Days in New York: Midtown and a Detour to World Trade One

To realise that we stood by the windows overlooking Manhattan took my breath away.

Times Square

We woke up feeling better than yesterday and with a clear blue sky over Manhattan. It seemed the perfect day to visit World Trade One after we’d dropped it during our first weekend because of a grey and cloudy sky.

World Trade One
World Trade One

Our original plan was to see Midtown with Times Square and 5th Avenue as central attractions. But while visiting Manhattan for the first time requires a visit to Midtown simply to cross it off the list, it was never a real priority in my eyes. Thus, it felt the perfect time to take a detour south visiting the observatory of Freedom Tower.

Buildings next to 9/11 Memorial Park
Buildings next to 9/11 Memorial Park

When we arrived I was dying from hunger and instead of making our way to Freedom Tower immediately, we headed off towards Brookefield Place across the road for a quick coffee and pastry.

North Cove Yacht Harbor
North Cove Yacht Harbor

After shopping in one or two of the fancy bakeries, we sat down at the large glass windows overlooking North Cove Yacht Harbor and the Hudson River.

The Sisyphean job of cleaning the windows of World Trade One
The Sisyphean job of cleaning the windows of World Trade One

Knowing that we’d have to spent the day in between some of the most recognisable skyscrapers of the world all day, it was fantastic to enjoy the view and a quick tour outside for a slight breeze.

View over Manhattan
View over Manhattan
One World Observatory

When we returned to One World Trade Center a small line had grown, but fortunately we managed to pass through quickly ending up in an elevator which during the 47 second travel time reached 1,268ft (386.5 m) while showing us a time lapse of Manhattan from 1500 AD to now.

I found this one on YouTube, but it can’t really measure with the real thing:

Once we reached floor 102 we were shown a short presentational video on a long and 3D canvas. As the final touch the movie screen open up to the outside view.

View towards Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
View towards Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Up until then I had no orientation and felt as if we were hiding in the dark shadows of a presentational hall in the centre of the building. To realise that we stood by the windows overlooking Manhattan took my breath away.

NYPD in the air over Manhattan
NYPD in the air over Manhattan

Reaching the observatory deck, we spent an hour or more enjoying the blue sky over Manhattan. My favourite part was looking north towards Midtown and Central Park with the bridges to the right crossing over to Brooklyn. Such an iconic view.

View towards East River
View towards East River
Midtown

We started at Herald Square taking a slow walk down 7th Avenue and Korean Town passing Empire State Building as we turned on to 5th. At 37th street we crossed to Broadway slowly making our way to Times Square.

Hot dog and pretzel stand at Herald Square
Hot dog and pretzel stand at Herald Square
Saxophonist playing on Herald Square
Saxophonist playing on Herald Square
Young Orthodox Jews
Young Orthodox Jews
Fast food stand in Midtown
Fast food stand in Midtown
7th Avenue outside Madison Square Garden
7th Avenue outside Madison Square Garden
7th Avenue
7th Avenue
Starbucks and Church of Saint Francis de Assisi on W 31st Street
Starbucks and Church of Saint Francis de Assisi on W 31st Street
Koreatown

However, we decided to make one more detour of the day crossing into Koreatown which lies on East 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. It is a nice little place though I imagine that with more time, we would have gained more from our visit.

Chefs at Mandoo Bar in Koreatown
Chefs at Mandoo Bar in Koreatown

The Korean enclave is a relatively new phenomenon as it started in the 1980’s with the opening of a Korean book store and a few restaurants. Today the area holds more than a 100 shops and eateries and is a centre for the Korean community in the US.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

I absolutely love the idea that even in modern times it is possible for small and culturally interesting enclaves to pop up in this massive metropolis and that they are offered some sort of recognition in the official nickname of this section of 32nd Street as Korea Way. It shows how this city continues to develop not only from the high-rises, but also from the multi-ethnic groups which call it their home.

Minnie Mouse times two
Minnie Mouse times two
Times Square

As we moved closer to the epicentre of Manhattan tourism more and more cartoon dressed people started to show up. I knew there had been a Comic Con in New York from the 6th to the 9th of October , but all these dressed up people didn’t really fit the profile. Most of those I saw without their Iron Man or Goofy head on were short Mexicans.

Minnie Mouse and Minions on a short break
Minnie Mouse and Minions on a short break

They intermingled with the tourists getting money for pictures. I must admit that I myself fell for a photo with Iron Man mostly because it seemed the thing to do as we neared Times Square.

