I happen to love New York

Hispanic Times Magazine, Fall, 2003 by Robert Kendall

New York City has an exciting enchantment no other city in the world possesses, and with good reason. When the famous Flat Iron Building was constructed early in the twentieth century, it became the world's tallest building, which it remained for a few years. This was followed by the Chrysler Building with its art deco silver design topping it off. Forever fascinating, the Empire State Building offers fabulous views of Manhattan, the surrounding islands, and New Jersey.

Radio City Music Hall with its art deco design was the glittering showplace for Hollywood's Golden Era's movies, accompanied by the famous Radio City Rockettes stage shows. The spectacular Christmas and Easter shows are still running featuring the Rockettes, along with special event concerts.

For many visitors to New York, Times Square is still the most exciting place. Brilliant, imaginative signs advertise from billboards atop skyscrapers shows like Phantom of the Opera, 42nd Street and Man of La Mancha. Broadway's stage shows draw world-wide audiences. Off-Broadway shows feature off-beat productions catering to every taste.

I flew Delta Airlines from Fort Lauderdale to JFK Airport. Shuttle busses sped me to my Manhattan destination, a hotel overlooking Central Park. New York City is celebrating Central Park's 150th anniversary. In 1853, the New York Legislature set aside 843 acres for Central Park. The master plan included ponds, meadows, terraces and pedestrian walkways, carriage paths and concert lawns. Central Park has set the scene for over a hundred movies, such as When Harry Met Sally. Colorful flowers, white, red, and purple decorate the edge of Central Park's green lawns. Bordering the lake are more flower beds. The water on the lake shimmers in the sunlight, as it glides beneath a bridge which connects to a small forest In the distance Manhattan skyscrapers are outlined against a bright blue sky. At Central Park West and West End Avenue The Dakota stands, a fabled landmark hotel, still classy, where John Lennon and Yoki Ono once lived and where Lauren Bacall resides today.

As dappled sunlight filtered through the trees of Central Park I walked over to Tavern on the Green. The restaurant patio with its white linen-covered tables were pleasantly shaded by tall trees, providing the feeling of dining in a forest. Baskets with pink and white flowers hung from tree limbs, while the tree trunks were framed by white flower boxes containing yellow tulips.

The New York Public Library has one of the greatest book collections in the world The stately New York City Art Museum on the Upper East Side, across from the penthouse where Jackie Kennedy Onassis once lived, has a magnificent collection of rare and wonderful art masterpieces. The Guggenheim Museum at Lincoln Center is another remarkable art museum, while the Whitney Art Museum is dedicated to modem art.

Grand Central Station. where many movies have been filmed, has undergone a renovation. Grand Central is an awe inspiring wonder of New York City. On Fifth Avenue, St Patrick's great cathedral, with its incredible stained glass windows, is an inspiring place to stop and spiritually meditate. Across the street is Rockefeller Center, where NBC broadcasts. At Rockefeller Plaza an international display of flags was flying in a light afternoon breeze. International vendors were selling their wares. The golden sculpture at the center of Rockefeller Plaza was glistening in the afternoon sun.

Farther down Fifth Avenue is Madison Square Park, where they were shooting a new Spiderman movie. At one side of Madison Square Park are the New York Life and Metropolitan Life buildings. On a foggy night in Manhattan, the light in the tower of Metro Life shines like a beacon, reminding one of Metro Life's nostalgic slogan, "The Light That Never Fails." Straight ahead is the Flat Iron Building, now the home of St. Martin's Publishers.

Continuing down the streets of Manhattan, you reach Union Square. Beyond is Greenwich Village, with its many unique cafes. Nearby is Little Italy's Mulberry Street with a series of Italian restaurants. Even though it was raining lightly, crowds still came. In the past, my favorite Italian restaurant was S.P.Q.R However, S.P.Q.R. now has a new owner. The wood-paneled walls are still impressive along with white marble statues, chandeliers, and glowing candles on white linen tablecloths. However, the early dinner Prix Fixe Menu was unimpressive. It began with a single soup choice, a bland garbanzo, and miniature pieces of pasta. The Chicken Parmigiana was served with fried potatoes. I objected, scraping the fried potatoes on a side bread plate and taking them to the manager. I asked about a side of spaghetti, which I expected instead of potatoes. He did nothing. The Spumoni Ice Cream was delicious, but overall it was a disappointing dinner, nothing like the high quality food I previously enjoyed at this restaurant. The $54 price tag was exorbitant considering.

