Bright Lights, Bigger City

I don’t think I have ever mentioned my love of Cee-Lo Green’s last album ‘The Lady Killer’, the album that brought you the song ‘Fuck You’ aka ‘Forget You’ as the radio-safe version. I never found that the album got the proper recognition that it deserved. Sure that song was/is everywhere but nothing else that was released from the album got a lot of play. I think the reason was that the rest of the songs didn’t match that initial shock. But if you remove that song and listen to the rest of the power ballads that have a mix of Motown, funk, and do-wop you will love it. The songs make you wanna dance or get it on or do both.

Anyways, I am not bringing that up just because I am listening to it right now, I am actually listening to it because of my recent trip to NYC. While I was there Cee-Lo’s song ‘Bright Lights, Bigger City’ kept popping into my head.

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I guess it was appropriate for that mini-vacation. Living in Toronto I am used to the city life but NYC is pretty much the same just more of it. This was not my first venture to the Big Apple but I haven’t been there is some time so it still felt like something new-ish.

So I left work early on a Wednesday afternoon, hopped in the car with my mom, and headed out on the long drive. For some reason my friends were excited for me and I was serenaded with an off key rendition of ‘New York State Of Mind’ (not the whole thing just the Alicia Keyes part), I can’t complain it was entertaining and slightly better than the jazz-hands filled morning dance party to Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’.

This was the first time in NYC where I had an idea of what I wanted to do when I got there. I had gone with family or friends and I would follow behind them as they knew what they wanted to see/do. I would simply follow enjoying the company and the different surroundings. Else we would wonder the city looking for … I don’t know, that excitement that others always seemed to find. But NYC is one of those places that you have to have an idea of what you want to do/see or else you just get lost.

The first place we headed to was The Highline. If you don’t know, The Highline is a park created using an old, elevated train track in Manhattan’s west side. We started at the northern most entrance at West 30th St and 10th Ave and moved south. I didn’t think we would walk the whole thing, it is over 20 blocks, but it was an absolutely beautiful day and we just took our time. Here are some pics in order of our journey.

This is the start of the journey, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and moderate temps, couldn’t have picked a better day.

There is something fiendishly entertaining about this cat character.

As you will see I enjoy graffiti. I am not talking about haphazard scribblings across walls I am talking about the art where people make an effort to create something interesting.

The view west (i think).

The view east (?)

The path goes between a lot of old building with beautiful brickwork.

Periodically there were these seating areas where the view is literally framed. It is like you are watching a moving piece of art or a film. I would have gotten a pic looking through the frame but (i know it doesn’t seem like it) the seating was packed.

There were also new buildings that flanked us, tall, oddly shaped structures of glass and metal.

Believe it or not but this is a bird feeder. Very cool.

Love this guy.

Some clouds started to roll in.

So I am including this not because I want to advertise for Manhattan Mini-Storage but because this ad confuses me. What does one have to do with the other? It just seems really ridiculous.

This is where I started to have some fun with panoramics (you will have to click on it to see it clearly). I really wish I had thought about doing that earlier, I think I missed out on some awesome images. This was the view behind us.

This was the view ahead.

I thought there was something interesting about this neon green/yellow chair against the backdrop of these muted tones. Also the coloured glass is an art installation. Apparently a photographer took a picture a minute going along one of the rivers that flows through New York and each pane represents a photo. Can’t tell you more cuz that is all I remember.

A lovely shock of pink among all the green.

Vertical panoramic anyone? This is the view to the east, as you can see the dark ominous clouds have moved along revealing large patches of blue sky.

The view to the west. It will be obscured soon by what looks like will be another skyscraper.

As you can see it was a fantastic picturesque walk. I would love to walk it during the summer when everything is lush and in bloom. I would also like to walk through in winter after a fresh snowfall. I think it would be a serene white wonderland.

Next was the journey to FAO Schwarz.

I don’t know why I had never been to this massive toy store, it boggles the mind. I had a very specific purpose for heading there, I was going to find the muppet workshop and get my very own muppet made.

For early afternoon on a Friday I found the place was packed. There were screaming excited children, tired parents, and surprisingly perky staff.

The shop was at the back of the store on the first level forcing me to go through the candy shop; you could smell the sweetness in the air.

Found it!

Here’s a closer look.

It was fun putting together a muppet. I didn’t get to actually make it but I did get to pick the type of body, eyes, nose, hair, and clothes. It was fun but there were so many choices it took me forever to decide. After I finally stuck with a creation I had to wait an hour for the assembly so we headed outside to get out of the chaos and soak up some sun.

The store is on 5th Ave just by the park, central park that is. It was another beautiful day and people were out in droves so we sat in the sunshine and watched the city go by. This is the view of the street.

This is the view toward the store. That is the famed glass cube Apple store on the left. This store is undoubtedly serviced by professionals from, ensuring high-quality and expertly designed shop fronts. I was pretty disappointed in that as all it holds is an elevator, an escalator and a stairwell. I had always thought the store was in the cube, it turns out it is under it. If I had an interest in Apple products I may have ventured inside but I don’t.

Wanna see what my muppet looks like?

Fun right? I like it. Sadly I haven’t come up with a name or persona as yet. I just can’t decide; I didn’t know owning a muppet came with so much responsibility.

Those were the only things I had planned so the rest of the time my mom and I wondered the city just exploring. There were only 2 places of note that we ate at while there. One was a Chinese restaurant call John’s Shanghai. I don’t know if this was from starvation but the food was awesome. We also went to this little french cafe/bakery. I had this cookie that was just Delicious and …

..huge. I actually had to take half of it to go.

We also went to the North American flagship store for Uniqlo. It is a clothing store that has the quality and finishing of stores like the Gap and Joe Fresh but has the price point of Old Navy and H&M. It is mainly basics but nice basics if you know what I mean.

They had this hectic, funky mannequin runway bridging 2 sections of the store. It was sensory overload.

They also had these lighted stairs where the colours gradually went through the colour spectrum. It was quite lovely.

Lastly, I give you Times Square

In all its lighted glory.

Well that is about it. Picture wise. I know that really turned into more of a Flickr page but that happens every once in a while. On the drive down we drove in the dark so there wasn’t much to see besides darkness and head light (a few times I swear I saw the edge of the Earth as I believed we were driving off of it) but on the way back we got to see what we missed. The most interesting thing was we drove through a wind farm. It was surreal and spectacular. It is hard to describe the giant metal beasts lazily spinning in the sky as they tower over you. I had seen pictures of wind farms before but I hadn’t grasped the epic strangeness of it. I would have taken a picture if I wasn’t driving and my mother got the hint when I said “If I wasn’t driving I would take a picture.”

Ok, so that is really it.


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