So for the 2nd time in two years, the family spent over a week in Manhattan. Both times we were lucky to use someone’s apartment so that we could avoid the $250+ a night hotel room fees. We were also in some cool neighborhoods: two years ago in the heart of the West Village, this year in the East Village. Instead of giving a travel log (on Wednesday we went to….) I’m just going to give some perspectives.
First New York is extremely busy. Late July is the high tourist season and many New Yorkers don’t leave town until August. So the streets were absolutely packed. Crazily so. Also since the dollar is so low compared to other currencies, there are a lot of foreign tourists too, taking advantage of a cheap vacation. It was much more crowded this year than in 2006.
Even though (because of?) the streets are so busy, in two visits and nearly 20 days of visiting, we have never felt threatened, seen a crime, or been subject to anything that would be considered even mildly threatening. Of course we are in touristy areas, but we are out late at night sometimes. I went to NYC a number of times in the mid-1980’s and there is a big difference. Also some parks that were open drug areas (Thompkin Square Park, Union Square, Bryant Park) are open, safe places to spend time with your family.
Some highlights include the Museum of Modern Art and the Salvador Dali exhibit, Rockaway Beach in Brooklyn, Bryant Park in mid-town, and a David Letterman taping. We saw Wicked on Times Square. There were a lot of teenage girls at the show and the story definitely was geared to that age group. It was a classic big Broadway show with over the top sets and huge songs. I was a little disappointed that the Wicked story intruded on the original Wizard of Oz story a little more than my liking, but still it was a fun time.
Now for the quiz. The photo above is a current picture of something very (kinda?) famous. In fact any male over the age of 35 should know exactly why that building is well known. Shane, this is your surprise and you should especially know what it is. Just a hint, you may know this image from something in the past so it won’t be exactly how you remember it. Know what it is? Use the comments section. This image was a few blocks from where we were staying in the East Village and is indicative of the architecture found throughout that part of the City.