Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More New York, New York

After making a pitstop to refuel, it is time to hit the ground running. But with so many things to see and do, which way should you turn?

Want to shop? Head for 5th Avenue. Make sure to stop in at Tiffany's to see what a $750,000 engagement ring looks like. [Sparkle doesn't even begin to describe how it looks. Try and wrap your head around that much money sitting on someone's finger.]

Want to experience sensory overload? Go to Times Square and stare up at all the neon on the skyscrapers, while thousands of people pass around you. For a $10 you can even get your name and a message up on the neon sign outside M&M World.

Want some exercise? Go for a jog in Central Park, but watch where you are going because the horse drawn carriage rides are all over the place.

Want to be lazy? Grab a 24 hour ticket for the double decker tour bus that winds its way around Manhattan, featuring a tour guide explains the buildings (Empire State, Chrysler, etc.) and neighbourhoods (Greenwich Village, SoHo, etc.). The great thing about this option - especially if you don't have a lot of time - is that you get to see a lot of Manhattan in a relatively short period of time. You can hop on and hop off at each stop so if you want to explore, go for it. The next bus is only minutes away.

I did all these things, but started in the most unlikely place: St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Tucked in among the skyscrapers, the cathedral is a stunning example of gothic styling. Because my visit was so close to Christmas, there was a Christmas concert taking place, featuring several large choirs from the NYC area. This is a huge building but it was packed as a melting pot of cultures came together and sang in unison. For the final song, Silent Night, the lights were dimmed and everyone was presented with a white candle while the choir moved amongst the crowd. For a city that is all hustle and bustle, it was the most calming experience I have ever been a part of.

Then the doors were opened, the pipe organ pounded away and we headed out onto 5th Ave. to join the thousands of shoppers, while a member of the Salvation Army rang his bells and sang out hoping to get people to stop and make a donation at the street corner.

For everything that New York has to offer, listening to Christmas carols in St. Patrick's Cathedral was easily the highlight of my trip and one of my top three travel memories, ever.

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way about a Sunday morning gospel service I attended in Harlem, the Sunday before Easter 2008. What an experience! Not calming... in fact, just the opposite: the music literally rocked the house (of worship). I hadn't felt so energized since childhood!