O'dark thirty. Wednesday. Off to the airport. Where's my coffee? Oh, I don't do caffeine. Ugh. Perfect flight and probably the best landing of all time. Since the time I was on a flight from Moscow to Vienna that almost crashed, I've been a white knuckle flyer. And, we won't even talk about how many years ago that was. A town car was waiting for us. We had a fellow passenger who'd flown in from Lexington, KY. He turned out to be totally delightful - and I now had a friend to sit next to in the meeting- bonus. Our driver found out it was my first visit to NYC and took a more scenic route to the hotel. We caught Park Av up in Harlem and drove south. We dropped our bags with the bell captain, figured out where to head to catch the subway and off we went.
First stop, Katz's Deli. Since 1888 they've been serving some of New York's finest pastrami. And, it was. We've got a place called Shapiro's here. I'd always wondered if I was getting close to the real thing and yes, I was. The pastrami was magnificent. Perfect rye bread. Spicy mustard. We may have to go to Shapiro's today before the game for lunch... So, there we are, savoring our sandwiches and I look up. And, here's what I see:
My favorite movie line of all time. And, one of my fellow bloggers names...
Connie loved his pastrami as much as I did :-)
Back on the subway to Battery Park. Home of Castle Clinton. Named after a former governor. Part of the original fortification of New York.
Lots of interesting history. A view of the Statue of Liberty. Some monuments. Then, on to Wall Street. TONS of security. But, I got to see the New York Stock Exchange. Our new friend, Andy, took a tour of the Exchange. We, however, had a different tour already set up thanks to a friend I made at a meeting a couple of months ago. But, we'll get to that in a bit... The high point here was actually on the way to Wall Street. There's a park that's one of the oldest in the city if not the oldest. The fence is the original from the 1790's. Interestingly enough, 1790 was when the US did their first census. We've found some ancestors by the name of Van Velzer in New York listed in the 1790 census. Wonder if they actually went to Bowling Green park?
I got to see one of my favorites - the bull!
From Wall Street we were off to Grand Central Station. Totally incredible. I actually expected it to be bigger than it was. But, it was gorgeous. Then, it was time to go pick up Steve. We were a bit early getting to his office so we wandered around the street looking at all the cool houses/offices. Then, a car drove up across the street. Two people came out of a tent and started inspecting it. Hood up, trunk open... And, from a van down the street, comes a police officer with a dog. The dog gives the car a complete check. We were convinced someone of importance was about to come out of the house across the street. All of the sudden an NYPD scooter comes up and escorts the car down the street... So, when Steve came outside we told him what we'd just seen. Turns out the the Israeli ambassador stays at a hotel down the street and instead of checking out cars where they could do some damage to the hotel, they do so a block or more away... He said a car a couple of weeks ago was totally taken apart and later hauled away. The driver was taken away in cuffs. And, the whole neighborhood was standing on the sidewalk watching. Not so safe, in my estimation! But, it really brought home the threats we all face and the amount of security required!
Now, on to the Cloisters. What a magnificent museum. Steve's a member and has been there many times so he was a fabulous tour guide. I was amazed at the colors. Pieces that were 500 years old and still as vibrant as if they'd been painted yesterday. Choosing the photos to show you is really tough. The stained glass was incredible. Paintings. The unicorn tapestries. The view of the Hudson. The building itself. Kate and Connie kissing in front of the museum :-) Unfortunately, with no flash photography, some of the photos are just plain not great so you'll need to understand when you see the unicorn tapestries. And, Blogspot really doesn't want to load some photos right-side-up as they're saved... So, you've a couple on their sides here.
There's your tour of the Cloisters. I'd highly recommend going there if you're going to be in the New York City Area. As for Katz's Deli. Well, they ship. The t-shirts all say, "Send a salami to your boy in the Army." So, if you're not going to be in New York and you want to try a REAL pastrami sandwich made by the masters:
To be continued...