My friends, Sue and Malcolm Bennett, from Australia, visited us here in Virginia for a few days. Sue is a quilter and has a shop in Waitchie, Victoria. You might remember her from a previous blog post https://www.jinnybeyer.com/blog/2014/08/page/3/.
When I asked what they would like to do, Sue said seeing New York City was on her bucket list. Malcolm had no interest.
So Sue and I decided to take a “girls’ day” and just go. I asked her what she wanted to see. She said she just wanted to see the city, but Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty…..would all be good. I added that you can’t go to New York without eating at a typical New York deli and that we had to wander through the garment district.
For years I made monthly trips to New York City to work with the artists in the design house where my fabrics were created. I would take the train to the city, work all day and then take the train back home again. The studio was only two blocks from Penn Station so I rarely ventured very far beyond mid-town. But I thought “why not?”
So we plotted, spent some time on the internet searching and made a plan of action.
We left my house at 6 AM on Saturday morning and drove to Union Station in Washington DC. We parked at the station, got out and were greeted with the most spectacular sunrise. The vivid colors were reflected in the glass windows of a building adjacent to the station.
Our train didn’t leave until 7:30 so we had a little time to get some coffee and something to eat. Promptly at 7:30, the train left the station with two excited women aboard. On the way to New York, Sue and I stitched triangles for my new pattern “Thousand Pyramids” (available soon, stay tuned).When the train arrived, we both checked our Fitbits and determined that we already had about 1800 steps. Then we started our whirlwind tour:
11 AM: Arrival at Penn Station. We wound our way through the station and headed east on 33rd Street towards 5th Avenue towards the Empire State Building. When we got there, we couldn’t find the building and asked someone exactly where it was. We were politely informed that we were standing right in front of it and to just look up. Better yet, the kind gentleman told us to go across the street and down to the corner and we would get the best view.
11:47 AM: Sue and Jinny in one of the amazing trim shops.
12:30 PM: We decided the oatmeal bars that we had for breakfast had long since left our systems and we were starving. We had read that Carnegie Deli was one of the best of the New York delis so we continued our walk up 7th Avenue towards 55th
Street. When we reached Carnegie’s there was a huge line trailing around the block. I went to the front of the line and asked how long that person had been waiting and was told it had been more than an hour and that there was also a long line inside the restaurant. So we went to plan “B” and called Artie’s (also on the list of the five best delis in New York). They told us there was no waiting at the moment.
12:50 PM: By now we were starving and our legs were getting a little weary and the thought of walking the 27 blocks up to 82nd was a little daunting.
We wanted to be sure to get there while they still had space. So we hailed a cab and took off for Artie’s.
1:05 PM: We arrived at Artie’s and Sue said she had never had a reuben sandwich.
I told her she had to have one while we were there. The sandwiches arrived within 10 minutes and we both were astounded by the size. There must have been a pound of corned beef in each sandwich.
2 PM: It was amazing to approach Central Park and see this large area that had been preserved. We entered the park just above The Lake and wandered south, enjoying the beauty around us. We passed the Strawberry Fields, saw horse drawn carriages and in the distance the skyscrapers of the city.
2:30 PM: It was hard to leave the tranquility of the park, but we had to get to the southern end of M
anhattan to Ground Zero and a taxi would take a long time so we opted to tackle the subway. And, hey, if you are in New York, you gotta just try it. We made our way to the 72nd Street station, asked at information how to get there and received our $2.50 “senior pass” which was good for the rest of the day. On the subway, Sue, the gregarious one of our “duo” immediately got into a conversation with a couple who were heading in our direction. They got a big kick of the recounting of our marathon tour in progress. They gave us some pointers as they left us two stops before our own.
3:00 PM: All giddiness on our part stopped as we walked from the subway station toward the 9/11 Memorial. One could just feel the anguish, hope, determination. We first saw the Trade Center buildings that have been finished so far.
We wound our way around construction barriers to the spot where the two towers had stood, those places now giant waterfalls in the footprint of the towers. The names of all the victims of the terrorist attacks that horrific day are engraved in bronze slabs around each of the fountains. Time stood still for us as each of us as weremembered where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. My quilt “Windows” was my response to the attacks. The piece in the very center of the quilt is for a friend who was in the plane that hit the Pentagon. A kind gentleman at one of the information booths looked up her name and showed us where we could find it. We both shed our tears not only for her but for all the victims and their families. To see so many names of people, going about their daily routines,
who had fallen to terrorists within a short period of time, made an immense impression on us.4 PM: It was hard for us to leave the place of beauty that had been carved out of tragedy. Subdued, we walked away and came upon a group of policemen. We asked them for directions to Battery Park. They pointed us in the right direction and we headed towards the park where we would see the Statue of Liberty. When we got there we could see the Statue in the distance and were a bit worried about taking the time to ride a ferry to get closer. Our train was leaving central station at 6 PM and we weren’t sure how long it would take us to get back to Penn Station. So, with the wind still knocked from our sails from seeing the memorial, we enjoyed the park for a while then asked directions to the nearest subway and found our way back to Penn Station.
5:15 PM: we arrived at Penn Station and time enough to sit down for a brief drink and then get ready to board our train home.
11:00 PM: 17 hours and just under 20,000 steps later, we arrived back home after
a pretty incredible day.