Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today's Tour

We mostly rested today. However, since the hotel is joined to Grand Central Station, we decided we'd like to explore it a little more than we had time to do with Jeff and Jackie. We didn't know until later that many trains were delayed today because of an accident, so we were surprised to find that the terminal wasn't very crowded.

This suited our purposes perfectly because we wanted to test out the acoustics near the Oyster Bar restaurant. Walter Satterthwait had told me that because of the construction of the ceiling spanning the hallway in front of the restaurant that it was possible to stand on one side of the hall, speak in a quiet to normal voice, and be heard perfectly by a person standing on the other side. We tried it out, and, sure enough, Walter wasn't kidding. Judy was amazed. (The photo is of Judy in the main terminal, not near the Oyster Bar.)

It took me two days (I'm quick on the uptake) to realize that the Chrysler Building was across the street from our hotel. Since that's one of my favorite buildings, we went across to have a look. The entrances are great, and so is the lobby. So are the elevator doors and lobby ceiling. That's the only part of the building that's open to the public, but I really enjoyed seeing it.

Late this afternoon I went to the MWA reception. The hotel is on 42nd Street, and the reception was on 59th. I asked the concierge how to get there. "You can walk it easily," she said. "Ten minutes." So I took off, in a light drizzle. I had an umbrella and felt like a native. But I need to find that concierge and say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire." I'm a good walker, but no way could I cover 17 blocks in 10 minutes. Of course the traffic lights may have had something to do with that. And the crowds. I did get there, though, and I got back, too, so all's well that ends well.


Fred Blosser said...

I had occasion to go to NYC several times on business (and one time for pleasure)over the past year. Contrary to stereotypes, virtually all the people I met there were the nicest people you could hope to find. But I do think some have a rather unreal (at least from a greenhorn's perspective) sense of distance in city blocks.

Last time I was there, I picked up a book called NATIVE NEW YORKERS about the original Indian residents. Much fascinating stuff about the pre-urban landscape and the walking paths that became Broadway, Fifth Ave., etc.

Bill Crider said...

I used to tell my American lit students that when Washington Irving was a kid, the population of New York was about 20,000, the size of the small town where they lived. It must have been an interesting time, all right.