That Manhattan Magic

Posted by on December 22, 2011 at 12:07 am :: No Comments

New York City is iconic. Its images are so integrated into our pop culture that it’s next to impossible not to be wowed a bit the first time you make it to Manhattan. I have traveled to New York City five times now; Jason and I have spent a week of each of our last three Decembers in the Big Apple. So, for me, this colossal city has lost that mystical aura and become a more realistic, and less threatening, version of itself.

Yes, NYC doesn’t intimidate or dazzle me anymore. I no longer notice the bags of trash left piled up on the sidewalks that appalled me on my first visit, I still find the subways filthy but they don’t frighten me, I’m not surprised by just how little the sun makes an appearance between the stretching skyscrapers, and I know that crossing the street when the walk symbol isn’t lit is tantamount to asking a taxi driver for a Kevorkian favor.

Jason went to a Donald Trump book signing and met the hair itself. Jason's lack of senility and long locks must have singled him out because Trump chatted with him for much longer than anyone else and offered to take a photo with him.

NYC may be familiar but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fascinating place with a lot to offer any traveler. I guarantee that no matter how many times you visit this urban behemoth you won’t run out of things to do or see. On this trip Jason and I, as usual, never ceased to be entertained.

The Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center was a gorgeous building, retractable chandeliers and all.

We attended the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly. I had high expectations for this event but I didn’t anticipate the artistic masterpiece that we experienced. The opera was fantastically performed and touching. I came out of the theater with puffy eyes and a satisfied heart.

We walked along the East River before crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. It felt glorious to get a bit of unobstructed sun.

We saw Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. This musical apparently didn’t get much love from the critics but I liked it. The sets and stunts make it worth seeing even if the plot is a little weak.

The Guggenheim is currently featuring a Maurizio Cattelan exhibit. The artist decided that displaying his works in an organized manner didn't make sense so instead they were all hung from the ceiling like a mutant mobile. The result is six floors of mesmerizingly chaotic cascading art.

We contemplated art and architecture at the Guggenheim Museum as we wandered its confusing, but stunning, spirals and scattered galleries.

Zuccotti Park was tiny. The Occupy Wall Street protestors must have practically been occupying each other's laps.

We roamed the avenues of the financial district, charged Wall Street’s charging bull, and cried at the National September 11th Memorial. Actually, out of the two of us it was just me that cried over the remnants of the twin towers but I think I was in the company of quite a few other wet eyes.

The 9/11 Memorial was very moving and humbling. It was clear that all of its visitors felt a reverence for those hallow grounds. If you are planning on visiting this site I would recommend going after dark. The lighting adds to the serenity of the reflecting pools.

We strolled across the Brooklyn Bridge taking in the Manhattan skyline, Miss Liberty, and the streets of Brooklyn. This may not sound like a terrible thrilling activity but I would highly recommend it to any NYC tourist.

The whole time we were crossing the Brooklyn Bridge I couldn't get that Beastie Boys song out of my head. I guess there are worse things one could have looping around in their brain.

Since The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a favorite of ours we were thrilled to be part of its studio audience one evening. Jon was funny and fidgety and a whole lot smaller in person than I expected.

We had to wait a while out in the cold to get a seat in The Daily Show studio but it was definitely worth it.

And there is no going to NYC without going shopping; it is inconceivable. We shopped at all the supersized stores on 5th Avenue, and beyond, until our plentiful purchases made our suitcases practically unzipable.

While I know that I could never be a resident of NYC, I require more sun and space than that metropolis could ever offer, it is a fabulous place to visit. It may no longer seem like a magical movie set to me but as long as those retail goliaths and cultural showcases remain I am good to go.

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