I didn't have a chance to post yesterday (Friday, Sept. 09, 2011) because we headed out on the bus to NYC for a food tour.
I think we set a new bus land speed record as it only took us one hour and 50 minutes gate to gate.
Just enough time for my 'magic umbrella' to work. You see despite days of rain and Friday's NYC forecast for a 40% chance of thunderstorms, it was nothing but SUNSHINE by the time we arrived at the Port Authority Bus terminal. IT'S MAGIC I TELL YA. If I had not brought it I'd guarantee that it would have rained. It works that way for me nearly 100% of the time!
I have a few pictures and thoughts I'll share about the day.
We took 8th Avenue Subway from 42nd street down to 13th street. First thing I'd like to point out is, I cannot fathom how the MTA manages to lose money at $2.50 a pop. The 6 car subway trains are always standing room only coming and going every 5 or 10 minutes. Talk about magic, the MTA must sure know how to make money disappear.
As you exit the subway you have a really great view down the street of the new World Trade Center under construction.
We met our group a few blocks down at 89 MacDougal Street at the Caffè del Mare in the very heart of Greenwich Village.
Ours was one of the smaller groups. There were 10 of us. Normally she does one or two tours with 16 at a time. What I find interesting about these tours is more then just the gnashing of various food samples. It's the other people in the group.
One couple came from New Zealand and were visiting the U.S. over the past six weeks. Aside from fascination with their marvelous accents, I found it interesting that this couple's basement was flooded back in New Zealand while he was visiting the states. The couple's neighbor was doing his best to pump it out for him while they were away. They said here we are. We left a country where there was flooding and Earthquakes, then ironically they came here to some of the same. :-)
Another couple was from Vancouver, Canada. They said it was nice to be in NYC because it was cooler then home... SAY WHAT!
Like I said it turned out to be a really wonderful sunny day.
Washington Square Park
Like every project in NY, the park has been under renovation for over 6 years and counting.
This foundation has been a bone of contention because they moved it to align with the arch. The preservationist had issues. What's new!
Here are some of the eatries we visited on the tour..
* While the news media was belaboring on and on about 9/11 security fears, we saw none of that in the Village. Folks were pretty much going about their business as usual only a few blocks away from the WTC.
* As we toured I was totally unaware that a few blocks away, on Wall Street, stocks had taken to another big bite out of my 401k (again!)
It was so nice to be oblivious, at least for one day.
* After going into about 6 family owned restaurants I was left with the impression that what the Village considers irreplaceable distinctive historical character, Mayor Ed would consider them an eyesore and probably would want to create some sort of KOZ or NIZ and have the city tear them down.
* The village started out as mostly poor tenements. Today many of the buildings are extremely expensive and more desirable then some of those in upper Manhattan. Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sean Lennon make the village their home to name a few. Here are some of the more notable residents and entertainers that got their start in the village over the years (not shown but included Lady Ga Ga)..
* Food is very inexpensive for the most part. Most of the cheeses and pastas etc. are hand made on premises. There are maybe a handful of eateries around the Lehigh Valley that can even begin compare to the quality nor price. Now I know why NYC doesn't need "Super" markets. Why cook when food twice as delicious (w/o the mess) is available for probably less then you can make it at home? Nor do any "super markets" come close to the specialty shop ingredients available from these individual owners.
* While we can afford to visit and eat in the village, no way in hell could we afford to even begin to consider living there. It's New York's latest, greatest, most expensive, in-place place to live. Some have been moving from Upper Manhattan to the village. Here are Reality Listings For Greenwich Village. We're talking from about the mid $400,00's to 10's of million$.
* The movie & TV industry loves to shoot down there. There were two being filmed on Friday. I have no idea which one it was, but the wife and I were filmed for a crowd scene for one of them. Should I look for a check in the mail?
* Just like Manhattan, I find the streets to be far more friendlier and safer then those of our own in the Lehigh Valley. Am I just being naive?
* I highly recommend the "Foods Of New York Tours". For around $50 per person, I couldn't find the room to fit another bite and had to beg off all that was offered.
* The round trip bus tickets, subway, food tour, extra on drinks, tips and tour gratuity (optional) set me back a little over $200 for the two of us. I consider that very reasonable for a full days worth of eating and historical tour.
Video Courtesy "TurnHereFilms"