Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Lady Liberty, Wall Street, the Hudson River, 911 Memorial, the Subway, and Dylan's -- May 31

The next morning, the bus didn't leave New Jersey.

Instead, Luke took us through Jersey City to the waterfront, and ended up in the huge, mostly empty parking lot, by the State Cruises pier. It was really early Sunday morning, when most normal people sleep in, but the tourists were out and out early. Including, of course, us.

Far AwayTracksLeft
This used to be one of the biggest railway stations in the nation, back when everyone came in through Ellis Island, many people left for the rest of the country through this station. These days most people immigrate by plane, not by boat, and not through Ellis Island. So while these tracks are still used, the old station areas, the terminal, is no longer used or particularly maintained or repaired. Just a relic from the past.

It was also our first glimpse of Lady Liberty. She'd been there all along, but I don't think we'd looked for her the way we did this morning.

To Security
It was an overcast morning, we had sprinkles as we came out of the hotel, and the forecast was for rain, but it cleared up when we headed toward the city, and it was just muggy and hot out. Yesterday had been sunny and hot, and all the heat was still present in the city.

We headed, first, to security. Dick had spoken a little bit about it at the Empire State Building, but people in the City now were used to extra security at nearly all the public gathering places that had something prominent at them. Famous places, like the Empire State Building, the Statute of Liberty were all possible targets, so the natives had gotten used to going through metal detectors, having their stuff searched either by x-ray or by hand, and they all had a visceral understanding of why it was necessary, since they'd all gone through 9/11. The natives don't complain about the searches.

We didn't, either. *laughs* The kids were great through all the searches, and did as they were asked. There were no problems from either side of that particular equation, which was nice.

To the Ferry
The lines to the ferry were actually kind of nice. Dick kept saying, "It's a line but it's not a line, just push up when we get to go on, because we can't be split up. Don't want anyone to get left behind..."

No one was left behind, and we all made it on, no problem. The ferry system here in NYC doesn't take cars, they only take people, by design, since the cars only seem to clutter the streets even more than they are already. This particular ferry went through Ellis Island to the Statute of Liberty and then to Battery Park in the south-most tip of Manhattan, not the normal commuter line, but they had dozens of them all up and down both sides of Manhattan, from Jersey City and Brooklyn.

Some day, I think I want to see Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx too. *laughs* But for this trip, Manhattan was plenty.

New Jersey
This is a shot I took back at Jersey City. It's a fair sized city if it's taken on its own, though nothing near as big as NYC right next to it. There's also the old terminal for train and ferry and what I didn't realize, until now, was that the wall just behind the old brick terminal is New Jersey's memorial for all the people from New Jersey who died when the Twin Towers fell. It's two walls, actually, which are lined up toward the empty space where the towers used to be and on them are carved the names of everyone who died that day.

On the ferry itself, I had some luck. The outside decks were already filled with people, and inside the sheltered area were a lot of benches next to the windows. Some of the seats were next to the panes which could be opened. All the window seats were taken when I got in there, but a few minutes before we left, a couple sitting at one of the windows decided to leave, so I took that seat. So I was able to get unobstructed views of thing outside my window. Including this one of the ferryman just waiting for us to go.

Ellis Island
Ellis Island. We didn't actually stop here, but it was really interesting to see it. Dick said that the front offices belonged to New York, but that New Jersey had staked a claim on part of the island and had gotten the bunk houses and where the people stayed if they had to stay on the island in quarantine.

Coming into the United States, you had to be in good health to be allowed in. Those who were sick were stuck in quarantine and if they got better, they could enter. Those that didn't get better were shipped back.

Ellis Island
The offices were pretty imposing, and now, like Lady Liberty, they're both National Parks and are tended by the National Park Service.

The ferry stopped there briefly to drop some people off, get some people on, and then cast off again for the Statue of Liberty. This is when I was very very happy that I had an open window.

Hello Miss Liberty!
I basically got a 270 degree circle around the front of the statue, where I could take as many shots as I wanted of her, and she was really amazing to see.

