Monday, August 06, 2012

Canal Street
Today has been quite a day. We covered a lot of territory on foot, so we're a bit tired -- but not worse for the wear. We started out at around 10 a.m. deciding to keep to our schedule. We walked a few blocks to the downtown "6" train and took it to Canal Street. Canal Street is a shoppers paradise, especially if one is interested in "bargaining". I bought a "T" shirt, for example, that started out at $20. I offered $5!! The vendor and I haggled for a few minutes before we agreed on a $7 price! Not bad for either of us. The vendors abound -- hundreds of them up and down the street, selling everything from "Rolex" watches to 25-cent key-chains. We walked the entire length of the street on both sides, enjoying the people and activity. At one point we found a neat little bagel shop and stopped for an "everything bagel". There is nothing like a New York bagel!

We then headed into Little Italy and Chinatown. Restaurants and shops everywhere. People everywhere! It was a delightful late morning and early afternoon, the weather was perfect -- not too hot, and we walked slowly taking in all the activity. We happened onto the "Tenement Museum" and looked around for awhile. It is easy to imagine our great-grand-parents living there. If you've seen the movie "Hester Street", you imagine the neighborhoods and what it was like.

Our exploration of the area took us to Houston Street. Our first stop was "Schimmels Knish Bakery". We ordered a "kasha knish", and with plenty of mustard. We thoroughly enjoyed our snack. It was great. Thanks to our buddy Howard, we found the place -- otherwise it would have been missed. Still on Houston, and just down the street a block or two, is Katz's Deli. Katz's is a landmark (founded in 1888) and crazy with activity. We found our way into the restaurant and "took a number"!! Once we were able to figure out how to get our food ordered, we were seated, given a huge plate of pickles to "nosh" on and were served. Well, it was $37 later that we left the restaurant, full with good food and happy as larks!! We both agreed it doesn't get better than this...

Washington Square
We crossed town again, going West toward the Hudson River, and wandered into Greenwich Village. Our first destination was New York University and then onto Washington Square. It was a warm day and the fountain at the "square" was refreshing. Along the benches many people were sitting and enjoying the sun, a trio of musicians were playing music. The predominant instrument -- a trumpet -- lent itself to the enjoyable character of the afternoon. Linda and I waded in the fountain enjoying the coolness of the water. A breeze would sometimes spray us with the water -- a great way to cool off in a fairly hot day in the City.

About an hour later or so, and we off again -- this time to find Greenwich Street. It was on Greenwich Street that my father-in-law had his business in the 1950's and 60's. I remember the address and found that, now, the building had been replaced with upscale apartments. It was an interesting lesson in what I call the "gentrification" of a neighborhood.

NYC High Line
Our last point of interest was the "high line" which starts on 12th Street  (by the Hudson River) and runs up into the 30's. The High Line is an old elevated train track that, at one time, worked as a freight line.  Once in disuse, the line had been threatened with demolition until the 1990's when a couple of local's lobbied for, and succeeded, in saving it as a green belt along the otherwise industrial and residential city. We walked the entire length of the new park, enjoyed the views of the Hudson River and had a nice cup of coffee at one of the few vendors along the way.

We left the High Line at 30th Ave. and started walking across town to our lodgings on 3rd Street. It's a long walk, and about 3 blocks into it, we hopped a bus and sat in the cool air conditioning the rest of the way. After a break and wonderful dinner at a local Thai restaurant, we decided to call it day.

So, tomorrow it'll be "uptown". We'll visit Columbia University  (Linda used to work there) and wander down through the 80's (the museums) and into Central Park. So, and I know I say this every time I end an entry --  stay tuned.

More later.....