Friday, March 25, 2016

Iconic New York City

For our 2015 Christmas trip, Frankie and I decided to go to New York City.  We had been wanting to go for awhile now but for one reason or another we kept putting it off and going to other places. We had a great time and I would love to share some stories from our trip.  When anyone thinks of New York City I would imagine these are the things they think of.  I do, at least!

In no particular order these are THE iconic images of New York City!

The Subway!

Frankie, show us the way!

Frankie Enter Subway Station NYC

The subway system can be intimidating and at times confusing and frustrating!  I mean just look at the map!!  

NYC Subway Map

In other countries we have been to it was VERY clear which line to use and which direction you would be going because they used the standard of using the end of the line name to show direction.  The subway in NYC did that most of the time but occasionally it would just say uptown, downtown, or something else and you had to just know where you were and which way you wanted to go.  We figured it out but we do have some experience with subways. We ended up on the wrong side of the platform only once the entire trip.

While down there we saw some great signs telling people how to be polite subway riders (sad they have to do that, but oh well). I only have a picture of one of them.

Subway Pole Safety Sign NYC

I wanted to take more but there were always people sitting right in front of them and I didn't want to seem like a creeper taking a picture of something above their heads. Plus, it was really hard to get a good picture with all the shaking of the train.

There was one sign that isn't that interesting but there is a story that goes with it.

Drop Something Leave It Subway Sign NYC

This sign was posted all over the place.  Again, sad they have to even have a sign like this put up.  Really, who does that??  I can answer that because we saw with our own eyes a man drop his cell phone (an old flip phone) onto the tracks.  He then jumped down onto the tracks to get it!!  

I am pretty sure I just stood there with my mouth hanging open in shock.  I seriously didn't think ANYONE would do something like that!!  

That's not all.  Once he got his phone he wasn't tall enough nor strong enough to pull himself back up onto the platform!  He struggled for a few seconds before three men went over to pull him up.  Once he was up he kept saying "Gracias, gracias, gracias."  (That's "thank you" in Spanish.) He was NOT Hispanic and his Spanish accent was hideous!

One man was muttering, "Your phone is not worth it, man."  Another just shook his head and walked off.  As we continued to wait for the subway it was obvious that the man had a mental illness by the way he was acting.  All that matters though is that he was alright.  I don't think I could have handled seeing a person die right in front of me in such a gruesome manner!!

Moving on, let's see more of iconic New York City.

Outdoor Statues!

I just LOVE outdoor statues.

Love Scultpure NYC

See what I did there?  Teehee!

Now seriously. (As if.....)

 Next up, the Wall Street Bull, decorated for Christmas no less!

Charging Bull Wall St NYC

I had to wait for everyone to get out of the way to get that shot with no people, but patience prevailed and I got my people free shot.   Now most people were just standing by the head of the bull for their picture and then there were the others. Maybe it is just human nature to want to be gross.  Maybe it was the lack of a sign saying not to do so, but here you go.

Head in Charing Bull Butt Wall St NYC

I think he might need a bovine anatomy lesson as to where his head SHOULD have really gone. Besides, how would HE feel if something like that were to happen to him??  I did a horrible photo edit to give a little insight into this.

Yeah, take that sir!!

There were other people doing other things as well, but I didn't want to remember that quite as vividly, so no picture was taken!

Anyhow, let's move on to a majestic statue that doesn't just represent New York City but all of America, the greatest country in the world, Miss Liberty herself!

Statue of Liberty NYC

I wanted to bust out with the song  "God Bless the U.S.A" by Lee Greenwood, the first time I saw her. We did go visit Liberty Island, but I am saving that for another post.  It deserves its own, don't you think?

Another statue that we saw was one called Double Check by J Seward Johnson in Zuccotti Park.  It is a business man checking to make sure he has all that he needs before going to a meeting.  

Double Check by J Seward Johnson in Liberty Park NYC

It really didn't have much meaning when it was first placed in Lower Manhattan and it probably never really would have if the September 11th terror attack  had never happened.  What brought it to life was the fact that after the towers fell and people were able to look around they saw this statue still standing.  It was covered in trash, dust, and soot and had been uprooted but it was not destroyed.  Ever since, the statue has been called the "survivor statue" and is a symbol of hope and recovery.

Speaking of hope, other positive words that come to mind are fortitude and patience.  Ok, so maybe that is a stretch but Fortitude and Patience are the names of the lion statues outside of the New York Public Library.  If I am remembering right and have my directions correct then this is Patience.  

NYC Public Library Lion with Christmas Wreath

Of course, I am not very good with directions, but then again it's a 50/50 chance of getting it correct! I think the lady in the corner (I will name her Sandra) disagrees with me but whatever.  She doesn't know everything.

For the next two, I don't really think they are considered statues, but they are outdoors, they are structures, and they are iconic, so I feel quite confident lumping them in here.  (And if Sandra doesn't like it, well, tough tooties!)

This is the arch in Washington Square Park.  Isn't pretty at night especially with a huge Christmas tree in the middle of it?

