Oh my gosh. You might be tired of me sort of whining about our last days here. Ugh. And yeah!
Here’s the yeah! Today Glen and I went to the Tenement Museum. It’s my second time there. I HIGHLY suggest it for anyone at all interested in the human experience of Lower Manhattan in the late 1800s-mid 1900s. It’s literally a tenement building that was purchased in 1988. It had been left pretty much untouched since it was closed down in the 40s. Now they have a variety of tours and each one is organized around real people who actually lived in the building. The first tour I took was the apartment of a German family in the 1880s. Today we took a tour of a Russian family’s home in the early 1900s. It also included a couple sites in the neighborhood. What an awesome way to learn. If you’re interested, they have some virtual tours that you can take from the comfort of your home.
After the tour, GAT had to head back to the house to do some work. (Someone has to pay the bills.) So I decided to head to the Lower West side of Manhattan. (I’m told there’s no such place so I’m just showing that I’m not yet a New Yorker!) It’s an area I’ve only skirted around or been to specific locations (e.g. The World Trade Center and the ferry buildings). I plugged in on Google maps a destination on the Hudson River and then just meandered my way in that direction. I have found this to be my favorite way to dig into a neighborhood. I stop for a lot of photos and maybe a cup of coffee and just drink in the vibe. Also, a lot of people watching is involved in this method or wandering.
Today’s walk included a park that was totally meant for little kids (Washington Market Park). There were so many nannies, moms, dads, and kids there! I didn’t take any pics because it felt obtrusive, but trust me…the sounds of all those happy, playful voices was good for my soul. Okay…dose of reality, there might have been a few whining kids as they were being rounded up to head home for lunch and a nap.
As I left the park, I walked up the steps of the NYC Community College. It was kind of architecturally interesting.
I then went over the Tribeca pedestrian bridge. Turns out it ends up in the Stuyvesant High School campus. I got there as the students POURED out for lunch. That was kind of fun. I think there might be a reason I seem to often end up in places where kids abound.
I eventually made it to the river where there’s a great park and esplanade. The first thing I ran into was this small area full of these bronze sculptures. I have seen some of these same sculptures (or versions of them) in a couple subway stops. They are very fanciful though I have to think that the artist (Tom Otterness) has some opinions or statements that he is trying to impart through his work. See the comments below the pictures for my impressions.
Then I stopped along the water and just enjoyed the cold blustery wind. I love a bracing wind. It’s such a fresh and freeing feeling. I gazed across the river to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and of course, New Jersey.
As I turned around there was a serene fountain with ducks and fish and in the near distance, the WTC. But directly behind the pond was an odd building. Or I thought it was a building. Turns out it was a memorial to the “Great Irish Hunger” from 1845-52. The structure is an Irish home that had been abandoned and was donated by an Irish family. The memorial is comprised of rocks and plants from each Irish county. Along the walls of the tunnels are the words of immigrants and presidents and they describe the horrors of hunger. It’s quite a striking memorial.
Leaving the memorial I came upon this antithesis view. There were some yachts in slips that just take your breath away. Quite the juxtaposition from starvation to gluttony.
At the end of the marina was an high end mall. Outdoors there was a ton of seating that I can imagine is mobbed in the warmer months. I didn’t stop in any stores. Not my thing. But this art installation did catch my eye (below). That’s my X-ray! People were enjoying posing.
As I headed up the stairs to leave, I noticed two exits-one to the outdoors and one to a tunnel. The tunnel was light and bright and it drew me in so I headed in that unknown direction. Passing through the tunnel there are cafes and stores until you arrive at the PATH transit terminal. There are 12 subway lines and the train to New Jersey here. But the bigger surprise is that I found myself INSIDE the beautiful white-winged building that I had walked past many times. For some reason, I never went in and WOW am I glad I found myself there. It’s beautiful architecturally speaking and it compliments the 9/11 memorial perfectly. I exited that building to soak in the 9/11 memorial one more time and as always find myself emotional Was it the memorial? The beauty of NYC? The joy of exploration and surprises? Or maybe our adventure coming to an end? Or all of the above?
Squeezing. Breathing. Exploring.