Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trip to East Coast - New York

Tom drove us to Union Station at New Haven, Connecticut. This was the familiar train station he used as a child. Christian, Lizy and I will be taking a train to New York. This station is quaint. It probably was built during the era of trains as the mode of transportation. To go to New York city is bit unnerving, yet there is strange excitement.

New York, Manhattan, down town felt very much like down town Chicago except that there were at least twice as many people and a large fleet of yellow taxi cabs. It appeared that there were more cabs than ordinary cars. Could it be much dustier and dirtier than down town Chicago? Christian told me that Chicago downtown has areas that are dirty like this. We were walking a lot in the dust and in the heat (New York hit record heat of 90+ degrees that morning of early April). The dusty buildings on either side of us and a long stretch of concrete road ahead of us filled with cars and cabs. Sidewalk teamed with people so dense that you could smell the surrounding pedestrians. We stopped to buy hot dogs from street vendor. Oh what a disappointment. I always loved Chicago style hot dogs. How could they ruin taste of hot dog like this.

From the Central Train Station we were to go to our fist sight, elevated park; an elevated train track turned into a park. Once we climbed the stairways onto the elevated park, I felt warm breeze. It felt wonderful. Looking at sparse patch of greenery did not do much for me. Yet I was glad that in the midst of concrete jungle there was a walkway with greens. After a little rest, we continued on in the elevated park. Soon bushes and trees welcomed us, then many attractive benches and more dense greenery and more trees. At the end of the park, I looked down through glass wall the bustling downtown of concrete jungle and it's people and cars.

I should not judge a park by first impression...

I told Christian that I wanted to see Central Park next. Even after being at an elevated & crowded park, I wanted to experience the majesty of nature, old trees, rocks, ponds etc, yet surrounded by New York skyscrapers. (Yes I realize that Central Park is probably man made). Christian who was leading the expedition said it will be a long walk to there and we will pass Times Square and Madison Square Garden. When we arrived at Times Square, the famous land mark of Manhattan New York, my impression was busy neon lights of pictures of Hong Kong, or bustling downtown of BuSan Korea. Christian told me that this gives him impression of a busy megapolis of some city in China. There was a man dressed in just his under ware and guitar and cowboy hat. Christian said "That is New York naked cowboy. He was very famous many years ago. He is still around. He could be the same guy." Many women were in line to take pictures with him. I guess that is how he made living.

When we finally reached Central Park, it was getting dark already yet light enough for me to see what could be breath taking beauty. I imagined away all the garbage that was overflowing from visits of humanity during day hours. I saw the early morning before any crowd comes to this park, the serenity and peace that calmed anxious souls. Everything about it was grand; the trees, the water, the rocks...and the park seemed to go on & on and somewhere far away you could see tops of tall buildings. I would love to come back here and enjoy this early in the morning.

We spent the whole day and into the late evening, visiting shops and enjoying all the bustle of the infamous New York. Meanwhile Tom had dinner with Seth in quiet Middletown Connecticut.