With Iron Man and Spiderman
With Iron Man and Spiderman

It seemed so similar to the young men with Middle Eastern and North African roots who sell small metal Eiffel Towers in Paris for 1€ at every major tourist attraction.

Statue of Liberty texting
Statue of Liberty texting

Here however, they were standing out in their cartoon customs moving about the tourists or off to the side in groups taking a break. It seemed so sad in my eyes and made me even more reluctant to hang around Times Square.

Dallas BBQ and other neon light advertisements
Dallas BBQ and other neon light advertisements

But we were getting hungry and before we knew it we were finding our way to a massive amount of mediocre American food at Dallas BBQ on West 42nd Street.

NYPD on 43rd Street and Times Square
NYPD on 43rd Street and Times Square

While the food was as all such chain restaurants can offer – nothing special – I did get a massive virgin Piña Colada which gave me an extensive brain freeze. I am still in shock regarding the portion and drink sizes in the US and it is not difficult to comprehend how the country has such major issues with obesity. I must have gain five kilos from just walking in the door at Dallas BBQ.

Times Square and W 44th Street
Times Square and W 44th Street

Once again moving towards Times Square I was surprised at how small it felt and how excessively dirty. Before leaving for the US we’d watched an episode of ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’ about New York City in which he contemplated on how Times Square had turned into an amusement park far detached from the everyday New Yorker.

Looking south from Times Square and W 44th Street
Looking south from Times Square and W 44th Street

Standing here crushed by tourist masses and Mexicans dressed up like cartoon characters with massive stores for Disney and M&M, I could only agree.

Duffy Square - the northern triangle of Time Squares
Duffy Square – the northern triangle of Time Squares
Ads on Times Square between W 46th and W 47th
Ads on Times Square between W 46th and W 47th

View from Times Square up Broadway
View from Times Square up Broadway

However, we were tourists ourselves and I’ve never claimed not to be a hypocrite in some sense of the word and before long we were enjoying the wonders of the Disney Store considering whether or not to by a BB-8 or R2-D2. A discussion we’d also had while in Tokyo. Disney Stores just bring out that inner child. We’ll probably have the same discussion the next time we see a Disney Store.

Leaving behind the masses at Times Square we made it up Broadway to 57th street and on towards 5th Avenue and Trump Tower. With absolutely no interest in standing around that place, we moved on to 53rd street and the Museum of Modern Art.

Broadway north of Times Square
Broadway north of Times Square
Broadway north of Times Square
Broadway north of Times Square
Broadway north of Times Square
Broadway north of Times Square
Louis Vuitton on 5th Avenue
Louis Vuitton on 5th Avenue
Trump Tower
Trump Tower
MoMA

On Friday nights nearby Uniqlo – one of my favourite stores – sponsors free entrance to MoMA between 4 and 8 pm. While I am not much for art museums, I am well aware that a visit to New York is not complete without a stop at MoMA.

MoMA
MoMA

While the museum itself did not fascinate me more than similar museums in Europe, I was happily surprised at how full it was because of the Uniqlo Free Friday Nights.

Repose, 1908 by Pablo Picasso
Repose, 1908 by Pablo Picasso

However there was one exhibition which caught my attention namely Bouchra Khalili: The Mapping Journey Project. I was caught by the travels that these immigrants had been on crisscrossing Europe and returning to Africa before criss-crossing Europe again. All of it in hopes of a better future and through constant exploitation by other.

The Mapping Journey Project
The Mapping Journey Project

One had given up a good living in Italy where he had found a peaceful job in order to pay for a ticket to Barcelona where his uncle could exploit him by forcing him to work under dismal conditions.

But my uncle took all my money
But my uncle took all my money

These fates and their stories as migrant workers was terrifying and the installations through which they told their stories were so brutally honest.

And help my family, so I should go to Libya
And help my family, so I should go to Libya
Uniqlo

And yes, off course I ended up at Uniqlo after our visit to MoMA. Still awaiting the brands arrival in Denmark, I take every chance I can to shop in one of their stores.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Evening prayers in St. Patrick's Cathedral
Evening prayers in St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Wedding in St. Patrick's Cathedral
Wedding in St. Patrick’s Cathedral

After intense shopping in Uniqlo we took a few minutes to contemplate in peace at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue, while watching a couple saying I do.

We ended the evening in our own neighbourhood with a well deserved pizza.

Zofka

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × two =