Friday, July 1, 2011

New York State of Mind: Part 2, The City (Sunday and Monday)

The morning after my cousin's wedding, our journey to New York City began bright and early. We caught the train from Port Jervis, the last stop on the line. It was perhaps the shadiest train station I've ever seen. "Train station" is actually a rather kind was more of a desolate bus stop. My sistercousin was rather fearful of leaving us there that morning, but we survived. The nearly two-hour ride allowed us to see the beautiful scenery as it turned from country into city. In Hoboken, NJ, we took the PATH train just a few stops and then walked to Avenue of the Americas where we would stay with a friend and his two roommates in their apartment. We are forever indebted to this friend and his hospitality. It was so wonderful to spend our pennies on meals and sightseeing rather than hotel fees! We arrived around ten in the morning that Sunday, and our friend took us to a few places so we could familiarize ourselves with the city.

Our first stop was the World Trade Center site. The site itself was surrounded by construction fence, so it would have been hard to look in, but the tall buildings surrounding the massive void was profound. The area was covered with cranes and heavy machinery, but we could see 1 WTC, formerly known as the "Freedom Tower" being constructed.
We walked just a few feet away to Saint Paul's Chapel, which looks like it belongs in an English countryside rather than smack dab in the middle of skyscrapers and industry. Many of the volunteers and rescuers took shelter inside Saint Paul's immediately following 9/11, and the Chapel has become a kind of memorial in and of itself, with numerous items of memorabilia displayed throughout. For example, we saw one of the rescuer uniforms and shoes, left on a scuffed pew. A placard noted the Chapel was refurbished recently, but the scuff marks left by the heavy equipment of the rescuers was left intact, a tribute to the victims and survivors.
The interior of the Chapel.
This Sphere was located in a nearby park. The plaque inscription read, "For three decades, this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled 'The Sphere,' it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center."
Afterward, we went to the financial district and saw the famous bull, surrounded by tourists. It was amusing to stand and watch the various ways tourists pretended they were being excreted from the bull's back end. I won't ruin your lunch with that one. Here's the more appetizing front end. This picture is like a "Where's Waldo?" except "Where's Husband?"
The New York Stock Exchange.
"You're fired."
Unfortunately, Tiffany's was closed on Sunday. I really should have bought a bagel before visiting...
This picture exemplifies how most people imagine stereotypical New Yorkers will treat you. Rather, we found everyone was very polite, and we never felt unsafe while wandering around the city.
In keeping with Husband and my summer vacation tradition, we visited a hat store. I tried on a fascinator.
And Husband and his friend purchased hats!
We spent most of the day, when not sightseeing, bar crawling (this could explain the hat purchases...). This was at a pub, which I believe was called McSweeney's or something similar. The city is so filled with history. Before World War II, men who were headed off to fight would go into this bar for a chicken dinner. They would then hang their wishbone, in tact, from this light fixture. When they returned from war, they would come back to the bar and break the wishbone. As you can see, many never returned to complete this task.
Monday morning Husband and I arose and set off on foot toward Central Park, well over forty blocks away. Before Central Park, however, we made our way through Times Square.
Finally, we arrived in Central Park, a lovely green haven in the center of a whirlwind of activity and development.
I loved the juxtaposition of the skyscrapers against the lush green trees and lake.
After meandering through Central Park, we headed nearby to the Museum of Natural History, which also houses the Hayden Planetarium (which is directed by the kick-ass Neil deGrasse Tyson), a must-see on Husband's wish list.
We saw three wonderfully presented exhibits, including "Journey to the Stars," "Brain: The Inside Story," and "World's Largest Dinosaurs." We also got to meander through the museum itself.
You cannot convince me that these guys are not aliens.
It was amazing to walk among bones older than I can even fathom.
I can't even fathom the age of Husband's bones (*old man dig*).
Just take in the scale of this guy. Those little ants crawling on the floor are people!
After a full day of walking and looking and walking and eating and walking, we went to a late-night show in an intimate comedy club located in the basement of a bar (a bar that, by the way, had the best drink I've ever had in my life - Hot Apple Grog, OMG). We were feet away from Dave Attell. In addition that night, we saw Nick Griffin, Poppy Champlin, Judah Friedlander, and Godfrey, among others. It was incredible!

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