She is the largest statue in the United States. There are dozens taller than her, including a Buddha that is nearly twice her height, throughout Asia. It was interesting to have Dick say, that "Washington Crossing the Delaware" is always larger than everyone thinks it ought to be, and that Lady Liberty always seems to be smaller than everyone thinks she ought to be.

Still, when I first saw her, I thought she was amazingly huge. Especially if you compare her to the size of the people at her feet, all gazing up at her from around the rim of the island itself.

Overlooking the Freedom Tower
John got this amazing shot, of her holding her torch over the new Freedom Tower. That's the tallest one there, on the left? It's the one replacing the Twin Towers, and since it's 1776 feet all, people have been calling it the Freedom Tower.

The pedestal and supports below her are pretty amazingly solid.

More Friends
We all filed off the ferry when the time came, and were able to do the gift shops and walk the walk at the feet of Lady Liberty.

Most everyone headed off in all directions, but we decided to follow Dick and got one of those moments when he recognized this ranger. They talked animatedly about something, and I noticed the guy's thick local accent. Brooklyn if I had my uneducated guess, but it was really kind of a microcosm of the place and city. He, of course, knew Dick and congratulated us on having him for a guide.

Part of the fun of going to the island itself was being able to wander about and take whatever pictures of what we saw rather than all that's presented about the place. John did an amazing shot here of the city through the pier that I really loved the symmetry of.

Climbing up into the statute is now possible again, but it takes a reservation well in advance and some lines, as the way up into the head of the statue is a spiral staircase. Dick said that it's almost exactly like the Belvedere Castle stairs, i.e. so narrow only one person can really fit through at a time. So they have to time it and make sure people can get up and come down safely. We saw the build that houses the way into the statute and all that, but mostly everyone hung around the gift shop and cafe.

Close Up
Walking along the walkway before the statue made it possible to get some amazing closeups of her as well as some good shots of the city from across the river.

It's interesting because everything I felt said that we were in a harbor, when really we're pretty far from the ocean. It really was mostly just river, though a little further south they call it the Upper Bay. It struck me, when we were going over the names in Central Park that they could call things The Pond or The Lake and everyone would actually know what they were within the context of The City.

On one of the bus stops, I'd seen a sign that said, "He had the true New Yorker's secret belief that people living anywhere else had to be, in some sense, kidding. -- John Updike." And there's an attitude here that reflects that beautifully. In many senses this *is* The City, and it wasn't until I walked here that I really got a feeling for what a character it really is. I still remember countless DC and Marvel comics where this city, for all intents and purposes, is the backdrop and often active and working character for the people in those stories. So many of them are fighting for their love of this city, good or bad guys alike, and now I could see why.

Water Approach
Speaking of seeing why: this is the Lower Manhattan skyline, with bridge and bits of Brooklyn behind and, yes, that's the Brooklyn Bridge on the right. We didn't see all that much of it.

Actually, from the fact that there is a harbor pier and the Customs House right there, this probably was the way shipping came into New York City for the longest time. It would explain the ships of people going to Ellis Island just across some of the water, and it also explains why nearly all the shipping is just a bit to the south of all this now. So, I guess, what feels like a harbor really is a harbor.

All together...
And this is just Manhattan from the south approach. The mass of buildings is really impressive, even after Beijing and Shanghai, which are arguably bigger cities, but none of them felt as dense or as... well... alive as this one.

The traffic and people never got nearly as stopped up in the other cities as they do in New York, while while they might have had more numbers of high rises, they were never this closely bunched together and the ones in China were far less well maintained and many many more of them were abandoned in Shanghai. Here every inch is used. I suspect Tokyo would have more of the feeling of every inch being precious space, to be filled with commerce and an active life.

Battery Park
The greenery in front of the other shots is this, Battery Park. It's just a park on the waterfront, and it's beautiful, and in so many shows and movies that I can't even count it anymore. It's got a marvelous view of the water, the Statue of Liberty, and all the shipping cranes and docks further south on the Jersey shore.

It's an old fort, with a battery of guns that was used to defend these waterways. There's an amazing exhibit in the museum there of the skyline since the 1900's and how much it's changed. There were a lot of people just hanging out at the park, enjoying the greenery, the walkways, the water, and the trees and shade and open areas to walk.

Battered Statue
And going with identifiable titles, this is The Sphere.

It's actually more than just a modern art sculpture, at least here. It was on Ground Zero, underneath the buildings when they fell. During the recovery period, it was found under the rubble, battered and beaten up, but intact. So they carefully pulled it out, and set it up again here, still battered, but relatively unbroken, kind of symbolic of the whole day and a precursor to our visiting the Memorial Site. It has its own undying flame next to it, and I liked that its sculptor, on helping with the reinstallation of it, said that it had taken on a life of its own, one that he hadn't imbued it with when he'd made it.


Bowling Green
From Battery Park, we started walking up Broadway, and took a moment to study Bowling Green, a park that the colonists used to bowl on . *laughs* Across the street sits a Native American Museum, run by the Smithsonian, and housed in the historical Customs House that used to pull customs from all the incoming goods that came through the Harbor, not that far from its doors.

At the very northern tip of the park sits a particularly intriguing and well known piece of guerrilla art.

This is a side shot of Charging Bull by Arturo De Modica. In 1987, after a market crash back then, Arturo created this thing and set it down right in front of the New York Stock Exchange, saying that it symbolized the "strength and power of the American people." He also stuck around it, handing out flyers about his other art work...

Talk about entrepreneurial...

Anyway, the police hauled it away, but the city had already come out to see it and there was a lot of outrage and outcry about it not being displayed, so the City decided to put it at the top tip of Bowling Green.

I couldn't get a shot of its front. There were people lined up to take pictures with the head and backend of the Bull. *laughs* There's a happy little myth that anyone that touches the bull in a particular place will have great financial luck. It's so much like kissing the turtle in the Tomb of Kings, or kissing the Blarney Stone or... all of the like.

So people were all over this beast. It was a fun thing to actually see in the bronze, and it's pretty awesome close up and against its warm metal shoulder like this. But it did make me wonder just how aggressive we seem to be to the rest of the world. Then again, tourists were putting their babies up on the horns of this monster, and seemed very happy to just take pictures with it.

Close Together
We walked to Wall Street, through Lower Manhattan, and got a good taste of what the older parts of the city looked like. As Dick had said, it's built all the way to the sidewalk, and the shadows of the buildings block the sunlight all day.

Street of Heroes
The close in streets, the windows all the way up the buildings, the closeness to the main harbor into New York City, and the ready supply of ticker tape in the financial district all added up to the fact that all the ticker tape parades for returning or even visiting heroes were done here. The Street of Heroes has bronze ribbons with the names and titles or sometimes even a bit about why they had arrived here laid down into the sidewalk.

There were all kinds of heroes from specific airport pilots to people who'd negotiated a peace settlement to an the Olympic athletes who'd gone to Germany during WW II. It was an interesting collection of humanity at its finest.

The Market of Markets
Wall Street itself was like walking through a canyon. All stone walls and facades, and I was at the back of the pack, so when we came by this building, I had to ask Dick what it was. He'd stayed back to help keep the stragglers with the group and he cheerfully answered that this was the Big Kahuna, the reason for the street. It's the New York Stock Exchange. The one that still does everything with people and paper and then it gets translated into the electronics, unlike there other markets. *laughs*

I loved that. The facade fits it very well.

Federal Hall
The kids all got a picture at the Federal Hall. It felt kind of weird because every time they did a group picture everyone kind of assumed that it would just be the kids? And maybe the teachers. John of course was cheerfully oblivious to all that from the moms who were there, and maybe I should have been more oblivious about it, too, but it was interesting to see the dynamics.

But they got their picture in with George Washington, and people were more or less politely waiting to get their pictures in. As you can tell by the guy in the back right there, some were a mite less patient.

Trinity Church
Trinity Church was just around the corner. This is what I think of when I think of cathedrals, that darker stone, that's usually just the result of having been in a city for a century or two. Not all cleaned up the way St. Patrick's was.

Trinity is an Episcopal Parish church, and it had debris rained on it when the towers fell. A lot of Wall Street got debris. And one of the sculptures in the front yard is made from a sycamore tree that got destroyed then.

It was interesting, today, to realize just how deeply 9/11 is etched into the very fabric of NYC's life, and how deeply held it is and how visceral every remembrance or memorial is for the people who survived it and live here still.

Shinier Close Up
And as a bright, shiny, defiant, and beautiful reminder of how New York City has come back from all that the brand new Freedom Tower is an excellent symbol as well. It was opening to the public within days of the end of our trip, and our guide had tickets to go up there and see. It's the first building that went up on the site, and officially known as One World Trade Center.

We made our way toward the 9/11 memorial site by walking, and I was pretty grateful for the slow approach and a way to digest and think of all the other roots this place has.

Still Rebuilding
It was also pretty obvious that they were still rebuilding. That the site, while cleared, hasn't really completely recovered yet. New construction has gone up all around, and the buildings that were knocked down, damaged, and outright destroyed, were pretty extensive. And the process and progress of rebuilding the whole of the World Trade Center and everything connected to it is still an on-going thing.

One of the newer places was this mall that Dick took us to and showed us the layout of before letting us all go to find our lunches. It's called Hudson Eats in the mall called Brookfield Place. The list of restaurants in there is pretty amazing, and it's very much an upscale sort of place.

The bottom floor had actual linen napkin and waistcoated waiters planted amid various shelves of foods, bakeries, and other of the like. The menus down there were not for the light of pocketbook. And there were business people in their suits and dresses, who were being very clearly waited upon diligently on stools and tables that were right next to the walking traffic coming through.

The upstairs was the open food hall, like a mall, but the food choices were anything but mall chain food. Everyone scattered to find what they liked best, and most of the kids grabbed dessert first, from the cupcake stall or ice cream. John, being John, went to Chop'T and got an amazing looking salad.

Wow. Just... Wow.
There was a BBQ place that looked intriguing, a crepery that was thoroughly distracting, but I came upon this place and kept coming back.

Northern Tiger.

Beijing noodles and dumplings. Someone on the trip had asked me what northern China does for food, as rice probably couldn't grow very well up there, and I"d answered that wheat does just fine up there, and was a staple food in the north.

Yeah. I kept staring at the pork belly version of zha jian mein. Mom used to make that dish all the time, and she still does, with cucumber strips that go on top of the meat sauce on spaghetti, basically. Finally, I decided to get the noodles, and Jet decided on the dumplings because they were well within his $10 budget. I blew my budget a little. *laughs*

Northern Tiger's Beijing Zha Jiang Mian with Pork Belly
And it was entirely worth it.

Wow was it worth it. The noodles had the distinctive chew of handmade noodles, though they weren't yellow enough to be alkaline noodles, which wouldn't have been appropriate for this dish anyway. The pork zha jiang was rich and luxurious with meat and there were soy beans, both yellow and green, studded throughout the sauce. The carrot and cucumber threads were beautifully cut, and the rocket greens on top really added a nice touch of crunch and bitterness.

I really loved it. *laughs* And it was big enough for me to share good portions of it with both John and Jet. I was so happy. We had a little time to pick up some specialty cookies from the bottom floor, use the restrooms, and pick up a free coffee from a coffee shop that was celebrating its anniversary. Though the weather, for me, was just a little too hot for hot coffee. *laughs*

Palm Trees and Cameras
We had to wait on everyone for a bit after that, and since we really weren't interested in shopping at all, John and I sat in the atrium and just looked around at things.

One of the things was this camera crew, that got security all riled up for a bit, but settled in for their work for a while. Eventually Dick came back out and talked with us a little. He asked us how he liked his palm trees.

Yes. Palm trees. Indoor palm trees that do just fine in the heat and humidity inside the mall, and just lend a hint of more tropical climes to the wealth of the place. He said something about them having to replace them in a few years, but the whole complex is nearly brand new, so I'm not sure how many have had to be replaced yet. They seemed very healthy and happy where they were.

Irish Memorial
From there, we headed toward the water and the Irish Hunger Memorial. It commemorates the Potato Famine that took so many of the Irish to New York City. It's a huge raised memorial, with an Irish cottage built on it, that you go through to walk the winding path to the top. And it contains a stone from each of the seven counties of Ireland. The Famine killed more than a million people.

Tunnel to the Croft
The tunnel from the back of the memorial up out into the croft was beautifully made, and coming out into the sunlight, it really looks like you're standing on nothing other than a grassy hillside with a winding path to the top.

We all wandered up and wandered down, and I happy took pictures of all the stones, but there were two elderly ladies that stayed in the cottage talking about their families that had come over because of what this commemorated.

The weather had gotten pretty sticky and hot by this time, so when Dick decided to take us into a financial building and then down into the subways and then across into air conditioned walkways, I was pretty grateful

Underground approach
This is the underneath, subterranean bones of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The Old Twin Towers were built with this off shoot of the subway right by their bases. With the river so nearby, one of the big concerns had been that the retaining slurry wall that had kept the river out of the foundations of the Twin Towers, might break in and flood the subway.

The loss of life if that had happened would have been even bigger than it was. These new areas were built with some of that in mind. It was also really beautiful and the upper architecture matched what was down here.

To a point.

When we got to the far end of this, there was still an open tunnel, part of the old system, that led to a different part of the subway system, and it was still under construction. We could see high voltage power lines laid in the ceiling, all the wiring and pipes bare to the eye. There were also about a dozen Army officers in full protective gear just standing watch throughout the area, which was an interesting thing to see, for me at least.

Here's a shot of the building above ground. It's not done yet, but they're working on it.

From the underground, Dick took us to a little shop called the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. It's got the timeline all around the inside of the shop, and an on-going video with an overview of what happened, why it has to be remembered, and a general sense of what it's all about.

I'm not ashamed to say that I couldn't stop crying while in there. There was just no way. It has always been pretty clear to me what happened, what kind of courage was shown during the whole thing, and how much destruction it had all done; but being right up against it so to speak was hard. Especially after doing the 911 transcripts for the last couple of years, and hearing the transcripts there, I had a visceral reaction, knowing just how our own police and fire people would have responded, knowing how they would just run in, just... that's part of why I couldn't stop crying.

We both bought things. In part it supports the memorial, but in part, for me at least, it supported me in there. I got a huge, fluffy sweatshirt with the an I ♥ NY with a blue heart. It felt appropriate.

St. Francis Chapel
The other place Dick took us to see was this, the St. Francis Chapel. It, too, survived the fall of the Twin Towers, despite being practically at their feet. The trees in the yard helped protect the building, though a few of them were crushed, and during the period when rescue workers were going around the clock trying to find people, the Chapel kept its doors open 24/7 as well. They served food, drinks, and chapel space for prayer.

It was pretty cool, when we went there, there were people grilling out front, in anticipation of a party. They were cleaning the interior, and at first, the chapel keepers refused to let anyone in to look, but Dick talked with them gently, and everyone got a few minutes to go in and look around for a while.

St Francis Chapel
It's a very simple space, lovely and restrained. There were cards along one side, and in the corner the camera is facing, there's a tower of memorabilia, service people who left a badge, a number, a patch from when they'd worked on the recovery.

14,000 volunteers worked to help relieve 2000 recovery workers that were on Ground Zero every day in this chapel. People from all over the city and the country helped out as they were able.

I could only spend a little time in there. I had to go out into the graveyard, and just sit on a bench and listen to the traffic and cars go by.

Life does go on, all around us, in every way. I had a little time to talk with Jodie, the leader of the Canadian group, because she was obviously as affected as I was by it all, and that was good in its own way. Mr. Swarn's grief was evident as well. He is a native, and whenever he said something about 911, it was very clear that he remembers in a way that we, who were not witnesses to the city in the aftermath, never can.

Girder remains
From there, we headed into the Memorial Site proper. Everyone had to check their backpacks into a group bin, and then we went down to the bedrock underneath the old sites of the Twin Towers. Both foundations are still there, with the cut off iron girders in neat squares.

