Wow, I love 24-hour call! I got an hour and a half of sleep the other night, and when I finished my case at 0600, the team captain sent me home. I had napped and was awake & ready to go at 1100 with about three times more free time to enjoy than a regular day.
My first order of business was to explore a new part of Manhattan. I rode the A train down to Canal Street and trekked eastward across Manhattan. Canal Street represents in my mind both the best and the worst of urban life. As can be seen in the picture below, not a tree was to be seen. The pavement sizzled in the 100 degree heat. Taxis and city buses crawled bidirectionally; street vendors hawked cheap key-chains, NYC tee-shirts, and black-and-white photos of the Brooklyn Bridge; and pedestrians ambled in thick crowds on the sidewalks. There was nothing beautiful or charming about the scene, yet I loved the sense of energy, humanity, and multiculturalism packed into this historic street.
After the better part of a mile, I finally arrived. My first view of Mulberry Street is shown below. (Unfortunately, owing to the convention of mounting street signs, I was unable to photograph the street-sign and the street in the same shot.) Mulberry Street seemed to be the heart of Little Italy. The street is lined with Italian cafes with ample outdoor seating, plenty of red-checkered tablecloths, and gleaming stemware set out ready to use. Since the day was so hot, I splurged (in terms of carbohydrates) and bought a $2 Italian ice.
I continued sauntering down the street, and then turned eastward, this time in search of another historic street. Orchard Street, as I understand it, is the historic heart of the Jewish community on the Lower East Side. 125-year-old tenaments line the streets and formerly housed new immigants to the city. When stepping out into the street I was delighted to be nearly run over by a Jewish man on a bicycle! (I could tell by the yarmulke that he was Jewish.) I searched in vain for a shop to buy lox or knishes, but was still pleased to see Orchard Street.
I finished my walking tour in Chinatown, where I bought some small bananas and fresh tomatoes for a good price. This area of the Lower East Side had a particularly gritty & industrial feel, with the blue, steel Manhattan Bridge rising in the distance, an elevated subway nearby, and the wide, hot expanse of East Broadway stretching to the river.