Mon 13 May - New York City, NY

Di has got a tummy bug so she decides for a quiet day and she sends Hans out on his own so she can get some rest. So, no photos of any of us today apart from Hans' left hand later on...

Hans goes by himself for the Greenwich Village walking tour at 2pm but first around 9am, deciding to wander from home in Chinatown, along the eastern shoreline and up to 58th Bridge (or Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge as it is also referred to). Here is Hans' route that kept him busy until midday, just over 12km.

Parking is big business in Manhattan and you see cars parked everywhere. And that means pretty much everywhere.
Sometimes slightly different vehicles can be seen parked...

Down at Corlears Hook Park at Manhattan's southeastern tip is this outdoor performance venue, right in front of all the ugly high rised public housing buildings on Lower East Side.

Looking north towards Williamsburg Bridge.

And a bit further north now looking at 59th Street Bridge between Manhattan to the left and Queens to the right.

The new World Trade Center building doesn't look flash from all angles. From East River and Alphabet City, it almost looks a bit strange and out of place.

Not sure what happened here. This is just south of the Waterside Plaza, roughly around 23rd Street.

And then suddenly in line with 38th Street, the Bikeway / pedestrian walkway along East River is no more. This is how it now looks. Note the bum at the far left of the photo.

So, Hans is forced to wander north on 1st Avenue, pass the UN building with all its security and foreign delegates with name tags. Then this piece of business opportunism...

On East 51st Street is this pedestrian bridge continuing over FDR Drive, which may mean that access to the foreshore is forthcoming again... Hans decides to investigate...

Views from the pedestrian bridge with FDR Drive towards the north and 59th Street Bridge...

And FDR Drive south towards the UN building again...

But alas, access goes as far as the apartment building in the previous photo so it is back to 1st Avenue for Hans.

Continuing north on 1st Avenue, Hans reaches 59th Street where he can see the Roosevelt Island cable car.

The cable car goes to Roosevelt Island in parallel with 59th Street Bridge.

After a bit of superficial investigation, it doesn't appear to be pedestrian access to 59th Street Bridge. There is a designated bicycle path in both directions, but it is very narrow and it doesn't seem to be a good idea to challenge that designation.

So, Hans switches off Runkeeper, wanders to the nearest subway station on 59th Street and takes the train to Bleecker Street near East Houston Street where Katz Delicatessen is. Time for lunch.

Katz, of course, is a New York institution, has been there forever and featured in many movies. It is also very popular with the New Yorkers as well as with the tourists. Yep, the place was buzzing.

Interesting ordering and payment system at Katz. You get one of those green tickets when you enter, you order at a very very long counter, they note on your ticket what you have ordered and you actually have to stand in queue to pay once you are finished. Only one cash register at the door. And, if you "lose" your ticket, you are up for $50 minimum charges.

Pricey, but the pastrami is "the best" as the guy behind the counter told Hans and you get shitloads of it, plus some cucumber and pickled gherkin. Oh yes, it was very very tasty.

Many claims to fame at Katz, but one claim stands out. THAT scene in "When Harry met Sally" was filmed at the table underneath this sign.

Two more pics from inside Katz.

The side wall to the right is filled with photos of Mr Katz himself and a variety of famous people from Police Commissioners to Actors. There were a few...

The counter is very very long.

OK, the pastrami is very very good. But $18 after tax is included...?
Having stuffed himself, Hans then wanders west on Houston Street, zig zags through various side streets including through Washington Square Park where there finally is somebody with a drum. A girl. But she is not drumming when Hans was there.

Then off to corner of 6th Avenue and Waverley Street where the "Free Tour by Foot" for Greenwich Village kicks off at 2pm. Plenty of punters this time. In fact, more punters than there has ever been on any of the walking tours. Anyway, the lady in charge (forgot her name) can talk loud, so no problem hearing what she has to say.

First off, this chemist is New York's oldest. Apparently the staff had to sign a non disclosure due to the chemist's popularity with famous people.

There was a lot of "Sex and the City" stuff which Hans didn't put too much attention to.

The Stonewall Inn is famous (or is that infamous) for being the venue for gay and lesbian riots in the 60s. Still operating and appears to still be popular with gay and lesbians...

Funny story about the "Hess Triangle". The website explained it a lot better than Hans could ever have done:

Where Christopher Street meets Seventh Avenue South, in front of the entrance to the modest-but-iconic Village Cigars store, there's a small mosaic triangle set into the sidewalk.

Back in the 1910s, a great swath was being cut diagonally across the Village, to extend Seventh Avenue below Greenwich Avenue and to allow the subway to move farther downtown. Using the power of eminent domain, the city decisively condemned and demolished 300 pieces of property, including a five-story residential building called the Voorhis Apartment, owned by a Mr. David Hess.

Somehow, when all was said and done, Mr. Hess was left owning a small triangle of land. To add insult to injury, the city wanted him to "donate" the parcel, which would be incorporated into a new sidewalk. Hess refused. He defied municipal bullying and went to court to assert his rights. By the time the case was settled, "The D. H. Hess Estate of Philadelphia" was the obstinate owner of approximately 500 square inches of useless surface area.

This proud plot remained the smallest piece of property in New York City well into the 1930s. Figuring the point had been made, the estate sold the tiny triangle to the owners of the cigar store in 1938 for $1,000. Today it remains a curious geometric reminder of a case where private property faced off against "progress" and came out the (admittedly modest) winner.

The group, with our fearless leader in orange.

John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln apparently stayed in this house while plotting to kill the president.

And this is apparently the house where the friends of the TV-serie "Friends" lived.

This row of dwellings were just beautiful. Old servant houses, now very attractive as they are away from the street so less noise and with a beautiful garden.

This house in an old alleyway is New York City's smallest house.

Nice streetscape of MacDougal Street.

Classic pop culture territory. Jimi Hendrix was "discovered" here before going to England and becoming famous, Bob Dylan came from Minnesota to play here etc. There is a long list next to the entrance door of "who is who" on the 60s music scene who have played here.

Well, tour finishes up just after 4pm at Washington Square Park and Hans takes the F-train the 4 stops to East Broadway.

Hans comes back to the unit around 4.30pm to find Di resting in bed - but things had not gone quite as she planned. Feeling better around midday Di headed out to do some basic grocery shopping and along the way fell into a hole near the curb of a road. Yes, she admits she was not paying attention but the result is she lands heavily on a rolled ankle. Damn (or #*!@$#) ..imagine much stronger swearing here... a sprained ankle results and she hobbles 4 blocks painfully home.

It also means we still need some basic groceries, like beer for the evening and cereal for breakfast. So we both head out to our local C'Town supermarket. Di wanted to test her ankle before tomorrow's planned walking tour and Hans spends most of the time teasing her about her slow pace and her limp! hmm... sympathy level is not high here as it is Di's own silly fault (her words). At least the ankle seems to be getting better but still a bit sore.

Dinner is easy. Homemade nachos, vino and beer, of course. Good night.


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