Saturday, June 20, 2015

New York, New York Day 5 - Chelsea, MEPA, Greenwich Village and Top of the Rock

On Day 5, we activated our three day New York Passes.  This means that for the next three days, we were flat out doing and seeing as many things as we could that were included in the price of the New York Pass.

First up was a walking tour of the High Line, Chelsea and the Meat Packing District with New York Tour 1.   We met our guide, Bobby, in front of the Chelsea Market.  The Chelsea Market is located inside an old Nabisco biscuit factory, and they have a lovely display of Nabisco memorabilia just inside the door (which appeals to an IP lawyer like me):

We arrived at the market early, so I was able to take a great shot of the interior hall of the Chelsea Market, replete with butterfly lanterns and fairy lights:

After Bobby allowed us a brief comfort and coffee break at the Market, we walked up onto the High Line to admire the view and hear about its history:

The High Line is a park built on a built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. It runs from Gansevoort Street  to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.  There are beautiful gardens as well as walking paths to navigate the length of the High Line:

From the High Line, Bobby discussed some of the sights, including a fancy hotel that is famous for its exhibitionist guests, and this hotel which had former Mafia associations:

He also showed us the ghostly ruins of Pier 54, where the Titanic survivors arrived back in New York and from where the ill-fated Lusitania departed:

We continued to walk the High Line until we exited at street level to visit the Gansevoort Market:

Unlike the Chelsea Market, which is has a mix of shops like a retail  shopping centre, the Gansevoort Market focusses solely on food.  I was pleased to see that they sold Darrell Lee liquorice, an Australian brand.
Bobby also showed us the  Hogs and Heifers Saloon, the pub on which the Coyote Ugly saloon is based:

From the High Line, you can see this cool street art:

and Milk Studios, a creative talent hub that Bobby informs us has new exhibitions every Thursday night:

That was the end of our walking tour, and Bobby suggested a few places for lunch.  One place that I wanted to try was Artichoke Pizza:

but it wasn't open yet!  Look at this cool mural on the side of Artichoke Pizza:

Tim and I wandered through the Meatpacking District until we found a likely lunch contender that was not too crowded (as we need to eat quickly so we could go to our next tour meeting spot).  We ended up at Stella's Pizza:

This was a hole in the wall pizza joint that sells pizza by the slice ($3). The guy serving was pretty gruff, so I quickly chose a slice of pepperoni pizza:

It tasted good, but was not quite what I had in mind for lunch.  The place was crowded with students also eating pizza, so we had to eat standing up.

Across the road from Stella's is a post office.  We needed some postcard stamps and thought it would be a good idea to pick some up there, as we had not seen an abundance of places selling stamps.  This was the oddest post office experience I have ever had.  It was lunchtime, but there were two staff working behind the desk.  At least, there were two ladies chatting to each other and pushing trolleys and paper around, but they weren't too interested in serving anyone in the post office.  I was determined to buy some stamps, so I held my nerve and waited ... and waited ... and waited.  Eventually, after 10 minutes or so, they decided to turn around and serve the people in the post office, and I got my stamps. 

Next stop was Greenwich Village.  We had a bit of time up our sleeves, so we went into a McDonalds to buy a drink and use the facilities.  This particular McDonalds seemed to have some pretty strict rules:

However, there was hardly anyone in the upstairs seating area and no-one came after us, so it was fine.

Our New Your Tour 1 guide for our Greenwich Village Walking Tour was Brigid, a sweet and bubbly actress from Florida.  Our first tour stop was at Washington Square Park, where Brigid showed us a very old tree, apparently well fertilised because the site used to be a graveyard:

Washington Square Park is dominated at one end by Washington Square Arch, designed by one Stanford White, who later became the victim of a crime of passion:

Washington Square Park had a distinctively festive air when we were there, as a large number of NYU graduates in their bright purple academic gowns were there with their families and friends for photos.

Here is the fountain in Washington Square Park - can you see what a lovely day it was:

There are all sorts of people doing all sorts of things in Washington Square Park.  We saw these gymnasts:

There was also a guy playing a piano and a ballerina, among others.

