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A “Revolutionary” Journey Part III (New York City)

Author: Host Ciao
Date of Trip: December 2008

Previous: A “Revolutionary” Journey Part II (Washington D.C. & Philadelphia)

On Saturday November 27, I took a taxi to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to catch my train to New York City. Because of the down escalator, I found a red cap who took my luggage down and stored it above an end seat in one of the cars. The service is free, but they appreciate tips, of course. The ride was very comfortable and my train which left at 10:37 arrived in New York City at 11:50.

I found my way through Penn Station to the taxi rank and headed to the Best Western President Hotel on 48th Street. I had stayed here seven years ago and knew how very convenient it is to many of the sites I wanted to visit and also to mass transport. I don’t spend much time in my hotel room in NY, which is good because it was very small with a single bed and a view of nothing but roof. Thank goodness the air conditioning worked because the room was so warm, I never turned the air off.

I expect I would stay here again unless I found a better deal in that area. Of course, I was there in December which is definitely high season in NYC. The rate for my cracker box ran up and down and up from (without 13% tax) $233.96 for Saturday night to $152.96 for Sunday to $314.96 for Monday through Thursday to $350.96 for Friday. This really sounds high until you start checking other hotels in Midtown for that time of year. When I was checking out, the clerk informed me that during “low season” my room cost only $90, and when I asked him when was low season, the answer was January and February — unfortunately no Christmas tree then! Reservations can be made on the Best Western site. I really have to emphasize that the location is great.

After I unpacked I headed to the Gray Line office less than a block away on 8th Avenue to check on my tour for the next day and then set out to wander my favorite area of Manhattan. I walked up 5th Avenue to Trump Tower and checked out its indoor waterfall and Christmas decorations. Then I headed over to Park Avenue but trees up and down street weren’t lit yet, nor did the lions at the Library have their decorations yet.

I headed to Rockefeller Center. The tree I came to see was up, but no lights yet. However the angels that decorate the green area in the Channel Gardens in the Center were all brightly lit and many people were skating on the ice rink. I went across the street to St. Patrick’s at about 4:30 in order to wander and take pictures inside before 5:30 Mass. The Mass was very crowded, and I was surprised that the speaker system was not very loud. Halfway back in the huge church, I had trouble hearing the readings.

After Mass I continued up 5th Avenue as far as the Plaza Hotel and FAO Schwarz. I snapped lots of pictures of decorations. There were some beautiful windows as well as decorations on the buildings themselves. The Louis Vuitton store or building had the name and the symbol flashing in different colored lights all over the whole front of the building. There was certainly no problem knowing who that belonged to. Another fun building to watch was one that had different sized and shaped snow flakes flashing on and off in no visible pattern over the whole front of the building. This is a wonderfully festive street to wander on at Christmas time.

I went to the lower level of one of the main buildings of the Center. Here people could watch the ice skaters on their level and there also was a Starbucks so I had a coffee. I had decided to go to the Top of the Rock so I bought my ticket near the ice rink. It cost $20 to be whisked to the top of one of the buildings where we could go out and walk around. The view and the lights were fantastic. Of course, I took many pictures. Since I knew I would do this I had replaced the close-to-full memory stick in the camera I use for night and indoor pictures.

And here in lies my sad story. I took many pictures during the week I was in New York including with this camera. When I arrived in Boston I had this stick put onto a CD and wiped it to use there. However, I did not come home with the CD. It was in a case, and I don’t believe I could have thrown it away in the small waste basket in my room. However, I contacted the hotel and asked them to check the room and I also asked the shuttle to the airport to check the vehicle — no luck. I still think it ended up under the frame of the bed, which reached the floor, but I’m sure I will never know.

I might add that, of course, there is a souvenir shop at the Top as well as a photographer who takes your picture with the city lights as a backdrop. The cost? Only $35 for four pictures. One? $30. I didn’t buy one, but at times wish I had because it would at least be one picture from up there. Oh well.

After the descent from the Top, I walked back down 5th Avenue to 48th Street to head “home,” and here is where and when I found my favorite building — three floors of M & M “stuff” to buy. Who knew there could be so much? However, it wasn’t the stuff; it was the huge lighted sign that along with rivers of M & M’s moved from a Red M & M King Kong climbing the Empire State Building and beating his chest until he almost fell off to a green M & M Statue of Liberty showing off a green knee through a slit in her robe. These were the best of many fun light pictures, and I wish I had a picture to show you. When I saw these I knew I was almost home from my wanderings for the night.

