New York – Day 2

In the morning, after glanced my email in five minutes, I put the camera into my pocket and went out with Wendy. (If you sent me emails these days, my response will be delayed since the Internet access condition is not good here.)

New York and Shanghai

New York has many similarity with Shanghai. The living condition of many people, if not the majority, seems not easy. Rich people can only get an apartment (not house) in Manhattan and the poor can only get a place to settle down in Queens or New Jersey and spend the one hour more two on the train. I agree it is all about choice. There must be reasons for people stay and choose small rooms instead of large house in the west.

Art? Dirt?

The skin of New York is covered by colorful drawing. It is everywhere, on the walls, in the subways stations and inside the train carts. Look at this picture along the Metro Line 7.

© Jian Shuo Wang

It reminds of the advertisement on the wall in every village in China. The suburb of New York are similar with the villages in China.

I don’t like to look at the eyes of the passengers in the subway. People look tired or expressionless, if I don’t use the word of “hopeless”to describe what I saw. What people can expect in this fast-paced crowded and materialized city?


The public transportation system in New York is efficient. Please note that I used efficient instead of nice. It is a system that simply works. You cannot expect more from it – no art, no cleanness, no desire to stay there longer. I shouldn’t be too picky on a metro system that kept running from 1904 and a main stream public transportation system for people coming from every corner of the world. If the Metro in Shanghai symbolizes modernized city life in China, the subway in New York symbolizes the industrial development of the last century. It basically uses the same train system as those running on the ground. The noise and the turbulence are exactly the same as the trains for long distance transportation. To my surprise, I didn’t see a modern city from the subway of New York; instead, I saw history.

© Jian Shuo Wang

It is quite amazing that there are 4 – 6 tracks at the same station and there are so many platforms in one metro station. It is exactly typical train station in China. The only difference is, it is built underground.

What Metro system in Shanghai should learn from New York subway, which is at the age of its grandfather, is the naming and guidance system. At least there is no typo on the board. :-)

Park Ave. and 5th Ave.

The Park Ave. and the Upper East part of 5th Ave. are the splendid miles. Houses with the same heights line up there. I guess the old houses must have been destroyed and rebuilt for many times to form the current uniqueness of the street scene. I love to say in the Park Ave. a little bit longer since it is the only place I found in the entire Manhattan that has sunshine so far. Other streets look like the deep valley cut buy knives from the baseline of the top of the buildings. There is absolutely no sunshine there.

© Jian Shuo Wang


© Jian Shuo Wang

It may be the most famous roof in the world.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Central Park

It is too cold today with the strong wind from the south. I found it impossible to march from the north-most to the south-most point. So we went across the park from the east to the west along the lake. It is a miracles that so huge a piece of land was reserved in the most expensive land in the world. On the other hand, the plan to reserve the land also helped to create the most expensive land.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Night Lincoln Center

New York wake up at night. When we arrived the Lincoln center at the Broadway and the 65th Street, it was already 5:30 PM. The exciting ballet The Nutcrackers would start in 30 minutes. We bought the tickets at $20 and entered the New York State Theater. It is among the cheapest tickets in the theater, located at the end of the level 4, which is basically the second furthest seats from the stage. Since Wed is the off-peak time and the price is lower than tomorrow’s. The more expensive tickets were all sold out.

© Jian Shuo Wang

© Jian Shuo Wang

The theater is huge. Since it is not allowed to take pictures inside the theater, I can only take some pictures at the lobby.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The ballet The Nutcracker is great. No wonder why this has been the 50th season for this ballet to serve as the holiday’s most splendid light. It will be performed at the theater six weeks around the Christmas. This is the forth time for me to visit a theatre. The previous one are the Holiday XXX, The Lion King, The Concert of Spanish Pianist and this, the Nutcrackers. It inspired my interest on performing art, and music. The number I visited museum, gallery and theatre is more than the whole year before. The most important take-away for my U.S. trip this time is art.

© Jian Shuo Wang

At night, the Lincon Center is like a crystal palace. More activities are still held in the other buildings concurently. What an exciting city! I love New York now.

15 thoughts on “New York – Day 2

  1. Welcome to New York!

    It’s getting cold this weekly but hopefully there’s no snow.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings of New York City with all of us. I have to say you have excellent observation ability.

    Have you been to Rockefeller Center? You will fell the Christmas and New Year are approaching there… …

    Enjoy New York and keep posting!

  2. JS &Wendy:

    If you like hot chocolate, you may want to try Serendipity @ 225 E 60th street between 2nd and 3rd ave. It has really good Frozen hot chocolate, and other coffee drinks. They also serve food.

    here’s the link

  3. Hi Jianshuo,

    Great pictures of New York! Looks like it’s quite chilly there.

