I initially went into yesterday with a vague plan for what things I wanted to do. However, the more I strayed from it and just followed my eyes, the more fun my day was.
I started off by taking to the train to Fulton Street. Though I had gone there before, I’d never taken the time to appreciate the station from across the street; it’s modern and clean lines. I then decided, rather than to continue on my way to the same areas I always go, to explore the financial district.
There is nothing inherently cool about the financial district. Apart from the fame of Wall Street, what it is and what it represents, there is basically not very many reasons a tourist would go there. It is where New York conducts its business. However, I decided to explore. I made my way down Fulton Street and took a right onto Williams. It lead me to this dense area with all these nooks and crannies that were packed with these really cool looking bars.
Then, like a dog spotting a squirrel in his peripheral vision, I saw a rare sight off in the distance. A Checker Cab, the epitome of a New York Taxi, was taking a right turn a block or two away. Trying to predict his next move, I thought I would cut him off at the pass and thus I too took my next right. However, making my way up whatever street it was, there was no sight of him.
Then, after all hope had been lost, he popped out and was making his way across my field of vision. I was able to get off the shot seen above. If I’d been a little more confident in my guess of what street he was gonna take, I would have hustled a bit more to the intersection and had my camera ready. Maybe I would have even tried to flag him down like I was a fair just to stop him for a photo and to maybe ask him some questions. Oh, well.
Though this side-excursion had taken me off the course I was originally on, it lead me to another unexpected find, the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry. Again this is not something inherently exciting; I probably will never need to take it. However, I had seen it before on Girls (HBO) and now I was seeing it in person.
After a few pictures I made my way around an area I’d been to before (where the helicopter tours take off), before heading back to more of what I really wanted to see. I went back to Pearl Street and explored the area between that and South Williams Street. Again this was the area with the cool little bars. It was so compact and the roads were cobblestone, it reminded me of the North End in Boston.
I then continued to make my way around the Financial District eventually running into the New York Stock Exchange building. I continued out to Broadway where I accidentally found the famed Charging Bull statue. If I’d been looking for it, it would have taken me twice as long to find. This wandering thing really seems to work in my favor. It seems the less I try, the less effort I put in, the less planning I do, the more I get out my day.
Thus, I continued to let curiosity be my guide as I made my way to a pedestrian bridge that led from Greenwich Street to Washington Street, passing over the entrance to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (the tunnel apparently pops out in Red Hook Brooklyn). I did a bit of wandering around that area before making my way up Broadway. The end goal I was aiming for was One World Trade Center, ie. The Freedom Tower.
As I made my way North however, I began to recognize where I was. Approaching the Wall Street station, I had a sudden flashback to 2011, my first NY Adventure on my own. I had met up with my friend Katie and for whatever reason the train we needed to take wasn’t running and thus we ended up at Wall Street.
While trying to find our way back to where we wanted to be, I snapped this picture before continuing up Broadway and happening upon the “Occupy” movement. Ever since getting here at the beginning of the year I had been trying to remember where that building -the Equitable Building- was and now suddenly, it was right in front of me. Again, my lack of having a plan had benefitted me.
Moving on, I made my way to The Freedom Tower. It was not due to an interest in visiting Ground Zero, but merely because I wanted to see the building up close. After a quick picture I continued north on West Street towards a bridge that crossed over it. I specifically crossed to the other side of the street just so that I could cross back using the bridge. Before I did however, I snapped the following photo of said bridge with the Freedom Tower in the background.
After taking the picture I made my way across the bridge. Once on the other side I took a quick stroll through Washington Market Park before making my way up Greenwich Street. I walked through Tribeca and crossed over to Hudson Street and passed the traffic entering the Holland Tunnel. Shortly after this I realized I was right across the street from Classic Car Club. I walked in and admired the collection for a bit before continuing on my excursion.
A sign (literal, not figurative) on Spring Street invited me back to Greenwich Street. I recognized it from when Pete and I came to the city for the Justice concert. As I made my way north on Greenwich, I recognized where I was. Once again I had found a place I was trying to find without going out of my way to find it. It was as if it came to me. The place is of no real consequence, just a location where pete had taken a picture of an old GTO, but still, I was glad to have found it.
Continuing up Greenwich Street I eventually found myself in a quaint and quiet area of the city. It felt upscale and more neighborhood-ey than the rest of Manhattan. I soon realized I was in The West Village. I can see why it gets so much love, it’s really nice. As I made my way East towards 6th Ave, I ran into yet another things I was subconsciously looking for… Gay Street. I knew it existed but never looked it up or actively sought it out. This was just one more example of unplanned happiness.
Eventually I made my way to 6th and to my destination, Murray’s Bagels. I had passed it the other day and was planning on saving it for when my fam comes to visit, but after seeing Steve’s bagel sandwich earlier in the morning I was in a bagel sandwich mood. I was hungry and I knew it was in the area so I went. The one I got was really good and fueled me up for the last part of my excursion.
For the last leg, I made my way over to 1st Ave. Along the way I passed Union Square to find they were filming something for a feature, that was pretty cool. While walking down 1st I realized I wanted to be one block over on Avenue A. The change allowed me to pass Sidewalk bar (yet another happenstance). I had heard about it and keep meaning to go to their Monday night open mic but have yet to do so. At least now I know where it is.
Continuing down Avenue A I eventually made my way to Houston, the cross street that divides A from Essex Street. Continuing on Essex I got to my second to last destination, Beauty and Essex. I had heard about B&E thanks to my sister who had sent me a Buzzfeed list a couple of years ago about “secret storefronts” in NY. This one is a pawn shop that doubles as a speakeasy. I quickly checked out the pawn shop (I wasn’t in the mood to go to the speakeasy, plus it was too early in the evening, plus I’d want to check it out with friends) before continuing to my last stop.
I continued down Essex and walked to nearby Norfolk Street. Right near the end, before you hit Delancey, is a downstairs entrance to the “Lower East Side Toy Company.” This is actually just another speakeasy from the aforementioned list. Again, I didn’t go in (again, I want to check it out with friends) I just wanted to finally see where it was. After a long day and a lot of walking, I hopped on the train and headed back to the apartment.
In total I estimate I walked anywhere from 6 and 10 miles. If I had to take away anything from my yesterday, it is to plan less. (You have to have a bit of a plan because without one you wander around aimlessly). Maybe have a rough idea of what you want to do, but don’t necessarily plan every detail. The fun and pleasure you gain is gained from the adventure and happy accidents you make.
Later in the evening I met up with Greg and some other FSU alum at Bizarre Bar in Bushwick for some drinks and dancing.