Tired from all the walking, woke up at 10am. Took the subway to 86th, back to my old neighbourhood.
Brunch at Papaya King on 86th, same as always. Also found a wifi station on the street, so I had wifi for a bit.
Walked the 10 blocks up to 96th, to see the old building. The place I used to do my grocery shopping is still there. The library is nearby and provided aircon and wifi break.
Down museum mile past the Guggenheim and towards the Met. There was a guy outside the Met advertising free poetry and when I walked up he was feverishly typing on a typewriter writing a poem for a previous customer. When it was my turn he asked me what I wanted him to write about so I told him that I used to live in New York 15 years ago and this was a sort of nostalgic trip for me. Took him about 10mins to type out a poem for me. He would go into true creative mode, thinking and moving his hands about. I thought it was pretty cool, tipped him $5. Here’s what he wrote:
i began my quest
to climb towering
with each storied window
reflecting the impossible height i desired
along the concrete
where taxis and subways
ruled the city
defeated i would shrink to the size of pigeons
and every experience
between i gained
private wisdom only new yorkers could achieve
i begun to unfurl my wings
to this foreign city
(has it been that long)
i retrace my path
what the average studio rent is now
Onto Central Park. Amazingly, it was the first time I’d spent any significant amount of time there. Paid USD12 for a 24hr Citibike pass and cycled around the park. Well marked road, segregating cars, bikes and pedestrians. Only park vehicles allowed so very few cars. I realised just in time that each trip on a Citibike is 30mins, so hurried to return one bike before getting a second one. Didn’t do all of Central Park, but had a good time cycling.
Now at Upper West Side, really thirsty but went first to the Apple Store to use the wifi then to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a dish drainer for home. Yes, crazy. Finally able to find drinks at a CVS, ahhhh. The plan was to slowly make my way back to the apartment, which meant progressively utilising the Citibike network, first down Columbus and some city streets, then along the Hudson River Park. It was a bit tense cycling in the streets especially the side streets where there were no designated bike lanes. I was careful and got off to walk when I felt unsafe.
There were no free docks at 20th and 16th. Ultimately returned the last bike to the dock at 14th street. Was headed towards Chelsea Market when a tremendous thunderstorm hit. Took almost 20mins, sheltering in a doorway. Then as suddenly as it arrived, it left and the sun came out again.
Dinner was feather steak bought at Chelsea Market. The sinew in the middle made it quite tough, and I should have cooked it more. Lots of flavour though.