I’m a fan of walking. I prefer, when traveling, to avoid local public transportation as much as possible — you miss entire worlds if you speed through as a passenger, or worse yet — as a driver. New York, however, is pretty big, and we were on a mission to get over to Brooklyn to check out Pratt and leave enough time for… well, for whatever. So we took the subway over to Brooklyn, and thought we might walk back from the Clinton-Washington subway station to Penn Station. Yes, we knew this would be a long way, but we were into it.
It was bitterly cold. Like “spring is still months away” cold. And we hadn’t really prepared for that. Pratt was, well, a little underwhelming. We decided to take a train to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, though, and walk at least from there to Penn Station.
We got on the wrong train, though, and ended up on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. So much for the bridge walk. We walked through SoHo, and got really cold. We started looking (somewhat desperately) for scarves on Broadway. We found a couple of overpriced, too-thin, decorative scarves at Urban Outfitters, but decided not to wait in line for an hour to pay so much for something that would only keep us moderately warm. Street vendors were selling food and ugly hats, but no scarves. What we needed was a mountain store. And there it was: Eastern Mountain Sports.
Still no scarves. Jenny found a hat, I found a bag. And then things got weird. “Jenny?” I heard. Then, “Oh my god!” We ran into one of the six or so people we know (including a couple we really only know of) who live in the city. Ran into one of Jenny’s college friends (who now works at EMS in Manhattan). I haven’t calculated the odds. Sometimes weird things happen.
After that, I found a $15 powder blue pashmina that I’ll probably never wear again, but I was happy. And we ate dinner at this great vegan Asian restaurant, Zen Palate, in Union Square — incredibly priced at about $10 a plate. Then my feet started to really hurt, and we were cold (despite new hats and scarves), so we succumbed to the subway temptation once again, and made our way back to Philadelphia.
It was a short trip, and I would love to spend a lot more time in New York at some point. I love the narrow streets, the incredible crowds, the international feel (I’ve never heard so many different accents — American and foreign alike — in my life). I like that it’s pretty walkable, but that you can fall back on the public transportation when you need to. While I know I have a romanticized idea of the place (see the future post — part IV or V on The Reading), it has some definite charm to it.