NYC Subway Natural framing

Getting Lost in New York City – There’s an App for that!

After yesterday’s travel adventure, it didn’t take much of a crystal ball to foresee a late start to the day. But it was a nice late sleep and then I woke up to a fantastic day in New York. The temps today were close to 60 degrees! It was like they brought back fall just for little old me! I snagged lunch and set off for the Statue of Liberty. When I was here back in 2009, I saw it from a tour boat and the Staten Island Ferry, but the day I’d intended to go out to see it in person, it poured rain. This was my next shot. Looking at the weather, it’s also the nicest day in the forecast while I’m here. And thus began my first foray into the city. Compared to last time, I was completely unprepared. I had no idea where the nearest subway station was, no idea where I needed to go on the other end, and I couldn’t find the app I had downloaded previously that showed the subway map on my iPhone.

NYC Subway Natural framing
iPhone - Natural Framing of the Subway

I quickly snagged a new app that looked promising… looked being the operative word. Lots of flash, not much substance. It claims I can tag stations, like I could tag the station nearest my hotel as home base so I could always chart back to it… nope… no amount of tapping on the station tags it, it always wants to tag a station way, way, way farther north when I tap this one. That was strike one. I could live without it. I pretty much instantly memorized home base anyway. The real kicker has been that it rarely bothers to tell you which direction to go. Get on the #6 train – yes, downtown or uptown?  The first one was obvious, I knew I was aiming for Battery Park, so downtown seemed obvious. I could live with not giving me the direction until it finally did and told me the wrong way. It clearly listed the direction. I rode it two stops and it just didn’t feel right. I pulled up the map, and sure enough I was headed totally in the wrong direction. So, I’ve learned even if it gives me a germ of the idea, I need to look at the map to verify it. So, at least the map part of it is worthwhile, but the rest is an exercise in misdirection. How did this app get such good reviews?!?

And it’s not as if I need help getting lost here. The subway continues to elude me. I don’t understand how I’ve had so much success with the Tube in London where the subway here confounds me, but not as much as the Paris Metro.  Brrr… I digress!

So, to say the day was unplanned is an understatement. I glanced at the map before leaving and the place it looked like I needed to go turned out to be way, way off. I walked the full length of the park that goes along the waterfront on the southwest tip of Manhattan. I can’t complain. It delayed getting to the statue, but wow, what a beautiful day for a walk. And it wasn’t just me still on some sort of weird high from leaving zero degree weather. It was nearly 60 today and sunny. Everywhere you went outdoors, people were strolling, jogging, skating, etc. It was just a wonderful day to be outside! And although I’ve been before, I wasn’t here over the weekend before, so it was like I got to really experience New Yorkers relaxing.

And as it turns out, the interior of the statue is closed for a complete re-do for the next year, so getting there sooner wouldn’t have amounted to much. I did miss getting to stop at Ellis Island, but I’ll want to see the statue when I go up some day, so we’ll just save Ellis Island for that inevitable trip. Hoping for good shots of the statue as the light was awesome and the skies were fantastic, plenty of good clouds – I have never been fond of bland blue skies as far as photos go.

After the statue, I wandered up through part of the financial district before finally deciding I’d done more than enough walking and hopped the train back up here. I did use the route suggestion of the app but learned to double-check the map for accuracy. The station is only a couple of blocks from the hotel, on the same street, and there’s a police precinct in between, awesome-sauce!

I had a light dinner and then decided that I wanted to finally see the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. Funny enough, I saw the first part in Galway a couple of years ago. I’m setting the bar for where I’ll see a hopeful third chapter. I knew from riding in last night that Times Square wasn’t too terribly far away and Sherlock was playing there. I double-checked that it was still on tonight and got the general grid embedded in my brain. I’m about a mile and a half from Time Square. Some might not consider that terribly walkable but to me, that’s perfect and so not worth trying to figure out a subway path there. The walk was definitely worth it as I got to see Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building amongst other sight-seeing. I’ll definitely be walking more knowing that!

I popped over to Times Square at any rate and was a hair late for one movie (which I expected to miss but hoped maybe). So, I got a ticket for the next and wandered a bit including checking out the masssssive Toys R Us in Times Square. If it was there last time, I totally missed it. Wow, a Toys R Us that’s as much an experience as a store. Seriously, you can get your photo taken with various characters – insane. I only had a brief wander in there before heading back to the theater. Thank goodness I didn’t cut it closer, the theater was packed out. I might have ended up with seats down front if I had been later.

The movie was absolutely worth the high cost of a film in Times Square. I’ll save movie reviews for others but it completely fulfilled my need for story and plot and a fantastic backdrop in history complete with foreshadowing for times to come.

After that, it was the walk back and my feet are done for sure. I suspect Sunday morning will not be an early start, but we shall see! I’ve got to figure out if I’m in a particular mood for any galleries or museums this go round. I definitely don’t think tomorrow after all this walking.

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