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Report 1704: News Flash!!! Four Canadian Tourists Visit New York City

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Summer 2009

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Page 3 of 6: Sunday in New York - Lower Manhattan, Tribeca, SoHo, West Village, Central Park

photo by Doug Phillips

The Brooklyn Bridge

While the weather yesterday left much to be desired, we enjoyed clear skies and warm weather for the rest of our time in New York. Ideal for visitors like us.

Off by 8:30am and over to the subway at 44th Street, walking underground to the 42nd Street stop where we got on the A line over to High Street in Brooklyn. We found the New York subway system clean, efficient and easy to use. An individual ride costs $2.25, but we got a $2.00 rate since we put four fares at a time on a Metro Card. We took cabs a few times and each ride was had a positive experience. There are 14,000 cabs in New York City. We we able to flag down a cab within seconds - although we were in the city at a slow time. Since there were four of us, a cab ride was an economical option to the subway for shorter trips - and definitely quicker, except perhaps in rush hour. I would estimate the economies tilt in favour of the subway for a group of our size at around a journey of more than 25 blocks. From our experience, I can recommend either way of getting around Manhattan.

The raised pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge was busy on this warm Sunday morning with joggers, cyclists and lots of people like us out for a walk across the bridge that did a lot to transform the life and economy of both Manhattan and Brooklyn beginning well over a century ago. Many of the names on the large bronze plaques - names like Charles Martin, Henry Murphy, Francis Collingwood, George McNulty, William Kingsley, William Hildenbrand - were familiar from reading David McCullough's excellent history of the building of the bridge. Of course, three names stood out above all the rest - John Roebling, Washington Roebling, and Emily Warren Roebling. My passage over the Brooklyn Bridge was a highlight of my visit to New York. Highly recommended.

We walked over to Ground Zero and then turned north and embarked on a walking tour of three distinct areas - Tribeca, SoHo and the West Village. We closely followed walking tours outlined in AAA Spiral New York. We like the series a lot and have used others in the series in the Algarve, Tuscany, Rome and Paris. Perfect for first time visitors - great format, well organized - includes maps, highlights, dining and shopping suggestions and several walking tours. I think we did the walking tours in the right order - going from south to north. Tribeca is a work in progress while both SoHo and the West Village are more mature districts. SoHo, especially, has a European feel to it with lots of interesting buildings, a vibrant street life and many small stores bars and restaurants. We paused for an enjoyable lunch at sleek Bar 89 on Mercer Street in SoHo. Big Hint - If you go to Bar 89, make sure you use the amazing washroom.

Following lunch we walked over to and through Washington Square Park, busy with all kinds of activity from a father and son tossing a baseball around, to several chess games at a row of tables, to a public performance of a play by an amateur group of actors. On to the West Village and a slightly more sedate street scape.

Since the day was so nice and we didn't see much of Central Park on Friday evening, around 4:00pm we took the subway up to Columbus Circle and strolled through the west side of the park up to 72nd Street and the Dakota Apartments on Central Park West. On Sundays joggers, carriages, cyclists and pedestrians rule in the park, as car and truck traffic is banned. We had an very enjoyable walk up through the park and back to our hotel on 45th street.

On our first visit to Provence in September 2005 one evening we dined at Le Bistrot du Paradou, made famous by Peter Mayle in A Year In Provence. While our meal was just OK, the evening was made memorable by a fortuitous encounter with Vadim and Alex, the owners of the Paradou restaurant in New York. They were at the next table. At some point in the evening we started talking to each other and continued for the rest of the dinner - nice people.

So here we are in New York City and where else can we go at least one evening? I had made reservations online a few days before we left home. Shortly after 7:30 we walked over to 7th Avenue, hailed a cab, and were on our way to the Meatpacking District. The Paradou is at 8 Little West 12th Street, just around the corner from one end of the High Line. The restaurant is small, the kitchen minuscule, neither Vadim or Alex were around, but we had a very pleasant couple of hours dining in the garden. Near the end of the meal we were each presented with a glass of champagne - not sure if it is a common occurrence or because I name-dropped a bit. Some reviews comment on the slow service at the Paradou, but ours was very good. Recommended. And mention Vadim or Alex, if they aren't there - maybe you'll get a free drink.

We had taken a cab down to the Paradou. Following a stroll around the area and over to Chelsea we took another cab back to our hotel.

A full day.

Next: From Lady Liberty to Central Park

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