Signs in NYC
While I grew up in central NJ and worked in Manhattan in the past, I lived in the south for 15 years - 8 years in Tampa, FL and 7 years in Birmingham, AL. One day in Birmingham a year and a half ago, my husband Frank said: I think I just landed something in NYC. That led to four weeks of non-stop moving sale craziness followed by a three day road trip with two tranquilized cats.
We landed in Jersey City near the Exchange Place PATH station, and I found myself in a curious position of being a "tourist" in this area since a lot changed in 15 years. Jersey City near the waterfront now look like a borough of Manhattan, and my non-northeastern friends have enjoyed seeing more of an inside perspective of this area. Celeste Brady, a tip of the hat for your idea of a compilation of favorite signs. I realize this posting is going to be a pale comparison to what you would write, as I do not have your stellar journalism background. I also love your Breckenridge post.
You don't want to ignore this first sign. In a couple places I've seen a smaller version of this sign parked behind a grate, not particularly visible, which makes me wonder...
It took awhile before I caught the "Meat without Feet" truck conveniently parked on W. Broadway where I could snap a photo. I've also spotted a number of movie trucks on W. Broadway, both further south near the World Trade Center PATH station, and further north closer to Canal Street. Good Asian food: Chinatown (Canal Street, Mott and Elizabeth), Koreatown (32 Street near Macy's Herald Square - we keep gravitating back to Little Miss Korea), Flushing. Totto Ramen in Hell's Kitchen is a curious place, small, so you can easily wait a couple hours for a seat depending on what time you go. This place would be different as a larger restaurant - manufactured demand?
I stumbled on this beer sign below during an extremely cold night, walking home from work. Can you even read this sign without crooning it? Here I was right smack in the middle of Manhattan, and I could smell a smash country hit... (OK Birmingham, AL, grab your guitars, bring a howling mangy mutt, and hit it.) It's nice to know some things are universal.
If you're cold like I was after living in the south for 15 years, stop by Uniqlo and get some Heattech thermal underwear. That will keep you feeling like Tampa even in 5 degree weather.
If you want to chill out in Manhattan, fine. And, there are endless choices if you want to take advantage of what the city has to offer. I've become a meetup junkie (iOS, agile, business, leadership, NYC composers, etc.) The only limit is your imagination.
In fact just this week I went to an interesting meetup for an Agile Learning Center - a Manhattan free school applying Kanban principals to schools, this school is a year old and they'll be partnering with a sister school in Charlotte, NC soon. What a fascinating idea, creating an environment promoting self-awareness, self-actualization in the context of Kanban's continual improvement methodologies. I also wondered, the way they took a tool from the workplace environment and applied to to a school, they could do the same in the other direction and apply it to assisted living facilities to help retirees remain active and engaged.
The size of the apartments are something else. I actually like that we had to sell off everything before moving up here. After 15 years of owning a house, I'm done with the housekeeping and the yard work. I like being free as a bird.
I do wonder how people raise kids here, though. I don't know how you navigate narrow spaces with a stroller, and I once overheard someone say sure! You can easily raise two kids in a 1200 square foot apartment. I suppose you could if you start getting creative.
There are lots of parks and benches and public spaces. Central Park is surprisingly rich because it's a haven where birds gravitate if they want to avoid the urban jungle. Squirrels are far friendlier than in any rural areas I've been. They'll come up to you, climb on you, let you feed them, grab your finger (they have Claws). I once watched a large falcon-like bird preen for an adoring audience for at least 10 minutes before swooping down and back up with a rather large rat. It's like all of NYC is yours to enjoy, all accessible thanks to an efficient subway system. When we first came here we joked that our apartment was the "bedroom". Walk outside and the Essex Street light rail station is our "hallway". Walk across the street and that's the "dining room". Next door is the "garage" where our car is. Best of all, I don't have to houseclean any of it.
We take the car out every three to four weeks - it really does come in handy for grocery shopping, but we always have to jumpstart the car before we can go out...
There is a meetup for a walking group that starts from City Hall, over the Brooklyn Bridge to exploring the DUMBO area, back over the Manhattan Bridge which dumps you in Chinatown. It amazed me that from the streets of Chinatown you're completely unaware of this whole alternate universe that you can see from the Manhattan Bridge, colorful and artistic spray paint art and graffiti. I sincerely hope many of those artists have found careers as graphic artists.
This is the storefront for a pet store Pamper Ur Pets on W. Broadway. The sign in the upper right corner and the cat in the lower left corner are real.
There are a lot of subway musicians, dancers, and entertainers, and you never know when you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Regrettably, this is the only picture I have of the "even the headaches have headaches" truck, which I caught because he had to wait until he could make a left turn. I had to run to catch him.
He's peppered with ads for a drug store, on the other side of the truck is an ad for an antacid, something to the effect that now you can enjoy whatever Hell's Kitchen dishes up.
Look for the High Line, that's a fun walk in the summer.
If you're lucky enough to meet Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (HONY), I hope you're able to spend some time with him. He's a wonderful guy, and took us to colorful Spanish Harlem to take pictures (probably because Frank and I were both wearing black, probably two of his more boring subjects!)
Keep your eyes open, there are gems everywhere. There are pieces of the Berlin Wall on E 53rd Street between 5th and Madison.
I had gotten off the E train at 23rd Street and was walking when I saw this truck and started laughing.
If you're in NYC during the summer, search for Summer Streets. You start down at the Brooklyn Bridge and can walk or bike up seven miles to Central Park.
There are tons of antique clothing shops which come in handy for Halloween or holiday parties. We got into costume and went to a Roaring 20's party at a speakeasy called Beauty & Essex. When I walked in the hair on the back of my neck stood up, I felt as if I'd walked through a time portal. It's one thing seeing period movies or television shows. It's another to see it come alive in 3D.
Last but not least, who would think to find a snippet of Zen just before entering the Holland Tunnel, a small yellow sign saying:
Traffic: God's little way of saying "not so fast."
Namaste. Breathe in. Peace out.