Lost in the music, Travel the world

a spiritual experience in new york

up and at ’em, george mcfadden! it’s daylight in the swamp.”

our second day in new york, we awoke bright and chipper and set off by foot from our loft in chinatown to the brooklyn bridge. turns out we almost walked ourselves right into the metropolitan correctional centre, where they house pre-trial and holdover inmates. now that would be quite the story to come back with! the armed guards told us we were one block off.

getting back on the right track, we came across the iconic bridge that links manhattan and brooklyn. the bridge was the world’s first to be built out of steel. it took 600 men and 16 years to complete. the stroll across the bridge offers fab views of city towers through intricate cable work. sean and i only walked half of the one mile span, as the bridge was being renovated and smelled overwhelmingly of spray paint. plus we also wanted to give ourselves enough time to explore lower manhattan.

heading back towards the financial district, we stopped in at financier patisserie for a quick bite. the egg and gruyere cheese in a hot pressed croissant was scrumptious and hit the spot.

we made our way to old world trade centre site and walked around the fenced perimeter, taking in the nearly completed freedom tower, aka one world trade centre. unfortunately, due to our packed schedule, we had to pass on the september 11 memorial and museum.

instead, sean ended up chatting with an ex-fireman at the ladder co. 10 bronze memorial wall, right around the corner. having an emotional-filled conversation with someone who had been there to witness that fateful day, sean said it ended up being his top highlight of our trip.

our next stop brought a little levity to our afternoon. perhaps not a huge tourist attraction, (compared to the empire state building et al.), we searched out 14 north monroe street in tribeca. what was there? the firestation that served as HQ for dr. peter venkman and the rest of the ghostbusters! yea, we’re nerds like that. besides us, we were joined by 3 other tourists. no waiting in line-ups. just waiting for someone to come by to help with some picture-taking.

when i left new york in 2007, the highline was just being constructed, so one of the things i wanted to do on this trip, was to see this elevated train track turned stylish park in the west village. opened in 2009, the highline runs from gansevoort street in the meatpacking district to 30th street and not only offers great views of the city, but also a bit of respite from the street level traffic below.

from there, we took the subway to columbus circle and walked to the church of st. pauls the apostle, for what ended up being the highlight for me on this trip — the clint mansell experience.

the rare event was mansell’s first live performance in new york and saw him performing with a string quartet, full band and video projection. it was the very reason we decided to go to new york. (not to mention, the furthest i’ve ever travelled for a concert)

we arrived an hour before opening and there was already a line-up wrapped around the block. and then some. over 1000 fans packed the church for the performance, more than regular sunday morning congregation, i’m sure. it was an incredible venue for a concert. amazing acoustics, of course. and we’re pretty sure it was actor kieran culkin sitting 3 pews in front of us.

bonus! director and collaborating partner darren aronofsky came onstage with a few words and to introduce clint mansell and his band. what a complete surprise!

the music was absolutely sublime, i barely have the words to describe it. sean and i were completely entranced and taken to a place which i can only describe as spiritual. it was an unforgettable night and one that we felt so lucky to be a part of. it seems that the new york times also thought glowingly of it.

double bonus! i got a copy of the setlist!

still on a high from the concert, we floated along central park south to grand army plaza on 5th avenue for some window appreciation. i’ve always been a fan of the highly creative saks 5th avenue window.

with all the excitement going on, we had completely forgotten to eat dinner. so before heading home, i just had to take sean to great NY noodletown on bowery street in chinatown. i LOVE this place. not only was it just a stone’s throw from where i lived and opened until 3 or 4 in the morning, but it is the only place that i know of that serves shrimp only wontons. that might sound insignificant, but it’s not. i have not come across any place in vancouver that serves shrimp only wontons. it’s always either pork or  shrimp mixed with pork. HUGE, really. especially for a pescetarian like myself.

sidenote: i once saw actor daniel craig dine here. it was right before casino royale was due to be released. i knew of him from layer cake and am pretty sure no one else there realized there was an on the cusp movie star among their midst.

anyways, back to the wontons. it was yum-my! and utterly satisfying. and if i had the means, would fly back in a new york minute for those bad boys. that’s how good they are.

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