Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gotham City Chronicles 4


We located the N2S at Union Square, reportedly no worse the wear from his night out with The Brooklyn Cousin. If you know the two, you can draw your own conclusions.

From there.

We did a cruise-by of Lady Liberty

Visited Ellis Island (paternal grandfather, 1906 / maternal grandmother c. 1917)

Strolled through Battery Park

And decided we needed a mid-afternoon soup fix Blooms Delicatessen just down the street from the hotel. A decidedly Edward Hopper vibe, yes?

Let's just say the matzoh balls were bigger than baseballs and light as butterflies.
(Note: I don't geek out and take pictures of restaurant food so you'll have take my word for it.)


Sunday morning.

What if I told you there's a place in Manhattan where you step off the train into another world?

(Well, to be honest, that's actually pretty much the case
every time you get off the train in Manhattan).

But this world, overlooking a Hudson River largely unsullied by urban sprawl,
is silent and serene. And lost in time:

The Cloisters.

The Cloisters houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval collection. It is stunning.

By the way, you take the A train to and from The Cloisters.

On the way home, we were entertained by an impromptu hip-hop performance by three itinerant junior high-age performers. They were working the train car by car.

Next stop, Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel in the Financial District.

The American Stock Exchange looms over Trinity's small cemetery (no small piece of irony here, eh). Graves sites date back to the mid-1700s. It is a peaceful place.

Founded in 1766, St. Paul's is Manhattan's oldest church in continuous use. Just blocks away from the World Trade Center, it became of a haven of comfort and solace for first responders and, later, recovery workers for almost a year following 9/11.

The moving, powerful work done in this chapel almost overshadows the fact that George Washington worshipped at St. Paul's when in New York. He's still got a pew there to prove it.

These are senbazuru (1,000 origami cranes) sent to St. Paul's with wishes for recovery and long life from children in Japan.

And finally Orchard Street on the Lower Eastside.

Crammed in three-room apartments with just one window, a coal-burning fireplace and stove, thousands of our grandparents and great-grandparents scrabbled out an existence living in these tenements as immigrants to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

It might just be me. . . but I think their hopes and dreams -- some fully realized beyond imagination, some most cruelly crushed -- still linger in the crowded streets.

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