Not that there is actually a shortage of things to do in New York City, of course. I took the train up on Friday after work and walked up 8th Avenue to the Hampton Inn (between 51st and 52nd), where I had a free room thanks to my Hilton points. On the way up, I stopped for supper at the Olympia Diner. This is nothing special, actually, but is convenient and, except for the lack of jukeboxes on the tables, is pretty much a replica of all of the Greek-owned diners on Sunrise Highway in my childhood. The thing that gets me is that this is just the sort of thing my mother loves and I felt sad to realize that she will probably never again feel well enough to be up to going to the theatre and complaining about the coffee not being hot enough while eating boring diner food.
Saturday was clear but cold, which made it perfect walking weather. I contemplated going to the Bronx Zoo, but decided that the weather was a good excuse for doing one of the various year round Volksmarch events in New York. I chose the Lower Manhattan event, largely because it satisfied several special events I'm working on (cemeteries, museums, rivers). It was a good choice, as it actually covered a lot of places I'd never been to before. In particular, I'd never walked around the Esplanade along hte Hudson from Rockefeller Park. I was impressed by the gardens and the architecture of the Winter Garden. Castle Clinton and the Wall Street area are more familiar, though not really a lot more. I'm reasonably sure I had never before walked through the churchyard of Trinity Church to Alexander Hamilton's grave, for example. The walk directions had good historical notes, by the way, though they missed the real significance of the corner of Broadway and Ann Street, which had been the location of Barnum's American Museum. I had also never actually been to the South Street Seaport before (where I stopped for lunch), though I had walked over the Brooklyn Bridge once before. All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend the better part of the day, despite excessively large groups of slow moving tourists in a few spots.
As for the new Heart of Darkness, it is allegedly smaller than the old stadium but feels less intimate. It is certainly grand and glitzy architecturally. The high ticket prices seem to have kept the drinking at lower levels than in the past (or maybe it was the hour of the game and the chill in the air). The game, alas, was painful. Dice-K did get out of trouble several times (e.g. a magnificent play by Martinez to get Jeter out at the plate), but the Sox couldn't do much against Sabathia and lost. In a sense, it doesn't matter since it just set up the Yankees to be Tiger bait. The particularly painful moment was a blown attempt at the suicide squeeze.
By the way, I've now been to a game at every American League ballpark. The Twins are getting a (badly needed) new ballpark next season, however. And I still have two National League parks to go - Milwaukee and Phoenix. That means I'm likely to check that life list item off next year.
Thanks to Yom Kippur, I took an early enough train back on Sunday that I didn't really have time to do much of anything. Just walking around Manhattan is pleasure enough.