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last day in NYC

Technically that's tomorrow, but I'm just getting put on a bus. Well, putting myself on a bus. Anyway, today is my last full day this trip. And it started out sucking! Loud party nearby, vibrating my room to 4:30am. So that was a thing.

I figured I would go to the Met, but when I got to Central Park, the day was *perfect*. I decided the Met is always there while the weather will be changing (sometime...) and I should enjoy the outdoors.

There's an Ancient Playground, which is basically a playgound in "ancient" style. I would have taken a photo but I was self-conscious of photographing lots of kids. And it's easier to link to someone's else's photo anyway.

Then I found myself trapped on the 86th transverse, which is a road, with sidewalk... and no escape for pedestrians. Or if there is one, it was blocked off by police for some big Global Citizens concert, which was disrupting much of the park even when I finally did escape (by walking *all the way through* to the west side.) I'd found the Ravine last time, but it might have been walled off today. Then again...

Central Park keeps confusing me. Lots of twisty paths, few maps, and the maps don't show you where you are on the map. At least the Ramble Path ones don't.

Anyway, I did have fun, but it was annoying too.

So, next. I grew up reading Calvin Trillin's food humor essays, in which he extols Katz's Deli, and Russ and Daughters. He was writing in the 1970s but these are still around! Or things with their names are, anyway. Russ was closed but I went to Katz. It's big! And busy! And... expensive! $23 for a pastrami sandwich! I don't know if their pastrami is supposed to be that good and expensive -- and their roast beef, and their bologna -- or if they're just milking popularity. I let myself be milked.

It was... okay. I'd be hard pressed to imagine a sandwich that I could agree was worth $23 -- wagyu beef, maybe. I'm not sure this was even the best pastrami I've ever had. It was different, almost like chunks of beef, vs. thin sheets or basically shredded. And there was a lot of it. But, eh. It came with two kinds of pickles, I assume the small dark tasty one was kosher dill, don't know about the bigger bright green one.

Oh right. Outside the Met I'd had a hot dog from one of the ubiquitous food stands. Then I saw a Nathan's stand so had a Nathan's dog, plus fries. The hot dog was definitely different -- thinner, firmer, different flavor. Maybe better. The fries were bland and almost wet inside.

Man, this sounds like I'm raining on NYC, or at least its institutions. But I've had fun. The ferry was cheap and fun. Dim sum yesterday was great (good, and also a bunch of things I hadn't seen before). What little I saw of the AMNH was great. I know the Met is good. And probably better on a weekday with fewer people in it...

What I really miss getting to is the Bronx Botanical Garden. But it's like 1.5 hours from where I'm staying -- or an hour via some Harlem train that runs once and hour -- and I didn't feel I left home early enough to make the trek worth it.

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Damien Sullivan

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May 2019


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