I walk into the office on Friday and discover that there is absolutely no one is there because I missed the memo saying that I had a four day weekend for the Fourth. I have done a multitude of silly things during my internship so far, but this one ranks pretty high on the list.
As quickly as I walked into the office, I walked out of it and wandered into Greeley Square. I sat on a park chair for the better part of forty-five minutes because I was sleepy and I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I picked a terrible day to wear jeans with temperatures creeping close to the 90s, and I’d left my camera at home. I also didn’t have any directions or a list of things to do, so naturally, the best thing to do is get out my subway map and pick a place that sounds interesting.
I decided to head to Little Italy and then take a walk towards Chinatown. I got off at the right stop, but wandered into Chinatown and was too lazy to double back and retrace some semblance of a route. Then, my attention caught the sight of majestic looking buildings, so I walked in their direction. Following a map posted on a street corner for the benefit of tourists, I meandered towards what was known as the Civic Center. (I also stopped for red bean bubble tea, which was quite tasty with red beans replacing with the typical tapioca.)
The majestic buildings turned out to be a New York Supreme Court building, the Office of the City Clerk, and a variety of administrative-type places. It reminded me of the Chicago’s World Fair with all the classic architecture surrounding a neat little square and fountain. I took another break on a park bench and sipped my tea. On a cooler day, I would have climbed the steps of the Supreme Court Building, but I lounged under a tree instead.
In the half hour that I spent sitting, I watched four newlywed couples take pictures. I wondered whether there was a wedding venue nearby until I remembered that I was near a courthouse and getting married was one of those things your could do there. I had always expected courthouse weddings to be casual affairs with not too much ceremony, but the brides I saw wore white dresses and carried bouquets while their grooms were also dressed nicely in neat suits. Little groups of friends and family wore pastel colors and snapped lots of pictures. I liked the idea of having something small scale like that. It seemed simple, and everyone was smiling. I wondered: is it a thing to just get married at the city clerk and then head over for a full-scale reception? I don’t know, but it seems like a fun idea that would make people’s lives easier.
After I finished tea and ate the lunch I had brought with me, I kept following the short trail of majestic looking buildings until I came upon the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. There were throngs of tourists, a couple of joggers and serious-looking bikers, and peddlers on the pedestrian walkway. Having only driven through the bridge, which is kind of lame because it’s slightly claustrophobic and feels like you’re going through a cage, I decided to follow the crowd. I didn’t have the energy or inclination to walk across the whole thing, so I stopped at the first tower. The view of the East River was hazy and bright. The whizzing cars below made loud wooshes, and as I leaned against the railing, I kept imagining what would happen if I accidentally dropped my phone and held onto it tight as I used it to take a picture. I liked looking at the bridge’s cables and how they traced neat triangles of the sky. Bridges are one of those engineering marvels that I don’t quite believe can exist. The Brooklyn Bridge was built in the late 1800s, which boggles the mind a little. I’m impressed.
I was impressed for about ten minutes and then decided I wanted to go somewhere with air conditioning. Back on the subway I went, and I emerged at Herald Square. I got distracted by the Gap and H&M before heading to the famous Macy’s where I pretended to shoe shop so I could sit on one of the comfy chairs in the shoe department. I climbed the escalators all the way to the tenth floor; there were displays of patio furniture and a post office. On the top floors, the escalator steps were made of wood panels instead of metal.
When 3:00 rolled around, I went back on the subway to meet James at the MoMA. What I really wanted to do was go see the Rain Room, which is this cool exhibit that lets you walk through a shower of water without getting wet. Motion sensors detect where you walk and stop the flow of the water in the space you occupy. However, the wait was said to be four hours, so that will have to be a work in progress. The MoMA had a lot of interactive, video game displays in its design section, and a few new acquisitions. I revisited old favorites and dodged the crowds.
All in all, the day felt like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (with a few adjustments). I think I know where things are, and I can tell you which subway lines to take if you want to get to Penn Station. A step in the right direction.