November 3, 2022
The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, but we had some fun in NYC mixed with some meetings for Jinhee and are now moving the boat south.
We rented a car in Baltimore Sunday morning and drove North to NYC. As most of our friends know we travel on the roads quite a bit and this trip was interesting because I had never been on the NJ Turnpike before. The Turnpike takes you from about Wilmington, DE to (amongst other places) Jersey City, NJ. It was fast, protected and pretty much a straight line for 200km or so. The big surprise is that we decided to stop for lunch during the drive at a roadside service area and quickly changed our minds. A small bottle of Coke for $3.89, or a Burger King meal for $16 didn’t make the cut. Inflation is one thing but highway robbery is just that.
Of course one has to come to terms with differences in different parts of the world, and we expect things to be more expensive in NYC, but again, things were not that bad. We stayed at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square and found a few nice meals for a reasonable price. Jinhee was perhaps most pleased by the little Korean restaurant that we found in Korea Town.
We did a lot of walking. After one trip through Times Square, we did all we could to avoid it. Perhaps our favourite walk however was through Chelsea market and then returning northward along the High Line Trail. We had never heard of the trail before finding it on a ‘best tourist attractions’ list somewhere and it was very nice. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the city from the elevated, former rail line.
Halloween was in full swing on Monday and there were lots of people out in costumes throughout the day and into the evening. If either of us were a bit more thoughtful, we might have taken some photos because there were some very creative costumes.
At the same time, both US Thanksgiving and Christmas are starting to show up throughout the city already. The Knickerbocker Hotel is close to Bryant Park and the skating rink was already frozen and the park is surrounded by kiosks with all sorts of food and neat gifts to buy and many appeared to be handcrafted by artisans. Our shopping was limited to some Nespresso coffee at Macy’s, but we did spend an inordinate amount of time at jewelry counters.
We travelled to New York so that Jinhee could attend some meetings, and while she did so, I had a day to myself. On my day alone, I walked a lot, but also enjoyed the Morgan Library and Museum and their exhibits as well as taking a tour of the United Nations, all very close to the hotel.
The Morgan library was actually a bit of surprise. I read an article on NPR about Enheduhanna, the first known female author (circa 3500 BC) and I do love ancient history, so I had to go. Morgan Library and Museum was an interesting place, they had the exhibition on Enheduhanna, a nice bit on ‘The Little Prince’ (I have a Little Prince pen from Mont Blanc that I use all the time on the boat, so this was of particular interest.) and a few other nice exhibitions.
Perhaps the best of all was the book collection. A Gutenberg bible is on display and apparently there are four in the collection. As well there were hundreds of other historical texts. If I were patient, and could read anything but English, I could pour through a library like that forever.
Alas, looking at book bindings behind glass and cages is not all that appealing to me after the first few minutes so I made my way to the United Nations and signed up for a tour.
The UN has taken a lot of flack in the past 70 years but what a wonderful organization just the same. The tour was short (about an hour), but my group was able to see all of the chambers, including the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber. The guide was pretty sensitive in discussing the issues surrounding the war in Ukraine, poverty, and various other issues that the UN tackles. (Most notably, Human Rights and Sustainable Development are the focus, outside of ending conflict.)
Overall it was a nice visit to the Big Apple, but I am also glad it was short. We did make the drive back to the boat with stops at key places like Costco and Trader Joe’s before departing on Thursday morning. We are heading South to a warmer climate.