Day 19 [NYC] Surprise Surprise

NEW YORK IS FULL OF SURPRISES. Although some good, some may not be that merry. My first surprise of the day was when I walked Midtown, and it occurred in front of the Chrysler Building. Here a colorful polka-dotted cement mixer went whoosh-ing in front of me, making me appreciate the boldness and creativity of New Yorkers even more.

Just behind the New York Public Library is its own backyard, Bryant Park. This park hosts a stage that features cultural events throughout the summer. I knew that they have GMA morning concerts, but what surprised me is that today’s guest artist was Feist, one of my favorites, and I missed her performance by merely an hour.

Here at 47th Street, Diamond Row, you can see a whole street devoted to the selling of jewelleries and diamonds. So many stores displaying expensive jewelleries along the street, you feel the glitter and glamour just by walking through. But hey! Surprise surprise, are these the Emperor’s New Necklaces?

The Rockefeller Center established by a rich tycoon, John D. Rockefeller, and is now home to radio companies such as RKO, RCA and NBC. The center consists of so many buildings they all add up to seven million square feet of property. Being such a big attraction, I am surprise to notice a rare serenity in the hallway of its malls. Outside however, all the flags does bring some patriotic spirit to it. There’s a live newscast with transparent studio walls where we can watch the filming in action. Note here that the female broadcaster is wearing cute shorts, ain’t that funny?

Next up is a really beautiful St. Patrick’s cathedral. It may be filled with tourists, but still surprisingly quiet. It is New York’s most famous church and America’s largest cathedral. The halls of the cathedral are very spectacular, a must-see, especially for architectural lovers.

FOR LUNCH, I followed Let’s Go’s suggestion and found Kate’s Joint at Lower East Side. This place is very laid back, with soul music playing at the background and serving all things vegetarian! It is really hard to decide with such a big menu, varying from Italian food to Standard American fare. I eventually tried the Mock Popcorn Shrimp which was a great appetizer. The spices in it really made my gastric juices flowing! I ordered Vegan Shephard’s Pie with salad. Salad was typical, but the pie was amazing. The filling was perfect with mock meat pieces that tasted like chicken. The tomatoes used were really fresh and sweet and I enjoyed the mashed potato toppings. For a humble diner like this, I was surprised when the bill came up to $20! Food can be really pricey in New York and good food may not be affordable.

SURPRISES FOR YOUNGSTERS can be found in St. Mark’s Place. Other than cheap ethnic food, you can also find all sorts of tattoo parlors and cool crazy shops that offer a sense of curiosity and adventure all the time. Next on my surprise list is Strand Bookstore, the world’s largest used bookstore. Some of the cheap books go for $1 each and can be found up front lying around in trolleys outside the shop. I spent an hour browsing through the shelves of books and what surprises me is that among all 18 miles of books, I cannot find one that I would want to take home with me. The books are either too expensive or too uninteresting for my taste. I guess I am one hell of a picky consumer.

I will be going to Boston for the weekend and my bus leaves Chinatown, which is about one hour and thirty minutes from Flushing, at 6.30am. My homestay aunt does not feel comfortable with me leaving home that early and rushing to the station in the middle of the night. So, we decided that I should spend the night in Manhattan. Eugenie, the Tzu Ching that I met a couple of times, was kind enough to let me crash into her Midtown apartment, which is conveniently near Chinatown. And surprisingly, I came to know that her home is just blocks away from Rockefeller Center, meaning that I might have passed by her apartment this very morning. She and her brother were really good hosts, getting clean sheets for me, preparing breakfast and etc. I was surprised to find them awake the next morning at 5am when I was about to leave. They insisted on seeing me out which was really nice of them.

NEW YORK’S FULL OF SURPRISES, and I would be tremendously surprised if a day goes by without something eventful and memorable happening to me.

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