Published: June 5th 2011June 3rd 2011
I managed to tick off some more boxes from my NYC to-do list today. I have been doing some real tame things and trying not to get too smashed each night as I know I won't have the energy to make it through these long days of sight seeing. In the city that never sleeps I have been trying to get a decent amount of sleep each night, mind you I don't really have a choice - struggling to keep the eyes open after midnight!
First stop today was a stroll around the Greenwich Village area which is full of boutique stores, cafes and restaurants. There are heaps of little bars around as well and you have to love the whole cafe and bar scene here in Manhattan and I guess with this concentration of people they need something to do each night? Took a few photos of Washington Square which had a mixed crowd and it all made sense a little later when I figured out there was a university right next door.
Before coming to NYC this time I had numerous people tell me that Ippudo Ramen was probably the best in Manhattan so I had to try it. As it was, it was only a few blocks from Washington Square and conveniently located near the green subway line. Again as I was eating brunch there was no queue and I was seated alone at a round table for 10! I got the signature Tonkatsu Ramen and it was lived up to the hype. The broth was fragrant and just right in terms of saltiness and flavour and is certainly the best Ramen broth I have had. Now I just have to go to Japan and try the real local stuff then I'll be right !
From Ippudo it was only a short subway ride into downtown and I had a quick gander at the redevelopment of the World Trade Center sight and things are progressing well with new skyscrapers taking shape. I also walked to Wall Street which I missed on doing last year and although there isn't much to see due to the security barricade it was nice to say that I've been there. I couldn't resist and had to stick my head into Century 21 which is a mad sea of humanity that is actually called a department store that sells brand name goods at bargain prices. It was packed and pure madness but somehow I managed to score 2 Polo Ralph Lauren wallets for $20 each and 2 pairs of good dress pants for $25 a pop. Not bad, I was looking for a pair of black leather boots at the adjoining shoe department but I couldn't find anything amongst the 5000 pairs of shoes they had in just the men's section.
It was now time for me to tick something I really wanted to do off my NYC list and that was to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located on the East side of Central Park meant I had to walk across the park. I opted to cross it north of 86th St as I hadn't been that far north the other day. This gave me a chance to walk around the Great Reservoir or the Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy Reservoir. It was actually a reservoir for the NYC water system but was decommissioned in 1993 due to upgrades in other areas of the water system. Can you imagine the security barricades in place around the park if NYC still sourced some of it's water from here??
Well the MMoA was packed solid, I have never seen so many people inside a museum or art gallery. It made the Natural History Museum look empty in comparison. There were people everywhere and at a 'recommended' contribution of $20 a head, I can only imagine what great sum of money they take in each year which allows them to continually source new pieces. You can see from the photos which were my favourite exhibits and I didn't even get to see everything. I ended up being there for about 4 hours and spent another 30 minutes outside sitting on the front steps resting my legs with probably 500 other people. It appears the museum steps are also a popular meeting point for people living in this local area.
Dinner tonight was to be in Chinatown and I spent quite a of time wandering around all the streets and alleyways exploring as I went along. Last year we barely touched the surface of Chinatown as the heat was getting the better of my mate. I settled on eating at a smaller hand made noodle place and had the pan fried dumplings along with pulled noodles in pork bone soup. Very basic stock but it certainly hits the spot after a long tiring day. I think I prefer eating soupy meals at night and having the fried heavy stuff during the day? The freshly made noodles were of great texture and once again I did well picking a random place to eat.
After my meal, I had to get an icecream and dropped into the original Chinatown icecream shop and got myself a green tea icecream. It was the most fragrant green tea icecream I have ever had and I get the feeling they cheated and added a few drops of pandan fragrance. Whatever it is, it was pretty good but by now I was stuffed so I walked through Little Italy (Mulberry Street) where diners were out in force. All the restaurants along this famous strip was full, it was like people just had to eat and didn't want to wait so just spread themselves out. Unlike in Boston where you can 1 place with a line down the street and next door was empty.
So that's about it really for my day, was enjoyable playing tourist and ticking things off the to-do list!