Walking Tours R Us

Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of United States  , New York
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Today has been another busy day, I think I walked about 10 miles at least. I start with a guilty admission. Since being in Canada, I've been watching Gossip Girl and since it's set in NY, you can go on Gossip Girl and Movie & TV site tours, taking you round all the featured places in the city. Well, I'm not going to pay $50 when I can do it myself so after a lot of organisation, I made a route covering lots of different places, starting off with the Upper East Side. Now this is the Kensington & Chelsea of Manhattan- priciest area of the neighbourhood, lots of posh shops, food stores decked out like Selfridges food hall, everyone impeccably dressed. It was a very pleasant walk, that I continued in Central Park. Not at all how I expected it- the area I walked by at least was hilly, with big lakes and rocky outcrops. I thought it was all just flat grass! 

I got a shock as I walked through the Central Park zoo (where the Madagascan animals begin their journey to the jungle). To my right, in the distance, there was a big tank, with something huge and white swimming through it... a polar bear. I thought if there's anywhere a polar bear shouldn't  be it's in the middle of a big city in the heat of the summer. Unbelievable. There were lots of kids running around, on school trips and many with their nannies- I saw so many hispanic women, chatting animatedly with their friend in Spanish, while a little blond-haired little toddler sat placated in their strollers.

Since I was walking so far, I was dressed more for function that style, in leggings and trainers- so I fitted right in with the joggers/power walkers in Central Park but was very out of place on 5th Avenue! I went into a few of the high-end stores- Tiffanys and Bendels- and was certainly given the once over by more than one assistant. It made me want to buy something just so I could get changed! Needless to say, I moved on fairly swiftly- luckily for my budget, I'm currently in the state of mind that none of all that is necessary, and the thousands shopping and spending money have just been sucked in by consumerism. I might go shopping tomorrow instead.
I caught the subway to Lower Manhattan and went to the tiny cafe/bar Abraco for a delicious lunch before starting an audio tour of more TV & Movie sites. While I hadn't seen all the movies they talked about, I enjoyed seeing the restaurant that invented The Cosmopolitan, the Financial District and Wall Street, and the site of the World Trade Center (now really just a building site, swarming with street hawkers selling photos of September 11 to tourists). 

My next tour was of the Lower East Side, an amazing neighbourhood- formerly little Germany, then Jewish, then Chinatown... it's now a mish-mash of cultures. It's probably the most authentic (or so I believe) Chinatown I've been to- with every shop and sign being solely in Chinese, the shops packed into whatever available space there was. When millions immigrated into America at the turn of the 20th century, immigrants were told to walk to the first neighbourhood they found and set up shop there (quite literally). Lower East side was that neighbourhood, located just North of Battery Park. The area is characterised by huge tenemants where thousands used to live in cramped, squalid quarters and work in sweat shops- which is why the Garment District is located right next door. Now housing designer boutiques and cool little cafes and restaurants, this area once was packed with street carts, selling their wears and was the starting grounds for Bloomingdales, Macys and Bendels. 

I sampled a couple of these great cafes- at Laboratorio del Gelato I had the thickest, creamiest ice cream I've ever had- in basil and ricotta flavour. I walked past Katz, the deli made famous by When Harry met Sally, and bought some fantastic smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters for dinner. I endured the long ride back to the hostel in the rush hour for dinner and then collapsed!
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: