My daughter and I took the opportunity to go to a Brooklyn spa last year where we both had our first massages. This year my daughter wanted to go to the Elizabeth Arden's "Red Door Spa" in Manhattan for a facial, so I met her in Manhattan yesterday, at her place of work, and we walked over to the spa on 5 Ave. Believe me, I'm not the typical spa goer, but I have to admit it's nice to be pampered once in awhile, and especially at half price!
I also have to admit that, even though I am a life long resident of Brooklyn, and often venture into Manhattan, midtown is a little overwhelming for me! It's jam packed with traffic, tourists, workers and residents, plus an assortment of odd characters. It also has so much to see and do that you could walk many miles in a circle and not realize it!
My first stop was Grand Central Terminal which was built in 1913 and is the largest train station in the world.
I confess I really didn't need to go to Grand Central, but I lack sense of direction, and when I got off the express bus that brought me from Brooklyn into Manhattan I walked the wrong direction and ended up there! So I went inside to take a few photos of the beautiful and cavernous main concourse where the train ticket booths are located. The four-faced clock on top of the information booth in the middle is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. Each of the four clock faces are made from opal, and both Sotheby's and Christie's auction houseshave estimated the value to be between $10 million and $20 million! There are many shops and restaurants in the lower concourse of Grand Central including the famous Oyster Bar Restaurant.
If you get a chance, go to this YOUTUBE video and see a very amusing video of an IMPROV group that froze in the middle of Grand Central for five minutes as skit! It will give you an idea of the size and hussle and bustle of Grand Central Station.
After I met my daughter at her workplace, we walked quickly up 5 Ave and passed Saks department store, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Rockefeller Center.
As much as I wanted to stop and admire them longer, we couldn't, as we are trying to keep our spa appointment time.
Next we passed Cartier Jewelry store, which has been an establishment for over 150 years on 5 Ave. It is especially beautiful at Christmas as they wrap the entire building in red ribbon as if it were a large gift package!
Finally, we reach the famous red door of a Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa and go in!
We go to the eighth floor and have tea in the waiting area, and then each of us are called in for our facial. I took a quick picture of the room when I was left alone to put on my towel wrap.
There were candles burning and soft music playing, and the bed was very soft and comfortable. A very nice woman around my age did my facial, and it was very enjoyable. They exfoliate, cleanse, steam, hydrate, massage your scalp, face, neck and shoulders and hands. A free makeup session was also offered but we couldn't stay for that as my daughter had to return to work. I did see, and feel, a big difference in my skin afterwards, and it felt nice to begin the spring season with a little glow!
I really have to thank my daughter for encouraging her somewhat plain and usually frugal Mom to do these type of things, and it was fun way to spend some time together!
Afterwards, we quickly walked back down 5 Ave so my daughter could return to work, and I travelled on to the main New York Public Library to spend some time. The New York Public Library is simultaneously one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. The 5 Ave main building was dedicated in 1911, and is a National Historic Landmark. You can see how impressive it is inside on this web site's collection of photos.
I love the two lion statues outside, who were nicknamed "Patience" and "Fortitude" in 1930 by the then Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, for the qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression. These names have stood the test of time. Patience still guards the south side of the Library's steps and Fortitude sits majestically to the north.
A view of the shining top of the Chrysler Building from the library block.
Behind the New York Public Library main building is a large Urban park called Bryant Park where the average lunchtime crowd on a nice day can number 5,000 people! Yesterday had mild weather, so many people were still relaxing in the park, even though I took this picture around 3 pm in the afternoon.
In the summer there is an outdoor "reading room" area in the park, with a selection of books, periodicals and newspapers offered for use. There are readings and programs at lunchtime, after work, and some are especially held for children. Sometimes mini concerts are held here and movies are shown. In the winter the city has installs an outdoor ice skating rink in the grass area, and there are craft booths with items for sale during the holiday season.
Le Carrousel in Bryant Park has fourteen delightful animals, replicas of classic carousel creatures, revolve to the sounds of French cabaret music
Here are some pictures of the "cross roads of the world," Times Square. This area is where many of the theaters are located, and many other attractions, and the best viewing of all the lights and action is obviously during the night time hours. Below is a photo of the tower where the New Year's Ball is dropped, on the south end of Times Square.
Here is a web site cam where you can see different real time views of the streets and sidewalks in Times Square.
Wow, this has been a very long blog post, and I thank anyone who is still with me! I hope I showed you some highlights of midtown Manhattan that brought back memories to you if you've visited, or enticed you to want to visit one day!
Maybe next time there is a spa week we can go for facials together!