Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New York Minute Part 3: The High Line, The Met & Union Square

"First World Pain" would be quite the right term to describe my new york trip. Jet lag, too little time and too little money too many things to buy aside, it's a first world pain to do short trip in New York because there's so much to do.

Planning where to go in two days became an agonizing task that required great mental discipline to decide on something and stick to it without straying. The focus of a laser is a prerequisite to keep to the time allocated in a specific area and move on to schedule, while fighting the urge to linger longer with a constant onslaught of interesting and visually stimulating everything in sight.

With a miserly two days free to myself under the influence of jet lag, I've done pretty well, covering new grounds and revisited old favorites, sweeping the entire Manhattan from downtown to uptown via the complicated Subway (which I strangely think is a piece of cake). Among the many places I walked through, the three that made it to my musing list by providing the most pleasure were The High Line, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts and Union Square Farmers' Market.

The High Line
Being very much the only new ground that I covered this trip, The High Line was one I enjoyed thoroughly. Stretching from Ganesvoort Street near the 14th Street in the Meat Packing District all the way to the 34th street, The High Line is an urban park built on an abandoned old railway track. A stellar example of recycling old spaces and preserving heritage while breathing a new least of life into dated urban landscape.

Fully opened in August 2011,  The High Line is an unconventional walk in an elevated park above the city, spotting a partial view of the Hudson River to boost. It is now a favorite among many New Yorkers to chill, relax, sunbathe and soak in on a slice of garden in the Big Apple of urban jungle. The only shame was that the flowers weren't blooming when I was there since the plants are at their best and most colorful during Spring and Summer, but it was totally enjoyable nonetheless!

Sun deck near the 14th for some sun-worshipping

An amphitheater near along The High Line with a viewing gallery to the road below. A favorite hangout for many New Yorkers

A partial but still beautiful view of the Hudson River near the 14th street stretch

Part of the old railway track that used to transport meat around the Meat Packing district in the olden days is still clearly visible

No time wasted to catch some sun at the first sign of Spring and Summer. A respite from the bitter winter

Graffiti wall is not only legal, but part of its soul

An amazing bird house structure with colorful fruits makes an instant live art installation

The Met
An old turf that will forever be a favorite is the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. Being the largest museum on the Northern Hemisphere, it is said that the Met is so extensive that if you spend one day every week to carefully look at its exhibits, you can't finish looking through everything in your life time (according to my New Yorker aunt). Fact or Fiction, I haven't the honor to find out but I know that to attempt sharing all the photos I snapped during my fleeting visit might overload and crash my macbook.

The European painting section on the second floor will forever be my favorite spot in the Met and I took the chance to sit in the middle of a few different galleries surrounded by magnificent work of European masters like Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and so many more. It's really not every day that you get surrounded by stunning painting and every visit to the Met will be a special one no less. You simply can never, ever, get enough. At least I know I wouldn't and that much I'm sure.

The famous steps outside the Met. Fans of Gossip Girl and Blair Waldorf would definitely recognize those steps where Queen B sat in her throne

Union Square
Right smack in the middle of 14th street lies Union Square. It's a simple square on Tuesdays and Thursdays with garden benches and people hanging out but for the rest of the week, it's the Union Square Farmers' Market where indie farmers in New York (usually not from the city) sell their produce. Not only do you get the freshest flowers, produce and products, you meet the people who farm or make them, giving what you buy some much-needed provenance in the faceless age of hyper mart and mega mart.

Being from a little island starved of such luxury, Union Square excites my senses every time. Food stuff and flowers aside, you see people playing chess everywhere. How I wish there's the equivalent of such lovely place in Singapore!

Photos overloaded yet? That's it for now! Till the next post which is very soon.  Yes, I really have tons to show and share!


Min said...

Awesome photos, great writing! I totally enjoyed reading. You should be a travel writer! I'll totally check out The High Line next time! Do you need to pay? It's free right?

Tiffany said...

how many days u stay in NYC in total? minus off the 2 days jet..

seems like u are traveling more now, any plan to revisit NYC in the near future ?

B said...

@Min, thanks. I WISH I were a travel writer! Who wouldn't wanna be paid to travel and write about it? Sadly, I don't think it's gonna happen. And yes, The High Line is free :) They close at 11pm in summer and 7 or 8pm in winter I think.

@Tiffany, I was there for 4 full days only. Yes, quite a lot of traveling lately. Next month I'll be traveling again but it's for leisure woohoo....I dunno if I'll be going to NYC any time soon. If so, it'll probably be for work cos I never have the impetus to really go to the US for holiday anyway. But I love New York City though, it reminds me of Hong Kong...haha

Cheap Flights to New York said...

The value of your travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home -- and the slow nuanced experience of a single country is always better than the hurried, superficial experience of forty countries.


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