The old foundations surround various presentation rooms. One of the had all kinds of art that was inspired by both what happened and the nation and city's response. Another had a recording of everyone reading their beloved's names in a roll call of everyone that had died on the site. Another had the full time line again. There was a gallery of pictures of the rescue workers for the week after the towers fell, taken by a photographer that was right in the midst of it all.

There were relics scattered across the floors, a smashed in fire truck, the needle tower from the top of one of the towers, the cross section of things that fell down...

... and people, docents, at nearly all of them, speaking with that same knowing that Dick had about what happened.

Three panels of the Slurry Wall
I think my favorite room was this one, though.

It commemorates The Slurry Wall.

Typical engineer, I can hear you saying, and it's true. This is just three panels of what was the wall that kept the water from the Hudson from flooding the subway system through the World Trade Center. They've very carefully preserved it, and on that rainy day, the concrete was leaking just a bit. *laughs* It's three-feet thick, made back when the towers were built with a new technology that used powdered concrete and a special slurry that coated a trench that could then be used to pour concrete that would stay.

It held during all the rescue work, and in the following days, whenever they removed debris that was helping it stand, they would carefully reinforce it and make sure it had the support it needed to stay up. The wall is what stayed up when everything else fell down.

In this room, too, is the Last Column, the one that was removed on the date that marked the end of the recovery period. It's signed by all the workers there, and it's a mute testimony to all the souls that worked so hard to pick things up again.

When we came up again, out of the Memorial, it was raining. The two fountains that sit where the two towers used to be are now surrounded by all the names of all who died there. The rain seemed appropriate to the feelings of the place, and it just fell harder as we gathered under the Surviver Tree, which was a tree that was on the grounds. The Botanic Gardens found it, gave it a home, nursed it back to health. It got hit by something else and came back from that, so they found a place for it on the grounds between the two pools.

I also bought a National Geographic book of the whole site, with fantastic pictures and a lot of the history.

Overlooking the site is the Freedom Tower, and it's a mighty splendid building up close. It opened to the public that same weekend, but the reservations to go up were sold out months in advance. Dick said that he had a ticket to go up there the day after we left for home, and I hope he got a great view up there.

Getting Wet and Wiating
Not like that day. *laughs* It really started pouring while we were standing out there. Everyone knew that the forecast said that there would be rain, so there were umbrellas, rain coats, and the like. I had my river hat on, and it usually keeps the rain off pretty well, so I didn't bother with my raincoat.

I should have.

Out of the Rain
But while we were standing there, it wasn't so bad, and we knew that we were going to try out the subway on our way to dinner.

It was good to get down into the subway station, out of the rain. We all stood around for a while, as Dick and a lady he was training, Jenn, were getting all the tickets and distributing them to everyone.

Through the stalls!
Getting through the turnstiles was pretty easy. It was still Sunday and not that many people were in the train stations. The cards were sold for two trips, one each way, so each of us slid the card to get in, and then handed it back to the next person so that they could get through as well.

We then followed Dick like ducklings after their mother, through the short and narrow of the New York Subway.

Getting to our Exit
The cars themselves were pretty crowded, and we had to ride standing up most of the time. We knew which exit we were supposed to get off at, but all ended up on different cars because there were so many people on the train.

This picture is after we all got off, and were going through the passages toward where we were going to come out to get to Southern Hospitality, a BBQ restaurant. Yes, the tunnels are really short compared to newer systems, but it seems to work for everyone, and the heat in the tunnels seemed to come from the steam system, which was pretty neat to see.

I was really grateful that we had Dick through all this, as he knew where we were supposed to go and which way to head.

It was funny, though, because we came out to a full out rainstorm. I wished I'd gotten my raincoat on, or done what Jet did, which was actually put his raincoat over his backpack. Of course, I'm not nearly skinny enough to fit me and my backpack into my raincoat, but he was. *laughs*

It just poured. At one point, Dick and everyone had ducked under various awnings, and he watched the rain for a while and it showed no signs of letting up at all. So he finally said, "Well, do you guys want to just run for it?"