Oh and by the way I found another Starbucks and bought supper — banana bread — and breakfast.

On Sunday morning I ate my rather dry pumpkin scone with coffee I made in the room. I never did try the $11 continental breakfast the hotel offered in the bar off the lobby. I presented myself at the tour office that the Gray Line staffer had indicated at 8:15 and found out that the English Speaking Harlem Gospel tour didn’t leave until 9:30, not 8:30 as I had been told. There was a McDonald’s at street level so I spent my extra time there.

The tour was excellent. You can read a description of it on the Gray Line website, www.grayline.com It lasted about four hours. The guide on the bus didn’t say too much about the first part of the ride because, as she said, it is covered in another tour that Gray Line wants to sell. But as we moved north she described the sights we were seeing and pointed out different well known places in Harlem.

We were not the only tour group in the church (sorry I can’t remember the name and, of course, my pictures are gone). I think there were probably four tour groups. The music was marvelous! We heard a short prayer and more music before it was time for us to leave so the regular service could begin. Church members kept arriving as we listened to the music. While I made my reservations through Gray Line, Harlem Spirituals offers several other tours including Soul Food and Jazz.

I had a ticket to see Disney’s “Little Mermaid” Sunday afternoon. It was absolutely delightful, and it was fascinating to see the way water and shore were depicted together as characters swam to shore. It took me a while to figure out that the well-padded people hopping around now and then were sea gulls. A Broadway Cares collection was done that afternoon. This is done every year in all the theaters at Christmas time. I bought a CD of different musical casts singing Christmas Carols. The money goes to fight HIV/Aids in the theater. I had bought one when I was in New York 7 years ago when part of the money also went to 9/11 families.

For Sunday evening I had made reservations for the Holiday Lights Tour with a smaller company because it sounded like there were more stops than on the Gray Line tour. I almost had a problem. I waited and waited where I thought the bus would come. Finally I asked a policeman and found out I was on Broadway instead of 7th Avenue. I was a block away and forgot about Broadway cutting through the numbered streets.

The tour was fine. We had three stops, not as many as I thought the description sounded, but the smaller bus was very nice and easier to get on and off than one of Gray Line’s big buses. We first stopped at Grand Central Station and had time to look around — barely enough time to make a dent in what there is to see. Then we went to a nearby hotel for a bathroom break. From there we crossed over into Brooklyn and stopped in a plaza area by the river and near the Brooklyn Bridge so we could take pictures. This is the same stop that Gray Line has. I remember this from 2001 when we saw from here the two lights beaming upward in memory of the Twin Towers. That was mid-November, and there were still flowers and candles being left there as a memorial.

Our final stop was in Little Italy, where we had a bit of time to wander around. I don’t remember if I bought food or not, but it was an interesting and brightly lit area. Of course, through the whole evening, the guide explained where we were and what we were seeing. He also told stories about the areas and some history. Pictures even out the window would have helped me remember this better. He was a much more informal guide than some, but very interesting. The tour company is On Board Tours http://www.newyorkpartyshuttle.com/christmas-lights-in-new-york-city/

I ate dinner at Saigon, the restaurant right next to the hotel. The beef and vegetable dish was good, but I had to add soy sauce for more flavor. This was not too expensive. And until Friday night this was my one “normal” dinner.

Monday Morning I didn’t get started quite as early as I had planned. Then, though I had directions on how to reach my destination by Metro, I had to ask a policeman where the entrance was. I knew the cross streets, but some times the entrances are not easy to see and also some times there might be two entrances across from each other and you have to know whether you want uptown or downtown and which entrance is which. There are signs. I worked on the trip planner from the MTA. I found it by clicking on the link on the right side of this page http://www.mta.info/metrocard/ One warning about this trip planner. The names of the trains given do not always agree with what MTA staffers will tell you. One finally gave me a map, which probably helped me more than the online directions though those at least gave me an idea and helped me know what station to start from and where to get off.

I took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall exit so I could walk out onto the bridge at least for a ways. If I hadn’t been running a bit late, I would have gone farther. The view back to Manhattan is worth the walk. I wandered around the City Hall area and found the African Burial Ground that I had read about. However, the office wasn’t open yet so I headed back to the subway. I took a wrong turn on the way to the subway and wandered a bit before finding Police Plaza which I had seen. I found a subway entrance heading uptown. I asked the staff member using the directions I had with the names of trains. He just looked at me and finally gave me a map with subway routes marked with letters rather than names of train. From then on I used the Trip Planner info for the station entrance and then the map for the train letters/numbers.

I had no more trouble using the subway, and I recommend it. However, I only used it once in the evening and that was to go to Lincoln Center so there were a lot of people around. If I wanted to go somewhere at night I would probably make sure of the area I was heading to. I headed to the Essex Street Market to meet a tour. I wanted to sit for a while, but the small booth area was full so I went out to the Roma Pizza and sat there to have a coffee.

Back at the market I met the tour leader and the other person on the tour, a lady from Australia. The tour was really excellent. I had read about several food tours in Manhattan, and I really liked the offerings of the Melting Pot tour offered by the Enthusiastic Gourmet http://www.enthusiasticgourmet.com/Tours.htm The three hour tour cost $50 and was worth every penny. We tasted hand made chocolates at Roni-Sue’s in the market including Pig Candy (yes chocolate covered bacon and delicious). Her shop was only one year old and she was expanding. www.roni-sue.com is worth a look just to see what she does. Her candy is not inexpensive, but oh so good.

Before I go on with the tour I am going to make another recommendation. The lady from Australia and I had both bought the same map of New York City, “The New York Mapguide,” This breaks the city up into 30 page segments, which makes the maps very easy to read. It is a handy size about 5 x 7. The author listed is Michael Middleditch, and it is published by Penguin. I really liked this map/guide a lot.

While still in the Essex Market we also visited a cheese shop and had tastes there. This tour is in the Lower East Side of the city, where there are many immigrant shops, and we visited a variety. We went to a Kosher bialy bakery, where bialys are the only item they make. At the Pickle Guys we sampled sour dill pickles with three different lengths of pickling. We liked the ones with the longest time in the barrel. I can’t begin to remember all the different vegetables that were happily pickling away in their barrels. Our next stop was a Chinese bakery, Lucky King Bakery, where we sampled a couple of dumplings. And finally we stopped at Ferrara’s Bakery and were treated with mini cannolis.

This stop ended the tour so after asking directions to the next area I wanted to visit, I stayed there and had a big dish of gelato for lunch. There are many foodie type tours available to be found online for New York City, but I certainly recommend this one. It was great fun.

My plan for the afternoon was to walk around Greenwich Village. Susan, the tour guide had told me how to get to Washington Square, which proved to be about a 20 minute walk. A major disappointment of the walk was that the famous Memorial Arch in the square was surrounded by lots of scaffolding. I followed parts of walks from three different guide books I had read and saw the twisty streets I had read about, many students from New York University, and Christopher Park with its statue of General Sherman and the probably better known, or more pictured in the guide books anyway, statues of gay couples talking in the park. I also went to Father Demo Square and Our Lady of Pompeii Church with many beautiful murals — in my lost pictures, of course.

I had tickets for the 8 p.m. Christmas Show at Radio City, and it was spectacular. Santa Claus led us on many different adventures. The Rockettes performed as the toy soldiers, Raggedy Ann dolls, reindeer, tourists, and Christmas glitter. As tourists they rode onto stage in a Gray Line tour bus which moved across the stage and around the “square” before the dancers got off to dance with photos of them appearing on the lighted signs like those in Times Square. Other dancers performed as skaters, the toys in a ballerina’s dream, and more tourists. Santa also helped two boys, one of whom didn’t believe in him, find a Christmas present for their sister. He also took us on a 3D sleigh ride over and around the city. The children read the Christmas story as a Living Nativity was presented.

As I said the show was great, and I’m sure some of the allowed without flash pictures I took would have been presentable — maybe. Anyway I bought the program and the DVD of the show, which is excellent. On the way “home” I stopped at Smiley’s, a combo grocery, deli, and hot food store. I bought some sweet and sour pork, fried rice and vegetable. I ate back at the hotel, and, while the food wasn’t very warm any more, it was tasty.

Tuesday morning I thought I was following the directions I had found in one of my guide books, and I know I got off at the correct subway stop, but I couldn’t find Balducci’s coffee shop. However, I did find Chelsea Market, which was disappointingly not at all like the Essex Market. It is full of coffee shops (so I did get breakfast) wine bars and restaurants. And no restrooms unless they were hiding in the restaurants that weren’t open yet or upstairs in offices.

My first stop on a serious day mostly devoted to the 9/11 tragedy was the Ground Zero Museum Workshop on 14th Street. I ran into this on the Internet; it was not in the editions of the two guide books I used. The museum is on the second floor of a building and consists of many photographs taken by Gary Marion Suson, who was the official photographer for the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the city’s main firefighters union.

The self-guided tour I took began at 11 a.m., and luckily it wasn’t too cold because no one was admitted until 11 sharp and I had arrived about 10 minutes early. There is a guide who answers questions after a 20 minute video. Then an audio guide is used for individuals to listen to personal stories and explanations of pictures and artifacts. Suson spent eight months with Ground Zero crews and was inspired to create this museum by a visit to Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam. He calls this a museum workshop because of its interactive nature. There are several artifacts that visitors are able to hold.

This visit was very affecting, and I would not hesitate to recommend it. The tour costs $25 and lasts about two hours. Proceeds go to charities linked to September 11. I recognized some of the pictures and found that I had already purchased the first book he published after he was allowed to use his photos. Books and photos are for sale there and fairly expensive. You can find information at http://www.groundzeromuseumworkshop.com/

I took the subway to the World Trade Center and came out right at St. Paul’s Church so visited there first. This very pretty little church some how survived the destruction across the street and served as a center for helping workers at Ground Zero. The church contains several displays about activities there after 9/11 and stories from volunteers who worked there then. There were also volunteer chiropractors, podiatrists, and masseuse who worked there. George Washington’s pew was used by the podiatrists, and the pew of the governor of New York was used for supplies.

Books, videos, and other items are for sale in the church, which is situated on Church Street between Fulton and Vesey streets. The exhibit is called “Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero. I would highly recommend a visit. There is also a very old cemetery to wander through. http://www.saintpaulschapel.org/

After lunch nearby I headed to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center. This is on Liberty Street across from the WTC site. Several galleries are set up for visitors to walk through. Memories and personal photos tell the story of “World Trade Center Community Remembered.” “Passage through Time: September 11” is an interactive timeline of personal experiences and pictures of that day including events at the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. “Aftermath: Rescue and Recovery” includes more images and artifacts portraying work that lasted for months. “Tribute” is a collage of photographs and symbolic objects shared by families. The continuous scroll of names commemorates those lost. This brings home the numbers of the dead. There is also a gallery called “Voices of Promise,” where visitors from around the world write response cards.

I did not know enough ahead of time about the walking tours that go around the perimeter of the WTC site so I hadn’t planned to arrive in time for the last one. I will do this when I get back to NYC again. The center is the work of the September 11th Families Association. Its purpose is to connect and educate visitors with experiences of people directly affected by the tragedy. Information is available at http://www.tributewtc.org/index.php

I walked up to Trinity Church on Broadway at Wall Street. This is another fine old church though much bigger than St. Paul’s. It is definitely worth a visit. Since all my pictures from the inside are gone, I can’t remember more about it than the fact I liked it and would visit it again. http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/welcome/ I took the subway from the Rector Street station uptown toward “home.” As usual when I came up out of the subway I was confused about directions and had to use the small compass I had purchased at a sporting goods store before I left home — handy to have.

After a rather heavy day, I had a ticket for a very laugh-filled evening. I went to see “Spamalot.” What a great time! There were no horses, but the king and his knights trotted around the stage most of the time as though they were riding. The show started with a scene in Finland with much dancing and singing about that country; then the historian who had introduced the show came out and shouted, “I said England!” The people and the trees of Finland ran off stage, and England appeared.

When I saw the show, Clay Aiken had taken over the part of “Sir Robin, the not-quite-so brave-as Sir Lancelot” knight. Except for the king and the Lady of the Lake, the leads played several different parts. Nothing was immune from being spoofed, including Broadway musicals such as “Phantom of the Opera’ and “West Side Story.” Other zingers went after long songs, gays in the theater, among whom we find Lancelot in this show, and religion. God even speaks from on high to the king and his knights. I read in the Play Bill that this is a recording of John Cleese, one of the original Monty Python people as well as a star in other comedies.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I had many good laughs. Given the opportunity I would see it again. However, it closed in New York in January. After I returned home from my trip I did see an ad in the Chicago “Tribune” that “Spamalot” would play Chicago for two weeks in January and February starring Richard Chamberlain as the king. I wasn’t able to go during that time frame, and I consoled myself by saying I couldn’t really see a much older Dr. Kildare prancing around the stage like he was riding a horse. Maybe I missed something!

Wednesday my first stop was the United Nations. I had not visited this for quite a long time. I took a bus across 42nd St. to reach the UN in time for the first tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the hour-long tour. I had read all the necessary information on this page http://www.un.org/tours/index.htm . I walked back on 42nd toward 5th Ave. My first stop was the Ford building, which has a beautiful garden/atrium well worth visiting and wandering in. I had planned to stop in at the Chrysler Building to see its lobby, but I missed it. I must have walked right by its corner.

When I reached Grand Central Station, I did not have a lot of time to wander, but I was there in time to watch its Christmas light show on the ceiling and upper walls. It was really something to see. When I am back in New York I intend to spend some time in Grand Central Station. There is certainly a lot to see — stores, restaurants, architecture, people! Excuse me — Grand Central Terminal! http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/

Wednesday afternoon I went to the matinee performance of “Equus” starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe — excellent! It is not an easy play to see, but I am glad I did. I tend to prefer musicals, but I had read reviews of this play and knew it was a hit in London so I decided to see it. Both leads were marvelous as was the whole cast. The following happening is hard to believe after very emphatic announcements before both acts about turning off cell phones. But in a very tense scene, a cell phone went off in the audience and wasn’t turned off immediately. Griffiths stopped in the middle of his speech, turned toward the sound and just glared. Finally when the phone stopped, he turned and went on with the scene as though nothing had happened. Wow!

That evening I went to see “Billy Elliott,” another wow! The story takes place in northern England during a coal miners strike as Margaret Thatcher was planning to close down the state-owned coal mines. Billy is 11 or 12 and hates his boxing class. When he sees a ballet class in the same gym, he is much more interested in that. Eventually he realizes he has to dance. The ballet teacher works with him, and, of course, his father and older brother, both miners are appalled. It is quite a show with music by Elton John. The London production won the Olivier award, Britain’s top theater award. The part of Billy is so strenuous that three different boys play the part in alternate shows. There is also a fun group of young girl dancers who add to the show.

Just recently I watched the movie of “Billy Elliott,” the original version of the story. It was very good but there was much less humor in it than in the musical. However, it is worth watching.

Thursday I had a will-call ticket for Liberty Island and Ellis Island that I had to pick up at Castle Clinton. I had also paid for the audio guide that added a lot of information. I was on the first boat that sailed to the Statue of Liberty. The National Park Service estimates that the time needed for both islands with the audio guide is four hours; with the reservation to go to the statue’s observation deck the estimate was five hours, and, of course, I had a list of other places to go so I skipped that. I made it through both islands in a bit under four hours by going through the audio guide fast and not looking at the displays at Ellis Island as much as I could have. Information about the islands can be found here http://www.nps.gov/stli/ and here http://www.statuecruises.com/ .

Both the islands are well worth a visit, and I would plan for more time there if I went back. Once you arrive at the island, you can take any boat leaving for the other island or back to Castle Clinton. If you decide to get a City Pass, which I did because I knew I was not going to have enough time to spend in the major museums I wanted to visit for the full price to make sense, you can use it for Liberty Island too, but unless you buy it from the boat office, you cannot make a reservation for Liberty island. I did not know this, but because I wanted a specific time, I paid for the boat I wanted without using the City Pass. There are several different companies offering these, but this is the one I chose because it doesn’t cover too many and did include the ones I wanted. http://www.citypass.com/city/ny.html .

Since I had already wandered around Castle Clinton and its area, I went to explore Battery Park a bit. There are several memorials and statues there including two human “statues” of Lady Liberty. All dressed in green they were trying to get people to take pictures of them for a donation. I must admit I cheated and zoomed in on them from a distance. These “statues” and their cohorts were at just about every entrance to Batter Park.

From there I went to see the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint of the Catholic Church. A Mass was just starting at 1 p.m. so I stayed for that. Then I wandered toward the Financial District and found Fraunces Tavern, which is part of a several-building historical block. The tavern dates from 1719. Washington dined here and said farewell to his army officers. I decided to eat lunch here. The restaurant is very atmospheric, and I ate lunch in the bar room. I ate weiswurst, German potato salad, and sauerkraut. It was very good, but I don’t know how Colonial it was. There is also a museum there, but I didn’t have time to visit it. http://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org/index.html

I walked on and saw Federal Hall with the statue of George Washington. This is where he took his oath of office. I also saw the New York Stock Exchange. After finding the Wall Street Bull and taking some pictures, I returned to Trinity Church and took some more pictures. Then I took the subway to the hotel.

Later I took the subway to Lincoln Center. Because of the renovation going on it wasn’t too easy to find the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, but I had given myself plenty of time. I really enjoyed “South Pacific,” and to betray my age I could have easily sung along with just about every song. This revival was great fun — a Tony winner — and presented in a smaller, more intimate theater than most I had gone to.

