Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NYC Round Up #1

There is so much to observe and absorb, experience and process during any visit to New York City – no matter how long or short your stay – that it is pretty much impossible to write about everything here on this blog. Well, I could, but I would end up spending most of each day writing, and very little time actually doing anything.

Here’s a quick round up of just four recent observations and experiences.

Katz’s Delicatessen

Image: My $14 tuna/tomato/lettuce on Rye with custom labeled mineral water

Yesterday I found myself walking down East Houston Street, and dropped in to New York’s most famous delicatessen, Katz’s Deli at 205, East Houston Street. Even at 3.00pm, the place was busy, but I hear trying to find a seat for breakfast or lunch is all but impossible.

You have to see Katz’s for yourself, but believe me when I say that just about every famous (and infamous) New Yorker and quite a few non New Yorkers have at one time or other eaten at Katz’s Deli. It was almost worth paying $14+ for my humble tuna sandwich just to spend some time looking at the hundreds of photographs lining the walls of this New York institution.

At least four U.S. Presidents are represented including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. I don’t know if Barak Obama has visited yet, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time before he does. The greatest number of well know visitors are the actors: Jerry Lewis, Elija Wood, Danny DeVito, Ben Stiller, Liev Schreiber, Paul Reiser, and Dom DeLouise among many others, as well as a host of actor/musicians including Madonna, Frank Sinatra, and Tito Puente. New York City Mayors and former mayors Rudolf Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg and Ed Koch have ‘eaten at Katz’s’, and the list goes ever on… and on…

Katz’s Deli is also famous for its slogan: “Send a salami to your boy in the army.” The slogan was coined during World War II after three sons of the owners were all serving in the armed forces, and the family tradition of sending food to their sons became encapsulated in the slogan.

When You Gotta Go…

Image: Not for the shy or fainthearted, but when you gotta go…

Sorry for the photograph but let’s play a little game, shall we? Where do you think a line up of toilet bowls like this might be? Somewhere in Africa maybe? Asia? Some other poverty stricken third world city?

No friends, this parade of bathroom bowls is in the public convenience located in Washington Square Park in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village! Actually, I should point out it is in the Men’s section of the facility. Whether women are faced with a similar lineup, I have no idea, but if any reader knows the answer, maybe they’d like to let us know via the Comments section below.

Personally, to say I was surprised to see such an open public display of Thomas Crapper’s toilet bowls would be a gross understatement! Especially since Washington Square Park is probably one of New York’s most popular parks.

Still, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

So I did!

But hopefully, the next time I get ‘caught short’ I will be able to find a less public place to do so.

191st Street Pedestrian Tunnel

Image: the 191st Street subway tunnel stretching off into the distance

Sometimes the most interesting things present themselves to you when happy ‘accidents’ occur when you least expect them. Take the massive pedestrian tunnel connecting the 191st Street 1 train station with Broadway at the top of Manhattan. The 1 train terminates/begins at the Staten Island Terminal at the foot of Manhattan, and runs all the way through to the Bronx station of 242nd St/Van Courtlandt Park.

I was heading back to the apartment on the 1 train, following my recent afternoon on Staten Island. Normally, I would have found an A train station, as the train passes closer to my accommodations, but the 1 train was right at the Staten Island Terminal door, so I was happy to do a little extra walking rather than go looking for the nearest A train station.

However, I should have left the 1 train at the 181st Street station. But I was tired, and not paying close attention as the train progressed up the island, so when I missed my stop and had to get out ten blocks further up Manhattan I was annoyed but resigned to the extra walking I would need to do.

Following the exit signs pointing towards Broadway, I encountered the pedestrian tunnel you see in the photograph which runs straight as an arrow for some 300+ metres. It might not look like much in the image, but I was taken by surprise at its length and presence. Mind you, I shouldn’t have been. New York City’s subway system is filled with massive pedestrian passages that make the 191st Street passage seem short by comparison. But when you unexpectedly encounter things like this, you have to stop and remind yourself that sometimes happy accidents can reveal things you might not other discover.

New York City Apartment Living

Image: floor plan for a massive New York City apartment

The subject of apartment living deserves its own entry, but for now take a good look at the image above. It shows the floor plan for an apartment that covers the complete floor area of a New York apartment block.

It is not just the fact that the apartment has three bedrooms that caught my attention, but each of the bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom facilities. Not only that, but there is a fourth bathroom at the end of the Gallery.

That’s four bathrooms – in one apartment!

What are the chances of getting ‘caught short’ there?

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