Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New York City, DAY 12

I guess I'm over my jet lag, because I woke up at 5:00 AM, ready to get up for the day. I knew Karen and Julia wanted to sleep in, so I just got dressed and went to Starbuck's for morning coffee and free WiFi. It was fun to watch this city wake up on a Saturday morning. Julia is the housing manager for one of NYU's largest student housing buildings, over 1,000 student live here on 25 floors. Full time security guards maintain the comings and goings through the front door, so they were my morning visitor contacts. They delighted me with their admiration for Julia, "one of our best staffers." I felt their sincerity as they wished me a happy day! We all enjoyed some homemade granola, purchased yesterday at the farmer's market in Union Square. Julia slept on the couch because she was "on call" and anticipated crisis calls during the night, but luckily had none. We visited for two hours this morning and she shared how her long-term habit of journaling helps her reflect on her experiences. She says she's an introvert because being with people drains her emotionally and she needs her alone time to reenergize herself. She expressed many things - her relationship with her parents, her joy about her work, her strong faith, and best of all, how she experiences God in and through other people.

Julia wanted to do her weekly 10 mile run around the southern edge of Manhattan and then go to her boss's baby shower, so Karen and I walked up to Washington Square Park, getting a slice of pizza along the way. Today we were served by Mexican people in an Italian pizza place. The park was packed with people, many owners of daschunds. We enjoyed just watching people and listening to musicians scattered throughout the park.

Our next experience, along with Julia, was riding the subway to the World Trade Center. For me it was hard to fathom the space where the Twin Towers originally stood and how any buildings nearby escaped destruction. We could see the new tower being built - I even noticed it on our drive in from JFK airport. We joined lots of other tourists in the area, first going in to St. Paul's Church and looking at all the memorabilia on the walls and tables around the church.  The sign says, "Unwavering Spirit."  This church became a  sanctuary of hope at healing at Ground Zero.

Karen was stunned to see her airplane seatmates enter the church the same time we did. These young women were from the Chezh Republic and planned to tour the US for six weeks. What are the chances she would meet them again???

The 9-11 Memorial opened in time to remember the 10th anniversary of the tragic event that took over 3,000 lives and 450 first responders. The reflecting pools occupy the original footprint of the twin towers and no matter where you stand, one cannot "see" the bottom of the second waterfall. People are quiet and respectful in this space. It's hard to imagine what it might mean to someone who actually lost a loved one......

     We then caught a cab and rode up to the West Greenwich area where Julia first lived when she came to NYU. She walked around with us and said, "I just love this area - all these old buildings. It seemed so much quieter than where she lives now. We walked up and down the streets trying to find the perfect place for dinner, finally settling on "The Garage" - with live jazz music. More wine and toasts to Karen's senior wisdom years as we celebrated her 55th Birthday.

 The home of Edna St. Vincent Millay on the left and the token picture of flowers on the right!  No picture of our meal on this night.  Off to bed to rest for another day of sightseeing!

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