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Day 8 in NYC: Thu, 7/4 – Roaming Manhattan

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I had zero plans for the day when I woke up, around 6am I guess. The blog was easy to put together since I’d only done Cursed Child the day before so not many photos or much to write. So what to do with a full unstructured day?

Making it up as I go along is one of my favorite things to do, which I somehow never allow enough of when I’m on vacation. I’ve learned the hard way if there are things you absolutely want to do, you better have a plan or you might miss it. Today was gloriously absent all that.

As is often the case, food comes into play. I wanted to return to Katz’s, a deli Jon and I had gone to in 2011. But that’s in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I’m in New Jersey and I knew from signs I’d seen the day before that the buses I usually took – for commuters largely – were not running due to the July 4th holiday. The weather was going to be great so I decided to splurge and take the ferry.

But breakfast first. As I discovered on my first day here, Jersey City is not a great walking city, so I took a Lyft to a place called Sam A.M., which was close to the downtown area.

Outside shot of restaurant
Sam A.M. is the name of this place, in a neighborhood that reminded me of Midtown in Sacramento
The front portion of the restaurant - a few tables at the window, and the order counter on the right
The front portion of the restaurant
A counter on the left in 4 tables in the back on the right
The rest of the restaurant behind me
A sandwich and cole slaw
Breakfast sandwich and coleslaw

I had a simple breakfast sandwich of egg, bacon, cheddar cheese, tightly grilled. And coleslaw, because I love cabbage and you never see that on a breakfast menu so why not. All delicious.

I left the restaurant and made my way to Harborside Ferry.

World Trade Center from Jersey City, framed by a tree lined walkway, and a tall buildin on the right
I loved this view as I was walking towards the ferry

This ferry had no outside seating and the windows were horribly dirty so no photo opportunities going across. I got off at Battery Park and started making my way through downtown.

One pool of 9/11 Memorial, with Oculus in the background on the left and the 9/11 Memorial museum on the right
One pool of 9/11 Memorial, with Oculus in the background on the left and the 9/11 Memorial museum on the right

Oculus is a very cool transportation hub and mall, run by Westfield. The tall black building behind it is the Millennial Hilton, where Dan and I stayed in 2017. The 9/11 Museum was open and there was a long line of people in it. If you’ve never done I HIGHLY recommend it; but you only need to do it once.

Graveyard at th Trinity Church
Graveyard at the Trinity Church

I’m always fascinated by Trinity Church and stop at it whenever I’ve been through here. The nave was closed for restoration so I couldn’t go in, but I’d never roamed the graveyard before and did some of that. The oldest grave here is from the late 1600’s.

Street sign at intersection of Broadway and Wall, with a nice shot of a tall building behind it, the just barely hid by the building across the street
There’s something about this particular intersection that gets to me for some reason.

The intersection right in front of Trinity Church. If that rings a bell at all it may be because you’ve seen the movie National Treasure.

Fountain in Bowling Green Park
Fountain in Bowling Green Park

I don’t think I’d been in this park before, but I used the subway entrance behind it just the other day. The building behind it is National Archives of New York City.

The New York Stock Exchange building, much of it covered in a huge USA flag
The New York Stock Exchange, appropriately decorated for the day

I made a detour through here just because I knew I was close and hadn’t been here since 2011.

Buildings looking left from NYSE
Buildings looking left from NYSE
Buildings looking right from the NYSE
Buildings looking right from the NYSE
An Asian family interacting with a statue of a little girl in front of NYSE
This Asian family was interacting with this statue for the longest time!

The little boy was cute and was standing there for the longest time in various poses with the little girl statue until (I assume) his mother joined him. The statue looked familiar but somehow out of place, although I couldn’t figure out why. This article helped me out – the last time I saw it was in 2017 in front of the charging bull. Called “Fearless girl”, her purpose is to bring attention to the fact that there are so few women in leadership positions in America’s largest public companies.

Federal building around NYSE
Federal building around NYSE
Fountain in City Hall Park
Fountain in City Hall Park

I do love the public spaces in New York. This has always been one of my favorites for some reason, small but pretty and surrounded by older tall buildings with artisan architecture which you don’t see anymore, especially the one in the background which is a city administration building.

Federal Courthouse
Federal Courthouse
A statue of a man and an arch of sorts, at an intersection, tall buildings in the background
Statue of Lin Zexu on the left; Kimlau Memorial Arch on the right, honoring those of Chinese ancestry who fought and died in the US

This was new to me, at the entrance to Chinatown. This is an intersection of 8 streets!

Katz's sign hanging diagonally over the entrance on the corner
Katz’s has been around since 1888

This is at the corner of Houston – here they say “Howston” – and Ludlow, and has been at or around this intersection since 1888.

Neon Katz's Deli sign on the side of the building facing Houston
It was about 1:30pm and the line was actually not as bad as I expected
A ridiculous number of people in Katz's
Inside. Madness.

