the New York experience

I guess New York is different things to different people. Here’s my version –

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Coffee shops and diners and big breakfasts. On my first morning there, I strode briskly up Broadway to 90th Street and ordered myself a stack of whole wheat pancakes and bacon doused with maple syrup at City Diner. Sheer delight. I love that the portions are big and they just keep refilling your coffee cup (at no charge). Generous America.

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The collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art are astounding – they rival or surpass those at the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and other important museums. For example, I saw more works of the Dutch painter, Rembrandt, hanging on the walls of the MET than I did at the Rijksmuseum two years ago.  And look at this breathtaking collection of ancient Egyptian jewelry –

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Here’s my friend Lori admiring something in the European Early Art room.

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Children + exposure to great art = a priceless experience.  Lots of school groups here, it was nice to see.

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One day I walked down Park and Lexington Avenues. For April, the weather was unseasonably cold, at night it was freezing.  I love the wide sidewalks that you stride along (in Paris the sidewalks are maddeningly narrow). You feel dwarfed by the buildings towering above you.  And all that wealth inhabiting those solid ‘white-glove’ apartment buildings … it’s impressive.

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There are two must-see marvels located at 42nd Avenue – the Chrysler Building and the inside of Grand Central Station.

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Here’s the exterior of the Chrysler Building whose construction was completed in 1930. Headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s, the design was a classic example of the Art Deco style. Automobile radiator caps decorate the lower half, along with ornaments of car wheels. For 11 months, before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931, it was the world’s tallest building.  I think it’s a fabulous site – a beacon of hope, optimism and a dazzling monument to American industry.  The only detail that perplexes me is the year.  The stock market crashed in 1929 and the year this building was completed, 1930, the Great Depression began.  I guess the Chrysler Corporation was unaffected by this massive downturn.

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The lobby is lavishly decorated with red Moroccan marble walls, sienna-coloured floor and onyx, blue marble and steel in Art Deco compositions. The ceiling murals, painted by Edward Trumbull, praise the modern-day technical progress.  As I stood, awestruck, in the lobby, I imagined working in this building.  I wonder what the bathrooms look like.

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And directly across the road is one of the entrances to the equally spectacular Grand Central Station. If the Chrysler Building is a cathedal of commerce and industry, then Grand Central is a temple of transporation. I felt drawn to this place and returned on several occasions. Was it because of the gorgeous Food Hall and those fig bars I was eyeing?  Or because there’s a romanticism and glamour here that reminded me of my favorite old movies of the 1940s?

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I don’t think I could hoist myself onto one of those chairs to have someone polish my shoes. I find that demeaning. I can polish my own shoes.

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Back outside again, the weather was becoming increasingly cold and overcast.  In my next blog post – photos of walking the Brooklyn Bridge, a fabulous meal in a Japanese restaurant, and Lower Manhattan.

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8 thoughts on “the New York experience

  1. Juliet, So nice to see you enjoy NYC. I used to work in the Chrysler Building. There is a walkway behind that 135 Art Deco entrance over the front door. Imagine my delight the first time I had to use it and realized where I was! I was on the back side of that frosted glass experiencing a rare secret of New York architecture.

  2. agree! Grand Central and Chrysler building are Standouts…your presentation of NYC captured in a quick moment was very very real to those of us who hunger for another fix of THE CITY! thank you!

  3. I’ve never been to New York before. But through your photos and narrative, I feel like I’ve just taken a trip there!

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