In the streets surrounding Washington Square Park are various properties belonging to NYU:

This one has a sad past, as Brigid informed us it formerly housed the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory, where over a hundred workers were killed in a fire:

Brigid continued to lead us through Greenwich Village, showing us the Provincetown Off-Broadway theatre (fact - off Broadway just means there are less than 500 seats in the theatre):

and the Comedy Cellar, where two ladies in our group were going that evening:

and Caffé Reggio, apparently the first café in the US to serve cappuccino coffees:

Café Wha? is a nearby live music venue where Brigid informed us that Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen started out.

Greenwich Village is also home to the legendary John's Bleecker Street Pizzeria:

Unfortunately we did not get to try the pizza, but it was good to find it.

Brigid then enlisted a woman in our group to try and recreate the Bob Dylan Freewheelin' album cover: 

How do you think they did:

Our next major stop was The Stonewall Inn, where a famous gay rights riot occurred in the 1960s:

Brigid also pointed out the Friends apartment block, which has a bookshop on the ground floor:

This doesn't look like much, but take a close look at the house number - it is number 75 1/2:

It is miniscule inside (we peeped in the window), and apparently Cary Grant lived there once.

Our tour finished outside a cigar shop, where the tiny Hess triangle remains as an everlasting protest to  compulsory acquisition by the government:

The Kerrigan family would approve!

We then went to the Prince Street subway especially so Tim could pose for this photo:

Sadly, the W line no longer exists.

For dinner that evening, we decided to stay close to "home" and we went to Johnny Utah's, a Southwestern BBQ restaurant:

The staff were very friendly there - they made us feel right at home.  When given the choice of sitting bull-side or not, we chose not.

We started our meal by sharing a plate of hush puppies - sweet corn, jalapeno, and corn fritters served with a spicy, southwestern style dipping sauce ($10):

These were tasty, but not exciting.

For main, Tim chose The Carolina burger - cheddar jack cheese blend, caramelized onions, and BBQ pulled pork on a toasted sesame seed bun ($15):

I chose the sweet teriyaki salmon with veggies and yellow rice ($22):

We both enjoyed our meals, and I was pleased to have lots of veggies.

In case you were wondering about the bull, it was a mechanical bull:

Punters could volunteer to ride the bull.  In the end, most people managed to stay on for the allotted time, including a girl.

For dessert, it was back to Magnolia Bakery, this time at the Rockefeller Centre.  We went for  red velvet and a German chocolate cake with coconut caramel pecan frosting:

After a brief pause, we headed out again to visit Top of the Rock, a 360 degree observation deck at the top of the Rockefeller Centre:

Stunning, isn't it.  See if you can spot the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.  However, it is very chilly and breezy up there - make sure you rug up!
On the way back to our hotel, I saw this poster advertising a show by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall:

It sounds interesting.  Is anyone you know going?

110 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
United States
Phone: +1 212-462-4444
25 W 51st St #3,
New York, NY 10019
United States
Phone: +1 212 265 8824


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I know some NYers who say "why ever leave NY" but as you've shown there is so much to see and do there! :D

Kari said...

Wow, you definitely did pack a lot in! I loved the high line when we were in NYC but haven't ever done a tour so I'm sure there are lots of things I missed learning about or spotting.

Pam said...

Looks and sounds like a great time, Gaye! Great pics of everything! I'd love to spend a few days there, so much to see and do. Bet the market was fun, the food all looks good, the Bob Dylan pretty close, and it would be great to see Tony and Lady Gaga! The walking tour is the way to go!

Johanna GGG said...

I love your travel posts that are so informative even if they make me a bit wistful to be there - your tours sounds great and really interesting. Have you seen the Llewelyn Davis movie (not sure of exact name) which is set in Greenwich village?

Kayte said...

I am always so amazed by all the things you see and do in a day of traveling goodness you are constantly on the move! It's fun to see the things you choose and think why you chose them and what memories you make visiting them in person, etc. I am always trying to think of a way to lure you here to central USA and I can't come up with near enough things that would keep you on the move like might be bored to tears and that would not be good! :-) Interesting choices at the BBQ place, all of it looked good, and my feelings on hushpuppies exactly...not a fan of those no matter how many variations I have taken a nibble of. You and the cupcakes, always a fun read to see what you was a chocolate day, sigh. lol Fun post, full of interesting facts and details. Let's see...if we can ever entice you to this area, I do have Liz Berg and Izzy to tempt you...she lives just minutes from me. :-)