Archive for February, 2009

February 24th, 2009 dotted line

Impressions of Manhattan

  • Everyone jaywalks! Egregiously!
  • Public transportation is comprehensive, cheap and convenient. For a tourist, a 7-Day Unlimited MetCard costs $25, and is good for both the subway and buses. I had no problem getting taxis.
  • This has to be the center of the universe. Where else will you find speakers as distinguished and diverse as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Malcolm Gladwell, and Woody Allen, speaking at the local Y?
  • It’s a great town for well-heeled foodies, especially in the present economic downturn. It’s fairly easy to get tables now, and there are deals seemingly on everywhere, with Michelin-rated restaurants still offering their Restaurant Week specials from last month. Good guides include the New York Times’ dining section, and Zagat.
  • It’s a big city with busy people; but they are unfailingly civil, and often helpful. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting, but this was nice.
  • Everyone gives a hundred percent, and more. It seems that’s what it takes to make it, and you can smell it in the air.
  • Scarves are a prerequisite at this time of year.
  • Of the big four museums (MOMA, Met, Guggenheim, Natural History), I came away loving the MOMA (which has one of Monet‘s large scale water lilies). The Met is colossal – you could spend the entire morning looking at just its Impressionist collection (including impressive selections from Monet and Van Gogh). They have a selection of ukiyo-e prints from Hokusai (including the The Great Wave off Kanagawa) and Hiroshige.
  • Must-see museum for next time: The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, on the Museum Mile.
  • There are two sporting halls of fame if you fancy a drive – Baseball in Cooperstown, NY is impressively curated and reverently presented, and beats Basketball in Springfield, MA, which feels like a noisy mall in the ‘burbs.
  • Better than both is the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.

Manhattan from the air