Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Day 9: By Grand Central Terminal ..... I Ran Round and had a Jolly Good Time*



From the Blogging Desk of your NYC Correspondent


My angelic t-shirt :))


68th Street Hunter College subway (my stop)


Stepping out from the Chrysler Building onto East 42nd Street


Looking west down East 42nd Street


Chrysler Building, East 42nd Street


NYPD cop on corner of East 42nd Street and Second Avenue


East 42nd Street (now forgotten which building this is, but I liked it)


Outside the Helmsley Hotel, East 42nd Street


Chrysler Building, East 42nd Street


East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Entrance to platforms, Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street (bit of a far cry from Victoria!)


The iconic clock at Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Fellow tourists at Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Mailbox, Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal ticket office, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal and Chrysler Building, East 42nd Street


Grand Central Terminal, East 42nd Street


One of the two lions Patience and Fortitude outside New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue


One of the two lions Patience and Fortitude outside New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue


Earl Anderson, outside New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue


Chess players in Bryant Park, E.42nd Street


Chess players in Bryant Park, E.42nd Street


Times Square


Times Square


Times Square


Times Square


Times Square


Times Square (not where I expected to find US Armed Forces recruiting station!)


Times Square


Times Square


Only in Times Square could the NYPD look like this




*apologies to Elizabeth Smart, author of "By Grand Central Terminal I Sat Down And Wept"

More catching up with blog backlog this morning, after losing web connection, which takes ages as I now have to sit huddled in armchair over the modem using my knees as a desk, with my laptop connected directly to the short network cable since wireless no longer functions. All rather frustrating, and not particularly comfortable as PC gets hot (contrary to popular opinion they are not supposed to be used on one's lap) and I hate not being able to use a mouse - this trackpad thingy gives me RSI! Couldn't even begin to look at emails, it was so late by this point and I get in a real twitch if not "out there" in the city, doing things, taking photos, crammimg it all in!!

Caught the subway downtown to Grand Central Terminal this morning, exited onto East 42nd Street via the Chrysler Building and walked a couple of blocks east just to have a look and take some photos. Lots of cops on every corner, whooping sirens, barricades across various points of the road, all to do with the United Nations General Assembly I think, and was creating a general air of busy importance (or maybe that's just Midtown Manhattan for you).

When I reached Grand Central, I asked a couple of cops standing on the concourse if it was okay for me to take photographs whilst using my tripod, they said not unless I had a special permit, which could be obtained from the Station Master's office, so off I duly went. Spoke to a nice young man called Corey, who rang someone else who I had to speak to on the phone, and she gave me the rules (no tripods on stairs, no access to the platforms, no blocking throughways) to which I readily agreed, and then I was given my pass which I had to stick prominently onto my front. I had two hours, which I thought sounded plenty and possibly too much, but I ended up using all that time as I proceeded through the wonderful 1913 Beaux Arts station taking lots of photos and experimenting a bit with long exposures to make the people blur, to try and add to the sense of bustle in the station. A lot of this is very hit and miss, so was not happy with many shots, but it was a very satisfying two hours. An Irish woman from Cork came over to me at one point and said "I love your tee! I could see you from all the way at the top of the stairs - where did you get it?", told her it came from David Ferrara the T-Shirt Guy on Spring and Wooster in SoHo (I had it printed while I waited, I think Tuesday last week, forgot to mention but it is black with white angel wings on the back). A New Zealand woman visiting her son (who lived there) asked me about my camera, and then said that mine was "the best Pommie accent she'd heard all week" :))

By the end of my time, I was quite tired from hefting round the camera gear (yet more people today have remarked upon it, but why, it's only a camera?) and went up the stairs to Jordon's Steakhouse on one of the balconies overlooking the station concourse. Gratefully sat down and ordered the All Star Burger with crispy french fries (although it was a close run thing with the Louisiana Crawfish Chowder with potatoes, corn and pancetta) with a white wine spritzer, which I then greatly enjoyed when it arrived. After this very late lunch, I returned to E. 42nd Street and headed west across town to the New York Public Library to see the lions Patience and Fortitude again. Last time I was there it had just snowed and was freezing cold, so today was a real contrast - it has been overcast but surprisingly warm, and although I took a cardigan this time it has spent the entire day being tied around my waist and not worn. While I was taking photos of the lions, fiddling with the tripod, and generally concentrating on the task in hand, I was vaguely aware of someone trying to attract my attention, but it was only when I heard "yo! skinny girl!" did it properly register, but he still had to say something else before I turned round - honestly, am in another world when I am taking photos, I try not to be and remain aware of my surroundings and who is around, especially in a big city like this. It was a guy sitting in one of the many green wooden chairs dotted about outside the library, chatting on the phone, who simply wanted me to take his photograph, so I obliged and promised to email them to him. Earl Anderson, if you are reading this I may not be emailing photos until the weekend, but you will get them I promise!

Returned to E. 42nd Street with the intention of walking down to Times Square, but was drawn first into Bryant Park behind the library, which featured lots of chairs and tables, blokes sitting around playing chess under the trees, a reading area complete with shelves of books, and a couple of ping pong tables too. All of these features were being well used by New Yorkers, it was a very sociable and friendly place, yet something which I can't quite imagine transplanted into London - I think that the books would get vandalised, the ping pong would be sabotaged, and the chess would be nicked and sold on eBay - am I a terrible cynic or what?

Finally down to Times Square, which totally puts Picadilly Circus to shame, in terms of sheer size and gaudy glowing-ness (there's that thing that the ABF is always on about AGAIN: everything over here is Bigger and Better), which was mobbed with people (an odd mix of tourists and Suits hurrying home from work), cacophanous with horns, sirens and police whistles, and much more fun than I expected it to be. Used the fisheye lens to get some dramatic, all-encompassing shots, fended off yet more comments on my camera equipment, then tried to find the 7 train across town from Times Square, the most enormous and confusing subway station I have yet visited in New York. Got it eventually and headed back to the apartment to catch up on blog, still a day behind from yesterday as the web being down all weekend has completely messed up my schedule. Saw an excellent t-shirt on a young lad coming back, it read on the front "I'm not a doctor, but I'll take a look anyway" - I wonder if he gets many girls taking him up on that offer?!


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