Today’s adventure begins at the Grand Central Terminal. The largest train terminal in the world in terms of the number of platforms, built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and opened in 1913 it forms another important landmark in this city of landmarks. Outside atop the facade sits the world’s largest Tiffany clock measuring 13 feet in diameter. Inside more secrets lay hidden. The most imposing one of which is the forest green ceiling with the constellation painted on it, in reverse. The explanation given is that we are looking at it from God’s abode. In the centre of the concourse, New York’s most famous clock sits above the Information Booth, valued at around $20 million the opal clock marks the spot referred to as “meet me under the clock” in the movies.
As we walk around and find the whispering gallery we pass selfie stick wielding tourists, locals pouting into their phones to feed their instagram habit, a man in a werewolf mask and a couple of women with pilar box hats, dressed as if they are from the sixties mixing in effortlessly with the commuters.
We get the 7 train from the terminal to Hudson yards, the latest and most expensive real estate development in New York City. Recently opened to the public, construction work is still going on around the area. The workers are preparing the gardens and some are resting between their busy schedules. In front of us is the newest landmark in this ever expanding city. ‘The Vessel’ as it is currently called is composed of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings. Tickets to walk up the structure have to be booked in advance and with the walk open to the elements, nobody in my group wants to attempt the climb. Instead we walk to the ‘High Line’.
A disused railway track where trains stopped running in the eighties, it has been transformed into a high walking track. Plants, trees and shrubs line the walk past works of art which can be seen along the route. Flowers, I have never seen before, brighten up the place and are planted in a way that the landscape changes with the season as the temperature changes. Large white delicate Magnolias cover the low trees. The gentle fragrance adds to the colourful stroll.
Less than a mile into the walk we leave the trail at the Chelsea Market. The skies are darkening as the clouds gather pace. A pizza and filled tummies later we get the train back home. As we leave the train we walk out into the pouring rain. Lakshmi wants to walk home with her own umbrella and I let her.