Yes, I did go to a lot of theater presentations, and no I did not stand in line at the TKTS kiosks. I decided which shows I wanted to see mostly by doing research on Theater Mania http://www.theatermania.com/new-york/ . There are summaries of all the shows and more information about them. The Radio City Music Hall show info is here http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/tickets/index.html Once I decided what shows I wanted to see, I started buying tickets in May since I figured I could afford one or two every month. For me, this is money well spent. I ordered the tickets from Theater Mania, Ticketmaster, and Radio City.

With only one day left in New York, I think I will throw in something else I learned that will help you if you are as crazy a photographer as I am. (We’ll just forget the lost CD.) I tried to get other memory sticks copied when I was there. And there appear to be many camera stores, which also sell other electronics and, of all things, luggage. However, not a single one I stopped in could copy a memory stick onto a CD — go figure. One said he could, but his machine was broken. I ended up having the copying done for an earlier night stick and a day memory stick at a drug store chain. I can’t think of the name, but there are lots of them and it wasn’t Walgreens.

I started my last day in New York shipping home some books and Christmas ornaments and pictures. There was a very convenient Staples store that shipped for me. I then took the subway up to the Columbus Circle area and took some pictures of the Circle and of the Time-Warner building. I walked east along Central Park South and then headed into the park to set out on my walk to see some of the statues shown on a couple of my maps. Again not all statues appeared on the three maps I had.

I spent about two hours on my wandering through Central Park and did find most of the sculptures and areas I wanted to see. These included Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland, Hans Christian Anderson, Robert Burns, and several other authors. There were some kids climbing on the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, which I thought was a fitting addition to my picture. On the west side of the park is “Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon. It was surrounded by flowers. Also a man was there offering to tell the story to a crowd of people.

I had crossed from east to west in the park so I could end up near the American Museum of Natural History since I had designated this as “museum day.” What a great place and so huge. I took a picture of the elephant and wandered in the mammals section a while and was so intrigued by what I was seeing I almost forgot the main reason I had wanted to come to this museum — the huge Christmas tree decorated with origami ornaments. I took pictures of much of what I saw, and the dinosaur was so big it took two shots to cover it since I couldn’t back up enough. Since it was about noon I decided to eat lunch here. And sandwich with salad was $10, not bad and better than the Smithsonian.

Another subway trip took me to 59th Street from where I walked to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd near 5th. Here I especially wanted to see the exhibit of “Esquire” magazine covers — all photographs. I also looked at the modern furniture display in the Architecture and Design section and then wandered in the sculpture garden. The only thing missing there is water, but I knew I wouldn’t see too much of that in December.

I walked to the M1 bus stop on Madison Avenue and waited and waited and waited for the bus. Others were there too, and finally we rode up to the 83rd Street stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So much!! I managed to hit the Ancient Rome section and also the Medieval Italian statues near the famous Christmas tree with its Neapolitan ornaments. A special lighting of the tree took place at scheduled times but no pictures of the tree were allowed. Of course, there are postcards and also a beautifully illustrated book. Yeah! I bought it.

Another well known exhibit I managed to visit was the Egyptian section with the rebuilt Temple of Dandur. I didn’t make it off the first floor of the museum in the time I spent there. On Fridays it is open until 9 and I stayed until 6. I would have liked to go farther north to the Cloisters, the Met’s medieval art section housed in rebuilt chapels and cloisters shipped from Europe. However, because of a reservation I had for 8:30 I didn’t have time. I was there years ago and plan to go again next time I am in New York. The following website has links to the museums I visited and also to others. http://www.mustseenewyork.com/museums.html

The bus back down 5th Ave. was so slow that I got off and walked the last couple of blocks to 48th St. and the hotel. I packed for a bit and then walked to Café Un, Deux, Trois, on West 44th Street, a French restaurant I had eaten at twice before. I had an excellent dinner (but a bit expensive at $68 with tip) of liver (yes, I love it) with garlic potatoes, 2 glasses of wine, tarte tatin and espresso. This was my New York City splurge.

I took another walk up Broadway and 5th Ave. — as I said before my favorite walk in New York. Lots and lots of people all over, and almost solid bodies around the Channel Gardens taking pictures of the Rockefeller tree. Yes, New York city is crowded and expensive at Christmas time, but for me anyway a great place to be. The next and last stop on my Revolutionary Journey — Boston — will take us back in time again.

Next: A “Revolutionary” Journey Part IV (Boston)

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