Our second day in New York City started early for me (Like, when is that a surprise?) with a two-hour photo walk. But that walk got interrupted before it even began…twice. First, as I was leaving the ship, I looked at my phone (that I use to track my travels, navigate by GPS, call Kathleen if I need to, etc.) and found that it had not charged overnight even though it had been plugged in. Damn! So I walked back upstairs and plugged in. I knew I could get it up to around 40% in under 30 minutes, and that would be enough. Half an hour later, I was on my way.
This time, I got off the ship and through security before I thought, “You should check your camera batteries as well.” (I always have two on me. One in the camera and one in a pouch on my camera strap.) The one in the camera was at about 25%, but the one on my strap was…dead. So, back through security, back on the ship, up 4 floors to grab my third battery, which thankfully was fully charged. Finally, I was on my way. Whew! That was frustrating.
My original intention had been to re-walk the High Line, but since I had done that the day before and also five years ago, I decided to go out and shoot some light—Times Square. On the way, I thought how ridiculous it is that I would NEVER walk in the dark for that distance in Seattle. I would never have felt safe. But here I was in the Big Apple, and I felt totally secure. Working people were everywhere, a friendly cop on most corners and strangely enough, walking three miles around Manhattan, I did not see a single person high on fentanyl, asking for money or doing anything but getting on with their day. What a difference a few years makes. Seattle wishes it was as safe as NYC.
At any rate, I had a fun walk around the Times Square/Broadway area and these are the photos I brought back (and of course they have captions). Don’t forget; if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…
Back to the ship, and after a quick breakfast, and five of us were off in an Uber to explore NYC. Jocelyn was still getting over her cold, and Kathleen felt like it was coming on, so they elected to stay on board. We were first headed to Zabars on the Upper West Side. If you have never heard of Zabars, just imagine the most well-stocked grocery store you have ever been to, where you can get ANYTHING, and it is all crammed into two 7-11s…with an entire kitchen shop on top of it. That’s Zabars. Here are three quick shots to show you what I mean.
All the sections of the store were as well-stocked, with as many choices as the cheese section. Add an upstairs cooking supply store, and for people like me who love to cook, it was magic. We stuck around there, but I knew I wasn’t going to buy anything because I didn’t want to have to lug it around the rest of the day. I am ashamed to say that every product I saw in the kitchen supply shot that I really wanted, I took a photo of with my phone and will be ordering those from Amazon when we get back home. I love to support small businesses but Zabars looked like they will survive (they have for a very long time).
I got done looking long before the rest of the gang, so I went outside to find a mailbox to drop some postcards I had written. Yes, I still write postcards. And then I planted myself in front of the store and did some street photography until everyone else had made their purchases. Here’s a quick gallery of photos from that session of waiting about 15 minutes. Don’t forget; if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…
I forgot to mention that this midday foray into Manhattan had totally broken one of my absolute travel laws—never go anywhere unplanned. For me, the worst thing to be when traveling is just wandering around and going, “What do you want to do now?” Just typing those words bothers me. I know. I should just be spontaneous. But more arguments and ruined vacation days have come from those seven words than I want to remember. But there we were outside of Zabars, asking ourselves where we wanted to go. So we checked the map and found out we were just north of the entrance to Central Park, and since no one in our group except me had ever walked through the park, we decided to head that way.
Once we were in the park, the next question was where to go. I had never been to the Belvedere Castle, so we headed off to find that. Hopefully, it would make a good photo-op. It did. After exploring the castle and the views from the castle, we spoke with a park guide who suggested a great walk down the rest of the park to Columbus Circle. I was all up for this, but that’s because I am the walker in the group. The rest of the group decided that what they wanted most in NYC was a pastrami sandwich at a deli. So they headed off to find one on Lexington Avenue, and I headed south into the park on the route the guide had suggested to shoot more photos. Here’s what I got in the park. Don’t forget; if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping.
After I took the second Belvedere Castle shot, the battery in my camera died, and I had to switch to my partially charged backup. Talk about worried. I knew I had a long way to go to get back to a charger. So I walked through the rest of the park, making sure my camera was only turned on to take a composed shot that I liked. For me, this was sheer torture. I like taking pics of everything (that’s why my batteries keep running out) and then sorting them out later. I probably discard 80% of the photos I take. But on this walk, I only took the ones I absolutely HAD TO HAVE. And this situation put me on another search. I was in Manhattan. There must be a camera store nearby where I could buy a new Nikon battery. Hopefully, they will have one fully charged and ready to go. So I popped out Google Maps on my phone and Googled nearby Nikon stores. I about fell on my face when I saw I was only 1.9 miles from the midtown home of B&H Photo.
For those of you who are not nutso, serious photographers like me, B&H is our Mecca. They are the ultimate camera store. They are only in NYC, but half the serious photographers in the USA buy from them. I had considered going there earlier, but I would have been the only one interested, and it would have been way too tempting for me. They literally have everything! Of course, as it turns out, they don’t have everything. They don’t sell fully charged Nikon batteries. Damn! (But that was OK. I got to spend about an hour browsing B&H and didn’t spend a cent.) Did I mention that B&H was at 34th and 9th? Because now I was way past Pier 88—so off I went to get back to the ship and to rest my feet. My total miles walked on this day in the Square, The Park and B&H was 14.2. To say my feet and legs were mad at me is a huge understatement.
The walk back was uneventful. I didn’t have any more photo opportunities because, by now, my camera battery was totally dead.
Sailing away from Manhattan
My plan (since I had shot our sail-in to NYC) was just to take a few photos as the ship was sailing back down the Hudson to the sea. But when I went up on deck and found that there was almost perfect light focused on the city, I had to stay and take more than a few photos. It was a good thing I had completely charged one of my camera batteries as soon as I had gotten back to the ship. Because, in that 45-minute trip from Pier 88 to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, I shot almost 300 photos. Everywhere I looked, there was perfect light on something else. I hope you agree. And don’t worry. I culled them down to a few of the best. And these you really shouldn’t look at on a tiny phone screen. Don’t forget; if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping.
Other than an evening meal at Ember (another of Vista’s specialty restaurants–That I will review soon along with the other three and all the food), that was about it for this day. It’s a good thing because my feet could not take standing anymore. I was thrilled that yesterday was a sea day, and I didn’t have any place to go except an onboard culinary class—more about that tomorrow. Today, we are in Charleston, South Carolina, and I look forward to a short walk to pick up a rental car, a covered surrey ride around downtown, some of the world’s best Carolina BBQ at Rodney Scott’s and a tour of the Magnolia Plantation. With a 90% chance of rain…this should be fun.
“I get out of the taxi, and it’s probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards, New York.” — Milos Forman