30 minutes is what I took to finish lunch while checking on the ever coming in emails. Then I got up and walked around the park. For the 10th time, I wished I had my G12 with me, but had to use my cell phone camera. I creatively switched on the fall colors mode and got some snaps. Of course, it all looks great on a small screen; I would know exactly when I viewed it on my computer screen later in the day. Earlier on, I had stopped on the way to lunch at Grand Central station and snapped a few at what seemed to be an interesting pattern of parked bicycles.
Finished my work for an early lunch and drive back home. Knowing it is New York, I didn’t want to start driving out during lunch time. The traffic is further exacerbated by the lunch crowd taking more time to leave space for the vehicles on the cross walks. When I drove into the city Monday morning, it took me 90 minutes to get out of Holland tunnel from home – a distance of 102 miles. However, the three miles from the tunnel to the hotel took 60 minutes! The President was in town for an UN meeting and it was all chaos – roads blocked, vehicles stuck not able to turn. I made the mistake of taking 6th avenue per my favorite GPS – should have listened to myself and drove a bit east and taken the FDR. When the POTUS comes to town, it is something. I saw Lexington avenue barricaded for a mile, saw literally over one hundred NYPD officers on the street – God know how many more were there on the side streets and other streets. We couldn’t even cross the street because his limo was supposed to drive by anytime. I took out my cell phone just like the many others to get a snap of the ruckus and the parade, but that was not to be. Suddenly the officer removed the barricades and said the drive was off i.e., change of plans for the President and all bets were off. There was a visible disappointment among the watchers as was with me. After all I had wasted so much time for nothing – at least I could have felt the excitement. Maybe another day!
Knowing above, I took the metro from 60th street station to Time Square. The weather was perfect. You couldn’t have asked for a better fall day and there were lots and lots of crowd, well the New York work force, already out for lunch. I walked into a Chipotle only to step out due to the long line. I walked into a less crowded ‘Hale & Hearty’ – a place for soups and salads. This shop has quite a bit of choices for vegetarians. I ordered the large barley, tomato basil soup. It comes with either crackers or sour dough bread. I took the bread knowing that would be good enough for my lunch. I had learnt not to order a half-sandwich along with my soup – it was too much food. I walked across the street to find this Bryant Park. This park gets a lot less attention on tourist web sites. It is a great place – would say about 10 acres, with lots of trees and hundreds and hundreds of chairs and tables for the crowds to sit and enjoy. The sun was filtering in an out amidst the leaves and that added to the cheer. One section of the park is for readers. As I was sitting and eating my lunch, I heard a woman what seems as almost yelling on a phone discussing mortgage issues. After five minutes of hearing and thinking she should keep it low I turned around only to notice that she was reading a book. This is the practice in the park. Much like Hyde Park in London where one can go in and talk to the public to one’s heart’s content, this place is about reading in public. I felt relieved that I didn’t walk up to her and ask that she used a lower, less-interfering voice!