20.06.2010 - 20.06.2010 31 °C
Sunday's certainly aren't slow in New York, but after a busy day on my feet yesterday I set out a little later than yesterday. As soon as I stepped off the Long Island Rail Road train I was hit by the city's baking heat. It really was very hot, perhaps the highest temperatures I've felt in a number of years.
I darted on the Metro straight up to Washington Square Park. On any other day the park's main feature is a giant archway errected as tribute to the United States' first President. However, today the the park's focus was its unsuspecting foutain. People of all ages were jumping in and out or just wallowing to escape the morning's oppressive heat. Across the way from the fountain, those who dared to spend time out of the shade were sat watching a big band playing in another of the park's corners.
After neither wallowing in the fountain nor baking in the sun I headed out deeper into (Greenwich) Village, perhaps one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the world, having been the setting of Friends. The Village is different from the rest of Manhattan; it has its own pace, which is certainly not rushed, and a different aesthetics - there are no concrete canyons here, instead polite terraces of housing with fire escapes painted in pastel colours line the often cobbled streets. I walked along Macdougal and Bleecker Streets, along Barrow and up Hudson Street - stopping at a small geleto cafe to use the air conditioning as much as to buy ice cream. I finished on Manhattan's west side by walking through the old Meatpacking District and the southern area of Chelsea.
I firmly believe that the best things to do and sites to see in New York are free, whether its a trip on the Statan Island Ferry, a visit to Grand Central Station or an afternoon in Central Park. I ended the day at one of New York's most famous free activities - a walk across Brooklyn Bridge. Even late in the afternoon the sun was relentless and I was sincerely wrong in my belief that the bridge would benefit from a cooling river breeze. Instead the sun was harshly reflected off the concrete walkway. The bridge is fantastic. Seeing it in photographs gets the imagination racing, but being on it, seeing the Statue of Liberty to the south and the Empire State Building in the north knowing that there are endless possibilities inbetween, is what really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.