On another sunny day I headed for Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn via the subway. The last time I was in Sheepshead Bay, Lundy's Fish House restaurant was closed. However, I was delighted to find Lundy's making a comeback, utilizing one-half of its original block long building, which was billed as the biggest fish house in the world. Entering Lundy's Sheepshead Bay again was a walk into nostalgia. The food did not measure up toe the Lundy's of the past, but I was glad they were back in business.

A walk over the Sheepshead Bay bridge brought me to Manhattan Beach, near the Atlantic. Older homes had disappeared, replaced by costly new homes with manicured lawns and trim flower beds. Older grand dame residences remain.

A walk down the Boardwalk along Brighton Beach was interesting. New restaurants like the Winter Garden have surfaced. Brighton Beach is one of the widest anywhere. Coney Island stills serves Nathan's famous hot dogs. World War Two pinup girl Betty Grable starred in the technicolor musical Coney Island, seen by moviegoers the world over. The legendary Cyclone roller coaster was celebrating its 75th anniversary, and TV news reporters were interviewing roller coaster ride enthusiasts for anniversary celebration newscasts.

Whatever you want in the way of a dining experience you can find in New York City. I enjoyed the super buffet offered at Marriott Marquis at Times Square. Jude, the excellent chef, has been preparing this wonderful food display since 1985. The service of the entire staff, from the hostesses to the servers and chefs is attentive and efficient.

Tree-lined Restaurant Row on West 46th Street is a must. Here you will find cuisine from many nations. I enjoy the great food at a Greek restaurant called Kyma at 300 W. 46th Street The Russian restaurant, Firebird, serves superb dishes in an ornate setting. The Chez Josephine, the chic cafe established by a son of Josephine Baker, is situated on West 42nd Street draws a large theatrical crowd However, Omega, a Greek restaurant at West End A venue near Columbus, was a dining experience I will avoid next time. The food was not very tasty and the service was spotty.

I stopped by the Plaza Hotel' s famous Oak Room bar, where I once saw Academy Award-winning actor Gig Young. As usual it was packed, being another celebrity hot spot. I usually stayed at the St. Moritz, a block from the Plaza, but Donald Trump bought it, selling it to the Ritz-Carlton. The Essex House remains as elegant as ever, with a friendly staff. The dignified St. Regis dining room was closed, with only a small restaurant remaining. The Grand Hyatt dining room, which I enjoyed so much in the past, is also closed, with just the coffee shop now open. The Sherry. Netherlands, where Bette Davis and Yvonne DeCarlo used to stay, is busy as usual. The Carlyle, the Upper East Side's premier hotel gem, where presidents Kennedy and Nixon, along with Henry Kissinger have stayed, and where Bobby Short generated a large following singing and playing the piano, was throbbing with activity.

The Russian Tea Room, located on West 57th Street, which was renovated by the late Warner LeRoy at a cost of $15 million, and which after his death was operated by his youngest daughter Jennifer, closed. A PGA Golf Museum is replacing the venerable landmark. Carnegie Hall just down the block to the west, had a full slate of concerts, as did Lincoln Center across Central Park on the bustling West Side.

Whatever one prefers, a Broadway stage show, a concert at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, or a major league baseball game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or Shea Stadium in Queens, or perhaps a boat trip around Manhattan Island or a trip to visit the Statue of Liberty, New York still has it all. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the United States. A life remembering gift to oneself could well be a trip to the "city that never sleeps," The Big Apple.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: I happen to love New York
Author: Robert Kendall


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Robert Kendall "I happen to love New York". Hispanic Times Magazine. Fall 2003. FindArticles.com. 19 Oct. 2007. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FWK/is_2_26/ai_111024545
Time & Date Stamp: