Saturday, November 5, 2011

Travelblog: The Great Nor'easter—Episode 5

It's been exactly two months since I left town on my big road trip, and I'm only halfway through chronicling it on here.  Two subsequent weekend road trips and lack of time on my part are to blame for that.  Bear with meI may finally get around to finishing this damn thing one of these days...

You are looking at where 2nd base once existed at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY.  It was on this spot that The Beatles played their famous concert at Shea in 1965, which was then one of the biggest Rock concerts ever.  This is also the spot where Pete Rose and Bud Harrelson of the Mets got into a tussle during the 1973 National League Championship Series (won by NY).  In the background is the Metropolitans' new home, Citi Field, which I wound up liking a lot more than I initially expected to.  It didn't look all that impressive to me on television, but in person, it was a really nice ballpark.  The Jackie Robinson Rotunda (modeled after the one at Ebbets Field) and adjacent Mets Hall of Fame are worth the visit alone, and it was at Citi where I enjoyed my first taste of Carvel ice cream.  It's even better than Dairy Queen, folks!

This was the first thing I saw above ground when I landed in downtown Manhattan, the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which is actually round and about 11 blocks north of the actual Madison Square, for which it is named.  I was not about to try to drive in Manhattan, so I rode the train in from Joysey and it dropped me off at that underground labyrinth/clusterfuck known as Pennsylvania Station, which also includes a shopping mall and restaurants throughout.  Between Penn. Station and the subways, I spent more time getting lost underground in Gotham City than I did above ground!  I would dearly loved to have toured MSG, but my timing was bad because the building is currently undergoing a massive renovation (hence the scaffolds), so no tours until next year.  Oh well, gives me a good reason to go back soon and do a Rangers game next spring.  It was here that my long day on foot began, as I covered the better part of 70 New York city blocks over a six mile area.  And let me tell you, my friends, my feets were killing me by day's end...

This item caught my eye as I passed by a storefront in Manhattan.  Mom used to have a sweeper just like this one when I was a little kid.  Here's to good ol' Electro-Lux!

And here be the Empire State Building.  Word to the wise if you plan to visit:  Buy the VIP ticket so you can by-pass the long lines and ride to the top faster—it's well worth the extra moolah.  I've heard the place referred to recently as the "Empty-pire" State Building because of the high vacancy rates of the office spaces, especially those in the higher floors in the wake of 9/11.  Sad, but true, and perfectly understandible, I guess.  Not so sure I'd want to work that high up either, on a daily basis.

And here be the view from Mr. Kong's perch, looking up Broadway:

The scariest part about this photo to me is the thought that downtown Tokyo is EVEN BIGGER!  The building at the lower left with the red flag next to it is the famed Macy's store where they do the annual Thanksgiving parade at.  The long-distance shots I tried to take from the observation deck weren't terribly good because it was pretty hazy out that day, but that couldn't be helped.  I also coulda done without the pushy foreigners up there—they were far ruder than the locals, who, much to my surprise, were much friendlier than I expected.

And here would be the building where Dick Clark drops his ball on New Year's Eve every year.  Or something like that.  For all the whoop-de-doo that's made about Times Square, I was pretty underwhelmed by it all.  Nothing but crass corporate advertising everywhere you look.  I think I would've enjoyed TS more back when it was a little more sleazier with all the titty bars and dives during the Midnight Cowboy era.  And like Mick Jagger before me, I couldn't give it away on 7th Avenue either!  Times Square today?  Meh. 

Oh, by the way, I might be in a movie soon.  As I neared Radio City Music Hall, there was a film crew out doing crowd shots, and I wandered right in front of their big camera.  "They're gonna put me in the movies..."

"...Father Fletcher heard your sins."  This is the famed St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.  I'm not much into churches and such, but it's an impressive structure all the same... 

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