I slept in Elizabeth NJ before going into NYC. I had to take four modes of transportation to get there. From a shuttle bus I found an “air bus” (monorail) and from there I had to take the train to the subway station and the subway to wherever I was going. If you include walking that’s five ways of transportation. In fact there is one kind of person you won’t see in NYC despite all its massive diversity, and that is fat people. They don’t exist here because everyone has to walk or bike everywhere, even to the subway stations which are often up and down a bunch of stairs. Funny enough I think this little trip has changed me. Before leaving home I couldn’t even deal with malls… too many people… I hated them. Now I was in NYC with people rushing by me on all sides and I was fine with that.
I even walked through Times Square. It was a strange experiance with the Jumbotron going and flashing obnoxious advertisements on every available surface it was like walking into the internet and getting attacked by rabid pop-ups. Still the people were interesting. I was hearing little nips of every language known to man and seeing all sorts of interesting personalities. Elmo and his three clones were even there. Apparently it’s in bad taste to dare people to tickle them. Not that that ever stopped me… And you know what? Poor Elmo has NO IDEA what to do when you do! Snap a photo and run. It’s the perfect grifting of a grifter…
After walking through Times Square I ended up in Central Park. Now I don’t want to sound too horrible but I honestly thought that all Central Park was was a large swath of trees in the middle of the city where people get mugged and killed at night. I had no idea it had anything else to offer. As I walked in it was as I imagined it… trees with a paved pathway and a few dark archway bridges weaving between them. I stopped to take photos of a hawk someone had spotted and moved on, eventually buying a snack and a drink, before sitting down to enjoy it. There were kids everywhere playing on swings and a guy with balloon swords he was trying to sell for three dollars a pop, basically by giving them to small children before pointing his $3 sign out to the parents who then had to make the choice of taking the balloon away from their crying child or fork over the three bucks. Such a NYC attitude.
I used their dreadful bathrooms. I don’t recommend it to anyone unless you really have to go. I wandered away after that weaving in and out of the park, passing horses with ridiculous feathers jutting out of their heads, dragging behind them swarthy little buggies. I also found a carousel ride which I may have ridden if it weren’t $2.50 a ride per person.
Eventually I found myself in the heart of the park at the Bethesda Fountain. It was surrounded by a beautiful ornate bridge where two couples were taking their wedding photos. A small pond lay beyond and sculptures and stone carvings abounded. I took some photos of each other sitting on the bridge. I was a bit worried I’d fall over so I was merely teetering on the opposite edge. You can tell in the photos as I look rather funny.
Eventually I found my way to the pond where a small Asian woman was feeding crackers to a swarm of turtles in the water. I eventually sat down beside her and watched as the turtles ate crackers and popcorn, competing with a huge carp or two.
All these turtles were Painted Turtles and one I swear was a released pet because of its odd coloration. I was watching the water as I usually do when I noticed a head pop up that was immensely ugly. I knew immediately it was a snapper, granted a pretty small one, but it was still a snapper. I pointed it out. And then I saw a bigger snapper emerge who slinked through the water and settled on the bottom. He eventually saw a cracker land on the water and leapt towards the movement, accidentally lunging onto the land. With one quick movement he spun around and disappeared into the water.
When I was done with the turtles I wandered back out of the park and then made a hasty retreat to the subway. There was still Antiques Obscura, the shop featured on the show Oddities. It was the last dorky thing I’d be seeing.. When I found the place it was settled in a little neighborhood filled with Turkish bath houses and a hookah bar. The shop itself was perhaps the size of two walk-in closets. Absolutely tiny. However it was filled with garishly bad taxidermy, creepy old medical instruments, likely haunted dolls, and stuffed piranhas. The shop keep seemed rather bored through most of these events and eventually we wandered back into the streets and let him be.
I then found a fantastic little hippie burger joint to eat. They proudly advertised their burgers by saying they were only made using free range cows, something I have always been in full support of knowing from personal experience the vast difference between pasture raised meat and industrial raised. I’m not big on beef though so I opted for their “hormone free” turkey which was delicious – if not confusing… no one feeds turkeys hormones to get them bigger, that’s cows…
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