December in New York, and not a snowflake in sight. In fact, it was T-shirt and light jacket weather. The stores were ready for Christmas though, even if the weather wasn't. Saks on 5th Avenue unveiled its holiday decorum...and when darkness falls, the light show is bound to be spectacular.
Radio City Music Hall had their tree up and the Rockettes are likely doing a little Jingle Bell Rock after dark. Admittedly, we spent a solid 3 days walking around New York, and about 50% of that was spent walking in the wrong direction from what was intended. I now understand how hard it is to be an ant in a tall world and am amazed at their ability to continually find the anthill. I am clearly less directionally gifted than the average insect. I tried to use buildings like this as a beacon...and it was starting to work by the time I left.
I had to admit for the first few days I was really glad to be in New York. All the stores, taxi's, and activity. The novelty did wear off after a few days, but on those first few, I was happy to snap a few pictures of the classic urban jungle. Those hot dog and food stands are just as prevalent as you expect...but I have to say they never once smelled good enough to tempt me. I think it's an acquired urban taste, the phenomenon of street meat.
A beautiful sky day to display the characteristic spire of the Chrysler Building. Despite being an icon of the NYC Skyline, the Chrysler Building is not open the the public. It's observation deck on the 72nd floor closed in the 40's. The Chrysler building has always had a bit of exclusivity about it -- early on the top floors were for an exclusive, members only club called "The Cloud Club" It was a luxurious speakeasy in the prohibition era, with the booze being smuggled in and hidden in a barbershop in the building. Texaco executives called this building home for many years.
Grand Central Station isn't just a busy train stop -- it's a busy taxi stop too. I love walking in this area, Park Avenue, 5th Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Madison Avenue.
The views at the time were very different. Carnegie Steel would help change the face of New York. This is a drawing of Manhattan in 1851.
Two things really jumped out at me about this building. Firstly, the TD Bank in the bottom. It's a Canadian thing to take place in the firm foot hold of a Canadian holding at the corner of Park Avenue and 42nd Street in New York.
The second was the texture of the building, with the intricate bricklaying pattern and carvings. I loved this building.
This picture was just a snapshot to show the 5th Avenue sign. But in retrospect it shows a little something more. Amid the beautiful brick and marble, there is the shiny glass of the Hyatt hotel. Originally opened as "The Commodore" Grand Hyatt hotel in 1919, surely a nod to the late Cornelius Vanderbilt railway millionaire whose lifetime nickname was "The Commodore." In the 1980's, the building was "Trumpified." Considered one of Donald Trump's breakthrough deals, he used the promise of revitalizing the downtown as a negotiation to a 40 year tax relief on the property and used the press to announce the project without having secured finances (allegedly the loan was unsigned at the time of the announcement because he lacked the security deposit). Donald got the loan and deal after it had been announced as a done deal to the public. He glossed it up to make it shiny, and sold for a huge personal profit, and saved himself paying $160 million to the city of New York in taxes. Interesting juxtaposition of symbolism here; both in the architecture and then men they represent.
Inside Grand Central Terminal is a lot of shiny marble. And what might just be the world's best food court. If you are in the area, definitely get let in the Dining Concourse. Curry, beer, cupcakes...it was one of my favorite meals of the week!
I can never quite capture the grandeur of Grand Central Terminal. It's hard to find a spot where you can quietly take it in. Or a spot where you can see the whole thing. I will have to do another trip one day to figure it all out. Next time...