June 7, 2007 – They don't speak English in New York anymore?
Another late day, but that’s no longer surprising. In fact, was it ever surprising? My first stop was, of course, food. And I had a mission. I needed to check out HH Bagels. They supposedly have the best bagels in New York City. According to Mario and Michelle, they also have the best black and [...]
Another late day, but that’s no longer surprising. In fact, was it ever surprising?
My first stop was, of course, food. And I had a mission. I needed to check out HH Bagels. They supposedly have the best bagels in New York City. According to Mario and Michelle, they also have the best black and white cookies in the City.
BUT, as I was looking up HH online, I found a website that tells you where to order stuff from if you live outside the City. And THEY said that everyone thinks that another place has the best cookies in the City…and that would be The William Greenberg Bakery. And it’s not far from HH over here on the East Side!
So, I had the best bagel and the best black and white in the City…and I will totally agree with both of those assessments. Although, I haven’t had every one in the City, so I can’t say that definitively. I can only guess. I can, however, say that they were both awesome and, if I were to order these things from NYC when I get back home, I would order them from these two places.
And let me just say this about the black and white: For those of you who have never had one, have one tomorrow. I don’t care how you get it, but get it. They’re awesome. And not just because Jerry Seinfeld thinks that they are the best thing in the world for race relations. No, no. These cookies, which are less cookie than a small cake with vanilla frosting on one side and chocolate frosting on the other, are amazing. If there was a place in Austin that could make a proper black and white, I would be going there possibly daily…and getting fatter and fatter.
So, yes. Let that be your last cookie-field.
(This is somewhere on the East Side. What the hell is Tudor City, anyway? Looks cool, no matter what it is.)
My next stop was where I could only hope that I wouldn’t be wrongly accused of murder and end up hanging off of Lincoln’s nose.
The UN, of course, was formed right after WWII ended so that nothing like that could ever happen again. We’re not sure if it works yet, but, personally, I think it’s our best hope for peace in this world. There’s no way that we will EVER have peace unless we have something like the UN to bring all of the countries together. Fuck those people who hold up signs saying, ‘Get us out of the UN NOW!’ They have no clue what they’re talking about.
Before this building was built in 1949 and 50 and they finally moved in in 1952. Before that, the diplomats were kind of moving around. Their first meeting was in London, but they also met in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.
There were a lot of other places considered including Philly, San Francisco and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Not everybody wanted the UN to sit in America, though. England, France and The Netherlands all voted against it. I can kind of understand, too. Why put it somewhere that is such a superpower? Why not some place that people won’t bomb?
The Secretariat Building (the tall one behind all of the flags) and the General Assembly (the shorter one that is more well known) are starting to fall into disrepair. They’re trying to figure out where to go either permanently or while their current home is fixed up.
I walked up to the Secretariat and immediately started thinking about all of the decisions made here that affect the entire world. It’s kind of daunting, actually. I feel like even a thought against these guys would get me thrown in the brig.
(These guys aren’t in prison, so it must be ok.)
I tried to go on the grounds, but I had a cup of coffee in my hand. Apparently, you can’t take food or drinks onto the grounds. I don’t know why, but you can’t. I couldn’t even go into the garden with the sculptures with my coffee. It was very strange.
But I was able to get a little bit closer and take a couple of pictures, and really that’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t care THAT much about going into the building. But I would have liked to see some of the sculptures. I could only see a couple of them from walking around the fence.
(My guess is that this is St. George slaying the dragon. It’s really freakin’ weird, though…I like it.)
(Even though I didn’t see all of the sculptures, this would probably be my favorite one. I’ve seen it before in pictures, but I don’t remember where.)
I took off from there and headed over to Grand Central where there was an exhibit going on called Celluloid Skyline: New York And The Movies. You know I had to check it out.
(No, these have nothing to do with the display, but they just kind of show you the grandeur that is Grand Central Station. The architects wanted this to be an awesome place and they succeeded.)
It was basically just a bunch of posterboards with pictures and explanations for each picture. But, since I’m so into movies, I read every…single….panel. And there were a LOT of panels.
They had a few screens set up to show famous establishing shots and some of the old ‘actuals’ filmed by Thomas Edison and his crew. (One of the actuals was called ‘What Happened On 2nd Avenue’…or something like that. It involved a woman getting her skirt blown up by a subway. Guess where THAT ended up.)
There wasn’t really anything on display…except for these mat paintings:
(These two were used in unknown movies in the 50s, I think.)
(This was used in The Clock in the 40s…which, I think, was the basis for Cloak And Dagger. It’s Penn Station before it was destroyed. Pretty fuckin’ nice.)
(Hitchcock couldn’t film inside the UN for North By Northwest…so he used this exact mat painting instead. Wow. A peice of Hitch history! That’s pretty awesome!)
