The city of New York, and in particular Manhattan, has surprises every turn you take. Today was a big day full of them.
It started with a visit to the Library. Well, this library is one mighty beautiful place. Inside you can forget the roar of the city just outside. It is so big, it feels more like a museum or grand hall.
The next stop was to meet a tour guide from Manhattan Walking Tours for a walking food tour of Greenwich Village. This was not a tour where you would have a bunch of people rabbling along with you; this was an intimate one with only two other tourists. What a treat. We continued the tour with a historic walk around Downtown NYC, or what everyone calls the Financial District. Not only did we find out that the island was extended using landfill from rubble dug up when other buildings and also from flattening out the island (Manhattan translates to hills and is mainly rock. The rock was blasted to flatten it so they could set up the grid), but also some surprising little old streets hidden behind the large skyscrapers.
Our tour guide was great too. Being such a small group, you got to know each other quite well when parting it felt like an old friend had showed us around the city.
Next stop, the Empire State Building. This marvellous building seems to be watching me from every angle I travel around this city so it’s time for me to see the view that this building has of the city. Luckily I have tickets so can pass the queue and make an express way up to the top. Still, the observation deck is packed with everyone fighting for prime positions as they move around the building. I stay until after the sunsets, the almost full moon shining above and wander down the beautiful art deco building into the night.
For the evening entertainment was a show at The Duplex after a quick Mexican meal next door (called Ofrenda which was divine). The show scheduled at the Duplex for this night was put together via Twitter with a composer, two pianists, a poet and a tenor with a few weeks planning. The concept was quite interesting and something that I would like to touch on more at a later date and the show was very unique and entertaining. After the performances, we took our drinks to finish at the bar downstairs.
What fun this bar is!! The Duplex is a very tiny, almost triangle shaped space with a small bar with a few tables and a piano squeezed in the corner. Randomly, people come up and sing a song. This includes the bar staff, customers and invited guests. Anyone can get up and sing and they can sing whatever they like. It wasn’t like Karaoke. These were very, very talented people. My friend Naomi said it felt to her like being with the cast of Glee. We stayed for a little while and could have stayed well into the night had it not been for our early morning plans.
Such a full and fun day, every part of this day was so awesome. A marvellous day that will be remembered for a while!