Monday, October 28, 2013

Combination of the Two

I had a day on my own in New York before the board meetings so wanted to make the most of it.  The concierge in the hotel suggested I take in the High Line Park and Chelsea Market in the Meatpackers District.  I'd seen it on Anthony Bourdain's TV programme too so thought I'd do just that.

I'd also made up my mind that as I was staying in the Big Apple I'd do something I'd never been able to do by now, namely understand the subway system and only use that mode of transport during my stay. So I bought a 7-day pass at the 5th Avenue/53rd Street subway station for $31 and headed off on the E train to the 8th Avenue/14th Street station.

The NY subway is messy. I like public transport but most other countries' subway stations I've traveled on are cleaner and with more advertisements, trash bins, signs and generally aesthetically pleasing stuff.  In addition there were usually helpful maps around advising where you should be aiming.  However the NY subway has a buzz all of its own too.

I found Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue and expected something along the lines of St. Lawrence Market in Toronto or Granville Island in Vancouver -- which really are havens for foodies.  For sure there were food shops but also others as well and as it was near Halloween most was covered in fake cobwebs, funny masks and those yellow pumpkins so beloved over here -- I don't understand that really, but folks in the US go crazy about the day and the pumpkin.

However I did find a lovely place called the Lobster Place and found all manner of wonderful things.  A helpful young man busy shucking oysters suggested I take a bimble around before ordering anything which is how I found the lobster shack and the steaming fresh lobsters themselves.

It was now 2 pm and I'd made up my mind I intended to have a decent dinner so felt I couldn't go totally over the top but wisely settled on a lobster roll and a dozen oysters which were just terrific.

I took the lobster roll up to the High Line Park nearby -- which is an old elevated railway system of some sort that some clever people thought they'd turn into a park -- i.e. just let the plants grow, I think they were all wild flowers, grasses and weeds actually -- dump in a few benches and leave alone.

Nice job too.  It has certainly become a focus for tourists too as there were lots of people like me strolling about (on a Tuesday afternoon) taking photos.

I wanted to take in a movie so promised I'd return in a day or so and headed on the subway again to Times Square where the movie theatre was.  I like Times Square.  Gaudy certainly.  Chic, elegant, sophisticated … not really!

As I was walking over to look at the half price ticket booth, I saw the Lyceum Theatre had "A Night with Janis Joplin" playing that night.  Well, I like Janis so this was a no brainer.

This left just enough time to head down to the movie theatre to see "The Fifth Estate" -- the Wikileaks movie -- and head back to Times Square to a restaurant across the street from the theatre that I'd seen before called Bond 45.  It was a big Italian restaurant and was pretty darned good too.

The Janis play was pretty good too.  It didn't cover some of the yuckier parts of her life, glossed over the fact that one of the songs she'd 'covered' -- supposedly an Etta James song -- was actually Janis' own composition, and generally gave us the Hollywood sanitised version, but in the absence of the real thing it was pretty good to hear 'Ball and Chain' played live.

The actress playing Janis was really good -- but check out the real thing here.  This is the incandescent version from Monterey 1967.  The one that introduced Janis to the world!

This was a really good day!

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