This article was written by Teacher Kevin in October of 2011 and posted on Midori’s blog, translated to Japanese.
I have edited the document to add some hyperlinks for further reading.
A DAY TRIP TO NYC
Recently, I had an enjoyable visit from my Japanese friend, Midori and her daughter. During her stay we decided to take a day trip into NYC (New York City). Here are some of the highlights:
We decided it would be easier to catch the later bus so we did not have to hurry on my day off. The ticket price was a discount package for 3 from Delaware Water Gap (non-stop express) to NY Port Authority Bus Terminal. It is an easy ride and allows passengers to view the scenery. As the bus pulls out of DWG (Delaware Water Gap) onto Interstate 80 it meanders through “the Gap”. This is a natural geological formation caused by the Delaware River eroding the mountain over many, many millions of years to create a scenic winding route that follows along the river path between the aging hills of eastern Pennsylvania and the western edge of New Jersey. Continuing, the route travels through what was once farmland settled by Dutch immigrants, lovely rolling hills of hardwood forests and fertile valleys. This scenic view quickly changes to the sprawl of suburbia that has grown tremendously since the time I grew up here. Many people who have tired of living in NYC have moved out to N.J. and over the years they have now even stretched out into Pennsylvania. In fact, many of the regular commuters on this route live in PA and travel daily, by bus, into Manhattan for work. The trip is about 100 miles.
Once the bus rises up from the Delaware River Valley it crosses the entire state of New Jersey…less scenic as you get closer to NYC. The traffic builds and causes the bus to slow as we enter the area of the Palisades of eastern N.J. These cliffs overlook the Hudson River and across to the New York Skyline. The road winds down to the Lincoln Tunnel which takes us under the Hudson River and onto the island of Manhattan.We disembark at the gate in that busy city and, as always, I like to walk if the weather is not too bad. Fortunately, it was not raining but a little gray and muggy. We cut across the Times Square district and I point out where the New Year’s Eve crystal ball slowly descends from atop a tall building. We decided to have lunch at a famous landmark, the Carnegie Deli. It takes its name from Carnegie Hall, the world famous performance center named after Andrew Carnegie, the 19th century industrialist. The deli is across 7th Ave. located on the southwest corner of 57th St. We entered the deli knowing we wanted to sit down and eat rather than takeout food. I warned Midori that the food portions were huge and of course when our sandwiches arrived she was still surprised…most people are! I had one of their signature items; the open faced Reuben sandwich with some French Fries and Midori had a pastrami on rye, while Mimi had her own French Fries. Oh, and of course, Midori is a Japanese woman and she must take pictures of the food before we eat! We finished and were so full we needed to walk the 30 blocks north to the museum.As we walked north on 7th Avenue we entered Central Park near Columbus Circle and strolled leisurely eastwards along the paths, coming out around 80th Street on the west side of the park. Just a few blocks north to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met is my favorite museum in the city. It is so large and holds so many pieces of art and sculpture that it is really impossible to see everything in one visit. Visitors could spend a week inside and not see everything.Here is a tip for travelers who are not familiar with the policy: the sign “recommends” a donation of $20 per person and permits children inside for free. It is important to know that anyone can give a small donation and you will be granted access. I usually give one dollar. On this visit I chose to give $5 for both of us. The museum receives money from the city and the federal government as well as private donations from many wealthy patrons. I am confident that the museum does not need my money, so I am frugal and choose to only donate a small amount whenever I visit.Midori asked if there was a copy of the floor plan and map of the exhibitions available in Japanese. I suggested she ask at the information desk. She wanted to pay for it but these are complimentary. The guide maps are printed in most languages because NY is truly a world class city and welcomes visitors from all over the globe.We decided to focus mostly on European paintings and spent much of our time in that section, but we did wander off to see the European sculpture see the pictures in the gallery (Rodin is a favorite of mine), some photographs, a quick view of some of the Egyptian art, a small bit of American art and some Modern art though we both laughed at it after viewing some of the great treasures in the previous areas. Midori agrees with me that most Modern art seems silly and pointless. I will admit to being unappreciative of much of that form. When I first look at much of what passes for Modern art I just marvel at the fact that anyone could take an artist seriously when his subject and final presentation looks as if a child was given free reign with the canvas and some colors to make a mess. Of course, there are Modern art pieces that I do enjoy. Some Salvador Dali paintings can be hauntingly bizarre to the the point of almost grotesque but there is something that attracts me to them. Most notably, The “Persistence of Memory”. It is a strange painting by Dali that I first saw when I was a teenager. It struck something in my mind and I have long reflected on it as marvelous. Surrealism is not on view at the Met. Have to go to MoMA for to view that genre, but I digress.
We fully enjoyed many of the great masterpieces from Bacon, Blake, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, De Goya, Degas, Monet, Seurat, Delacroix, Manet, Rubens, Renoir, and so many more that the mind is flooded with so much beauty in such a short period of time. We wandered for about 3 hours and then we were tired and hungry. Midori took many pictures in the areas where photography is permitted. There were times when I observed Mimi look upon a work of art and could see that something attracted her, enlightened her, and struck a chord in her young mind! It was a beautiful thing to see a child so young marvel at some of the great works of centuries past. Proof that great art is universal and timeless! We left the museum enriched and delighted at the wonders we had experienced.
Back to the dirty streets of the Naked City. We slowly made our way westward across the park to find a restaurant I had researched online. Celeste Italian, 502 Amsterdam Ave. (between 84th and 85th Sts.). It is unimpressive from the outside but upon entering we were greeted by a competent waitstaff and sat at one of the small tables in this cozy place. The waiter announced the specials for the day and we looked at the menu. We noted that the prices were modest. That is a welcome thing in New York as restaurants are usually expensive compared to other cities I ordered a ravioli dish and Midori and Mimi shared a tagliatelle with seafood. It was delicious and went well with my glass of wine. We ate fairly quickly and were out the door for under $50.
Walked one block and we hailed a cab to return to the Port of Authority Bus Terminal. The cab was a brand new 2012 Ford Hybrid. Though a little crowded for my long legs, it had a TV and the driver was a very pleasant Sikh.
We walked into the 9th Avenue/back entrance to the bus terminal and looked for some pastries to take home. As we went to the gate we were happy to see that a bus was accepting passengers directly. We had our round trip tickets at the ready and this saves some time. We were the last ones to board and as we drove out of the city most passengers started to sleep a bit. 2 hours later we are back at the DWG and the rain is pouring down so we run to the car and I drive home.
It was a fun day, if a little tiring; we enjoyed the sights and sounds, and well, maybe not, the smells of the city. It was good to be back home to relax.
I will write about some of the food we shared while Midori and Mimi were here. I hope you enjoyed this review of our day in NYC.