Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NYC Day 2, Friday, October 9

Friday was our tourist day, wherein we were scheduled for a 6 hour tour by bus and by boat.  We got up early and stopped at the coffee shop espresso bar in the hotel for our complimentary coffee and pastries and then started walking.  I had a tougher time than I thought I would walking 30 minutes at a smart pace and I was realizing that although my water walking is exercise it is not the best practice for city walking.  A. I don't sweat in the water and B. my body is partially supported.  But with the patience of my family and one stop to rest, I made it and we all got to the tour departure on time.

There was standing in line, and then I spotted a penny stretcher machine, so I paid my 51¢ for one with the Statue of Liberty on it, then it was time to get in the bus and leave.  The "bus" was in fact a pretty nice 14-passenger job, and there was a four-passenger seat across the back that was just right for us as long as two someones were willing to sit with their feet up over the wheels (we took turns).  We had a tour-by-bus of Times Square, then drove along the Hudson to the Riverside Church.

The Riverside Church was intended to be non-denominational, but as I said to Bookworm, I don't imagine it was particularly appealing to old-school Scots Presbyterians of the time what with all the Gothic details and fancy touches like a wood revolving door.  The guide made a point of mentioning the stained-glass windows, and of course Mom and I have been reading about Clara Driscoll of the Tiffany Co., so we wondered if the windows were Tiffany.  Nope, some of them were from a contemporary, Harry Wright Goodhue, and many were 16th century Flemish windows brought over by Rockefeller.

Across the street is Grant's Tomb, and I did not climb the stairs, but stayed outside and watched a woman walk a cinnamon-colored chow-shepherd mix who reminded me of Littlefoot and told my sisters-in-law that it was Julia Grant's insistence on leaving-right-now-thank-you-I'm-sick-of-Washington that saved her husband from dying with the president.

We got back on the bus and resumed the tour, stopping for lunch in (what's left of) Little Italy, where I had some very yummy penne alla vodka followed by a beeeeeg cup of coffee from the place across the street.  Margo grabbed some gifts for her boys and I got a pretty scarf and then we went on to the part of the tour I didn't want to do, the World Trade Center.

The pools are beautiful, the atmosphere is reflective and reverential and the whole thing is too damn raw for me to handle, even after 14 years.

Afterwards we walked to the Winter Garden Atrium (big fancy shopping mall) and then got on a ferry/tour boat with an obnoxious, probably sloshed announcer/guide who inspired my new mantra, "Please just shut up and let me look".  We did see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.  I am especially proud of my picture of the cables of the bridge after reading the incredible story in The Great Bridge.

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a six-hour tour actually took seven hours, which meant that none of us had time for a shower before we dressed up for dinner and went to Carnegie Hall.  Dinner at Etcetera Etcetera was lovely, and all kudos to Anabel for making three great reservations for our dinners in NYC.  After dinner we went to Carnegie Hall for a New York Pops concert of Rogers & Hammerstein music.  I wish they hadn't ended with songs from The Sound of Music, because I loathe the whole thing, but the conductor was a blast.  Mom is fairly convinced that Mr. Reineke was trained by Erich Kunzel, because he was up there dancing while conducting.  After that, we headed back to the hotel and I think all of us were asleep pretty quickly.

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