Saturday, May 21, 2011

Postcards from the Journey - Day Seven

Last night we arrived in Brooklyn - late.  Eve's Place is not a B&B in the classical sense.  Eve doesn't live there.  She rents out the three levels separately.  We had the third floor.  Pam called and spoke with Eve when we left Philly telling her we would be in late.  She gave us instructions for getting into the apartment - a code for the front door and another for the one to our space.

We got lost on the way and arrived even later than we thought.  The street was dark and packed with cars, but we found a space just across the street.  Pam said that Brooklyn reminded her of Buffalo and the homes of her aunts and uncles there.

Carrying our bags up to the third floor almost killed us.  But the place was great.  Two bedrooms, a big bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room.  Funky furniture everywhere - big mirrors and overly fancy overhead lights.  But it was clean and cozy and home for several days.

Day seven was a full one.  We knew that in advance, but didn't realize how long the rides by subway would take - an hour from Brooklyn to Manhattan - thirty minutes across Manhattan.  Luckily Pam's sister, Eileen,  told us about, a site that allows you to feed in from and to locations and get walking directions and which train to catch.  Best of all it ran on my phone!!  Brilliant!!  Life saver!!

We had tickets to a show that evening so we agreed to just try as get as much in as possible and stay in Manhattan for the show - returning to Brooklyn by train late at night.

Our first stop was the Chelsea Market, an old fish market that had been repurposed as a shopping center with cute shops and restaurants.  Our friend Susan Blair had told us to check it out.  It is very cute, but not magnificent.  Frankly, I was a little disappointed.  I mean it was cute and all, but we're in New York - I expect fantastic!  We walked through the length of the shopping area and as we were leaving a gentleman asked if we had been to the park one level up.  No, we didn't know anything about a park.  What the heck we go up to have a look.

A little aside - New Yorkers, like the guy that suggested we check out the park, get a seriously bad rap.  I can't tell you how many people we asked for help, or directions, or advise.  And 99% of them were not just nice but fabulously nice, engaging, personable, and fun.  They drive like demons from hell, but up close they're good people.  Back to our story -

The park the guy casually mentioned is the Highline, a miles long park that creates a totally unexpected green space amidst the buildings of West Manhattan, and yes, those are rails you see amidst the plants.  This wonderful area was built along an abandoned section of the elevated train.  It is so cool. 

Now I see what Susan meant.  There were a lot of people walking the trail, but it is so beautiful - with views of the fantastic skyline in all directions - we couldn't pull ourselves away.  The more we walked the more park there seemed to be.  At one point we caught our first view of Lady Liberty.  Eager to see more we walked all the way to the end of the park without a better view.  No worries, the walk, the park was incredible.  Loved it.

But a glimpse of the Lady from a long way off was not going to do it.  We caught a train to Battery Park for more.  The day was overcast so we didn't get great pictures, but just being there was profoundly and unexpectedly moving.  I've seen pictures of the statue all my life.  I love what she represents - "Give me your poor, your huddled masses."  But being this close to her touched me in a very deep way.

We discussed taking the ferry so we could get closer, but I get seasick in a bathtub, so that was not going to happen.  We did get to visit her a couple more times during our stay, but more on that later.

After spending a few hours in the light rain at Battery Park we decided we had time before our show to go see the World Trade Center memorial.  I couldn't get signal on my cell phone so we weren't able to hopstop it.  $#!@!@  We were told that it was just a few blocks down the road so we started walking.

Lesson - never trust a New Yorker concerning distance or direction.  They know everything by subway or taxi so what they think of as a few blocks winds up being an hour long walk and nowhere near just down the block.  We were out of cash for a cab, and all the ATMs were behind locked doors - only accessible by swiping your card.  Find a Bank of America in the financial district of NY.  Needle in a haystack!

Although we finally found one, by that time we really were nearly there so we just walked the whole way.  Ouch!  my dogs hurt just thinking about it.

When we finally got there we couldn't find anyone that knew where the memorial was - or anything that visitors could see other than the construction fence.  We finally found an information booth, but the attendant was so busy with one couple that no one else could get a simple question answered.

After all of that, we had just enough time to catch a subway up to the theater district and catch our show - That Championship Season at the Jacobs Theater.

If you can make out the sign in the picture above you will see that the shows stars were Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Chris Noth, Brian Cox, and Jim Gaffigan.  What a cast!  We had great seats.  The shows energy was a bit off, but still very good.  The acting was terrific.   Neither Pam nor I cared much for the play itself.  There was no one that you liked - every character was so unpleasant, and in the end there was no redemption of any kind.  A sad picture of broken miserable men.

After the show we caught a late supper at a cute little deli - very Jewish, very crowded, very good.  Then caught the train back to Brooklyn.  A LONG, BUSY DAY, filled with great views, great food, great fun!

Tomorrow THIRTY YEARS!!!!

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