New York Wrapup

The Sunday before Thanksgiving promised clear skies and mild temps, so we headed down to the 9/11 Memorial and the new World Trade Center building. We had decided not to visit the museum this trip.

The memorial is beautiful and moving. Even on a Sunday morning it was crowded, but people were mostly somber and respectful. One family was chided for letting their little girl up on the ledge that holds all the names atop the wall around the pools, but I think they were just helping her see.

Pools at the 9/11 memorial

Pools at the 9/11 memorial








Reading the names aloud felt like an elegy to me. Gary traced his hands over the names. The most heartbreaking were the ones that said a woman’s name “and her unborn child.” One of Gary’s fraternity brothers died in the Pentagon.


Gary’s friend



Some are honored with a flower







The new building gleamed against the blue autumn sky, much like the sky on September 11, 2001.

World Trade Center 2014

World Trade Center 2014













Realizing it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and being  close to Battery Park, I suggested we walk down there so I could get a look at the Statue of Liberty, as I reminisced in an earlier post.

We walked around the Village, taking a short break in Christopher Park, near Stonewall, with statues by sculptor George Segal honoring the gay rights movement.

George Segal art honoring Stonewall

George Segal sculptures











We took a stroll along the High Line along with a Sunday parade of New Yorkers enjoying a respite from the freezing weather.

Photo taken by a man from Sydney, Australia

Photo taken by a man from Sydney, Australia

Entertainment on the High Line

Entertainment on the High Line







Gary had been carrying around a coupon for a Thai restaurant near our hotel and was determined to use it despite the abundance of good places to eat all over the city. We needed to get our bags anyway, so we had a late, and very good, Thai lunch and a glass of wine.

Having found the secret to getting to LaGuardia quickly and cheaply, we schlepped down to the Times Square subway station and took the N train to Astoria, where we got a bus to the airport. Traffic was horrible and the bus ride was painfully slow (but cost nothing since we had Metro cards, and not as slow as the Super Shuttle had been), but we got checked in and through security as our flight was boarding.

Some reflections:

  • Flights: Virgin America out of Love Field was the way to go. There are few direct flights out of Austin, and we are blessed with wonderful friends to stay with and get us to and from the airport. It was cheaper than flying out of Austin, and the flights were not full and were very comfortable.
  • Public transportation: the last time I rode a cab in a major city was in Buenos Aires, when a friend who lived there recommended we take it back to our hotel (we had also, at her recommendation, ridden the Buenos Aires Underground, known as the Subte). In London we ride the Tube, in New York we ride the subway. It takes a lot of energy, and dragging luggage up and down stairs is a real workout, but if you’re fit it’s fast, cheap, fairly comfortable, and often entertaining, with buskers, preachers and various oddballs. We listened to a Mennonite choir in Grand Central and heard live Mexican music on the A train.
  • Food: New York, San Francisco, New Orleans–there are some cities where it’s nearly impossible to get a bad meal. From museum cafes to hole-in-the-wall delis, it was all good. Our go-to take-out place near the hotel, Carve, had great pizzas, made-to-order sandwiches and scrumptious desserts.
  • Hospitality update: Almost everyone in New York was friendly and helpful, despite their reputation for brusqueness (and our past experiences). Bus drivers, museum staff, restaurant workers, even coat-check people–we encountered very little surliness and several instances of extraordinary help. When we needed to switch some theater tickets the guy at the box office was above-and-beyond helpful, even telling us about a shortcut to the Elephant Man theater that got us out of the cold.

When people tell me they’ve never been to New York, I say, “go!” There’s no place like it.




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