You can order from the counter and seat yourself in an area to the rear right, but no guarantee you’ll get a seat in this crowd. I chose to wait and get table service. And I can’t believe I forgot to take a photo of the food! But it was as incredible as I remember it. I got a sandwich that was 1/2 knoblewurst – a garlic beef sausage that’s probably the best sausage I’ve ever had (and I Love sausage) and 1/2 pastrami. Served with a plate of pickled cucumbers and tomatoes that were amazing. Yes, I realize “pickled cucumber” sounds redundant, but on this tray some of them were so lightly pickled they were a bright green and still very much more cucumber. Super tasty and maybe even refreshing.

Front of the Stonewall Inn
Front of the Stonewall Inn

From Katz’s I wandered through the Villages – East, then Greenwich, then West. Couldn’t resist a stop at the Stonewall on the way through and decided to go in, which I never have. Glad I did.

Frames sign on the right: "This is a Raided Premises"; frame newspaper articles on the left
Just inside the Stonewall Inn

It’s a nice, cozy little bar but I felt weird taking photos of the patrons. On this 4th of July you’d never know it was anything special – just people hanging out at the neighborhood bar it looked to me, just as it should. Except for the framed signs and newspaper clippings on the wall as you enter.

Headline in a paper called the Sunday News: Homo Nst Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad
How rude!
Selfie at the Hudson River Park
Selfie at the Hudson River Park

From there I walked to the end of Christoper Street to pick up the Hudson River Park, something I’d discovered when I stayed in this neighborhood last year. It’s a beautiful riverfront area that goes for a mile or more I’d bet. Behind me in the photo above is one of many piers converted into public play spaces of a wide variety.

I took this over to the end of the High Line on 12th, but decided I needed to rest and get something to drink. I stopped at Bubby’s, another place I’d discovered on last year’s trip (mostly by getting ice cream at the place next door!).

Glass of a hibiscus Arnold Palmer and a glass milk bottle of water
I was very thirsty and happy he brought a bottle of water. The drink is a hibiscus Arnold Palmer – 1/2 hibiscus tea, 1/2 lemonade

I knew I wasn’t eating so took the last open seat at the bar. I love hibiscus tea and loved they made it into an Arnold Palmer.

My original plan from here was to wander more of the High Line. I’ve been only on 2 small sections of it and it’s like 1.5 miles long. But I was getting pretty tired and still wanted to make my way over to Central Park. Realizing I would be back on the High Line the next day (today), I took the subway instead.

Central Park was Alive with people, moreso than usual, on this holiday with beautiful weather – about 86 degrees and humidity was low. Lots of street performers of every kind around – puppeteers, musicians, etc. I made my way over to the mall – a wide parkway lined with statues – to get to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain.

Selfie at Bethesda Fountain
Selfie at Bethesda Fountain

I forgot to do a selfie the day before I figured I’d make up for it.

Selfie at Bethesda Founain with raised eyebrow
For you weirdos who prefer the raised eyebrow look. It really is difficult to do consciously! You’re welcome.

It was close to 7pm by this point and I was pretty beat and ready for dinner. Through Yelp I found a Korean place at the top of Hell’s Kitchen with 4.5 stars so made my way in that direction.

Outside of Jin restaurant. The sign shows J and I on one line and the N stretched underneath them
I passed this the first time – easy to miss

What a great little find this was, on 10th Ave close to 56th St.

Photo of Korean customers at tables
98% of the customers were Korean, I assume locals

No tourists that I could tell, and the only other white guy I saw was with his Korean partner (I assume wife).

A small skillet with a dish called sizzling cheese corn; you can see yellow corn in sauce, white cheese, slightly burnt on top
Sizzling Cheese Corn

When I saw Sizzling Cheese Corn on the menu I ordered it no questions asked – everything about that sounded amazing. And I was not disappointed. I love corn, I love cheese, it was smooth melted yumminess. I have no idea how authentic that is but it sure was good!

A Korean style deli sandwich
A Korean style deli sandwich

Another questionably authentic item, but it played well to my deli theme for the day: a grilled sandwich with (only sitting here writing this did I realize I had a sandwich for every meal) beef bulgogi, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut!, grilled crisp and tight in sourdough bread. Wow. And the french fries were pretty good too. That sauce is a spicy mayo I wasn’t thrilled with. But Wow, that sandwich was terrific.

After dinner I was beyond done and made my way over to the Midtown Ferry at 12th Ave and 41st Street.

Top portioin of the Empire State Building lit in red, white and blue
The top of the Empire State Building was dancing in red, white and blue lights

It’s remarkable to me how prominent this building seems to be regardless where you are.

Midtown at night from the Hudson river, with a USA flag waving off the back of the boat
An appropriate final shot for the day, from the ferry going back to New Jersey

I hope you all had a great 4th of July. I certainly did.

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