Sunday, June 22, 2008

New York City Trip: Wall Street, Empire State Building (Part 6)

Monday, October 12

I awoke on my final day in New York City quite content with all I had seen. For the most part this was a day to "mop up." I really only had two missions for this day; the stock market and the Empire State Building. So after getting up and packing all of my bags and stuff, I headed out to the subway. Wall Street is actually one of the stops on the subway which made for an easy commute.

This time I arrived around noon which made getting into the Stock Exchange very easy. I immediately got a ticket, but decided to take a break before going in the exchange. There was a really neat market on Broad Street (behind the exchange) which I was enticingly drawn to. It was lunch time and the open air barbecue pits were calling my name. I managed to get away from the pits with only two shish-kabob purchases, although I could have downed a dozen.

So from the barbecue pits I was off to the trading pits (I did manage to buy a few necklaces for several of my female friends back home and a couple leather belts for myself before departing.) The Stock Exchange was a really neat experience. There was a lot of "stuff" going on and it was quite difficult to sort out. There were brokers, and traders, and specialists, and TV monitors, and people running, and. . well,. . you get the idea. I even saw a delivery guy shouldering his way through the crowd with about twenty or so sub sandwiches and drinks. The Stock Exchange is truly the jungle INSIDE the jungle.

From the Exchange, I took an uptown train to the Empire State Building. I must have arrived at a bad time, because the lines were very long to buy tickets. Then again, over 2.5 million visitors a year visit the ESB, so perhaps it just seemed long to me. However, it wasn’t too bad. The view from the top was the pay-off. The Empire State Building is such a world famous building that to stand atop its 102 floors and gaze awestruck at the Lower and Upper portions of Manhattan (and other areas as well) is enough to make any visitor feel like a king. I did however refrain from hollering, "I’m the King of the World." But, I felt like a king. Everything is so tiny. Everything is so insignificant. Only the sum of its parts amounts to anything. I especially noted the Flatiron Building off to the southwest. It was so gigantic and pompous that I compared it to the Pantheon just three days ago. What a fall from grace! From up here, it seems like a Hanz and Franz "little, girlie building." But then again, so do many of the other buildings I saw. Everything looks tiny.

When I was in Paris and went up in the Eiffel Tower, I was afraid that the Tower was going to collapse. What I mean is that as I starred down at everything around me, I felt like there was at least a chance that the tower was a goner. I didn’t share that same concern about the Empire. I’m not sure why. Maybe in my subconscious mind I figured that it must be sturdy if it could withstand the weight imbalance of King Kong. Or perhaps I reasoned that if it started to fall, it would just come to rest against one of the other buildings around it. Now that I think about it, the other tall buildings probably did make it feel safer. I mean, in Paris there was just the Tower. There were no other tall buildings. Anytime you looked down, you felt the FULL effects of your place in space. I don’t know. All I do know is that the POWER of this building made me feel secure.

The views of midtown to the north and northeast and the Financial District to the southwest were priceless. There was a lot of beauty to see and I took my sweet time inspecting it all. The overcast skies and dreary weather had returned to my disappointment, but at least there was no rain. I was therefore able to hang out on the outside balconies for a long time. I was especially struck by one’s ability to see the shape of Manhattan. I had been studying the burrow on maps for weeks, but now I was able to see the outline of the area on a grand scale from the lengthy Central Park to the tip of Battery Park. I was able to gain a whole new appreciation of the area from this perspective.

I had a good time at the Empire State Building. I was quite pleased with the view and will surely return on subsequent journeys. I even took a photo from the top to remember the occasion.Being quite content with all I had seen, I left New York City. After a quick return to Patty’s apartment to pick up my stuff (which was already packed), I headed to Penn Station and took an Amtrak train back home.

My visit to New York City was long overdue and it came at just the right time in my life. I was sorely in need of a "break" having not gone on a vacation the entire year. New York is such a neat place, because it literally has something for everyone. It has beauty, arts, sights, fine dining, history, and tons and tons of action. Whatever you are looking for, you can find it in the Big Apple and you can find it 24 hours a day. Therefore, New York would seem to become a city that I would consider "moody." But, it hasn’t done so. I will remember New York City as a city of excitement and the location of at least two special moments for me : The Staten Island Ferry and the Brooklyn Promenade.

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