Midtown’s honor is saved – by Hell’s Kitchen, aka Clinton, aka Midtown West. It is not a nice neighborhood, but if you are in need of food or drink while you are in Midtown, simply walk over to 9th Avenue. Your need will be cared for.
My walk however – from Walking off the Big Apple – took me mainly along 10th Avenue with sidesteps from there. Hell’s Kitchen is a mix of old and new. Old buildings are still standing along both the avenues and the streets, high-rise apartment buildings are propped in between and around. There is not so much to see – except 9th Avenue which is a paradise for food lovers. It is lined by restaurants of all kind, Food and Deli markets and some other shops in between.
Crossing 9th Ave on my way to 10th at once made me feel hungry and it was lunchtime anyway. So the only problem was making a decision. I choose a Thai place offering a lunch special. For as much as 8$ I got a salad with peanut dressing, a noodle soup with meatballs, braised pork and scallions, a chrysanthemum drink and a scoop of coconut ice cream. It was a bit difficult to eat the soup and of course it left spots on my freshly washed T-Shirt. I had a spoon and chopsticks. The problem was the noodles…
The southern part of Hell’s Kitchen is pretty much disfigured by the Lincoln Tunnel access roads. I walked east to 8th Avenue, where the Fashion Quarter begins and found a kind of publishing quarter there. The New York Times has its offices here, the New Yorker is close by and can be seen. A neighbor to the NY Times is my writing school, Gotham Writers Workshop.
I walked south until 34th Street and followed it in eastern direction. Here I finally saw Madison Square Garden Center, for which Penn Station had been torn down and banned underground. I think it is an ugly monster and the station building probably looked much better. I will check for old photographs.
I passed Macy’s on Herald Square – without going in – and the Empire State Building. On Madison Avenue I turned north again to meet Library Way on 41st Street. Library Way is the part of 41st Street, which leads from Grand Central Station to the Library. On both sidewalks 96 bronze plaques are installed, showing quotes from literature. I walked the right sidewalk and took photos from all 48 plaques there.
Having reached the Library again, I had a look at the exhibition about Federico Garcia Lorca – a Poet in New York. He did not like the city and did not learn English although he had the opportunity to take English classes at Columbia. Nevertheless he wrote a book about it. I put it on my reading list, which is getting longer day by day.
I felt like a drink and walked into Bryant Park. The Bryant Park Café has two huge bars and a fenced off dining area. For both you have to pass a doorman, who wants to see any photo ID. Then you get a stamp on your hand and are allowed to enter. I got a beer from a bar but of course no seat. The Café seems to be a popular place for people working in Midtown to go for a drink after work. Most of the people sitting at the bars or standing around in groups were dressed business-like Men had removed jackets and ties, woman had changed from high heels to flip-flops.
Every Wednesday the Midtown Manhattan Library shows a movie for free at 7 pm. Currently it is a series about 1970s New York. Today The Godfather was shown. When I arrived at 5 to 7 and asked for the movie, I was told, that it has started at 6 already, because it is quite a long movie. But I could go in, some seats were left. So I did. Mainly elderly people where sitting in the Corner Room. We were sitting on hard chairs, what is pretty tough for 2 and a half hours.
Having missed the first hour I did not get what it was all about. I understood scenes, but not the story. Will have to read it…
What I learned today: Midtown does have its food mile, 9th Avenue.