The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Visiting Manhattan



 I did have an opportunity to visit Manhattan a few years ago, had no idea what to expect, will never forget the wonderful experience!--Gail M Baugniet - Author




The Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Visiting Manhattan

        After reading some of my Manhattan themed  A to Z posts some of you might be a bit more interested in visiting the island city of the New York Metropolitan Area.   Many of you indicated your desire to do so in comments made in my original post that asked "What Does Manhattan Say to You?".   In this current post I'll be presenting some of what a few of you said on the topic of "visiting Manhattan".

         From Patricia Stoltey there was this thought:  

        When I hear "Manhattan," I think of NYC in the fall of 1984 when I was there for computer software training. I had never been to NYC before, and I had a little time off from work, so I went to the top of one of the World Trade Center towers. I will never forget that day, and I will probably never go up in a building that tall again.

         I never made it to the top of the World Trade Center myself, but sure wish I could have had that experience.  Patricia, you experienced a bit of history so at least you have that memory.

         Ruth from Welcome to Me recollected:

         I have never been there. I do remember my dad talking about going through there when he was in the army. He was going to West Germany and in the 60's they took a truck to New York and got on a boat to go over there. He said it was dirty and smelled. Garbage laying all over.

        Ruth, my dad never talked about going to Manhattan although a few years ago--over 20 years after his death--I found an old photo of him and some buddies on a night out in NYC, a story to which I referred in my post Drinking and Manhattan.   Maybe your dad had the unfortunate circumstance of being in Manhattan during one of their infamous garbage strikes.  Then again maybe it was just the times and the places they were in.

        A frequent visitor to my blog who does not have a blog himself  but comments under the blog handle of  Sheboyganboy VI told his own interesting Manhattan story: 

       What comes to mind first is the borough of New York City. Not the drink, since I don't drink! I've been to Manhattan twice, once earlier this year for a touristy visit that included restaurants, jazz clubs down in Greenwich Village, Central Park, and the Metropolitan opera. The music was great... the glitz and crowds, not so much.

      But I'd say what comes to my memories first is my 1st trip there in 1974 when I was 19 years old. Four girls, my room mate and I made a cross-country trip from San Diego to Boston and back, which included a one-day jaunt into Manhattan. By the time we got to NYC we had picked up another girl, also. We had two vehicles: a 1968 VW Beetle, and my dad's propane powered pickup truck. As we were heading for the Holland Tunnel we saw a sign that said propane bottles were not allowed in the tunnel. Since I was carrying 200 gallons (!!!) of propane, we had to park the truck on a side street and ALL SEVEN of us piled into the VW and made the trip thru the tunnel for an afternoon of visiting Manhattan. The only person without a girl on their lap was the driver! It was a "trip," man!

      That sounds like a "hippie excursion". What a memory!  Those were the days my friend. 

       Bish Denham provided her own story from back in the day:

     When I think of Manhattan I almost immediately remember the time I spent there in the summer of 1967. For a teenager from a tiny island, it was awesome. Went to the Empire State Building, the Cloisters, Lincoln Center, took the ferry to Staten Island, drank "virgin" drinks at Cafe Wha? and listened to a band - who knows who? Friends and I stood on a street corner, stared up and pointed until we had a crowd around. Ate at my first Greek restaurant. Saw an off Broadway show about Jelly Roll Morton.

      It was noisy and dirty and the smog was so thick that from the top of Empire State Building the streets below were almost invisible. I have pictures.

      It was the time of my life. Except for one brief overnight on my way to somewhere else, I've never been back. Though if I had the opportunity/money, I just might.

       What a fantastic memory, Bish. I can imagine how exciting it must have been for you to have spent a summer there as a teen. Manhattan has a lure, but it can be an expensive destination.  I hope you can return one day.

One More Before We Go...

        Finally, from the blog Forty, c'est Fantastique ! with the author's permission I'm reprinting here the blog post she wrote in response to my Manhattan question.  It's too good not to include here. 

New York, New York !