    I’ll be arriving in NYC on friday. Let me know if you’d like to checkout the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a fellow Shanghai enthusiast. :)

    Stay warm!

    Gary from Los Angeles

  4. Hi Jian Shuo Wang,

    I’ve reading your blogs ever since I found out I might be going to Shanghai on a business trip soon. Your blogs provide useful and interesting information about Shanghai that travel guides often miss – observations from the perspective of someone who lives there. But the thing that impresses me the most is that you’ve been blogging almost everyday for the past 2+ years! I love your optimistic attitude.

    Anyway, I wanted to be a silent reader… but couldn’t help but chime in here cuz I lived in NYC for 10+ years and wanted to offer some suggestions if you’ll take them!

    1. As Jean suggested, visit Rockefeller center.. check out Saks’ famous x’mas window displays and get in touch with your childhood (and wallet) at FAO Schwarz. There’s a great Szechuan resturant nearby (47th street or 48th) called Wu Liang Ye.

    2. You want to taste NYC? Visit Gray’s Papaya for the best tasting hot dog ever, it’s cheap and open 24 hrs and has great great smoothies to go along with those crispy snappy hot dogs. There’s Sylvia’s for some soul food. Soup Kitchen International a.k.a. the Soup Nazi made famous from Seinfeld – I have not been there myself but hear the soups are hmm hmm good! Want some dessert? Try Junior’s famous cheesecake. Indian food? Try Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights Queens (7, R, V, G, F, E trains get off at Roosevelt Ave.)… ahh too many to list! If you want to try ’em all a good place to go is Grand Central’s food court on the lower level (the station’s not half bad neither). I think the E train has a stop there.

    3. Try ice skating at Wollman rink in central park!

    4. MoMA just had its grand re-opening in Manhattan – it’s near Rockefeller, I think 53rd street, off 5th ave. Go through the museum from top to bottom.

    5. Watch an indie film at Soho’s Angelica Theater. While you’re there, check out Canal Jean -great clothes and fascinating clientele.

    6. Wanna see the statue of liberty? Take the Staten Island ferry instead, it passes by the statue and costs like $1.

    7. Brought your gym clothes? Try rock climbing (indoors) at Chelsea Piers – not too expensive and very exhilarating.

    Have you observed those dark circular spots everywhere in the subway? Those are gum… just in case you were wondering.

    Heh think I wrote too much?!?! I love the city! I hope I will love Shanghai just as much!

    Jin :)

  5. When I was in NYC, people told me, “It is a city never sleeps”, I responsed,”So do I”.

    Amazingly that in the central NYC area, they are still building up at night!

    My freinds told me NYC is not really a typical Amermican city, I think they are talking about the noise.

    BTW, NYC, so as US as an whole, has changed very much after 911 attack, NYC is a elegant city with scar, and with nervous people cross rest of the country and a man called Bush leading these people.

  6. Hi,

    I was just wasting some time today and ran across your site… The weather was really nice today in NYC. Not so cold right? I hope you enjoy this wonderful city. If you want some advice on places to visit drop me a line.

    BTW, Shanghai is also a fascinating place when viewed through the eyes of an “outsider” I have been there a few times. But it lacks some of the diversity that you can find here. If you enjoy diversity, and all it entails, you will love NYC.



  7. Better take more photos of subway there, the government is saying there will be no photographing allowed in subway there pretty soon.

    Enjoy your stay, and, I believe NYC has the best Chinese food on east coast – “real” Chinese.

  8. Hi,Zhang

    Did u see the fountrain in Central Park , in the center of which stands a goddess statue?

    I’m always wondering if it still stands there.

  9. Hmm.. Unfortunately, you did not get a chance to go inside Lincoln center to catch a show. One of the things i like was they have those

    beautiful light bulbs that hangs down. It is composed of many many small lights that makeup each chandelier. I think your wife would have love it. Reminds me of a star that went supernova that is frozen in a snap shot. Its the building with the christmas tree that you took. Once the orchestra comes alive and it will transport you to a different place. Sitting inside, you will immediately feel that this place is special.

  10. Hello,

    I came across this blog during some web browsing. I know it is two years old so I dont know if you will get this update. I live in NYC near Lincoln Center and I found it very interesting your viewpoints, coming from so far away.

    I particularly found your thoughts about the lack of sunshine in the city (except on Park Ave) and your description of some streets being like ‘deep valleys cut with knives’ is worthly of any famous writer….I hope you enjoyed your visit to my city..

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