Thursday, November 29, 2018

Day after New York

New York, NY.  So nice they named it twice.  And it really was a lot more pleasant than on any of my prior tourist attempts.  Bus ride from home 2.5 hours each way.  The Chinatown Bus driver passed everyone on the Jersey Turnpike but had to stop to replenish the diesel fuel on the way there.  The Macy's area, the drop-off location, may as well been the local mall.  While the flagship Macy's was a lot bigger than ours, the stores along 34th street included a KMart and mainly other chains found anywhere.  At the end of the day, the city bus took me along Fifth Avenue's more tony shops.  Lot's of Christmas shoppers on the sidewalks at dusk, not many shoppers in places that only need to sell a watch or two each day.  Lunch at Kosher deli a few blocks north, a treat to people who do not have kosher deli's and are deterred by the price of Kosher corned beef at Shop-Rite.

Image result for cloisters nyc
Found my way to the Cloisters, my intended tourist target, via the A Train with a senior discount.  That left a half mile walk to the museum.  Having been to a number of Art Museums the last few months, this one given its reputation seemed a disappointment.  Since I had too much time left, I took the bus from the Cloisters to the bus pickup, a span of 160 blocks which took the MTA Driver 2.5 hours.  I had not been north of the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.  Pretty nice place with clean buildings that have white brick, some architectural detail and neither litter or graffiti.  School letting out so a bunch of late grade school kids got on the bus, all nicely groomed, none boisterous.  Just south of the bridge appeared the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, a multiblock congested monument to health care, much of it aging, some new.  Made it past the less massive Mt. Sinai Hospital, first time I've ever seen it, about 70 blocks south.  As the street got the the 140's, the area appeared more Hispanic, a little shabbier but still without litter or graffiti.  Then I expected Harlem but that seemed largely gentrified with some theological seminaries, a large Barnard presence, more subtle Columbia University campus, and some vestiges of City College.  The shops along Broadway seemed similar to other college towns.  Cathedral Parkway at 110th Street, which I expected to be the southern limit of Harlem, also looked gentrified with a branch of Yeshiva University and some churches and some tasteful apartment buildings.  Then across the northern border of Central Park, turn down Fifth Avenue to the eastern border followed by the bus to the end.  Not a lot of people in the streets until the southern part of the Park.  Museums such as Guggenheim's spiral architecture, a music school, apartment buildings with increasing architectural decoration, signs for doctors who do not have ethnic names and do not say one way or the other if they accept Medicaid unlike the doctors farther north.  Made it eventually to the terminus, too dark by then to see much other than the storefronts with bright lights and the sidewalks, and the iconic lions that invite the scholarly or those terrorized by term paper due dates to partake of the massive New York Public Library.

Found my pickup stop, Boarded an early bus than originally intended and uneventful, restful ride back home.

When I did my semi-annual planning about six months ago, I had allocated three day trips among the twelve initiatives, all to places I had not been before.  Dickinson Plantation, Princeton Art Museum, Cloisters.  One very doable semi-annual project likely worthy of repeat when the next planning session begins next week.

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