NYC -Visiting during the Pandemic – my thoughts.

I am often asked about walking in NYC. The virus has kept many of us homebound and we all have the urge to get out but how to that in the safest way possible? I must confess that before writing this, I never looked at the written CDC guidelines; I mostly relied on information from TV shows and newspapers.

During my walks I generally stay outside and I keep moving. I figure the less time I am around the same people the better my chances of surviving exposure. So here is my condensed version of what to know about coming into the city. It is not complete but a start in living through our “new normal”. ( Guideline) link below)

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Best way to come into the city…

Walking won’t work, driving in might work, public transportation is risky but possible -mask, distance and stay away from commuting times might work. Other than that, I have no idea!

  • Wear masks in public settings and especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Use social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Washing your hands with soap and water may be difficult to do so bring with you hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes – use either or both often.
  • Be aware of where you are going, look ahead, and avoid walking through heavily populated groups.
  • Also, be mindful when waiting at crosswalks and try to stay either behind the crowd or near the outside of the crush.

Eating – when our kids were younger we would pack a lunch and find a secluded spot (they do exist) or a park to eat in … your call!

Restaurants

  • Before you go into a restaurant (remember no inside dining), look to see if all staff are wearing masks and that they are cleaning tables between guests. Are the tables 6 feet apart? [Only takes a minute to stand outside and observe]
  • Take precautions – like wearing a mask as much as possible when not eating and maintaining a proper social distance if you are dining with others who don’t live with you.
  • When possible, choose food and drink options that are not self-serve [Salad bars] to limit the use of shared serving utensils, handles, buttons, or touchscreens.
  • Use those wipes for your credit card when card is returned after every use.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands when entering and exiting the restaurant [In fact any place you are going into].
  • Before using the restroom, make sure you have sanitizer with you, there might not be adequate soap, paper towels or hand sanitizer. Ladies bring tissues as often there are none in public bathrooms.

There are a lot of outside activities that can be enjoyed as well as safe-in-door events. Most stores require social distancing and/or have restrictions on number of people allowed in the store.

I imagine that these precautions would apply to any city so be careful…be safe… be informed.

For more info:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html

NYC – A Mid-Town Art Gallery and Pedestrian Walk you may have missed

Recently, I was making my way down 6th Avenue from Central Park.  I decided to go towards 5th Avenue on 57th Street.  I have been on this street many times and it’s where I first discovered  6 1/2Avenue. Today, I found another pedestrian way that is open and full of surprises. Just a block away at west 40. It simply brings pedestrians from one street to another.

 

It is fully covered, yet door-less and brightly lit with welcoming, whimsical, sculptures lining the walls by the likes of Tom Otterness, Fernando Botero, Manolo Valdes, Jacques Lipchitz to name just a few.

Today sculptures by Tom Otterness formed a very inviting path.

(Everyone I know loves Tom Otterness’ “Life Underground,” the Fraggle Rock Doozer-like small bronze characters inhabiting the 8th Avenue L train station.)

The pedestrian walk is part of the Marlborough Gallery, located at 40 w57th.

Note: This location is on the edge of Midtown but is a short walk from Columbus Circle, Carnegie Hall and MOMA (Lower floor galley is free).  Also, from Lincoln Center, you can walk down Broadway and pass near here and 6 ½ Avenue. You could then continue towards Rockefeller Center.

Previous Blog – 6 1/2 Avenue

 

NYC – East of Midtown – a walk around east 54th and 2nd Avenue – Updated August 2019

I wrote this blog over a year ago. I mentioned an almost hidden church, today, I came across an article inUntapped Cities

about the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, it is very well done. I thought you might enjoy it.

Tucked in Midtown with a facade of stained glass windows is a church founded for Swedish seamen that has a cozy secret: a hidden coffee shop… Read the article here

 

My original article begins here

Here is a look into a neighborhood a bit off the grid of tourist areas.  I selected an area bounded by east 54th street, east 52nd Street, and Sutton Place and 3rd avenue. Some people call this part of Turtle Bay. The area has very little to offer but I found a few interesting places of interest.

I found myself looking through the locked doors of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church and wondering how to get inside, just then a passing mailman that just yelled to me to press the two white buttons, magically, the door clicked open. (I love going into interesting buildings)

Norwegian Seamen’s Church

A smiling young man greeted me and allowed me to come inside for a visit. The church is a part of Norwegian Church Abroad. Along with being a church it also holds an assortment of events and art exhibitions.  There’s a small store and cafe inside the church that offers coffee, waffles, and a few Nordic packaged goods.  The store had a few friendly people having a coffee away from the bustle of midtown. There is a Gallery located downstairs from the “church” and has a nice collection of Scandinavian art.  Upstairs there is a small library/reading room with a fairly impressive collection of books in Norwegian.

 

The New York City Bath House Building – a very impressive building, on east 54th.

The center’s original purpose was to provide sanitary facilities for the city’s working classes and much of its original character and history remain. The basketball court and jogging track are connected by two wrought ironwork spiral staircases, The vaulted ceiling in the gymnasium and the lobby are indicative of the architecture of the time. Marble walls in the locker rooms hearken back to the original marble baths. (Not allowed to photograph swimming pools)

 

 

What you find off the beaten path are often small ethnic restaurants.

 

 

Extra things I found along the walk.

 

 

 

 

NYC – Mid Town East – Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay is a neighborhood in New York City, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. It extends between 41st and 53rd Streets, and eastward from Lexington. Its most famous site is the United Nations and Tutor City.

My reason to visit, was the newly painted murals (5) in this neighborhood. They are sponsored by a labor group and the over-all title is Social Change

Turtle Bay almost feels like a different world: peaceful, uncrowded, and filled with brownstones and smaller brick buildings rather than skyscrapers. Much of the residential architecture is from the 1920s, often featuring basic Italian antecedents, stucco walls again bricks or tile.

Mid Town, Turtle Bay, is  an interesting place to visit and walk. 

Two buildings in Turtle Bay are the Seamen’s Churches of Sweden and Norway, which have hidden cafes inside that are open to the public though the organizations themselves primarily serve the expatriate community.

Seamen’s Church

It might look like a gated building front on East 49th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, but this between-buildings passageway, now known as Amster Yard, goes all the way back to 1830 or earlier. On this site, the stagecoach to Boston began its route on a now-vanished road called the Eastern Post Road. It has been rebuilt with an art gallery and a charming back garden. The complex remains open to the public on weekdays, except when there is a private event. (Spanish Cultural Center)

Then there is Beekman Place, also just a few blocks long. Its prewar co-ops nuzzle town houses with dormered windows jutting from their top floors.

Fun facts

As a non historical curiosity, the Hammarskjöld Plaza (Second Avenue and Forty-Sixth Street ) is the very center of the imaginary multiverse formed by all of the stories written by Stephen King, as described in his “The Dark Tower” series of books. It is actually the place that “keeps all those universes working”. So it is an interesting touristic point for the fans.

 

Number 227 – 247 East 48th Street and 236-246 East 49th Streets are famous remodeled brownstones which surround a private common garden and are the former homes of Dorothy Thompson, Katharine Hepburn, Stephen Sondheim, Maggie Smith and Tyrone Power

This area is right on top of the United Nations Building.