Best Ride in Manhattan

June 19th, 2012 § 0 comments

When HG was a kid it was possible to have a very good time in Manhattan for little or no money. The best of all bargains (a five cent fare) was the Fifth Avenue double decker bus which ended service in 1953. The upper deck (where HG and his late beloved sister, Beulah K., always sat) was a sunny, open space — an absolute panacea to packed urban streets and over-crowded apartments. The Fifth Avenue Bus was an Irish enterprise. The driver and conductor had rich Irish brogues and piously crossed themselves when they motored past St. Patrick’s Cathedral. HG and sister would clamber onto the bus at Ft. Tryon Park at the northern tip of Manhattan (this was preceded by a visit to The Cloisters, the wonderful museum of medieval art in the park). From the the top of the bus, you could take in lovely views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades. From our Ft. Tyron start, the bus would journey along upper Broadway, east on 110th Street to Fifth Avenue. Ah, upper Fifth Avenue with Central Park on our right and the homes of plutocrats on the left. Then, Tiffany’s and the fashionable shops. On a sunny spring or autumn day there could not be a better trip. Last stop was Washington Square Park with its colorful crowd of Moms, kids, bohemians, eccentrics. A stroll through Greenwich Village to Little Italy and a vast (25 cents) bowl of spaghetti and meatballs in robust red sauce. Hey, you don’t need a million dollars to live like a millionaire. At least, not then.

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