Saturday, November 19, 2011

New York City, in Contrasts

While it is still raining today, it comes (as Harriet Doer used to say) in sleeves.  Barbara and I arrive at Chad's hotel for breakfast--a buffet--which fortifies us for the long day ahead.   Here, as my friend Judy would say, is the way we sprinted through the day. . .with TONS of pictures.

Tree grate on Fifth Avenue.  Everything's a little upscale here, I must say.  On the way in, the newsletter they passed out at the subway stairs noted the series of events planned today for the giant Occupy Wall Street protests.  Hmm, but we carry on.

A lot of the shop windows reflect the upcoming Christmas season, with all their decorations.  After leaving Chad's hotel, we walk up Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Then to St. Bart's, a Benedictine-looking church, that reminds me of some Carolingian churches in Lyon, France.

And on down the street to Grand Central Station, for the three-minute tour, which included this photo.

New York Public Library, with the stone lions.

And the exquisite reading room.

Back out on the street, the Lord and Taylor windows are ready for Christmas.  Now I want to see others.

Some terrific tourists, posing for their mother.

Empire State Building.  We're scheduled to go up to the top of the Rockefeller building tomorrow, so we walk on by.

As I pass by this church, I see all the ribbons tied to the front railings--all in memory of servicemen.

Madison Park, famous for being the home of the Shake Shack, a burger which originated from Gramercy Tavern, apparently.

Two policemen from Queens, part of the force of an extra 10,000 men brought in for the day.  They were joined a few minutes later by their sergeant.

 Madison Park is across from the Flatiron Building, a lovely little oddity.

We share an order of fries and the maple sugar custard (delish) and by now it begins to rain in earnest.  We head to the subway and to Brooklyn for lunch at Grimaldi's pizza.

And encouraged by Chad, we are walking back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge.

This stroll drops us right at City Hall, where the policemen in riot gear are spread 10 feet apart all around the perimeter.  I tell them good luck, in the cheeriest voice I can.  I mean it too, as New York just is so tough, so resilient and all these events seem relentless. I'm mindful of where we're headed--Ground Zero--and although I still don't know everything about how the OWS protests all turned out, I think about them.

It's a long walk from the 9/11 memorial site to the entrance.  Along the way, we pass by Zuccotti Park, site of the OWS protest beginnings.

View up into the park, sans tents and most of the people.  It is ringed with barricades. . . 

. . . and televison uplink trucks.

The famous bull of Wall Street.  I asked one of the policemen if it was ringed by barricades just for today. He paused.  "Just for lately," he said.

We went to the 9/11 Memorial Site, but I want to write about that one on another post.  Check back.

Gift-wrapped Century 21 building, which is not the realty company, but a Ross-type store.

We made our way back up the island of Manhattan on the QRS train, which I would have to say was populated by suits.  Lots and lots of them--a contrast to the those hanging out at Zucotti Park in the same area.  I couldn't help think about what we'd seen today--all the police in riot gear, many extra policemen, the general climate of anticipation of worry--and in a tiny corner of my mind I thought that although some may denigrate the ideals expressed by those of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and denigrate those who choose to express themselves this way, that even if all of that was gone and all these protesters went back to their homes (or no homes, as some are homeless), that the problem--of a huge disparity between the wealthiest and the middle class--still remains.  

Since I teach critical thinking in my classes, I have identified the arguments on both sides, but I have to admit that I am reluctant to join in those criticizing the OWS participants.  They alone seem willing to point out to the politicians (is that where their message is directed?) that some real work needs to be done.  

I also admit that I am rather hopeless about the whole situation, especially as I talk to my students who are going deeper and deeper into debt just to get an education, or to those who work 30 hours a week just to stay afloat and I think, for what?  The school I teach at is not Ivy League by any stretch, yet these student pay scads of money every year on their loans.  Who is benefiting from this arrangement?  Certainly not the students in the long-term, although it does give them money to attend classes.  Will they be the ones to solve this problem?  I hope so.

After dinner, a terrific musical Broadway show: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. So fifties, and I loved the costumes, the lighting and the sets.

Heading home.  Nope.



Anonymous said...

Yeah! You got to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge after G's pizza. Yeah! I am so happy you are there having a great time.....

Judy said...

What is it about NYC's finest? They just look so CHEERY!

I love all the family shots. Isn't it easier to travel with these kids now than it was 20 years ago? I'm guessing they are more, shall we say, "pliable."

I also love the picture of the stained glass window in St. Bart's showing the apostles in their brilliantly-colored robes.