On my final full day in Connecticut, I led my students on a short trip to Manhattan to celebrate the end of World Scholar’s Cup and our return to Japan. A couple of the students have never been to New York and for me, I love the excitement and bustle of the Big Apple. We only had a few hours, but it was worth the effort to be thrilled with the lights and thousands of people.
I noticed Times Square has now put up cement blocks to protect pedestrians. Times Square is a target because of the symbolism of the center of media and capitalism of the global economy. There was also a strong police presence and the officer we saw had a machine gun with his finger on the trigger. In this time of delusional people running over people in the name of a religion, high traffic tourist places need to be protected.
Even on a Tuesday night in mid-November, Times Square was full of people. The commercialism always shocks me, and the hundreds of large, HD screens are fascinating to watch. We took some photos, got some souvenirs and headed over to Rockefeller Plaza and the NBC television company studios. Our family loves watching Saturday Night Live and being there where it is filmed is very cool. The Christmas tree was up and surrounded by scaffolding as workers are putting up the lights in anticipation of next week’s start of the Christmas season. There was a good number of people skating in the ice rink. I really wanted to join them!
We then walked down 5th avenue and the girls bought some makeup at the Sephora store. Seeing women getting makeup applied by cosmetic experts was interesting. We had to go back to Grand Central Station, which is a beautifully designed building to get the 8:26 train back to Connecticut. We tried the trendy Shake Shack restaurant chain while waiting for our train. I indulged in a vanilla shake and it was absolutely delicious. I was not impressed with the hamburgers and fries.
In all my trips to New York, I’ve only taken the Transbridge Bus Line that runs from the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, into Penn Station. Coming from approximately the same distance, but north of New York instead of southeast, we took the Metro North Railroad from New Haven, Connecticut to Grand Central Station. It was a pleasant ride into the city. I like trains better than buses. The train was clean and the trip on time. Both rides were off-peak and so there was plenty of seats available. It takes 2 hours from station to station.
I hope that the next time I am back on the east coast, I’ll be able to catch a Broadway show and do a museum or tour some of the iconic landmarks on the island. There is only one NYC!