New York City continues to amaze me with secrets and surprises around every corner.
You’d think, after years of visits, filming of a Fringe Benefits episode, and a two-year stint living in Brooklyn, that I would have seen it all. Seems this city of continual evolution has always got something up its sleeve.
Yes, January is an odd time to visit NYC, maybe. But it does allow for a slower pace, less crowds, and, if properly bundled, beautiful walks and views.
Surprise #1: Berlin Wall
Yep – that Berlin Wall. Right in the center of Manhattan. Tucked away in tiny Paley Park on 53rd street, there’s four graffitied sections of the concrete slab that once divided East and West Germany. The juxtaposition between these somber relics and the hurried Manhattanites speeding by just feet away is startling. I recommend you take the time to stop in the park, grab a chair, and take it all in.
Surprise #2: The View
Nothing is an memorable, or as recognizable, as the Manhattan skyline. From any direction or mode of transit, it’s stunning. I’ve marveled at the scope and immensity of the city from the banks of the East and West rivers, from the water, while crossing bridges, and from an airplane window seat. And, as of today, from a newly-built Brooklyn Park in Williamsburg. And the surprise? The view, the view, is again fresh. It’s a new experience in this January sunlight, with the Freedom tower rising, and the undulation of uptown-to-downtown looking just ever so different from this angle. I grab my camera to take perhaps the 500th or so photo of this view. Always a stunner.
Surprise #3: The Architecture
I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never really noticed the buildings in New York. There are the notable masters – the Woolworth building, the cathedrals, the Chrysler Building. But everything else had, prior to this visit, been a blur as it passed out of a bus window or through my gaze as I ran to catch a train. Not this visit. I take my time, wandering the Upper East Side and beyond. Noticing every brownstone, every house of worship, every corner. And wow, the detail! Leaded windows arch around wooden doorways. Finely-carved stone announces the name of a temple. Statues I’d never even noticed peered out from a sidewalk. Again, I grab my camera…