Ah, New York…IMG_4282
One glimpse of this skyline, photo taken from Central Park, and anyone will know where you are. Hundreds of songs have been written about this city, hundreds of movies made there, millions of people have walked its streets, and been captured by its sense of adventure. It is the original “melting pot” where so many cultures can be found in one place.

It is the city that represents the US to the people of most other countries…tell anyone in a different country that you are from the US and they’ll say, “Oh! You know New York!”  Up until a few weeks ago I’d have said, “No. I’ve never been there.” But now, I can say I have been there. There there, and not just “Airport” there. My husband and I visited Manhattan. One and a half days there, and he is wondering if we could move there. Who knows? Tout est possible!  But no, I’m not packing up just yet:-)

I mentioned already in a previous post that we saw a Broadway Musical that weekend, with the aid of the beloved “Two-fer” tickets. This post is kind of a “Two-fer” too, in fact it is almost a “Three-fer” because it fits in with both the Thursday and Friday versions of  The Bee’s “Love is in da Blog.”  For “Traveling Thursday” it is a place I think I am falling in love with. For Friday, it is a “Blog Love.” I really have a hard time choosing a “favorite blog!”  So I’m not going to say this is my favorite, just that it isa favorite, and the one that is on my mind tonight.  So, because I am sort of writing this in response to a question that Arlee Bird asked on his blog “Tossing It Out” — namely, “What Does Manhattan Say to You?” my “Blog love” is going out to Arlee this week. For those of you who don’t know, he is the mastermind behind the “A to Z April Challenge” which really got Forty, C’est Fantastique  off the ground. I’m gearing up for my 3rd time doing this challenge in 2016! Arlee “Tosses Out” all kinds of interesting topics on his blog! I don’t always get involved, but I do read silently from my email box, and when a topic strikes a chord with me I just jump in! I love that Arlee really engages in conversation with his readers who comment. He’s thoughtful. He loves music and hosts a “BoTB” post on his site. I really don’t know how he does all of it. In any case, I highly recommend making a trip to his site to see what he “tosses out.”

So to answer his question (and I hope it isn’t too late!)
What does Manhattan say to me?
After a long flight, we walked, wide-eyed, out of the airport, searching for the metro, or a bus, some way to reach Manhattan. After a short search, we found ourselves on a bus, where we were able to figure out, with the help of a native New Yorker, the system by which one buys a Metro card and uses it to get a little ticket for the bus, which no longer accepts cash. You have to get a metro card and then use that at a kiosk to get a ticket. The lady in question did not have enough money on her Metro card for the ticket, and since the bus driver didn’t take cash, she gave us cash and we ran to a kiosk at the next stop and used our brand new metro card to get her a ticket. Then she told us some cool things to do and see in the city, and I have stashed that advice away for next time we go, because with just a day and a half we really had to choose one or two things. We rode the bus until the end of its line and then switched to the train. I’m not sure that was the most efficient, but we did end up at Times Square, which was just a couple blocks from our hotel.
We got off the train and said, “Hello, Manhattan.”  Manhattan said “Hello! You’re going to have a fabulous time.”  The lady at the hotel desk sang the word, “fabulous.”  She said, I can find you a fabulous restaurant, and she did! We had a very nice seafood dinner, not too far away from the hotel, and we walked around Times Square and gawked at the lights. Funny thing, but Manhattan does say to me that it is somehow okay to be a “tourist” there. It’s okay to stop and gawk at the skyscrapers whilst the real New Yorkers walk around you like water flows around pebbles in a stream.  It’s a much different feeling than say, San Francisco or Paris or Dublin. In those cities, I felt a desire to “blend in” and hide my tourist status. In Manhattan, I didn’t find that to be necessary, even when we encroached upon a somewhat more “local” bagel shop. There was a pleasant mix there of locals and tourists. And the bagel was fantastic. They say it’s the water. You think?
New York is elegant and refined, but at the same time it is loud and gaudy. It is Prada and Louis Vuitton, and it is also tourist shops. It is classic high-heeled pumps, but yet it is also brightly colored Converse. And “puffy down jackets.” Lots of puffy down jackets. I’m glad that at least our jackets fit in a little bit:-)  I’m not really sure why this is a trend all of a sudden. Marty McFly would be proud. IMG_4257