The exhibit, even though it was lacking in real displays, was really interesting. And it showed me exactly what it is about New York City that I love and why I keep coming back. It’s not the ACTUAL City that I love so much. That’s huge, noisy and dirty. It’s the MOVIE City that I love. The City that people created in the image that they love. When movies were young, NYC was their home. Then, when Hollywood became the Movie Capitol of the World, all of the New York folks moved out there. They started to realize how much they missed their home, so they put that into their films. The writers would write about this dream version of NYC. The set builders would build dream versions of NYC streets. (In fact, every studio had a set called New York Street.) None of it looked like the real NYC. It was what these people remembered it being like. The City That Never Sleeps? Totally created by Hollywood. Sure, there are 24 hour diners here and Times Square never really sleeps, but most of the City shuts down around midnight. The penthouse clubs and restaurants? Sure, there are a couple, but not nearly as many as Old Hollywood would have you believe.
It wasn’t until the 60s that people started to realize that you could, in fact, film IN New York City again. And what did that do for the City? The filmmakers started to make all kinds of crime dramas. Suddenly, NYC was the most dangerous city in the world! Who cares if DC has more crime or if LA is dirtier? NYC LOOKS worse in the movies, so it must be!
It really wasn’t until the 90s when things started to get a LITTLE more realistic. And then it was really only Spike Lee who was doing it. Woody Allen was still making NYC look like a beautiful old lady that he loved with all of his heart. Scoresese was making it look like a whore that would slash your throat if you gave her a chance. And Nora Ephron? Well, the less said about her, the better. (By the way, the area that the end of You’ve Got Mail takes place in? It was one of the worst areas of the City about 20 years before. The Upper West Side has NOT always been a haven for romantics. The area where Lincoln Center now is was a horrible slum. How’s THAT for gentrification?)
So, yeah. I LOVE Movie New York. Real New York I think is really, really cool. But I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there. But if I could meet some girl at a book store, walk around town with her for an hour and a half and have her fall in love with me…yeah, I would live in a town that made THAT happen.
Unfortunately, there IS no town that makes that happen.
But THAT is a revelation for another day.
After hanging out at Grand Central for WAY too long, I finally started to make my way home.
(This big boy is on Madison Avenue. Not sure what church it is. Sorry.)
(This is St. Bart’s on Park. It’s the only church in New York (possibly, the country) with a coffee shop/deli attached to it. Behind it is the rather gothic looking RCA Building.)
(The RCA Building ended up being a GE Building…but these lightning bolts were there before. It’s a cool place…that you can’t go into. Or even really see the bottom of since it’s covered in scaffolding. Like much of NYC these days.)
(Gotta be one of the biggest hotels in the world. The Waldorf-Astoria (named, of course, for a Muppet) is a gigantasoar of a place. You can see the side of it in my St. Bart’s picture above.)
I decided to head up Lexington this time. I haven’t hung out much on that street, and I think it’s a little unfair to the only street on the East Side with a subway under it.
Basically, Lex doesn’t have anything attributed to it, so it gets a little neglected. 5th Avenue is all about shopping and commerce. Park Avenue is all about wealth and flaunting it. Madison Avenue is all about power and greed. Broadway is all about theatre and entertainment.
But what is Lex about? Subways?
When I got to Lex I kind of realized why it doesn’t have any kind of identity…there IS no identity! The only really cool buildings that people know about on Lex are the Chrysler (which is a pretty heavy hitter in that department) and the Citigroup Tower…and that one isn’t really that cool, it’s just…distinctive. Kind of.
Other than that, there are a couple of cool ones, but I’ve never heard of them and they don’t really seem to have any kind of history to them. They’re just new buildings with interesting shapes.
(I really like the round, pointy one in back.)
(Yeah. This is a castle. What castle, I have no idea. But a castle, nonetheless. Awesome.)
Of course, there’s Bloomingdale’s.
Bloomingdale’s has been around since 1861 and has been at 59th and Lex since 1886. Strangely, it’s now owned by Macy’s. So, no matter where you go, you’re still shopping at Macy’s.
By the way, if you see someone walking around with a bad that says ‘Little Brown Bag,’ it’s from Bloomingdale’s. For some reason, they think it’s clever. And, for some reason, they were designed by Michael Vollbracht, who designs things for Bill Blass. (They also come in Medium and Big sizes.) Whatever. It’s kinda stupid. I had no idea where they were from until I looked up Bloomingdale’s just now on Wikipedia.
And then there’s the corner of Lex and 52nd, where the subway wind blew Marylin Monroe’s dress up outside of the Trans-Lux Theatre. Of course, the theatre is long gone and I have no idea which corner it was on, so no picture. Besides, there’s nothing much to see at any of the corners of the intersection. Not to mention the fact that the shot that was actually used was shot in a sound stage because they couldn’t get the crowd that gathered to shut the fuck up. Or was it all planned by Billy Wilder?
So, I never did find a distinction for Lex. Maybe it stands for indistinctness. Or maybe it’s the Street Of Marylin. I dunno. But I’ll always love Lex because that’s where I catch the train.
Must sleep now. May black and white cookies dance in your heads.