Sunday, May 13, 2012

Trains, Pies, and Bowling Balls

This Saturday was a day I have been anticipating for a very long time.  Years ago we read about the fact that the NYC transit museum occasionally runs exclusive tours of the long-closed City Hall subway station.  I was intrigued, but unwilling to pay to join the museum and then turn around and pay again for the tour.  But, knowing that I've always wanted to go, Becky bought a family membership to the museum for us as a birthday gift to me this year.  (Yes, the birthday that occurred 5 months ago that I haven't blogged about yet.  I know.)  And this Saturday was the big day!  We put on our sneakers and charged our camera batteries and took off as local tourists.
The station is located only about a 30-second subway ride south of the current Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station.  It has been closed since 1945, partially due to its proximity to the current station, and also due to its extremely curved platform.  The regular subway runs through the station (at the end of the 6 line, as it loops back to start back uptown again) but usually the lights are off and the train doesn't stop.  So we rode a regular train, but it stopped in the old station and the guide hauled out a walkway to allow us to cross the huge gap created by larger modern subway cars and a very curved station platform.
The stations is tiny, but also really gorgeous.  Apparently at the time of the subway's creation there was a movement called "City Beautiful," which promoted the idea that public spaces should be beautiful in order to uplift people during the time that they're in public spaces.  As the guide pointed out, contrast this with the modern Penn Station.  Point taken.
There's a lot of gorgeous tiling and leaded skylights.  The skylights were tarred over during World War II in order to avoid making the station a bombing target, and seem to have never been completely cleaned off.  But you can imagine what they must have looked like when the station opened forty years before that.
I particularly liked the original light fixtures.  The guide let us know though that the station would have originally been much darker (despite more light from the skylights) because lightbulbs were much weaker back then.
After the tour we were hungry.  We attempted to go back to a Bosnian restaurant we tried once several years ago and enjoyed and had been intending to back for a long time.  That is, until we learned that our intended restaurant is now permanently closed.  Hmph.  Apparently we should have used our wallets to express our enjoyment of the restaurant rather than just idly discussing it at home.  Instead we ended up at Pie Face, a newish Australian pie restaurant. 
Yeah, that's way too much pie for two people to eat in one sitting.  But we wanted to try so many flavors!  We got a traditional meat, a thai curry, a bacon egg and cheese, and a chicken and mushroom.  Yum.  The only downside was that they didn't have any tables or chairs, so we ended up on the steps of some nearby office building.

Refreshed, we were ready for more fun.  So we headed to Frames to use a Groupon that was about to expire.  Frames is located in Port Authority, which is the dingy building we travel through every time we go from New Jersey to New York or back again.  I knew they had done a big remodel, but I honestly wasn't expecting it to come out so nice.  They were playing good music with the music videos on big screens over the lanes, shnazzy full wait service for overpriced drinks and appetizers, and comfortable lounge-y seating.  Because we were pretty full of pie and not wanting to spend a fortune we opted to share one chocolate martini.  And, of course, we bowled poorly.  Isn't that half the point?  The huge group of kids apparently enjoying a pre-prom party next to us seemed to think so too.
 I'll leave our Sunday antics to Becky.  I hope you all had as enjoyable Saturdays as we did!


  1. Replies
    1. Yes ma'am! And each kind of pie has a different face, so the box includes a key to tell you which flavor you're about to bite into based on its facial expression. Genius!