We went walking around Times Square on a Friday night, and a couple asked us to take their picture. Then, they offered to take one of us. Why not? They asked where we were from, and we told them, then asked them the same question. They told us they were locals, just out for a date night while their kids were with family. Isn’t that great? To go to one of the most touristy places in your own city just for fun? They looked really happy, too.
So what did we ask Manhattan? We asked it to show us some of its glamour and some of its traditions. It happily complied, and we came home happy, having seen the “Home Alone 2” Christmas tree, the skaters at Central Park, horse-drawn carriages, beautiful homes that we could never even dream of living in, Times Square, and a Broadway Musical. We ate NY bagels, NY pizza, and NY cheesecake. My husband even had one of those hotdogs from a street vendor. We rode a bus and a subway, and we rode in a NY cab. We looked in the windows of some designer stores that we didn’t dare set a foot into. We truly began to understand the French expression lèche-vitrines, which literally translates as “licking the windows” but really just means “window shopping.” Somehow the French expression is more descriptive! We walked (according to FitBit) eleven miles. It was glorious. So in the end, what did Manhattan say to me? It said, “Come back soon!”  I can hardly wait!

https://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/new-york-new-york/


         Do you have a story to tell about your own Manhattan visit?   Are you planning a Manhattan visit anytime soon?   What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about visiting Manhattan?


45 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments and especially the blog post at Forty, c'est Fantastique!
    A visit to Manhattan just leaves one with good memories. Having been there a few times, I know. But it was so long ago that my memory is starting to fog up a bit. It's time for me to make another trip back there. Your series on Manhattan is making me want to go more and more Lee!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, if you go to Manhattan be sure to blog about it--as though you wouldn't :).

      Lee

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  2. When I went to New York a few years ago it was a wonderful experience, We of course went to Manhatten and also went to Central Park, The visit to "Ground Zero" will always remain in my mind , it was very humhling to say the least and to remember all those who perished on that unforgettable day.09/011/2001.
    Wonderful post as always Lee.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I still need to go to "Ground Zero" one day.

      Lee

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  3. I have never visited Manhattan but reading these stories definitely makes me want to. I especially enjoyed the story about Sheboyganboy VI's cross country trip. Sounds like the kind of stuff movies are made of.

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    1. Quanie, the story from SB6 was indeed fun. It brought back memories of some of my own crazy days of youth.

      Lee

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  4. I've still never been to Manhattan, perhaps I would like to visit some time. I've always been worried though, about getting mugged there, or having so many people as to be hard to get about. I'm sure those thoughts are exaggerated, but they still concern. As I usually travel alone, I will certainly have to plan far in advance and make sure I am bringing a lot of money with me. Again, being worried about pick-pocket and such.
    Feel free to give me some reassurance. :)

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    1. Jeffrey, if you go and don't want to get mugged, use the same precautions as you would in most any big city: Be aware of your surroundings, stay in areas where there are people. avoid dark lonely streets if you're by yourself, and other such common sense tactics. If you're carrying a lot of cash keep it in a safe place like a money belt or something of that nature. I mostly use credit cards so I don't have to carry too much cash. Plan wisely and go. If you do it right, you won't regret it.

      Lee

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  5. Visiting New York is more than visiting most other cities. It is an epic experience; a barrage on the senses.

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    1. Pop Tart, I would agree with that assessment.

      Lee

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  6. I lived in NY and still, every time I go back, I feel like there's still so much to see. I miss a lot of things about NY, but mostly the people.

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    1. Em, I find that to be true with so many big cities. Here where I live in Los Angeles, I need to start doing more because there is so much to see and do that I'll never accomplish it all. And in some cases the things disappear for one reason or another which means I'll never see them in person. I've known some pretty cool people in New York.