So we did. And got completely soaked in the process. It was fun and funny as we whooped it up and some of us ran like mad people. I figured if I was going to be soaked, I might as well really be soaked, so I ended up walking a good deal of it.

Dinner at Southern Hospitality
We ended up here, at Southern Hospitality. It's Justin Timberlake's restaurant. *laughs* And they served us family-style with BBQ chicken, ribs, french fries, mac and cheese, and salad while we dripped gently on their chairs and linoleum floors. The back rooms were pretty cramped, but we fit all right, and it was better to dry off in private than public anyway.

I wasn't that impressed with the food, but then it was the group food. It was hot and there was plenty of it. And I actually skinnied out of my wet shirt into the sweatshirt I'd bought earlier, and John helped me layer all the papers and books in my soaked backpack with paper towels so that they'd have a chance to dry a little.

And the servers were just fine with all that, and were very kind to everyone, so I'm grateful for that.

I was grateful when Dick decided that we weren't going to do the extra Central Park plans until some other day. It was just raining too hard. All our cell phones got a text message saying that there were flash flood warnings in the city and surrounding areas. Wow.

Instead, he took us here. Dylan's Candies was all part of the plan, anyway, it just happened a little sooner. It's a huge candy store, filled not only with all the kinds of candy you know and love, but it also had a bunch of candies made by Dylan's including these amazing little 2 ounce chocolate bars filled with everything from marshmallow cream to bacon. Jet and I each got one of the bacon bars, hoping that it would be good, along with some of the others as well.

Now THAT is a Gummy BearDylan's Steps
There were a few other discoveries there, too, like the lit stairs filled with candy and good wishes for a sweet day. *laughs* And Jet found this gigantenormous Gummy Bear. One of the other kids had found one at FAO Schwartz, bought it, and had eaten one ear off before getting tired of the candy. It was pretty amazing, all in all.

Upstairs was an ice cream parlor and bakery. They had French-style macaroons that they were known for, and I went up and got three because I do like them a lot. Luke had parked right outside the store, and so we slowly trickled in as we finished our shopping. He asked everyone to not eat candy on the bus because it's sometimes hard to clean up after, and everyone was great and did that.

Night Streets
By this time, I was starting to relish the rides through the city back toward the tunnel in order to go back to the hotel. John and I liked to sit right behind Dick, who was in the front row, and so we could listen to him bantering with Luke, with Jenn, or with John. *laughs* I didn't get much into it, but it was really fun to listen to.

We'd pass by random places like a particular cookie shop, a diner, or those rare gas stations (there are only a handful left in the City, and they're slowly going away as the land prices get more and more expensive). We'd see people pushing huge loaded carts through the street and going faster than the cars. It was just fun, and the sight of the skyline at night was always a treat.

Drying Out
And this is nearly everything drying in our hotel room. We got back relatively "early", more like 8 or 9pm, than midnight. and so we had a little time to shower, dry off completely for the first time in a while, and lie around watching TV.

Johh pulled the insoles from our shoes and stuck the hair dryer into them, to let them dry out. A lot of things were pretty irreparably marked up by the water, including my Statue of Liberty postcards and the 911 photo book. But it lent them character. One of the funny things was that my composition notebook, that I'd brought along to take notes in, was also soaked and a lot of the line ink ran.

But it also gave it some personality. I'm always going to be able to look at that book and remember how it got to be the way it is. *laughs*

You use what you have...
I also took advantage of the early night and did a quick sketch with brush and ink. The next day was the first of June and it was the start of a 30-day challenge to do and post a painting everyday on a particular account on Facebook for the whole month of June. If you go to my Flickr account, you will see a whole block of the pictures from that for June, but this was the first.

Inspired by the Van Gogh we just saw, I just did a sketch. There were also sketches of roses, a bit of calligraphy, but we were only supposed to post what we liked the most. And then I went to sleep, knowing it would be simple the next morning.

And it was a very good thing, too.
Tags: travel, walking

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