Saturday, 15 September 2012
Early Night In The City That Never Sleeps
After only the briefest of "christ, what have I done" moments I made it to Heathrow for 7.30 this morning and then through to JFK with relative ease. Even my great unspoken fear of being turned away from immigration because my passport photo looks nothing like me (think: much fatter, shorter hair, glasses...) proved to be unfounded. The security procedures at immigration are impressive - electronic fingerprinting plus a photograph ("smile for Obama" the officer told me. This caused me to ask him what he thought of Obama vs Romney. Unimpressed is probably the most family-friendly summary...).
The AirTrain from JFK is very efficient and I made it through to my hotel quite a bit quicker than I thought I would. I took the opportunity to go and check out The High Line - and I wasn't disappointed. It's an elevated strip park created on the raised bed of an old railway and it's a real accomplishment. Loads of people strolling in the late afternoon sun, eating, drinking, reading and seeing their city from a different angle. The photo above is from an art installation (of which there are a number along the way) called 'The River That Flows Both Ways' by Spencer Finch. It an attempt to represent the many colours that the river water will go through as it flows. It's absolutely stunning with the sun shining through it - my photo doesn't even come close to doing it justice.
I like the idea of old industrial heritage being re-purposed and it looks as if High Line is genuinely regenerating this old transport corridor too - all the flats and apartments along the way were boasting of their proximity to the park so it must be a draw. I think also there's a certain neatness about what was a core piece of industrial infrastructure (a primary industry) now becoming a part of the leisure industry (a tertiary industry) - it's not great that manufacturing and industrial jobs have more or less left the area but the shift to the service economy is a fact of life so it's a neat enough switch.
A quick pint of Hurricane Kitty IPA (can still taste the hops!) and I decided to pop over to the New York Public Library. I had been feeling quite smug about my transport success so far - no issues coming from JFK and then walking around the Meatpacking District I'd not got lost either. So obviously when I needed to get somewhere on a deadline before it closed it would all go wrong. I now know why the New York Subway has such a reputation for being confusing! Got there in the end but meant that I couldn't go inside which was annoying but still worth seeing from the outside.
Very tired as it's been a long day so going to sign off now - tomorrow I'm off to Top Of The Rock and the 9/11 Memorial.