Wednesday, December 20, 2006
[Travel] 20061209 NY
Full set of the photos of the day
* The trip had an adventurous beginning: I overlooked the transportation time from my hall to the train station. The train is arriving while I am still pulling my luggage on the connection bridge to the terminal. Almost missed it.
* Heathrow was in a mess when I arrived at 9:40 am. Catching the flight at noon, I thought I would have quite a margin for everything. NO WAY. There are full of people and lots of long queues in front of every counter. So boring of waiting, I even began shooting photos. I have no idea what the real mess is. On the inspection gateway, everyone needs to take off coat, shoes and electronic devices. We were like chicken being peeled off in the cold winter. Every flight, including mine, was delaying. People hurried to check in on the scheduled time and found out all they can do afterwards are sitting in the waiting room (or sitting on the waiting room floor) watching BBC.
* The outward flight is ok. AA's seat is much more comfortable than KLM or NWA's, and they have personalized monitor for entertainment. Their meals are a little bit less for me though.
* The custom I went through after arriving at JFK was actually kind of dark and spacious, much to my surprise. The custom officer was cold and lazy, but you don't ask more from them other than going through. There's an African American lady asking me if I need help of direction after I pushed my luggage to find the JFK air train. I got decent impression of this country in my second visit so far.
* The subway was much different from London, starting from the characters they use on the posters and announcements (which I think is one of the symbols of this city). NYC Subway is not friendly for newcomers: The metro card looked like made of cheap material and can be reproduced at any time, the announcing system simply sucks (you most of the time have no idea what are the drivers murmuring), the notification of station name is small and unapparent than any other metro systems I have ever been (Taipei, Tokyo, Boston, London), and you don't get free maps of the metro system on the station. A traveler's guide book like Lonely Planet will be really helpful. Even for all the shortcomings, I still love the NYC subway cause it's so convenient to commute to places in Manhattan, and opened for 24/7. Moreover, the subway is so lively, as you can expect to see people from every ethnicity, and crazy things often happened.
* The first night I slept in Hostelling International New York, not bad for a hostel for such a cheap price in NYC. I never met any roommates because I just dropped my luggages there and went back at 4am for a nap.
* MSG is a massive facility for sports entertainment. It is sorry to see the product they are presenting (your New York Knicks) is the major downer to the whole experience. A ten dollar ticket on 4th floor is enough for me to clearly watch the whole game, with every player's movement and their interactions with each others.
* I didn't plan to visit empire building at Saturday night, but since I had free time between Knicks game and Blue Note, I just altered the plan a little bit. The elevator, roof and walls on 82nd floor are like crap, still under construction. The wind was blowing so hard at the 86th, and you have scaffoldings of the building to block your view at some angles, but it's still worth a visit at night to see the whole NYC under your feet with your lover.
* Blue Note is much more industrialized than I imagined. I attended the Saturday midnight show so it only cost me 15 bucks. A group called Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey with one pianist, one drummer and one guitarist jammed fusion, free jazz and improvised music. The only negatives were that there's an annoying French bitch keep talking, laughing with her companions, and swinging her fat and disgusting body in front of my table. Fortunately they left at the half. Also, I often felt sleep during their show. But their performance was fantastic.
* Finally, I went to Times square at 3 am, but before that I talked with one saxophonist playing Christmas songs alone at the underground. I met him earlier when I was on my way to Blue Note, and decided to offer my greetings if I met him again. He thanked me sincerely and expressed his admirations to the people of Taiwan, said he would love to go there sometimes. Times sq. never sleeps even at 3 am, with all the electronic boards around you.