Conduit Takes Manhattan - Part 1

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 6:47 PM

So, I just back from my brief holiday in New York yesterday. After sleeping a solid twelve hours last night, I've gathered together a few of my favourite photographs from my trip (click on any to see them at 800x600px - all copyright Stuart Neville 2007 - please ask permission before using elsewhere) along with some random observations about the Big Apple. I'll write something more in depth towards the weekend, but for now...

My first encounter

After the adventure of getting the train from Newark Airport to Penn Station, and then getting the subway out to Queens, I made my way back to Manhattan and exited Penn Stations at 33rd and 8th. This was my first view of the city, with Madison Square Garden right in front of me and the Empire State Building towering over 33rd Street. I just stood there for a while, filled with what can only be described as childish glee. You can just make out the Sabrett's umbrella to the left, which brings me to...

Hot Dogs Rule

How have I lived my whole life without ever tasting a hot dog? I was a little peckish having only airline food in my belly, so thought I'd give one of these a go. Oh, the glory of the hot dog with ketchup. I'm sure they're all sorts of bad for you, but they taste so good. Anyway, having chewed and swallowed that new experience, I started walking towards the tower.

King Kong's View

It was late afternoon when I got to the Empire State, and after queueing for a good twenty minutes, the sun was going down when I reached the 82nd floor. I took about a hundred photos, but here are just two...

Sunset over New Jersey

The Chrysler Building

Serenity and the City

One of many remarkable things about New York is that it's full of little places of serenity (and some not so little). Here's a beautiful little garden where Bleecker Street meets the Avenue of the Americas...

And, of course, there's Central Park where I spent a whole day relaxing...

Washington Square Park was a nice little oasis, too, and here's one of its surprisingly fearless residents who came to say hello...

My Favourite Quiet Place...

...was Roosevelt Island. The Tramway is an experience in itself, and the views of Manhattan from the promenade are nothing short of spectacular. But it's the peacefulness of it that sticks with me...

While I was there, a young woman with olive skin and dark flowing hair passed me and gave me a shy smile. I didn't have the nerve to ask her for a photograph, but I sneaked one as she walked along the promenade. It turned out to be my favourite photo of the whole trip...

Cool Buildings

As well as all the landmarks, some of the ordinary buildings just look great...

And I really, really, really wish I lived here...

Other Sights

As I had lunch at an Italian place by the Brooklyn Bridge, a movie or TV show was being filmed just outside. It looked like some sort of detective thing. Anybody recognise the guy in the overcoat?

Of course, I did the Staten Island Ferry thing. The sun was setting on my way back, and I got this view...

I am Lord of the Subway, Master of the E Line

This is the thing I was most nervous about, especially using it at night. I've used underground systems in London and Barcelona, but the New York subway has a certain reputation. I needn't have worried, though, as New York turned out to be about the easiest city to get around of any I've visited. And there were more people on the E train to Queens at midnight than there were at midday. Incidentally, as I took the picture above waiting for the train from Lexington 51st to 59th, someone on another platform with a beautiful tenor voice was singing 'Bridge over Troubled Water' and it sounded like it was coming up from the centre of the earth.

New York Narcolepsy

This seems to be a common condition on the subway. As soon as some people get on the train, they conk out. Including several people who somehow managed to fall asleep while standing up, yet maintain their balance on a moving train. I know this is a mechanism for avoiding the dreaded eye-contact, but I found it somewhat comical ... until it started happening to me. Looking anywhere but people's faces is bloody tiring, so it's easier to just to close your eyes and drift.

What Monkeys Are For

As any educated person knows, monkeys were put on earth for one reason: to make us laugh. Here are some monkeys at the Bronx Zoo who fail to fulfil their basic purpose by succumbing to New York Narcolepsy...

The gorillas, however, did their best to entertain. Then again, they don't have to try so hard. Because they kind of look like people.

In conclusion (for now)

I was left with one thing about New York, one question: how can such an unimaginably huge place seem so small? I suppose it's the feeling of being enclosed as you walk through its canyon-like streets, and being able to get from one side to another in just minutes. While you're within its streets and subways, you have no sense of its scale. And that adds to its immediacy, the sense of here and now and nothing else. More observations to come...


Blogger jjdebenedictis said...

But how was Van Halen?!?


Glad you had a great time; I look forward to hearing more (and I love the portly gorilla! He's hilarious.)

10:44 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Your whole post made me smile, and now I want to go there!!

I'm so glad you had a great time-- and that you're home safe. I look forward to hearing more. (And I swear I'll get those stories to you in the next few days. I slacked while you were gone.)

My favorite pic was the small gated garden. What a beautiful enclave.

10:48 PM  
Blogger cyn said...

love the fotos! my favorite building in the city was always the chrysler building. and i hated those squirrels in washington square park. they are aggressive! this post has made me miss the nyc, even if my heart will always belong to london. thanks for sharing!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Nathan Bransford said...

Wow, those are really great photos. Glad you had a great time.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZOMG, as if we didn't fangirl you before, Conduit--you get agents trolling your blog!

*adulates you*

1:42 AM  
Blogger moonrat said...

dude. i have ONE QUESTION. i've lived here for SEVEN YEARS and have never done most of the things you took pictures of here; how the HECK did you get it all done in seven DAYS?!!?


1:47 PM  
Blogger Ello said...

How cool is this? So you finally got a NY hotdog, even though it wasn't from Gray's papaya, you still got a Sabrett's so that counts. Aren't they awesome?

Your pictures were beautiful - I can't believe you even went to Washington Square Park - that's my old stomping ground since I went to NYU. Isn't central park amazing? And you really did take wonderful pictures. I'm glad you had a great time. You had good weather so that was a plus! Cool weather is always better for NY. The city doesn't smell too good in the summer.

How was the concert? Or was the whole experience of NY better than the concert itself?

2:55 PM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

I want a Sabrett's and I want it now. It's gotta be 20 years since I had "a dog on the street" in NYC.

But ketchup, bro? It's relish and mustard for me.

Glad you got to go on the Roosevelt Tram - I was kicking myself for not recommending it sooner.

In my day, the Washington Park surprisingly fearless residents who came to say hello... did so in order to sell you some dope, but that was long before King Rudy took control.

Conduit, you have a future in photography! Maybe that could be a non-fic project for you: A picture tour of NYC through Irish eyes.

Maybe next time you'll get a chance to visit the Dakota: the coop apartment building on the upper west side where John Lennon lived and died. In my day, it was famous for being the building where they filmed "Rosemary's Baby."

Cool that Nathan gave you a shout out.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Conduit said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments:

JJ/Goblin: Van Halen were about 80% great and 20% bad. Things were going splendidly until Eddie Van Halen had a hissy fit and threw a very large stage monitor at his crew. It kind of went down hill from there - I think there's footage of it on YouTube.

Cyn: Thanks for dropping by, it's always good to see someone new.

Nathan: Thanks for chipping in!

Moonrat: That's why I wound up exhausted with incredibly sore feet. And it was five days, and I did more than is in these photos! In five days I managed to visit Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island and New Jersey (for a concert and the airport) which I think was pretty good going. :)

Ello: The weather couldn't have been more perfect, though I think my body must have different tolerances to native New Yorkers. They were all wearing big coats and hats while I walked around in shades and a T-shirt sweating like a pig!

Josephine: I actually did see the Dakota as I left Central Park by the 72nd St station. I couldn't get a decent angle for a pic, though. Funnily enough, I watched Rosemary's Baby just a couple of days before I went, so I was as curious for that as for the Lennon connection.

On the quality of the photography - I can't take much credit for that as I got a new Fuji S700 camera for the trip. They're inexpensive and idiot proof, which is what I need as I've never been a great photographer. You pretty much just point and shoot. I was pleased with the results, though. :)

6:58 PM  
Blogger Conduit said...

Here's a research question for those of you who have lived/still live in NYC. It's for a short story, and I want to just check a point...

As a New Yorker, would you know off the top of your head who the Deputy Mayors are? Would you know their names and positions? Would you know what their individual offices are for? Right now, without looking it up, would you know who the Deputy Mayor for Administration is, and what he/she looks like?

Hopefully someone can answer that here, but if not, I'll repeat it in your respective blogs.

Thanks in advance. :)

7:19 PM  
Blogger Church Lady said...

Wow! This looks like an awesome trip. I live driving distance to New York, and would love to do some of these things.
I'm glad you had a good time.

I've been wanting to visit your blog for a while, having seen you on Nathan's blog. Now I see Ello, and Moonrat, and Starbucks....

I wanted to invite you to a blog party I'm having on my blog. It's a last minute invitation, I'm sorry. But we're having fun, and I'd love for you to pop in!!!


10:33 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

New York, in my experience, is the one city I've ever been to that manages to never disappoint. Last time I was there, I took in a Broadway show (Spamalot) and a punk-rock show (Sleater-Kinney), not to mention some of the tastiest food I've ever had in my life.

Oh, and on the VH front, wouldn't you have been a touch disappointed if no one had thrown a hissyfit?

10:52 PM  
Blogger cyn said...

conduit, interesting question. for me, when i lived in nyc, i knew who the mayor of the city was. that's about it. but i don't follow politics much. and i barely ever read the paper as a grad student there. it may very well depend on the indvidual.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Church Lady said...

I'm linking you on my blog as "Subway Lord."

Thanks for stopping by the contest!!!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Danette Haworth said...

Ah, I see I posted in the wrong place before--now I see your comment about the VH concert and the hissy fit. But how was David Lee Roth?

2:37 AM  
Blogger Conduit said...

Danette - DLR was 100% professional throughout the whole incident. His voice was better than I've ver heard it and he kept the show on track. EVH was the weakest link, I'm sorry to say. Various reports say they were absolutely spectacular at Madison Square Garden just a few nights later (I originally tried to get tix for that but they sold out in a flash).

2:34 AM  

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