Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Little Road Trip Finale: Greenwich Village

After our visit to the Statue of Liberty we decided to cap our day's tourism with a walk through Greenwich Village.

Searching for hot chocolate.

Forbidden Planet comics:

Onward with the expedition:

We didn't go far before I got distracted by a bookstore. Monique, Malcolm, and Henry carried on with the expedition while I tried to not buy too many books. We agreed to meet at Washington Square Park.

Of course, they soon also got distracted by a different retail hazard, a huge and cool costume shop.

Eventually we joined back up at Washington Square Park.

And then off to dinner at Cuba, an awesome Cuban restaurant just a couple of blocks away.

This seems a good time to mention our secret culinary weapon in this visit to New York, Larry Chielli, a friend of mine from fantasy baseball circles who was always at the ready online with awesome dining recommendations no matter where we were in Manhattan. Thanks to him this was my best-eating visit to New York ever. Thanks, Larry!

The next morning we had an early departure. Henry and Malcolm had to catch a plane to join a friend for a week in Florida, and Monique and I had to hit the road to get back to Michigan quickly, so I could make a 7 pm village council meeting that evening.

Really, I think there's only one question left. Did Henry or Malcolm ever find the truly magic pair of basketball shoes they dreamed of?


Big Smoky and I greet the empty early morning Manhattan streets.

Au revoir, Malcolm and Henry. We'll see you when you're back from what I'm sure will be a very pleasant and not-at-all unbearably hot and humid August week in Florida.

And as long as we don't hit any traffic problems on the road from New York to Michigan, I'll be back for my ... uh-oh. What's this sprawled across the highway?

(Despite the long traffic backup behind the tractor-trailer sprawled across the highway I made it to my council meeting that evening with plenty of time to spare. ... Well, with two minutes to spare, anyway. No kidding. I got to village hall at 6:58 pm. That was cutting it a wee bit close.)

We had a great little road trip across New York State. We were really happy that Malcolm and Henry got to see Niagara Falls and my hometown of Glens Falls. And a visit to a city for those two city kids seemed only fair after we hauled them across thousands of miles of farmland last year.

And with that, we return you to our Patio Boat present-day posts. I hope you enjoyed our little tourist trip.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Little Road Trip: The Statue of Liberty

After our visit to the 9/11 Memorial we headed down to Battery Park to catch the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty.

You might possibly recall a photo of Monique standing beneath a very large branch during our walk through Central Park, and my mild consternation that I had no idea what sort of tree this was that was so commonly found across New York. Much to our surprise, we found out on Liberty Island.

It's the London planetree, platanus × acerifolia, a hybrid between the oriental plane tree and the American sycamore. It turns out to be a very popular urban tree in temperate zones around the world, so I look forward to identifying it around the world in future years.

With our horticultural inquiries satisfied, it was time to learn about the Statue of Liberty itself thanks to the audio tours:

Given the current hubbub around immigration in general and Syrian refugees in particular, I think a few politicians would do well to go back and re-read these lines from The New Colossus, the poem inscribed at the statue's base.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

That's the America I love, brave and unafraid to stand as the world's greatest hope.

Manhattan to the north. One of the great things about visiting the Statue of Liberty is that you get a real sense of New York as a port city.

And as for Lady Liberty herself? Still spectacular!

Yup, that's a pretty big statue.

And now, time to hop back on the ferry and head back to Manhattan.

Farewell, Lady Liberty. Keep on standin'.

Next stop: Greenwich Village.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Little Road Trip: the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower

It's hard to believe that it's already been more than 14 years since that terrible day. And since we hadn't yet been back to Ground Zero since the 9/11 Memorial opened, we very much wanted to pay our respects for all who died on that day, and all who have died in the years since.

Most of all, it felt appropriate to me: two gaping black holes where so much was lost. It reminds me very much of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. It's impossible to visit either place without coming away with at least a bit of the sense of great tragedy.

It's hard to believe, but Henry and Malcolm were barely toddlers when it happened. 

Pointing across to the new rail station, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the construction projects that still ring the site.

9/11 Memorial Museum.

Peeking in the windows of the museum.

And there, rising in the reflection: Freedom Tower, now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Dang, that's one tall building.

Next stop: Statue of Liberty.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Little Road Trip: The Empire State Building

After our walk through Central Park we took the subway to the Empire State Building.

Once there we worked our ways through the lines to get to the observation deck before sunset.

Hurrah! We made it! Henry and Malcolm looking South.

Monique and John looking out at the Hudson River.

You mean we're not even at the top of this building?!

Looking North in the twilight (above) then again as it gets darker (below).

Rooftops, rooftops, rooftops.

Hello, Times Square.

And then ... back to the lobby.

Next stop: we start the next day at the 9/11 Memorial and Freedom Tower.