedy (since he was going to be a continuing opponent on the Court). Sure enough, he wrote the majority opinion which said that affirmative action policies were ok to ensure diversity only after "strict scrutiny" - effectively that there is no other way to get minorities into university in sufficient numbers and limited to measures which achieve that and no more.

Fortified in food, wine and law, we walked past the NYC Law School with heads high and decided to go home via West Broadway and then to Hudson Street.

There are some classic NY buildings with fire escapes - obviously these are considered very important. There's a sign in the lobby of the apartment building reminding people not to put pot plants on the fire escapes as the building owner had received a violation notice. The Land of the Free really likes its permits - every store, apartment block or construction site is littered with permits of one sort or another sticky-taped to windows or permanently on signs. It seems you need a permit to do minor works and have to display it and all the conditions on the window.

We've been online looking up nearby venues for music and lols. There are of course a zillion options, including some boardgames-and-music bars and theatre sports. We're going to a dinner theatre musical around the corner based on a couple of pages from War and Peace called Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, which won lots of awards as an off-Braodway show last year. It's at a pop-up theatre called the Kazino nearby which looks very like a tent in the middle of a construction site.

So, a little sorefooted from several hours' walking. We have provisions to cook again tonight, from the Chelsea Markets. Ooh, great delight - there is an Italian deli/gourmet shop there from which I was able to buy a guinea fowl, and which serves good coffee and Sicilian Cassata cake.


  1. Missed your photo of the Hi Line - points to Dropbox currently.

    Reading a bunch of days to catch up, after a workaday week. It's nice being immersed in your style. :-) Glad things are going well.

    1. Thanks for the tip - it looked fine to me because I have access to Lynda's photo dropbox. Now fixed.