New York day 2: settling in

Monday 22 June 2009: On my first morning in New York, I went for breakfast at Artopolis on the corner of Amsterdam & West 113th street and planned the week ahead.  All the quoted passages come from my paper diary; click on the photos for full sizes.

“As I walked down W113th Street this morning it occurred to me that I was walking on US soil.  It’s almost surreal because so much seems ‘familiar’ from watching US television all my life but this is the real thing”.


“I stopped by a cafe this morning for a savoury crepe.  Alex, my hostess, had told me about it last night.  Crepes, hotdogs and bananas are my weaknesses, so I knew I was heading straight here this morning.  $5.75 for an olive, sundried tomato and feta crepe plus coffee.  I think I just had my first taste of half and half!”

It was “half and half” and now I know why Americans miss it so much when they are overseas!  It is a mixture of half cream, half milk and it is delicious.  A far cry from the skim milk I usually opt for.

It is a testament to how busy I was that week that I never got to do some of the things I thought I would that were closest to “home”.  One of those things was to visit Columbia University, which was just around the corner.  The other was to go into the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine which is apparently the largest gothic cathedral in the world and was right on my doorstep!

Thankfully I got these photos on that first morning because despite walking past it the rest of the week, I took no more photos of this magnificent church!  What amazing detail though.

I was very excited to see an authentic New York firehouse across the road from Alex’s apartment.  I was even more excited to see that I was turning the firemen’s heads as much as they were turning mine!  I have to admit to having a weakness for firemen and I brought Ste home a FDNY shirt.


I just loved looking at all the old apartment blocks in New York.  They are ancient and have such… quaint designs!  The interior of our apartment block in particular was like something from a bygone era and was quite exquisite.  Can any of my art loving friends help me place this particular era?  Art nouveau?

By this stage of the morning, I had realised that my plans to visit both Boston and Washington DC had been too ambitious and I went back to the apartment to let Josef know I wouldn’t be able to visit.  This made me very sad!  A combination of heat and the time lag had given me a headache and so I lay down for a brief nap and left the apartment just after 3pm for a walk through Central Park.

17 comments on "New York day 2: settling in"
  1. I great pleasure to read ou very detailed travel reporting! I understand that you have been walking and walking..., the best way to discover places! ... and especially for NYC, I feel that you must just walk!

    Although I would imagine that the nice buildings you show may date from the time of art nouveau, I wouldn't classify them as such. However, the entrance and corridors look very attractive and nicely decorated anyhow.

  2. More from an amateur interest in architecture than arts but I would guesstimate that those apartment blocks date from sometime between the very end of the 19th century an the 1930s. They look like neo classical revival style buildings, a style that had already had it's day in Europe, as it gained popularity in North America.


  3. What great photos! The cathedral is awesome. Too bad you didn't go in but this happens a lot. We overlook some things a bit because they're so close and focus on other things. I'm glad you liked half and half, it really is great with coffee...or alone with a bit of sugar on those rare moments.

  4. @ Peter: And how I walked!!! I wouldn't do it any other way. I used to walk like that around London too.

    I agree - they are from that period but I don't know how to classify them. That mosaic corridor is remarkably well preserved considering it is the main entrance to the building.

    @ BBE: Hi! I think you are spot on with the dating. I have encountered that sort of finishing before - I must find out what style that was.

    @ Xoán-Wahn: I know! I cannot believe I ran out of time - there was so much I did not see! Thankfully my time and energy ran out at precisely the same moment!

    I drank all the left over half and half that I had but can't imagine mixing it with sugar!

  5. How fun to see pics of NYC on your blog!

    Your half and half comment made me smile. It took me a while to get used to drinking coffee with just milk. I can do it now, but it was hard for the first few months ;-)

  6. I did not even know that NY had the largest cathedral. I always thought that St. Vitus in Prague was pretty big.
    I have a soft spot for firemen, too :o)

  7. It's me again. I forgot to tell you that I have an award for you at my place :)

  8. oh i love that crepe!!! i am getting envious more and more lol!

  9. I hate to say this, but I'm kind of glad you didn't visit Boston. I'm pretty sure that you'll need an entire seperate trip to take it all in, just like NYC.

  10. For me walking is the best way to truly discover a city, and I haven’t stopped doing it since I arrived in London and as a result I have discovered so many amazing places. Reading about your trip to NY has intensified my desire to go and visit, in fact I feel like jumping on a plane and going there tomorrow, If only I wasn’t so dam broke….

  11. That cathedral is stunning, and not a style I would particularly associate with NY, at least not until now. I have a weakness for cathedrals. love their majesty.

  12. @ JaPRA: Now you know I was thinking of you in NY because I had remembered comments you and other bloggers had made!

    @ Ivanhoe: Aren't firemen lovely? I don't know if it is the largest cathedral per se but it is the largest gothic cathedral.

    @ mye: I just love savoury crepes!

    @ Phoenix: I totally agree with you in this one. I like to really epxerience places, especially when I have wanted to visit it for a long time. I have long wanted to visit Boston and at one time, the plan was to go there first. I just still bad that I didn't get to visit my friend.

    @ Garry: I do hope you get to go one day. Unfortunately, NY isn't one of those cities you can do for nearly nothing, although I came close!

    @ Sheila: I definitely share your weakness, as is evident by the amounts of times I photograph them!

  13. Thanks your all works. Realy so succesful.. (;

  14. NYC definitely has an energy about it. Everything looks familiar. Whether it's from a movie, commercial, tv shows, etc. You walk around enough in New York and you will definitely run into a taping or two! It's happened to me 3 or 4 times.

    Oh New I miss you!

  15. @ Christina: Hiya! Yeah, it is only after I have returned that I realsie how much filming does take place there! I would love to see that one time but would be too shy to go anywhere near the actors (even if that were possible).

  16. if you are still in ny. check out....

    rosa mexicana on 63rd and bway for amazing mexican.

    blockheads on 49th and 8th for amazing and cheap margaritas.

    lucky burger on 52nd and 9th

    burger joint in le parker meridian hotel... like 56th between 5th and 6th

    the halaal stand on 53rd and 6th...

    i lived in ny for the past 5 yrs. those are a few of my favorite places on earth. :) i just want someone else to enjoy them since i cant haha.


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