I’m sitting at Taipei International Airport, “borrowing” Singapore Airlines’ wireless service (I’m sitting just outside their Silver Kris lounge – don’t tell them, please) after a relatively painless 16-hour flight from Newark, including a one-hour refueling and crew change in Anchorage, Alaska. Time for another update on New York.
As part of his summer work schedule, my cousin had Friday off from his job at MTV, freeing him up to accompany us around the city. After lunch at ‘ino in the Village, we stopped by Magnolia Bakery, a place made famous (as I understand it) in Sex and the City, ostensibly for their delicious cupcakes. I tried them and have to say that the cake was very dry and the icing too sweet. But then, there are few cakes that I really find all that moist. Below, a line of Sex and the City groupies, queuing for their cupcakes.
Biing joined us at Magnolia and then he and Tawn went for some more shopping. I’ll tell you one of the secrets to great trips together: when you have divergent interests, sometimes it is better to spend a bit of time apart on the trip, following those interests with people who are like-minded.
As such, Brad and I headed to the southern tip of Manhattan for a ride to Staten Island. This free ferry service, which departs half-hourly from the South Ferry subway station, is a good way to catch a view of the skyline and Statue of Liberty, without enduring the expense and crowds of a harbor tour.
It takes about twenty minutes on the trip and as soon as you reach Staten Island, nearly everyone rushes off the lower exit and back up the stairs to board the same ferry for the return trip, such is the minimal appeal of this borough. There’s probably enough sites to merit a little exploring, but we followed the crowd and made an immediate return, too.
The South Ferry subway station has been completely redone, as has the ferry terminal. It is beautiful, clean, and very tourist-friendly. In fact, having visited New York regularly over the past twenty years, I have to say that there are a lot of recent changes that are making the city more and more people-friendly, both for residents and visitors.
One of these changes is the recent reworking of several blocks of Broadway in Times Square, closing it to traffic and making it into a pedestrian-only area.
In this photo taken from our room at the Marriott Marquis (where we stayed our final night), you can see three blocks of Broadway, painted red, which is now off limit to vehicles. Additionally, changes have been made to Seventh Avenue, creating more room pedestrians and giving over designated lanes to vehicle making left turns.
While I understand there has been some initial grumbling by those who have to drive in the city, the changes certainly make the space much more pleasant and safer for pedestrians. No longer do you have to take a risky walk in the gutter to avoid the awed crowds; now you have much more pedestrian-friendly space in which to navigate.
Above, a view of a piece of sculpture installed on the closed portion of Broadway in Times Square, a collection of damaged beach chairs.
Interesting thing: after alighting from the Staten Island Ferry, I saw this dragonfly perched on a piece of rebar. I’m a bit amazed my camera could actually focus on it!
Our flight boards in ten minutes, so I’ll add more later.