New York Stories and Tips

Sixth Avenue Festival

The masses Photo, New York, New York

Memorial Day Weekend in New York is never boring; Chuck and I met with great writers of IgoUgo for breakfast Sunday morning at the Red Flame Restaurant . In attendance were Jose Kevo, Idler, Zabelle and her husband, and the two of us. It was really fabulous to meet them and have a chance to talk turkey with passionate wanderlusters. The restaurant has gotten better looking and has been enlarged since I was here last. Nevertheless, there was still a line to contend with, and the food is as good as it was 3 years ago.

The heavens were smiling on New York that morning and gave us awesome weather. No umbrellas, no sweaters, no heavy bags to contend with (except Chuck’s extra lenses for his camera, which are really painful). When we left the group at the restaurant, we headed towards Sixth Avenue and saw a line around the building where the International Center of Photography is located. People were queued for a free concert, and the line never abated, as 3 hours later, when we came back this way, it was still going strong. The festival we were looking for began at 47th and Sixth and went up to 57th & Sixth. It had already started, and as we made our way through the crowds, I was really feeling sorry for drivers. Majors intersection in Manhattan were completely sealed for major east/west crossings. So, aside from the food and clothing vendors, what was new? There were too many redundancies, for one. A rule should be enforced that no more than one particular type of commodity be sold on a single block. Frankly, how many bags can you sell? Enormous displays of costume jewelry, at times covering six 10-foot tables, tempted the ladies with anything for $2. The better deal, actually, was the lemonade for $1; that is, if you could resist the shish kebab, the arepas with mozzarella cheese, the spanakopita (spinach pie), or the glazed apples. We spent some time in the NY Tourist Center, which is on Seventh and 53rd. It’s worth your stopping in there should you be in the area to pick up all sorts of useful information. You can also watch native New Yorkers, like Billy Crystal, on TV take you to their favorite spots in the city.

Broadway was also jumping that Sunday, the line for discounted tickets filled the sidewalk island where the booth is situated. Music was far and wide: a solo trumpeter at the corner of 57th; a Peruvian ensemble gathered listeners near the Marriott; and the sounds of drum music and reggae brought memories of Jamaica. However, I must say, the US Navy stole the show: there they were, four enlisted navy men and one Long Island woman rocking and rolling with sound equipment that would blow your eardrums and their recruiting table far enough but not too far away. Where else would they have been more effective?

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