A Wonderful Trip to New York City
by Ms Pauline Suder(USA)
My daughter and I had agreed that we wanted to continue the tradition of exchanging gifts with each other at Christmas time, yet we had few material needs and thought it would fit the bill1 to give each other a weekend in the big city, seeing shows on Broadway and generally taking in the sights and sounds of the most visited city in the world and the home of more than 7 million people.
Our trip to NY was indeed wonderful! We didn’t get to do as much as we had hoped because it was terribly cold and the crowds of people were overwhelming2. The thousands of taxis were, it seemed, always filled with other people and we walked our legs off getting from place to place. We have decided to do a more complete visit when it is a little warmer and not quite so busy.
I once worked as a transportation supervisor and love to drive, frequently to locations from five to twenty two hours away from home, so it felt somewhat unnatural to take public transportation to a place only two hours away. Yet, that is what I did. I took a bus and headed to New York City, New York.
Few people of sane mind drive in New York City. Few city dwellers own cars. Some never learn to drive*. Because of the density4 of traffic, the manic5 driving and the paucity6 of parking areas, personal driving is a hazard7 and everyone depends on public transportation, especially taxi cabs of which there are thousands. The streets are filled with the yellow cabs. They move at dizzying8 speeds, twisting9 and turning through narrow streets and around obstacles and daring10 others to get in their way. They are everywhere, from early morning until late at night until the time comes to need one. Then they disappear.
We were most fortunate in having made available to us a hotel room for one night – and not just in any hotel, but the famous and grand Waldorf-Astoria, where the room rentals start at $405 a night. That is well beyond my budget, but it had been rented for a company conference and was not being used on the Saturday night.
New York has always been a city of hotels. The rich and famous through the centuries have wined11, dined12, played and stayed in this city of endless energy where writers, artists and musicians have found inspiration and camaraderie13. But not all of the hotels are prestigious; there are plenty that are run down14 and seedy15, but they are all there to serve the visitors – and visitors there are, by the million – twenty-three million a year to be exact.
Ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center
Our visit was in December and the temperatures were unusually low. The winds were blowing and the wind chill temperature was gauged16 at about 3 degrees Fahrenheit (-16°C). Nevertheless, the Christmas crowds milled17 the streets and made walking hazardous. The shops were packed full of shoppers making it difficult to get even close to the counters. It was not pleasant to be in the middle of such dense crowds, so we gave up any idea of shopping and decided to simply observe life in the city and enjoy the views of the continuously changing skylines.
At one time, New York was the capital of the United States of America and although that distinction lasted only six years, it was, and still is, the hub18 of finance, the arts, entertainment and tourism. It is known as a city of skyscrapers, and they are abundant, but all around there are equally impressive structures like cathedrals and monuments, towers and parks, statues and squares. The Cathedral Church of St. John The Divine and St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as the synagogue, Temple Emanu-El are no less impressive in their own way than the soaring skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, Citicorp Bank Building and Trump Tower featuring its eighty foot waterfall.
Walking through the streets, mixing with the hordes and aware of the chaos, we sensed the mood and the pulse of the city and were caught up in its magic and majesty. The glittering19 lights, the glow20 of vendor21 fires, the twinkling22 of the ever changing advertisements, the splendour and sparkle from store windows, blended together to create surroundings of radiance23 and rapture24, bling25 and beauty.
The magic continued with our stop at the celebrated masterpiece of functional architecture, The Rockefeller Center. The Center integrates huge towers with lush26 gardens, a pedestrian27 promenade28, concert hall, cinema, underground shops and restaurants and direct access to the subway. The tallest of the many structures is the General Electric Building at 70 stories but the best known feature, especially to the Christmas visitors, is the lighted Christmas Tree and the ice skating rink, surrounded by flags from every country in the world and around which throngs29 of visitors gather to watch and listen to the music.
No visit to New York would be complete without enjoying Broadway, and although there is theatre for every taste and pocketbook30, tickets are nevertheless hard to get with so many visitors vying31 for admittance32. We were, however, able to get seats for The Lion King showing at the Minskoff Theatre for a price of $150 a piece. The show was outstanding, and although the music and dancing were admirable, the set designs and animal creation and costuming made the show. Such creativity is laudable33 and fitted in well with the rest of the city’s magical elements – a warm and wonderful way to end our visit to this city of wealth and wonder.
* Although this situation is quite normal in much of the world, it is remarkable in the USA where it is assumed that everyone has a driving licence and that document takes the place of an identity card.
1 to fit the bill – быть тем, чем нужно
2 overwhelming – несметный
4 density – плотность
5 manic – безумный
6 paucity – нехватка
7 hazard – риск
8 dizzying – головокружительный
9 to twist – (зд.) петлять
10 to dare – подзадоривать
11 to wine – пить вино
12 to dine – обедать
13 camaraderie – дух товарищества
14 run down – запущенный
15 seedy – обветшалый
16 to gauge – измерять
17 to mill – кружить
18 hub – центр
19 glittering – сверкающий
20 glow – жар
21 vendor – уличный торговец
22 twinkling – мерцание
23 radiance – сияние
24 rapture – восторг
25 bling – (амер.) побрякушки
26 lush – пышный
27 pedestrian – пешеходный
28 promenade – променад (проспект, бульвар, аллея)
29 throng – множество
30 pocketbook – кошелек
31 to vie – соперничать
32 admittance – разрешение на вход
33 laudable – достойный похвалы
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