Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cold, wet, and not miserable

This morning Molly (AKA iPhone addict) and I rode the train into Manhattan.  When we left Morristown, it was chilly and raining a tad, so I figured it would probably be about the same in the city.

But when we got into the city, we found cold, hard rain, and small rivers in the streets.  Molly split off to go explore and I wandered while formulating a plan.  I had a raincoat, but that did me very little good when five minutes after stepping off the train I was caught unawares by a fast moving bus that hit a large puddle next to me and soaked me pretty thoroughly.  Being wet this early into the day didn't bode well for trying to stay warm.  

As a result I quickly found myself shopping as an excuse to get inside and stay warm.

I visited the Hershey's store, where the air smells like candy, but not because of the candy.  Instead, they appear to have invented some sort of candy-smell fragrance that they fill the air with.  It was a little nauseating.

I spent a while wandering Times Square marveling at the pinnacle of American Advertising and consumerism.  I also took a panoramic set of pictures, which I intend to try to merge via Microsoft Photosynth to see how it turns out.  For now, this one gives a good idea of what I was seeing.

It continued to rain hard, and my wet feet were making it difficult to stay warm.  My hands were getting numb to the point of stiff joints, and I began contemplating scrapping the day and taking the train back to the hotel.  I found my second wind when I found a New York style pizza place and had some scrumptious food that warmed me up both figuratively and literally.

I was reinvigorated and decided to follow through on my original plan to visit downtown Manhattan.  I found a subway station, and learned through trial and error that red markers on the trains do not mean red line trains, they mean express trains.  I quickly realized my mistake and managed to get off the subway at the last stop before crossing into Brooklyn.

Which coincidentally was at Union Square Park.  This would have meant nothing to me, but earlier in the day while watching MSNBC I heard about the NBA Tipoff '08 event going on at the park.  There wasn't much to it.

I walked 10 or so blocks (still in the rain) back over to the correct subway line.

After arriving downtown, I walked several blocks to see ground zero as it currently stands.  The entire area is currently under construction, but the gaping hole and memories from 2001 are rather overwhelming.

The world financial center directly next to the former twin towers location has a viewing deck of sorts, where I noted that most people looking out over the scene seemed to feel the same weight of what happened hanging over them.

The financial center itself has beautiful architecture, and I stuck around long enough to watch a bit of a live musical performance (behind the palm trees).

I walked out to Battery Park, and quickly decided it was not the place to be.  It had stopped raining, but a fierce driving wind was coming off the river and immediately chilled me and my still wet feet to the bone.

I stayed just long enough to snap a poor picture of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (never fear! The camera is coming this weekend).

From Battery Park I headed across to Wall Street, where I followed part of the architectural tour of downtown that features buildings such as the New York Stock Exchange.

And I noticed the variety of stores that I couldn't possibly think of going into without dressing up much more.  These must be strategically located for impulse buys after a good trading day.

Downtown also has much narrower streets than uptown, which makes for a very different atmosphere.

Brooklyn Bridge!

And the Wall Street Bull, feeling neglected.  It looks much happier than I'd pictured it (I thought it looked angier).

After my stroll through downtown, I headed back uptown.  Unfortunately, the wind seemingly followed me.  I went back to some shopping, though more this time for the sake of shopping than of staying warm (that was just the necessary and welcome side-benefit).  Something seemed to be going on at the Empire State Building, as it had been surrounded by eight or more fire trucks.  I didn't stick around to investigate.

While shopping, I tried on numerous items but wasn't sold on anything enough to actually buy it, save for a pair of jeans that I've been shopping for for several weeks now.

I met back up with Molly, and we rode the train back into New Jersey.

We ate Thai for dinner (odd being the only ones in the restaurant at 6:00PM, but it seemingly wasn't as a result of bad food or service).

After a torturous final cold walk back to the hotel, I finally took off my still wet shoes and socks and cranked the heater up.

On a completely un-related side note, remember way back when I visited the Boston Beer Company Brewery and they were having people vote on two new beers to have one go into production?  The one I voted for won!  Look for Sam Adams Blackberry Wit in stores in 2009.  Perhaps the even better part is that I got to try their coffee stout, which will never enter production.

Tomorrow we'll have a logistical adventure getting ourselves and our stuff to the expo set-up in Manhattan in a non-traditional manner.  More on that tomorrow.

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