17 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - Waldorf and Winnie

Just a month before our US trip, I went to Davao for an event. I was sitting next to a guy who can't seem to keep himself from noticing what I was watching on my mobile. I was being entertained by the cast of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia at that time and he said that his son watches the same show back home. A couple more small talk topics and next thing you know we were talking about New York and the Waldorf Astoria.
The Waldorf Astoria
From the Grand Central Terminal where we last stopped, we exited to Park Avenue for the iconic luxury hotel.
The Waldorf Astoria
Now only a shade of its glorious past, The Waldorf Astoria has been closed since March of 2017 for a 3-year renovation after being bought by Chinese firm. My Davao flight seatmate who hails from New York suggested we go for an afternoon tea at the Waldorf. Now I could have a legitimate reason for not going. Aside from the fact that I could not afford it!

Garrett, our guide, then pulled us aside and asked us to look down. You can see and feel the subway from the sidewalk! 
Subway tracks seen from the sidewalk
Just a couple of blocks away from Waldorf Astoria stands St. Patrick's Cathedral.
A sad attempt at a vertical panorama of St. Patrick's Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral
Just Across 5th Ave., facing the Cathedral's entrance, lies the Atlas, a bronze statue at the Rockefeller Center.
Atlas holding the heavens
This was where the walking tour ends. We felt $20 for both me and my wife was ok to cover the tour. Well at least our wallet felt so.
Where Kevin and his mom reunite in Home Alone 2
Now that the tour is over, it's time to explore the city on our own. We retrace our steps as the wife was itching to go back to The New York Public Library. On the way, we see a building with a Philippine flag and a big PHILIPPINES marker. Initially we thought it was our embassy, turns out its The Philippine Center established by Marcos for the Filipino-American community.
The Philippine Center
We then went inside The New York Public library, grabbed a guide map and checked out the different rooms with its books and other items by the million.
The New York Public Library
After exploring different rooms, I feel like I was missing something. I can't seem to find the iconic picture of the library seen in brochures and guides. Then we stumbled upon the Rose Main Reading Room but even then I can't seem to picture the room to be the same room in the pictures. Sure, the lamps, chandeliers, the ceiling paintings were all familiar but it's still not the same. Until I walked to the room's edge and found this:
Rose Main Reading Room
 We spent almost an hour in library, the wife reading, me taking pictures.

The library serving its purpose
 On our way out we stopped by the Winnie the Pooh exhibit.

The Real Winnie the Pooh and friends
Long before Pooh and his pals became famous, Christopher Robin Milne, a very real boy, received a small stuffed bear for his first birthday in 1921. Soon after came even more stuffed animals - Kanga, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger - whom Christopher played with throughout his childhood. One day, his father A. A. Milne decided that the toys would make fine characters in a bedtime story. Form that day on, Pooh and his friends have had many fanciful adventures in Milne's timeless classics.

Street view of The Chrysler Building
It's only past 7PM and we still have time to catch a broadway show!

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