You can’t come to New York without visiting Central Park, and so dutifully, that’s what we did.
The park was full of people on their lunch breaks; walking their dogs; taking carriage rides…
A real, breathing park.
all with a pretty amazing view of the city’s skyline as a backdrop.
Apparently it is totally ‘man-made’ (is there a good gender neutral synonym for that yet?), which caused controversy at the time – displacing whole communities of poor people. But let’s not dwell on that for too long. It’s there now, and it seemed to bring people from all across the city together.
There was a whole pile of performers littered around the place, including this guy on the sax.
Plenty of people stopped to listen.
This guy clearly saw me taking his picture.
‘Donations appreciated!’. I gladly gave a Dollar if I could get a good picture.
but sadly not to this guy, as we had run out of change. He had such a great voice, and was really friendly – pointing out additional toilets to people when a queue built up behind where he was standing.
Even the squirrels seemed in on the tips culture – standing up on their hind legs as you passed to attract attention – rather than scurrying away like they would at home.
For some reason there was a statue of Robert Burns as well. Grace said ‘Americans like him as well’, but I’m not sure that’s good enough a reason to dedicate a sculpture in his honour. After all, Scots like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but there ain’t no bust of the Terminator in George Square.
After exploring for a bit, we headed across the city to take in some more of the famous landmarks, passing by a few huge inflatable rats as we did so.
Apparently these rats are used by Unions as a protest tactic during disputes with various employers – which I think is a stroke of sheer brilliance.
Apparently the use of these rats has been classed as a form of free speech, protected by the First Amendment – which makes it even better. It was pretty amazing to see them parked up outside high-end shops and hotels.
We meandered on towards Times Square – another landmark that we had to make sure and see.
It really is quite the spectacle.
Filled with selfie-taking tourists and the like.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. I imagined a huge square… literally, but it was much longer and more fragmented than that – possibly because now it’s largely shut off to traffic. It’s funny how you can build up an image of a place without ever being there, and it be quite different in reality.
Either way, it’s a very American looking place. Or at least the big city America we are used to seeing in movies.
The newest addition to the various people kicking around the Square trying to elicit money from visitors is the topless girls, charging for people to have their picture taken with them. Going topless is legal in the city, but the Mayor and police are apparently pretty unhappy about this turn of events – seeing the practice as tantamount to prostitution. You can make up your own minds.
There’s a lot to take in. I especially loved this guy in front.
Grand Central Station isn’t far away either, and it really is pretty impressive.
I definitely need to get this new lens re-calibrated.
After a hard day of seeing the sights, we got on the subway again to meet up with one of Grace’s friends (Jacob) from back home in Denver.
The subway became one of my favourite places to take pictures in New York. There are so many interesting people, and the combination of yellow and blue colours down there just look fantastic if you hit the sweet spot.
We met Jacob in an Irish bar for a few pints.
Smart, and stupidly sharp, he was great fun to hang out with, and before long we had a healthy glow about us.
I got a bit more ballsy with my picture taking on the subway after that…
We were meeting some colleagues from a company called Woo for dinner afterwards, and convinced Jacob to come with us. They were over visiting from South Africa, and it seemed like as good an excuse as any to hang out. It was particularly cool as most of us had never met before. The beauty of the Internet.
The light outside at night was beautiful, particularly with the 50mm f0.95.
We ended up in a bar called ‘Friends & Lovers’, where some sort of rapper was playing. I ended up drunkenly chatting to a bunch of folk, including one fellow in particular who had a Canon 1D Mark iii. He said he didn’t do posed pictures, but I demanded he let me take one. It turns out he is an awesome photographer in his own right.
From that point on, things got more than a bit hazy – which is probably just as well.