New York – Week Seven

The New York summer stretches long, hot, and slow- like molasses being woven through a taffy puller sitting in the stiflingly warm front window of a candy shop. Passersby pause and their attention is momentarily captured by the repetitive motion of the hypnotic machine. In the city that never sleeps, the molasses represents the continually pulsing traffic moving through the streets which receives brief glances by dazed, overheated pedestrians bustling around on the scalding pavement.

In New York, the sun is a perfectly smooth, dark pebble being skimmed across a vast pond. Each moment of contact with the water creates a ripple- a force which cannot be stopped until it comes into contact with another point of energy. As the ball of gas passes across the sky, its glaring rays touch different segments of the city, bouncing off the reflective high rises and down between them to the vast chasms which contain and amplify the heat until everything in the surrounding area has internally absorbed the heat. Within minutes, conflicts which would usually be shrugged off with a menacing glare or perhaps a sheepish apology ignite into vicious battles of will, complete with curse words, impolite hand gestures and occasionally physical violence.

Work this past week was pretty slow. The interns and I did a lot of outreach for participatory budgeting, and I called hundreds of potential vendors to table at and donate to our office street fair. One evening almost all of the interns stayed late to make even more calls, which was reasonably successful, but not enough that we are going to do it again. We held a target participatory budgeting assembly at a senior center in Washington Heights which was well attended and generated a good number of ideas. We also spent a few days walking around the local houses projects in our district and handing out flyers for participatory budgeting. I continue to bond with all the interns in our office. We are beginning to feel like one large, mostly dysfunctional family.

Despite all of the aforementioned activities at the office, this past week was still fairly uninteresting, and I was grateful to be able to leave the office early on Thursday afternoon because my mom was coming to visit. She took the Long Island Railroad from JFK, which is significantly more affordable than a taxi. That evening I showed her around mid-town and Chelsea. We saw the Flatiron Building, Times Square and the Empire State Building. On the way to dinner we stopped and got a pretzel from a street cart, and then we went out to sushi near Times Square.

We woke up early on Friday morning and took the train down to Tribeca to have breakfast at Sarabeth’s. We had a bit of extra time, so I showed Mom the Civic Center and City Hall before we ate. After breakfast we took the subway down to Batter Park and got on a ferry to go to the Statue of Liberty. It was supposed to be very warm, but turned out to be a gorgeous, breezy day on the water. I got a bunch of amazing pictures on the ferry ride over to Liberty Island, and a few spectacular photos of the Statue of Liberty and the Hoboken, Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines from Liberty Island. Luckily, we were able to take the elevator to the top of the pedestal of the statue. We briefly wandered through the main building on Ellis Island, before departing to go back to Manhattan. Since it was a beautiful day, we took the subway up to Christopher Street and walked through Greenwich Village to the Meatpacking District. We had fantastic salads for lunch  at Revel, an adorable restaurant located in an alley patio in the Meatpacking which I had dinner at years ago with my dad and cousins. After lunch we walked through Gansevoort Market and then along the High Line back to Mom’s hotel. We both took a couple of hours to rest and get cleaned up for dinner, and then took the subway down to Gigino at Wagner Park, an Italian restaurant in Battery Park. Their main dining area is on a patio overlooking the water and the Statue of Liberty, and we ate the most amazing pasta while watching the sunset over the Hoboken skyline.

The next morning we had reservations at Balthazar for brunch at 9, but because we needed to be at the World Trade Center by 9:45, we just got bagels at a small shop down a side street in SoHo and then dodged the rain as we ran to the subway and stood in line to go to the Freedom Tower observatory deck. The entire World Trade Center experience was even more outstanding the second time around. I noticed a lot more details in the overall theatrical elements, including buildings arising on the skyline during the elevator ride. I also felt that I understood the skyline pre-presentation video, as I recognized the various elements of the city which were included. I was able to explain to Mom where they came from, as well as being able to point out specific neighborhoods and buildings of the city from the observatory deck.

After seeing the 9/11 Memorial outside the World Trade Center, I took Mom to see Wall Street, a short-lived visit to a fairly uninteresting tourist attraction, and then we walked over to Tribeca’s Kitchen for lunch. We had gigantic salads (mine came with chicken, cinnamon apples, grapes and walnuts), and then we went to Washington Square Park to see the fountain and the arch. While we were there we stopped to listen to an impressive blues group playing in the park, and to have a peak around a thrift shop. Inside the store I found a pair of figure skates that were on sale for fifty dollars and I was really tempted to buy them. However, I currently can’t use them. We returned to our respective rooms to get ready to dinner, and then walked to the Greek restaurant. We had fantastic pita bread and olive oil for appetizers, and then I had a moussaka (layers of eggplant, potato and ground beef), and Mom had quail. It was such a huge meal, but I don’t have the ability to reheat anything in my room, so I just ate the entire meal.

