More from New York

New York taxis have improved a lot over the years. Drivers speak English and have a vague idea where 42nd street is in relation to 43th Street. The best innovation is that they now all have TVs in the back streaming extracts from innocuous TV shows, news, maps of where you are etc. In contrast the subway has got worse. It’s (very) dirty: paint is peeling from every ceiling; signage is terrible; and most trains are covered in graffiti. Safety wasn’t a concern, but – after most of the rest of New York has had a substantial facelift – it’s time for subway renovation.

Lorna had organised a trip to Brooklyn in the morning. I used the word “organised” in its loosest sense. “Dreamed up” or “conceived” might better describe the proactive nature of Lorna’s planning. We therefore arrived at our destination via replacement bus; hopping on to a train that wasn’t heading uptown; and asking every person on the train how to get to a particular street. It did work (surprisingly) and we found ourselves in an interesting area of Brooklyn.

You would have to say that people in that area were very friendly. Numerous people were keen to talk to us in the street – well mutter anyway – before launching a tirade at nearby fire hydrant. Nancy – who doesn’t typically pay attention to which country we are in or even know which day it is – asked me why everyone in the street was black (a politically correct term in the UK for what Americans call African Americans). A short lecture on the distribution on the economic wealth and immigration patterns ensued. That will certainly teach her …..not to ask questions again.

We then went to my favourite museum in the world, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The best art is evenly distributed throughout the world, but this museum has a claim to much of the greatest art from 1920s to 1960s. The art is accessible; you can take photographs; and there are no ropes that prohibit you from getting close to a painting. The audio guides are excellent, with descriptions aimed at the different age groups.

I made another poor meal choice (Joe’s Shanghai). Lines outside showed that it was popular but there appeared to be nothing special about it.

We took a tour around the former World Trade Center. The guide was fairly dull, but the message was loud and clear. New Yorkers were reacting positively to 9/11 . They had become a happier and friendlier people; crime was now lower than every other large American city; and WTC would be rebuilt, only better this time. When Lorna and I last came this way (2003), it was a depressing place. This had already changed and the buildings thus far were quite impressive, as were the monuments to those that had survived the 9/11 attacks. I am looking forward to coming back in 2018 when it is all finished. I think it should be spectacular.
As part of the tour, we came across the Winter Gardens. We had a great time chilling out, eating and drinking from stall holders while we gazed out on to the sunlight Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty. I expected Florian-style prices but it was great value.

We returned to our hotel which was advertised as being in Little Italy. I have seen more Italian mercenaries in war-torn Mogadishu than I saw Italians here. China Town to the south has now entirely taken over.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melville Bishop on April 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Was the photo taken in the gallery or was it an advertising poster outside the Chinese restaurant (Joe’s)?


    • The photo was taken from one of the buildings overlooking the World Trade Center over the Winter Gardens. Outside of the Winter gardens, there is a harbour area with views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty


  2. Posted by Grandma on April 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    So it will take the Americans until 2018 to complete the area around the former twin towers – they ought to consult the Chinese who would have it finished by the end of the yar!


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