One hand in the air for the big city

21 05 2012

No, I haven’t gone underground again: I had a visitor these past few days!

T. had last visited, with P., a few years ago—they’re the ones who bought me my air conditioner—and had learned that Everything Is Terrible In August; thus, the spring fling.

I took her through the Financial District on Thursday, and while we couldn’t get to the 9/11 Memorial (no tickets available), I did take her to St. Paul’s Chapel, where church workers and volunteers ministered to those who worked on “the pile” in the months after the attacks.

I’ve been to and taken visitors to St. Paul’s a number of times, and the exhibits never fail to move me. Prior to September 20001, it was simply an Episcopalian chapel, open to the neighborhood, and one which sponsored various sacred music events; the experience of caring for the men and women who helped to clean out the wound of the World Trade Center site transformed the church, making it over into place of healing and reconciliation. There is a power to this place, and while I attribute it to the quiet strength of the people within, those searching could probably find their God here, as well.

We wandered around and around the warrens of Wall Street, and I came across this shot of the (admittedly-ubiquitous) juxtaposition of old and new:

Water tanks and towers

That’s the (formerly-named?) Freedom Tower—now the tallest building in New York. Neither the name nor the design is impressive, but yes, this space needed a tower.

Another juxtaposition of old and new, this one near Battery Park:

St. Elizabeth-Ann’s? (shoulda written it down. . .)

A sense of scale:

We grabbed some food from Grotto, then headed over to the park for lunch; afterwards we ambled along the short boardwalk, then slid back betwixt the canyons as we worked our way out of the bottom of Manhattan.

We skirted City Hall and the various city, state, and federal courthouses, standing like sentries below the Brooklyn Bridge. Then into Chinatown and the Lower East Side, where we zipped through the Essex Market, then popped into Economy Candy.

Zotz, I got Zotz. Do you remember those? A hard sweet shell encases a powdery interior—which turns into a tart fizz on your tongue. No Marathon bars, but candy necklaces, dots, ring candy, and Aero bars, along with all of the usual suspects.

Then into Little Italy (gelato!), a swing by the Tenement Museum (we browsed the shop, but decided against a tour), and, for me, a quart of sour pickles from Russ & Daughters, and a brief shared remembrance with the counter-woman of our mothers homemade pickling efforts.

East Village, McSorley’s Ale, Pete’s Tavern—both McSorley’s and Pete’s claim to be the oldest bars in the city—then back to Brooklyn.

The plan on Friday was for T. to wander the west side by herself—she particularly wanted to see the Chelsea Market—then head to K’s place Friday evening for book club. Alas, T.’s allergies kicked up and the wind did a number on her peepers (“I think I got New Jersey in my eyes”), so we bailed on book club and stayed in.

Saturday?

T. got us bleacher seats in center-right for a game against the Cincinnati Reds.

That’s Jeter at the plate—can’t you tell?

We made it through 8 innings under the full sun, then bailed before we both fainted.

I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I did always want to see a game at Yankee Stadium; mission accomplished. (And oh yeah, the Yankees lost.)

Back to Brooklyn and into Dumbo:

Dumbo: A nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Then we moseyed down Fulton (where T. got her husband a Brooklyn Nets sweatshirt and cap) and Flatbush, ate at Burrito Bar (amazing! lemonade), then hopped the Q back home. Early (i.e., before noon) Sunday, she left.

Her favorite place? The Wall Street area. We’ll go back (or I’ll send her there alone) her next visit.

We had beautiful weather the whole time, and neither of us (as far as I know) got on each other’s nerves.

You’re a good host, she said.

You’re a good guest, I replied.

Just as it should be.

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22 05 2012

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