Architecture in the Big Apple

We received notification this morning that our boat out of Florida is delayed a couple of days, so the new estimated departure date is October 3rd. This is actually a relief as it gives our bikes a little more time to arrive in Florida, and us a little more time to prepare for the boat and our European adventure. We are both rather nervous about riding in a country where we don’t speak the language or necessarily understand the customs, but we’re also quite excited about trying something which feels like a real adventure.

We ended up taking the express train to New York City. Had we booked earlier, we could have gotten a slightly less expensive ticket on the commuter train, but it was a nice opportunity to try out the Acela Express – North America’s only “high speed” train. Since the commuter train price for a regular ticket and a business class ticket on the express train were the same price, we logically chose the express train. The ride from Boston to New York City is 3.5 hours, and it certainly wasn’t the TGV or the Eurostar. It was comfortable, albeit a bit bumpy at times, but much of the time it was running pretty slow.

We’re staying at the West Side YMCA overnight, which is pretty nice for “budget” accommodations. (Well, budget by New York standards anyway). A bunkbed, locking doors, and shared showers are more than enough for our needs.

At the Rye Recumbent Gathering, David and Lynette suggested we look them up when we got to New York City. We spent a delightful evening with them, starting with dinner at Nooch, an interesting Asian Fusion restaurant with interior by Karim Rashid, then David led us on a tour of the interesting buildings in the Chelsea and Meatpacking districts. He’s an architect with the City and has been in NYC for more than 25 years. We saw the townhouse where Jack Kerouac wrote “On a Road” on a huge scroll, the IAC building by Frank Gehry as well as many others. Becky wasn’t as impressed as Scott with the IAC building, but she really liked some of the nightclub interiors. We also saw the Highline Park, soon to open as a linear park up the West Side of Manhattan. It was a raised railway, but was abandoned in the 1970s, and it returned to nature. Now the railway has been cleaned up, paths, staircases and elevators added, and it will soon be open to the public. A very neat idea!

Chelsea has a pile of Art Galleries, so much so that it has been called (with justification) the “Art Capital of the World”. Living here provides great opportunities to check out various gallery shows, seeing interesting art as well as munching on yummy finger foods. Lucky David and Lynette…

We also saw the Nabisco Bakery, birthplace of the Oreo cookie, and the Chelsea Market, which passes through it. An industrial setting, well preserved and updated without affecting its intrinsic character, with a variety of funky stores and art within.

We recessed to Billy’s Bakery for some late-night sustenance after our wandering – just like Magnolias (made famous on “Sex in the City”), but much less crowded with tourists.

Overall, it was a delightful evening in New York City – one that we never would have had, had we not been riding recumbent bikes through New Hampshire last weekend!

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