Sunday, April 30, 2017

NYC On My Mind April 2017 Day 7 - Bowne & Co Stationers, Walking the Brooklyn Bridge, The Brooklyn Promenade & Goodbye














I had a plan for the last day.  It was the sunniest, hottest, most fabulous weather which was great, but I had been saving one indoor attraction for this day - The American Museum of Natural History. I missed visiting this museum last time, so it was high on my list. They had a live butterfly exhibit I particularly wanted to see, but I held off as they opened a new jelly fish exhibit on Monday. I figured I'd show up around 10-10:30 a.m. today, spend a few hours there and then head out into the sunshine for the rest of the day.  Wrong!

Repeat after me again - I will not book a trip to NYC during Easter, Passover and Spring Break!  I walked into the lobby and found myself in a sea of hundreds and hundreds of parents and kids. The noise level was deafening.  The day was too beautiful and I'm just not a crowd person, so I turned around and headed outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. My visit to this wonderful attraction will have to wait until my next visit.

Brooklyn called me today.  I wasn't up for another tour, so decided to visit the Brooklyn Promenade for it's fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline (see my panorama above). There were three options open to getting there. #1 - take the subway to the closest Brooklyn station. #2 - take the subway to the station closest to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and walk over it and then down to the promenade. #3 - take the East River Ferry across from Wall Street or 34th.  As the day was so beautiful, I decided to take option #2 and walk over the Bridge even though I'd done it before. What an experience.













First I really didn't figure out the subway route very well.  I ended up a fair distance and a little confused. No worries - it's all an adventure.  I stumbled across the South Street Seaport District. The museum was closed that day, so just explored a bit and continued on my way. The one shop I did go into was charming - Bowne & Co Stationers.  They actually print some of the posters and more that that sell in their shop right on site.  I may come back and explore this area more fully on my next visit.

After twisting back and forth through the side streets, referring often to my map and asking a few strangers, I finally arrived at the entry point for the Brooklyn Bridge. The walkway goes down a raised centre above the car lanes, so it is really noisy. It is a divided path with bikes supposedly going on one side and walkers on the other. BUT, it was high tourist time and the walking half was too small to accommodate all the walkers going both directions and stopping to shoot views and selfies. The bike riders were frustrated, but that didn't slow them down. I was surprised there were no collisions.

Left - I photographed this building many times over the week, but this pic is my favourite.
Centre - stepped out of the subway on a crowded street and loved this angle of the Empire State Building
Right - you can seen the Brooklyn Promenade awaiting as you cross the Brooklyn Bridge














At each end of the bridge the first 20 to 30 feet have people selling prints, water and more. Most offer pretty much the same selection of stuff.  I just ignore them, although I did buy a bottle of water.  Then about 2/3 of the way across the bridge I saw an older man with some artwork out. He did not speak any English which made it a challenge but we persevered.

He had his original drawings hanging and then a box full of matted, signed prints that were selling for the same price as all the other tourist ones.  Oh my! As I was looking through the prints, he would point to his name and then to the area of the city where he drew that image.  I selected three and tried to pay him a little extra. He was flattered. Grinning broadly, he gave me a fourth to take with me. I love these moments in NYC, but they only happen if you keep your eyes open and again, SLOW DOWN!

Note - have of this walkway was for bicycles. As you can see, when crowded the walkers ignore this.















Once I left the bridge, I winded my way through the side streets. I knew roughly where I was going and while I didn't take the most direct route, I arrived. The Brooklyn Promenade is another very touristy area as it has truly the best view of the Manhattan skyline.  It's big enough though to not feel too crowded. There were benches all along to rest on and tables/chairs set out for anyone wanting to rest while enjoying a bite.

The one negative was because of the large number of people there, every restaurant, ice cream parlor, etc., was full with a long line to get in. I would have enjoyed relaxing there and enjoying a bit and perhaps a beer, or snagging an ice cream to enjoy while I lounged on a bench.  However, I'm glad I went, especially on that day.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the view was impressive.

The food places were swamped but the Promenade was fairly empty


















With the help of a local, I quickly located the Brooklyn subway station closest to the Promenade. Thanks to this wonderful businessman for pointing me in the right direction as I had discovered only that morning that the wonderful fold-up subway/street map I used every day only covered Manhattan. There was no Brooklyn section. I need to correct for future visits.

My journey back to my Airbnb was winding. I jumped off DT and revisited a few places I had seen before.  I walked the streets enjoying the sunshine and just soaking up the unique flavour that is NYC. It was a time to say goodbye again and I already knew that another trip was in store.  This is an amazing city with so much to offer.  Each time I discover something new.














Back home, I connected with Gabriella and found out that dinner just wouldn't work. Fortunately I had some Hummus leftover and a couple beers.  Packing, uploading the last of the pictures and organizing my shared shuttle to JFK for the next morning filled my evening. I headed to bed early ready to start the long journey home in the morning.

Fini!

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