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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Downtown, The Village, Midtown...

I spent most of my morning cleaning the apartment and a little bit of it looking at the film that I'm to be scoring next. Thinking I'd get out of the house despite the weather, I planned a little outing. I'm getting better at doing this these days, especially planning cheap to no cost outings. Now that I know what a hassle it is to go into Manhattan without certain things if I'm to be there most of my day, I plan for just about everything. I load lots of reading material, I bring snacks and water, my umbrella if the weather threatens, hand sanitizer, tissues, heartburn medicine (these last three are always in my bag anyway), and of course, my camera and tunes. The camera, though on its last legs, I can still take some photos with it. The screen got a little angrier at me for getting it wet today and now I can't see at all to frame any shots, so I imagine that, while editing the shots from today, I'll have to do some straightening and cropping to make them worth looking at...that's if any of them are in focus.

Anyway, on the itinerary was, first a romp through the Financial District, some place I've been meaning to explore for quite a while. Then, I planned to try and meet an old high school friend who was visiting with his wife and kids as soon as they were done at Top of the Rock. If I hadn't connected with them, I had a list of addresses and directions to thrift shops in Brooklyn as a back up plan.

After getting the D to Atlantic/Pacific, I took the 2 train to the Wall St. Stop and headed east on Wall St. then a right onto Broad St., up a few blocks then a left on Maiden Ln. which took me to the World Trade Center site. After sitting on a bench for a bit there, south on Trinity Pl. until I reached Morris St., took a left and hit Broadway where I turned South again towards Bowling Green where I sat in a park there for a bit, then down Whitehall to Water St. then back up Coenties Slip to Stone St. to William St. to Beaver St., back on Wall St. to Front St. where I eventually wandered to and through the South Street Sea Port and Pier 17.

View Larger Map

Snapping photos the whole time I eventually headed back to the Fulton Street stop and rode up to the West Village on the A to grab a snack and coffee and get out of the rain.

Financial District and others

Instead of going to Starbuck's, I opted to hit Amy's Bread on Bleeker and Leroy. Amy's Bread has two other locations, one which I frequent as it's in the Chelsea market and their bread is excellent and cheap if I want to add something to my lunch while on break from work. While I sat and read my Time Out NY, Brendan called me and we discussed getting pizza in Midtown. I told him I'd think over a place for us to meet and immediately thought of John's Pizzeria on 44th between 7th and 8th. I had been here once before when I visited the city before my Paris trip in '07 with my cousin and a friend and my parents. Good sit down place for pizza where all the servers wear shirts that say "No Slices," because they only sell whole pies, obviously. We met and ate there, catching up on everything and chatting. It was good times and the pizza was excellent. His kids are hilarious, too. Age 7 and 10.

So, after we left I trudged in the rain, dodging umbrellas, back to Bryant Park to catch the D back home and here I sit, typing this blog. Impressions? An interesting day all around, hopping from one bustling neighborhood to the next. Downtown is very business like and there don't seem to be very many tourists, though I did see a few groups lined up behind guides, all of them wearing ponchos. There are a lot of banking types obviously, it being a huge banking center of the world, hosting the American Stock Exchange, The New York Stock Exchange and several huge banks. There are some nice park areas but everything seems so crammed together down there. In some parts the streets are extremely narrow and lined alternately with monstrous high rises and then tiny older buildings that look strange juxtaposed as such. Part of an older New York that has survived just barely. Stone street was the first paved street in New York city and it is still paved with cobblestones and is mainly for pedestrian traffic.

The West Village, you've heard me talk about before. There is such a diversity of old buildings that I make it a point to take a different route every day from work in Chelsea down to the West 4th Street subway stop, hoping I'll see something new and different. Cute little neighborhood streets cut by raucous avenues. Then there's Bleeker Street lined with boutiques and restaurants, record stores, coffee shops. And every once in a while, a park or a neighborhood garden pops up out of nowhere. The most recent find was on the corner of Bleeker and 6th Avenue on the opposite side of the street from Father Demo Square. Tucked away in the back, behind shrubs and trees, is a tree with a circular bench surrounding it and someone has left an Adirondack chair nestled right next to it. No one seems to go back here and it's shut at night. Wish I could remember the name of this park.

And Midtown is totally different. I spoke of umbrella dodging earlier. Every sidewalk packed with people, neon signs, flashing video billboards, the Theater District. Throngs of tourists aiming cameras in Times Square, the center of the universe. Slow down or block the sidewalk and you'll be run over.

Seeing all three of these in the same day really shows how diverse this city is, not just its population but the kinds of places you'll see. There's excitement mingled with history, mingled with parks, mingled with stores, mingled with the old mingled with the new. I am quite sure that I will never get bored here.

Hope you enjoy the pics and my rambling, over detailed account of my day. Meanwhile, I should get out from in front of this computer for a change. I've got some writing to do and a movie to watch.

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