Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"The Jungles of West 28th Street"

At 5:00am, as early morning deliveries are made to stores all over NYC, a special load of merchandise is delivered on West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.


I was going to write all about the Flower District in my next post, but my favorite blogger did it for me!

Check out this AWESOME description of the New York City Flower District:

"The Jungles of West 28th Street - Exploring NY's Flower District"

And check out his website while you're at it. He has really fantastic posts about secrets hidden in plain sight in New York City.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

AC + Subway Station = A Relief!

If you have traveled on the Subways during the summer, you will understand when I say that the stations are stifling hot!!!

The Subway stations in NYC are incredibly difficult during the summer. As I stand on the platform praying for the next train to arrive soon, I pace back and forth on the platform so I can create a small wind to cool me down. 

Subways stations are at least 10 degrees hotter than the street, primarily because there is no circulation, and also because of the exhaust from the Subway cars.

Last week, I discovered the one and only air conditioned subway station in New York City!

42nd and Lexington (4, 5, 6, 7 trains) is located beneath Grand Central Station. A brilliant person (to whom many New Yorkers are forever grateful) decided to pump the air conditioning that cools down Grand Central into the Subway station below.

The station does not have an "air conditioned" feel, but it most certainly is bearable! And if you stand in the right spot, you can get the impact of the air conditioned air from the vent. 

Happy traveling!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Secret Water Tunnel!

I decided to take a little detour on my way home from school today. Instead of transferring from the F train to the D and then to the 1 train, I decided to walk from the F train stop to the 1 train stop. (If you didn't understand that, that's ok. You need to be a seasoned New Yorker to understand Subway lingo).

As I walked down 50th street towards Seventh Avenue, I noticed a really cute little seating area in between two buildings!

Wait, what's that thing straight ahead? (Look closely at the picture, and you'll see what I'm talking about).

It looks like a tunnel... let's check it out a little closer:

It is a tunnel!

But a very unique, amazing, secret, WATER TUNNEL!!!

Located between 6th and 7th Avenues, this water tunnel is slim passageway through 48th to 49th streets.

As the water cascades down the slate wall over the tunnel, it splashes around the glass, creating a breathtaking and serene space.

It takes just a few seconds to pass through, but the tunnel has an unbelievably captivating effect. As I stood in the tunnel, I did not hear the cars honking, garbage trucks roaring or construction workers drilling... all I heard was water. It is an enchanting experience which lasts only for a second as you pass through.

All that's missing is fish swimming about in the water :-).

I love watching people pass through the tunnel and gasp in amazement at the effect. One guy was minding his own business, and as he passed through the tunnel he looked up in surprise. His eyes lit up, let out a laugh, and said with excitement, "this is so cool!"

Just another awesome secret in the middle of the fabulous New York City!

The Water Tunnel at 48th Street
48th to 49th Streets, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mystery Sound...

There is a mysterious sound emanating from the heart of Times Square. If you don't know its exact location, you will never be able to find it. It exists beneath your feet, under heavy grating, within an underground vault, and is constantly droning on and on and on. It is impossible to describe it exactly, but it sounds something like the cacophony of New York City all blended together.

It is one of the most AMAZING secrets in NYC.

This sound is actually a work of art - Max Neuhaus's sound instillation on the pedestrian island of 46th street and 7th Avenue, entitled Times Square.

There is no plaque stating that it exists, and many of you have probably walked right passed it without realizing that it's there. There is no visual component either; it is just a droning tone emanating from the ground. You probably thought that it was noise from a large machine nearby or perhaps from the Subway.

And you are not wrong.


Neuhaus studied the sounds of NYC, especially the sounds of the Subway tunnel beneath that part of Times Square. He then created a machine that would amplify the sounds and their resonances so they could be heard above ground. He hid the machine beneath the grating, and left it for New Yorkers and tourists to discover and experience.

Here is a picture of Neuhaus entering his Times Square instillation:

It's confusing, interesting, pleasing and exciting all at once. Again, there is no sign and most people do not know it exists. I URGE you to check it... and then post in the comments what you think!

Also, check out this awesome article that explains Neuhaus's sound instillation in Times Square in more detail.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cobblestone, Flower Boxes and Colorful Doors

I found a treasure in Greenwich Village!

The treasure lies behind this brick gate which I discovered when I took myself on a walking tour of the neighborhood.


The treasure is a secret alley called Washington Mews.


This 19th century alleyway was originally a mews (horse stables) that serviced the homes in the area, hence the name Washington Mews. In 1916, they were remodeled as artist studios. Today, they are part of the New York University campus.


I was so excited when I came across this little cobblestone alleyway. The moment I stepped through the brick gate, I was transported to another era. I learned quickly that I must walk slowly through this alleyway (unlike my typical brisk city walk). I just strolled down the street and took it all in. I could almost hear the "clip-clop" of the horses trotting on the cobblestones.

Photo by Randy Aveille | Credit:
Check out the colorful doors, and the flower boxes overflowing with a fantastic array of flowers in the windows.
Notice the ivy creeping up the walls, and the antique light fixtures above the doorposts.

Washington Mews is one of the last private streets still open to the public (many have gone under lock and key, open only to residents or special guests). Be sure to check it out!

Washington Mews is located off University Place just past 8th street in Greenwich Village.