We hit essentially every tourist hot spot in the span of a day. I was pretty exhausted, but pretty impressed by how much we covered on foot. First stop included the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Being a history buff, David explained to me the story behind the Merchant Mariners statue. All I remember,unfortunately, is that the Merchant Mariners are people who can use civilian ships for battle during wartime. The Statue of Liberty was essentially a 10-minute viewing session when we got off the ferry. There was construction on the statue happening and the top of the Statue was closed until July. Ellis Island Museum had some pretty cool things, such as the holographic flag of the US that transitioned into a wall of faces of the different immigrants who came to the US.
What stuck with me most from the museum, as I walked through the corridors of each exhibit, was the poem, “The Sweatshop” by Morris Rosenfeld. When I think of my time at Ellis Island, that is the one distinct memory I have–a glimpse into the bleak labor conditions of the Lower East Side garment factories.
The machines are so wildly noisy in the shop
That I often forget who I am.
I get lost in the frightful tumult —
My self is destroyed, I become a machine.
I work and work and work endlessly —
I create and create and create
Why? For whom? I don’t know and I don’t ask.
What business has a machine thinking?
You can find the rest of it here.
After returning from Ellis Island, we lunched at Jean Georges in one of the Trump Towers, near Columbus Circle/the southeast corner of Central Park. Little did I know at the time that I was dining at a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Had I known, I would have eaten my food more slowly instead of inhaling it. Missed opportunities! It was incredibly unfortunate, however, that Jean Georges does not cater to vegetarians at all.
There were literally only two dishes on the entire menu that were vegetarian-friendly: warm asparagus salad and green pea soup. Best pea soup I’ve ever had. Ever. EVER. Presentation and taste for the two dishes was indeed top-notch, albeit not filling in the least. Wonderful macarons as well, and a beautiful rasperry sorbet topped with a delicate lavender sugar crisp. I left pretty hungry. Would not pay $30 for soup and salad at this place again.
After lunch, David and I walked through Central Park and Central Park Zoo. If there’s one thing I had to love about New York City, it’s Central Park. What a beautiful green space! Never had I imagined that there could be a park of this magnitude and size in a city so congested with people, concrete, smoke, and grime. The zoo was tiny but housed a surprisingly diverse array of animals. Snow leopards, polar bears and toucans, oh my! David was incredibly bemused and amused by the amount of pictures I was taking.
After the zoo, it only made sense to walk down the famous Saks 5th Avenue. It was pretty much as I expected–lots of high-end clothing shops. Our stroll also included swinging by the Guggenheim on 90th Street, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary at the time.
The major architect on exhibit was Frank Lloyd Wright, whose work I can honestly say did not resonate with me. Even more confusing and less pleasant to look at (for me) was the other Trump Tower–gilded in shiny brass and gold from floor to ceiling. Truly an eyesore like no other.
By evening, my body was ready from food. 4+ hours of walking with only a cup of soup and salad for sustenance had swept away whatever energy I had. Darbar Grill was where we ate dinner; my first experience with Indian food and certainly not the last! The food was absolutely delish. We had some potato naan, vegetable biryani, and lentil curry (or soup? can’t quite remember). I left with my belly much satisfied.