      Lee

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  7. I only ever went to NYC on day trips. My parents took me in 1978, and we saw the Rockettes at Radio City. My dad took me to the top of the Empire State Bldg and we browsed FAO Schwartz & St. Patrick's and ate in the restaurant at Rockefeller Center. I went again for the day with my cousin in Feb of 1988, and then I went on my own in the spring of 88 and met up with my aunt, uncle and cousin at NBC to attend the Phil Donahue Show in the audience. Then my friend Holly & I took the train down for a Grateful Dead show at Madison Square Garden in Sept of 88. We spent the day in Greenwich Village. My last time was May of 2004 when my mom and I went to Ellis Island. I really have no desire to go back.

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    1. JoJo, you did mostly the same kinds of things that I did though once in 1978 I did go club hopping with some friends who lived there. Don't remember much of that night though. Maybe one day you'll be inspired to return, but those things aren't for everybody either.

      Lee

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  8. Lots of wonderful memories of visits to Manhattan! Thanks for the inclusion, Alee.

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    1. Bish, thank you for relating your story. It was a great addition to this post.

      Lee

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  9. Oh how I want to go to Manhattan. But when? Not soon, I'm afraid. If I went I'd spend most of my time in galleries and museums, some of my time eating on the street and in fancy joints, and a bit of my time in nightclubs listening to jazz. Yes! And I'd visit the places I've only heard about, read about, or dreamed about. I'd take Manhattan and make it mine! King Kong ain't got nothing on me.

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    1. Jan, you've named a lot of reasons for you to go. Plan the trip--you can make it happen.

      Lee

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  10. Your blog certainly makes me want to visit. If I go back I want to see more of the sights.

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    1. Mike, me too! I need a lot more museum time as well as more pizza slices.

      Lee

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  11. Never been. My brother has visited on several occasions and loves it. He has even spent a couple of New Years there. I'd better not share his drunken stories :):)

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    1. Nicola, I think I'd rather avoid Manhattan on New Years Eve. Now that sounds like too many people and too much craziness.

      Lee

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  12. I use Manhattan as a setting. I'd love to live there and open the Tremp Tower, a hotel for the rich and famous.

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    1. Stephen Tremp, Great plan--competing tower with Trump. If you can afford a tower you can afford to live in Manhattan with style. That's the way I'd want to live there.

      Lee

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  13. I've been so many times I've lost count. I'd love to go again but money is a bit tight right now. I always make sure I catch a Broadway show when I'm there.

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    1. Sarah, traveling can often be expensive, especially to a big city like Manhattan. If you have someone you can stay with it's a big help. The shows definitely aren't cheap unless you manage to score specially priced tickets.

      Lee

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  14. Thanks for the re-post, Arlee, I'm truly honored! I can't believe A to Z is almost over! I feel as though I've been visiting Manhattan all month here on your blog (and thanks for helping me figure out how to post comments :-) I'm all set for the A to Z road trip now!!

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    1. Jetgirl, April did seem to fly by! Your post was wonderful and very fitting for inclusion on my post today. Thank you!

      Lee

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  15. I haven't been to NYC but would like to spend a few days there. Maybe someday? There always seems to be a story to tell by the folks that do visit.

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    1. Patricia, don't let that someday get away from you! You should have your own stories to tell.

      Lee

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  16. I enjoyed reading this post. Parts of it left me a bit breathless. :)

    I don't have any immediate plans to ever go to Manhattan. Maybe some day I'll go to the more rural areas of New York (David's ancestors are from there), but not the city. Houston's bad enough. I just can't fathom going to Manhattan. :)

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    1. Suzanne, New York state does have some wonderful rural areas especially up north and in the mountains. So much to see in the state.

      Lee

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  17. Hi Lee -

    I am traveling again in the Midwest and have not had a chance to catch up on your posts lately... but I'm really glad I did tonight!

    Thanks for including my little story about my trip to Manhattan at age 19. I'm pleased that you thought enough of it that you added it to your blog bit.

    That really was a cool trip, with adventures all across the U.S. The whole thing lasted a month. When my dad said I could borrow his almost new pickup with a canopy on it, none of us thought about how many miles I'd be adding. When it came back with 12,000 more miles on it than when it left, he was pretty sad!

    We almost had a couple of serious situations. The VW had car trouble on a Saturday night in a tiny town in northern NM, and the local Sheriff was MOST annoyed that we got stranded in his town. He said trouble was brewing and we'd best stay at his office. So I slept on gravel under the truck in the parking lot at his office, while the girls got the bed in the canopy and also the front seat. During the night we heard machine gun fire off in the distance... so there WAS trouble. Next morning (Sunday) we pounded on the door of the guy that owned the single auto parts store in town and he opened up long enough to sell us some part for the VW that got it going again. We hoofed it outta there. We'd had enough of the trip by then and so I personally drove 34 hours straight till we got home.

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    1. SBB6, what a story! Did you ever find out what the trouble was? Machine gun fire sounds pretty serious.

      It can be easy to rack up the miles on a meandering road trip. I did it often. Those adventures of youth when time seemed plentiful and caution was thrown to the wind were some of the best. I do more meticulous planning when I travel now. No more throwing darts at a map or just following a road because it seems interesting.

      Lee

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  18. Since we left right away we never heard exactly what happened, but he gave us a clue. The day before when he found us stalled on the side of the road just outside town, he got out of his vehicle carrying an Uzi (Israeli submachine gun). He said that Mexican gangs were having some big fight and that "trouble was brewing." I always guessed that HE was the machine gun sound... since we'd seen him carrying one. But maybe it was the gangs? And I remembered this morning that the town was San Luis, CO... not NM, but just above the NM border. Long time ago, now!

    You are right about the carefree meandering possible in youth. Ah, those fun days! I hope in retirement to gain that back again, but not yet. Every move is still heavily planned. If it were not, we would not get all the stuff done we cram into a trip.

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    1. Six, I didn't realize that the Mexican gangs were a problem that far back--I had thought it mostly arouse in the 80's, but it makes sense because there were a lot of drugs coming up from Mexico in the 60's and 70's.

      Lee

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    2. I do wish to single out one racial group about gangs... I think that group criminal behavior is found in all groups. But there were Mexican gangs going way back. My dad told me of lots of trouble with Mexican gangs growing up in Montebello in the 1920's and 30's. I am not sure what the trouble was with the group on my trip in '74, but I always believed it was two rival groups duking it out in some fashion. But that machine gun fire was real. I am quite familiar with firearms, and there is no question what I heard.

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    3. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT!!! What a rotten typo to make! Sorry Lee, everyone!

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    4. SBB6, I read "not" without you even mentioning the typo. I knew what you were saying. And I worded my comment wrong as I was aware of the Mexican gang activity reaching way back. I think maybe there was some connection to the Zoot Suit Riots and Mexican gangs at the time. At least the gangs back then were more fashionable with their zoot suits than gangs these days, but so were the gangsters like you see in the old movies back in the day.

      Even Asian gangs go way back. I've seen them depicted in silent film. Then there are the Irish Gangs as depicted in Gangs of New York.

      Criminal activity connected with ethnicity has always been around I guess but not seen like we think of it today. Like I was thinking of the drug cartels when I expressed my surprise at what might have been the case in your experience. Not that there weren't Mexican criminal organizations back then, I was just thinking of them from a different perspective. But you are correct.

      Lee

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  19. I remember not seeing any grass except inCentral Park. I remembered being underwhelmed at Times Square since we have a bigger st in Toronto but when night hit, it blew me away. The flash in the camera didn't go off. Loved the museums and the walking experience

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    1. Birgit, it's hard to plant grass in a city like Manhattan with so much concrete. I guess Times Square is as glitzy as Las Vegas.

      Lee

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  20. I love Manhattan! Back in '09 I got to spend 3 months there while consulting at a hospital in Harlem. Every night I ate at a different restaurant, sometimes walking great lengths, sometimes taking subways or cabs. I had a blast... if only my time at the hospital had been half as fun it might have been one of the best gigs I'd ever had. :-)

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    1. Mitch, I guess we have to work to pay for the play.

      Lee

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  21. Lee, I wish I had a story to share, but I don't. The collection you've gathered from your readers are interesting and gave me a taste of Manhattan. Maybe, one day I say I've been there. Love the post with all the contributions from others.

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    1. Cathy, Thanks for coming back to visit. There were some great contributions from the readers.

      Lee

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