Our tourist activities for Friday centered around Central Park, and dinner once again near Union Square. And once again considered the Empire State Building.
While we didn't catch up with the amount of sleep we lost coming to New York, we felt rested while not waking up too late. After showering, we gathered our breakfast makings and went to chat with Marion and Lester. It was a very leisurely and nice way to start the day.
Our intention was to take a look at the weather to make a decision on whether to go to the Empire State Building. As we were going to towards the subway, we could see the observation deck, but not clearly. Figuring that we wanted a better view than it seemed it would be, we once again punted and decided to start our day at the Frick Collection.
The Frick Collection is located in the former home of Henry Clay Frick and features works collected by him (they do still acquire new pieces). The first floor is open to the public, but you get a good look at the stairway going to the second floor. At the base of the stairs is an organ console, with the pipes installed at the landing halfway up the stairs. It's easy to imagine how the music would have filled the whole house.
One thing that struck me right away was how simple the ceilings were. Ends up Frick explicitly asked for them to be simple, especially in the living hall.
One of the really interesting rooms was the Boucher Room, which contains eight works by François Boucher depicting the Arts and Sciences as being applied by children. For example, the Astronomy and Hydraulics panel has a boy looking in the wrong end of a telescope and the Architecture and Chemistry panel shows a boy with a chemistry experiment gone wrong.
Another impressive room was the Fragonard Room which features pieces by Jean-Honoré Fragonard named The Progress of Love, showing four stages of courtship.
Architecturally, I found the ceiling of the West Gallery my favorite, with the arched glass ceiling. As for pieces of art in the room, there's a Rembrandt self-portrait and a couple huge Turner pieces depicting Cologne and the Harbor of Dieppe.
The one place in the building photography was allowed was the Garden Court with its long pond with a central fountain. It also had a glass in the ceiling allowing the light to shine in.
After we were done looking around, we went back south of Central Park to a Chinese noodle place to have noodle soup and dumplings. Quick and tasty.
Well-fed, we worked our way back to Central Park to begin our walking tour at the Grand Army Plaza near the Plaza Hotel, and one of the first things we did was scramble up one of the huge rock outcroppings to get a good view of The Pond and the Gapstow Bridge. Back to the path, we walked past the zoo and stopped to watch the Delacorte Clock as it ran through its animation.
Our next destination was the Literary Walk, but we decided to make a detour to get a closer look at the carousel, and we walked quickly past the Tavern on the Green. After that, it was past the Sheep Meadow and back to the Literary Walk and then along the rest of The Mall, past the Naumberg Bandshell, through the Bethesda Arcade, and out to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (which wasn't running yet). There were lots of portraits being taken in the Arcade along the Minton Tiles, and lots of group photos around the Fountain.
We took another detour to walk a bit through Strawberry Fields, which was pretty popular, especially the Imagine mosaic. Back to the walking tour, we crossed the Bow Bridge then continued along The Lake along the skirts of The Ramble.
The tour then took us through the Shakespeare Garden, which had quotes next to the corresponding trees and plants. Bypassing the closed Belvedere Castle, we went around the Delacorte Theater with its statues representing Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest.
The last stop on the walking tour was The Obelisk, otherwise known as Cleopatra's Needle. By this time we had done quite a bit of walking, so sat down on a nearby bench to plan out the rest of the afternoon. We looked up and thought the Empire State Building would have a pretty good view at that time, but there wouldn't be enough time before meeting up with Celeste later in the afternoon.
Dinner and dessert
There was a bit of time before Celeste would be available, so we went back to Marion's place to pick up our laptops, and headed to the nearby Starbucks for a quick snack and computing time. Ends up Celeste was ready just as we were getting our drinks, so we sat and chatted while going through them, and tried to decide on dinner. Celeste mentioned a salad place (which Lester had mentioned the day before), so I started looking at the menu on my phone. The guy next to me piped up and said that he worked there, so I asked him for recommendations. He was very happy to help us and we let him know how much we appreciated his assistance.
We made it over to the store and ordered a couple salads to split between the three of us. Yep, the guy's recommendation was spot-on.
Time for dessert. We went back to the same bakery as the night before, but this time there was no table space. We took our things to Union Square, went past the assembly of demonstrators, and found a bench to eat and chat. It was starting to get darker, so it was time to go back.