In 1968, Penn Central presented plans for a tower to be built over Grand Central but the facade or the main waiting room would not be preserved. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was among the people who opposed the plan.
She said,” Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won’t all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes.”
I spent three days in New York to attend a relative’s wedding. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street with easy access to Grand Central Station. The shops, bakeries, and crowds extended down corridors that turned into a maze if one didn’t remember how to return to the hotel.
Christmas shoppers increased the density and made it more difficult to move from one place to another. Booths with unusual gifts to buy lined one corridor. Musicians played at some intersections. Tours with at least fifteen to twenty sightseers offered the station’s history.
We had about an hour to shop. I bought a shirt with the Eiffel Tower on it, Ariana bought a sweater, and Mitchell bought a tie. He forgot to bring one from home. Of course, there was always time for a coffee latte, biscotti, or cannoli.
Outside the temperature ranged in the low thirty degrees but it didn’t seem that cold. On Saturday late afternoon, before the wedding began, we crossed 42nd street to Cipriani, the restaurant where the wedding took place. We didn’t wear jackets. One homeless person asked if we were cold. Yes, but it was refreshing and fun.
I people watched for character notes, but the architecture, buildings, the old and the new, called my attention. I’ve returned with a variety of settings for new stories and memories of an awesome wedding.