New York Day 2

Day 2 was nearly just as early start as the previous, when we managed to reach lower Manhattan in the wee hours of early afternoon. We parted the subway in the lower west side and headed east to SoHo, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side before Spanish Harlem and some Manhattan night life. Whoa, slow down, we moved too fast...

For example, we need to take time to appreciate the fat cats of New York. These are not jive folk in jazz clothes, but literally the biggest kitty I've ever seen. To put it into scale, the box stood about a foot high. Who loves BBW kitty? Who loves BBW kitty?

Carrying over from my London trip is a unique (to me) appreciation for ornate metal work. There were quite a few window guards that caught my attention while Deb explained the area. You could probably have seen her words in the photo with a close eye had there been a wintry air to freeze our breaths. Instead, it was quite warm in the 60's that day:

Blue skies and incoming traffic; this is how I'd want to leave this world:

Beauty in function:

As a restaurant and social club for explorers and mad scientists, the skeletons in costume that line the rooftop are neither plastic nor foam. They are 95% skeleton and 5% hard liquor:

For those without a sense of perspective, the upper stoplight does not beam into the project windows:

Above-ground parking was a rare site:

Another favorite:

A memorial for the great Lane Fire of 1955:

Being much farther east of the central time border, evening crept through the city much earlier than Ohio or San Diego. The soon sideways sun that managed to find its way through traffic and buildings bounced from window to wall. Each highlight was a window from across the street:

While I was aimlessly meandering, Deb was navigating us to NYU's courtyard. The leaves were a welcomed surprise:

As was this metaphorical fat cat. Check out those rings:

Students being trendy New York students:

A puddle and students:

Two benches not speaking to each other:

Richard from Biosite firmly believed that there had to be an underground city in New York just to manage it. For where else would there be cars, power lines, sewage spickets if not street-side? I think this may have been one of the gateways to the underground city, although Deb just rolled her eyes.

I was lucky to find out that these fine gentleman are working on a toll hole for commuters from the underground city to upper-ground New York. Again, Deb believes otherwise. We agree to disagree.

Nearing SoHo, or South of Houston that runs east-west:

SoHo has much of the trendy shopping in New York. The Burberry store had sheep on wheels. They're easier to herd that way in the inner city:

This store caters to women of all colors:

Another concept piece of street-lights to the upper right:

Shadows walking shadows:

The most impressive building in New York:

New York bustle in front of independent style shops:

A cool idea for the car sales companies that defended a few street corners from more tall buildings. Like any good vendor, the signs advised customers to ask for help with top-shelf items:

The saddest bike... front of a design company:

Tall buildings, more window lighting, traffic and the financial district across the skyline:

The biggest Little Italy:

We stopped for so-so lunch while waiting for Mark to join us for the second half of our daylight tour. Angelo's across the street had nicer colors, which is why we didn't eat there to better appreciate them:

Mark with his sunglass-donned conscience over this shoulder:

Pathing our way to the Lower East Side, an unexpected soccer field laid the foundation for some pretty decent ball-handling:

Noise pollution is just as much of an issue in New York as the smog in LA. Funny this had to be:

You can buy everything in the lower East Side: from leather coats to Mark's pizza. This place even sold a bathroom sink:

A different feel to the neighborhood:

Her mother thinks she's still darling:

Kitchen sinks too:

Don't ask:

This did not feel like New York should feel in mid-November:

We walked around the neighborhood for a while getting a different feel for it when Deb wanted to visit her old stomping grounds in Spanish Harlem. Not exactly around the corner, we had to find a subway station to carry us a hundred blocks north. These people were not going to Spanish Harlem that day:

NY Graffiti:

Accidental soft focus on a pleasant skyline:

On the subway, very few white people were still on the train as it crept discretely up to the north part of central park. We walked a few blocks before Mark rolled up on some brothers. That didn't go over well. Deb dodged the bullet, metaphorically to prevent literal zig-zag motions, and we crossed the street immediately. Making our way through THE projects, we found her church:

THE projects:

Project playground:

Night began to rise so we walked with purpose to Central Park, crossing a major street on the way:

After taking this picture, a small child explained that she in the mural died:

Digging for daylight:

Mark parted to see some friends for the evening while we met up with Leslie downtown to visit the Museum of Modern Art. Friday nights are free admission thanks to Target, so we poked about the photography exhibits while Leslie and Deb did the catch-up thing. Odin was soon going to be done at work, so we left to meet him outside of his office:

Leslie and Odin had a dinner part much later that evening, so we decided to have a drink together before Deb and I went out for our own romantic evening. On the way, the most bizarre orange barrel:

Not to judge a book by its cover, but typically the outside of a bar is a pretty good indicator of what to expect inside. Broken glass and bodies strewn about the sidewalk is probably a sign you're in for a rough night and good stories. A 5-star hotel entrance may lend itself to a good night and rough stories. However, a coat-closet door outside next to the fancy hotel apparently translates to 70's psychedelia. Odin's comic-book fanaticism has actually led to super-human abilities to see through building walls to find cool hangouts beneath the city. I never would have guessed the bar was even open to public as we entered the unmarked door and headed down the unmarked steps. I did light up though to find the most psychedelic hideaway not made from blankets tossed on juxtaposed chairs. We each had a martini and talk of chairs.

Deb and I at Leslie's recommendation went to Les Halles: a steakhouse with a French twist. Friday night and we had no reservations. We waited for over an hour until a chair by the door became available. Three parties turned down the table because it wasn't New York enough, but we were eager just to sit and eat. Desperate times I suppose. Deb ordered grill vegetables and chicken, while I splurged for the grill sampler. The waiter returned with a cutting board of 3 different cuts of steak, a deliciously spicy beef sausage, and a slice of diner bacon at least half-an-inch thick. Best steak I've ever had.

After dinner we went back to the lower East Side to find some heavy chocolate desert. The area definitely felt like a neighborhood. We picked an Italian place with bizarre red décor and I had a slice of hell. A thin slice of seemingly chocolate cake barely occupied the plate it held down, but this was the most delicious cement I've ever tasted. I was barely able to finish the sliver. It was perfect. Deb had some excellent cake too from what I can remember, but honestly I mostly remember us sitting squished in the back corner tired from a long day of walking, in a unparticular restaurant hidden from the rest of the world. I held her tight as we walked through the cold evening air to find a subway dip.

We were only modestly lost trying to get back to Leslie's place but Deb's New York nose led us to familiar ground. The polish community after dark, even little polish scooters shouldn't be left out in the cold: