On Monday, Hubs had a full-day schedule with people at City College, meaning I had a full day of exploring the city. Arriving at Penn Station at 9:30am, I sent The Hubs off on the subway, making my way uptown on foot, with a rough “loiter plan” I mentally made briefly the night before. (I usually won’t make specific plans because something shiny along the way would just distract me and set me off-course.)
First goal: Get myself to Central Park. Of course, before getting anywhere near Central Park, I stopped to get a chai and croissant refuel. (See what I mean?) Using the phone’s compass, I made my way northwards to the park, got lost roamed a little inside it, and then it started to rain… Just when I needed to find a bathroom, too.
Second goal: Traverse eastwards along 79th St. There was a crowd at the edge of the park; good opportunity to people-watch while waiting for the rain to pass.
Rest Stop 1: Strawberry Fields. In the 30 minutes I sat on the bench, there was a curious steady stream of tourists mimicking each other at the mosaic… The rain let up, and seeing a gap in the stream of people, (plus I needed to look for a bathroom,) I walked over to see for myself. This explains it.
Heading south, I found myself at the lower east end of Central Park, and found relief at the zoo. Onward to Third goal: Rockefeller Center. Then, deciding that I should stop for a late lunch, I made my way to the Grand Central Station, which incidentally was Fourth goal.
Rest Stop 2: Grand Central Station. The dining concourse at the lower level of the station is as busy as you can imagine, but I managed to grab a box of sushi and secured a little corner table. The dissipating crowd allowed me to take a book out to read. Or so I thought. There was a guy making his rounds at the trash bins, heigh-ho-ing in a helium-induced voice. Nonstop.
Above-ground I went, again, my feet starting to blister. It was a slow walk towards Columbus Circle (lower west end of Central Park) when the rain and wind picked up again. Off to Argo tea I went for refuge, making it Rest Stop 3, with a nice ginger peach chai. Luckily, there were power sockets at Argo tea where I could juice-up my phone’s battery.
It was not long until I received a call from The Hubs, at half-past 4, to meet at our hotel. My feet’s blisters started to pop in sharp pain as I made my way to Hotel Belleclaire on Broadway and 77th St. It was a quick check-in, shower, tending to the 4 blisters, and another long walk to meet colleagues for Thai dinner, some 20 blocks away.
After a memorable Thai dinner — where I met my spice challenge, Hubs and I walked towards Time Square. For someone who dislikes crowded places, the grandeur of Times Square was enough to distract him. We couldn’t help but stand in Times Square and be amazed and amused. How true it is too, that you’ll need your sunglasses.
From Times Square, it was a hop on the subway back to some much-needed sleep. My first subway ride for the day.