Friday, August 08, 2008

Wednesday, July 23

We started out the day early and on the walk to the train
stop, I picked up a copy of the newspaper called The Village Voice.
There was a wide variety of no cost newspapers available. Besides the
Village Voice, there was The Metro, a paper called The AM and several
Spanish and Mandarin language papers. At most busy corners in
Manhattan, newspaper distributors were asking passers-by to take the
paper. I wondered if newspapers 100 years ago were given away at no
cost like these.

Reading a local newspaper was something to do while riding in the
dark tunnels of the subway system. In addition, it was another
tactic I used to avoid looking like a tourist.

We got off the train at Times Square and boarded a tour bus headed for
Lower Manhattan. The bus took us through the Garment District, into
Soho and around Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village is a
designated Quiet Zone. Our tour guide had to stop talking while we
drove through its narrow streets. On nearly every corner was a sign
that threatened a $350 fine to anyone who honked a car horn. It was
the quietest part of New York City.

From New York City

At Battery Park we disembarked and got in line for the boat ride to
Ellis Island. We looked back toward Manhattan, and thought
about people who were probably on this boat on September 11, and
watched the whole event from the harbor. On the way to Ellis Island
the boat made a stop at the Statue of

Liberty. Once at Ellis Island, we toured the building where millions
of immigrants lined up to gain entrance to the United States. The main
processing building was converted into a Museum of Immigration.

After a few hours there, we gathered up on the boat for a ride back to
Manhattan. While waiting to get back on the boat, we were
completely surrounded by people, and noticed that not one of them was
speaking English.

Once back on Manhattan, we took another tour bus back up to
Canal Street and China Town. When we were on the bus riding down Canal
Street, Scott and I noticed a public art piece created by the artist
known as NeckFace. We got off the bus and took a few photos.

From New York City

admiring the artwork for a few minutes, we walked through the
nearby neighborhoods. In Chinatown, we stopped at a little shop that
sold authentic Chinese food. We all got Chinese dumplings with pork -
different from anything we'd ever tasted. While we were enjoying our
meal, a policeman came in. He spoke perfect Chinese to the people in
the shop, ordered his meal and left. But just as he was walking out
the door, he suddenly turned around because he had forgotten to pay!
They all laughed. A few blocks down the street there was a Jewish
shop. They had hundreds of different kinds of yamakahs, as well as
jewelry and other items from Israel. It looked like the whole family
was in the shop.

From New York City

After that we caught another tour bus up
to the get off point at Times Square.

As the bus drove up along the
East River, Dad took out his phone and checked his email.
After a few seconds, he let out a gasp and said, "Oh No!" We all
looked back at him knowing something serious had happened. He told us
that Steven had passed away the day before. I knew how much sadness
my relatives were going through at that very moment.

We were all very quiet for the rest of the tour and got off at Times
Square. From there, we took the long train out to Coney Island. There
wasn't much going on there.

From New York City

A few of the rides were operating
including the roller coaster known as The Cyclone. On the ride back to
Manhattan, the train traveled straight through Brooklyn. On this ride,
I began to realize how very large Brooklyn is.

The variety of night activities that interested us in the
city was fairly limited. One

attraction that was available during the evening hours was something
called the New York Sky Ride. The Sky Ride, which was based in the
Empire State Building, is basically a large box with about 80
seats in a small theater. The box is fitted with hydraulics

that elevate and shift the box according to what is being shown on the
screen at the front. It was more or less a helicopter ride gone wild
in Manhattan. We were able to get a better grasp of the city around us
after we took a ride on The Sky Ride.

On exiting the Empire State Building we were met with a downpour of
heavy rain. Mom had an umbrella, but Dad, Scott and I were fairly
damp by the time we got to the subway station. When we got off the
train in Queens, the rain had stopped and we had a pleasant walk to
the hotel.

Continued in Part 4

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