The next morning we got up early for the final time, and took the subway down the Murray’s Bagels in Chelsea. Normally the shop is packed, but since it was only 8am, it was empty! We were able take our time choosing what we wanted in our bagel sandwiches and then eat in the air-conditioned shop. Mom and I both really enjoyed our breakfast, and Mom liked their bagels so much that she got an extra to take on the plane. After breakfast we took the subway up to Central Park and walked around for a bit. The Central Mall and Bethesda Terrace were blocked off to make room for the finishing lap of the New York Triathalon, so we walked across the park to the Sailboat Pond and just sat for a bit. After that I took Mom back to her hotel and dropped her off at the Long Island Railroad station in Penn Station before taking the subway down to 23rd Street to do my weekly grocery shopping. Since it was 95 degrees, I bought extra bananas to make homemade ice cream with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate chips. While I was waiting for it to freeze, I took a long nap.

I have no plans for this week or this weekend, so I can’t tell you what to look forward to next week. You’ll have to be as surprised as I will be!

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Mom in front of the Washington Square Park fountain and arch!

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Me on the ferry to Liberty Island. The lower Manhattan skyline is in the distance.

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Me on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline.

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Statue of Liberty.

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The patio of Revel in the Meatpacking District.

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Planned Service Change subway signs in Chinese near Chinatown.

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Mom on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline.

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Found in a Spanish bakery in Washington Heights. They looked really good, but I didn’t try any because I didn’t have any money with me at the time.

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Mom and I on Liberty Island.

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Me and Mom in front of the Washington Square Park fountain and arch.

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Me below the Statue of Liberty.

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View of the Hudson River and the Hoboken skyline from the Freedom Tower.

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View of Liberty Island and the lower Manhattan skyline from the ferry.

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Mom below the State of Liberty.

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View of Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty from the ferry.

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Me on the observatory deck of the Freedom Tower.

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A car wreck on the corner of 29th Street and 9th Avenue in Chelsea, just two blocks from my building.

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Egg whites, pepper jack cheese and sausage on a pumpernickel bagel from Murray’s Bagels in Chelsea.

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Freedom Tower – One World Trade Center.

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View from the grass in front of Gigino at Wagner Park in Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan.

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The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.

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Moussaka (layers of eggplant, potato and ground beef) at Dafni Greek Taverna in Hell’s Kitchen.

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View of the Hoboken and Manhattan skylines from the top of the Statue of Liberty pedestal.

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The banjo player in Coyote & Crow, a blues music group, performing in Washington Square Park.

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The Hudson River from Washington Heights.

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Looking down on the observatory deck of the Freedom Tower.

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Me and Mom on the High Line, overlooking the Hudson River.

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Gnocchi and veal meatballs at Gigino at Wagner Park in Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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View of the southern Manhattan skyline from the ferry to Liberty Island.

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Figure skates in a thrift shop in Greenwich Village near Washington Square Park.

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Freedom Tower at night.

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Salad with grilled chicken, cinnamon apple slices, sundried tomatoes, grapes, walnuts, and blue cheese at Tribeca’s Kitchen.

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Freedom Tower – One World Trade Center.

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Remote-controlled sailboats in the storage room at the Central Park Sailboat Pond.

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Mom in Grand Central Terminal.

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An old home adjacent to high rises in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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Breakfast at an earily quiet Sarabeth’s in Tribeca at 8am.

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The outdoor patio at Gigino at Wagner Park in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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Ellis Island and the Hoboken skyline from the ferry to Liberty Island.

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View of the intersection of the Hudson and East Rivers at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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Inside a thrift shop in Greenwich Village near Washington Square Park.

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Mom and I at Gigino at Wagner Park in Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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View of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines from Ellis Island.

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Statue of Liberty!

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The Statue of Liberty at night from Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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View of the southern half of Brooklyn and the northern half of Staten Island, and the bridge between them.

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Mom on the observatory deck of the Freedom Tower, overlooking Manhattan.

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View of Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and the coast of New Jersey from the observatory deck of the Freedom Tower.

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View of Liberty Island from Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan.

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The names of the deceased from the Pentagon at the 9/11 Memorial, next to the Freedom Tower.

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Mom and I next to the Central Park Sailboat Pond.

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View of the southern Manhattan skyline from the ferry to Liberty Island.

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