Washington Square Arch with Christmas Tree NYC

There was a guy just hanging out there telling tourist where the best place to stand would be for the best pictures.  I didn't listen to him.  I figure he was going to charge for the information.  I have become jaded since our trip to Mexico City and the tour of Metropolitan Cathedral that we didn't know we had to pay for until AFTER the tour.

Shake it off, Jennifer.  Shake it off.  It was almost two years ago! 

I'm ok.  I'm ok.

Want to see something iconic AND fun?  Check out the ice skating Santa Claus at the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink!

I'm ready for a new category.  

Buildings of New York City!

The first one is really the inside because the outside was not that impressive.  This is a video from inside Grand Central Station.  Just in this one short video I wonder how many different people walked by and where they were all from.  

Often when me, my sister, the dogs, and the cat were all in a room with my mom she would exclaim, "What do you think this is Grand Central Station?"   I can now see why!

Let's look at some buildings from the outside that I am sure you will know what they are even if I don't tell you.  

But I will tell you anyways.  

I'm a teacher.  

It's what I do.

Here we have the Chrysler Building.  I have no idea what it is used for, I think it is just an office building, but it sure is pretty!  I love the art deco style and the eagles on it!

Chrysler Building NYC

Next, the Empire State Building, which is another office building.  For $32 you can go to the 86th floor and look out over Manhattan.  We chose to look at the 86th floor from the ground for free. Ha!

Empire State Building NYC

Now we have St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It is a large Catholic church that's been around awhile, oh you know, like since 1879. I love the outside, it reminds me of all the old Catholic churches we have seen in Europe.  It really stands out among all the other buildings on 5th Avenue!

St Patricks Cathedral NYC

It is, of course, gorgeous inside!

Worshipers St Patricks Cathedral 5th Ave NYC

There was something in this church that I had never seen before and left me a little baffled.

Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus St Patricks Cathedral 5th Ave NYC

It wasn't the picture that got me.  It was the prayer that was posted nearby.
Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus 
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Face of Thy Beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Name, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the dying.  O Divine Jesus, through Thy Face and Name, save us.  Our hope is in the virtue of Thy Holy Name.   
I don't understand why you would pray to just the face of Jesus. That truly baffles me.  If anyone can explain, I would like to know.

Anyhow, two more buildings to go!

We just walked by Radio City Music Hall without stopping or going in.  We could have taken a tour or gone to a show but we really aren't into that, so we took a picture and moved on.

Radio City Music Hall NYC

This was my favorite building of all. It is called the Flatiron Building and is an office building.  

Flatiron Building NYC

"So, why is it my favorite?", you might be asking.  Well let me tell you! If you know me or you have read any of my other posts, you probably know I teach math.  Any building that is different from a rectangular prism is going to catch my eye!  And when I talk about prisms in class it is good to show examples and this triangular prism allows me to show them something cool and real-life!  I think I will make them find the volume.  I just have to find the dimensions, which I am sure I can find online somewhere!

Time for more iconic New York City.


You have GOT to see this pigeon taking food out of my hand.  The pigeons in New York are BRAVE little boogers!

Ok, now for the real icon food of New York City. (Although, I suppose the pigeons are iconic in there own way.)

Hot dogs from a hot dog push cart!

Hot Dog Stand NYC

New York City Hot Dog with the Works

This was Frankie's.  The hot dog vendor asked him what he wanted on his hot dog and he asked what she suggested.  I think it ended up being ketchup, sauerkraut, onions, and mustard.  I gagged a little but he loved it.

I did get one eventually.  My toppings....mustard.  Let's just say, I not a hot dog person, but when in Rome.... a hot dog!

We also tried the pretzels.  Sadly, they had the essence of hot dog to them in every bite. It wasn't pleasant.  If you can find a fresh one or really like the taste of hot dogs, go for it otherwise you might want to pass!

Pretzel NYC

When you are walking around Manhattan and you find yourself hungry but not wanting to stop for long at a restaurant, tired of hot dogs, or if you don't want to spend a lot of money then grab a slice or two of pizza and eat it as you go!

Pizza by the Slice NYC

We were welcomed to Chinatown....

Chinatown Sign in NYC

...where we saw a Popeyes with the sign also in Chinese.  I thought that was interesting.  I am sure someone from China might need Popeyes explained since there are none in China, unless you count Hong Kong.  (Does Hong Kong count?  I am still confused by that whole situation.)

Popeyes Restaurant in Chinatown NYC

As we were walking along in Chinatown, we crossed the street and found ourselves in Little Italy.  Bada bing bada boom! Just like that!

Little Italy Sign NYC

Man oh man, did Little Italy welcome us!  Just look at those cannoli!

Cannoli in Little Italy NYC

Little Italy also had the coolest fire hydrants painted in the colors of the Italian flag!

Italian Colors on Fire Hydrant Little Italy NYC

Last topic.

Rescue Workers and 9-11!

New York City rescue workers (police, fire, ambulance, etc.) are amazing icons of New York City.  

NYC Firefighters Station 224

We walked past this fire station with their door open and Frankie asked if he could take a picture.  They were so nice about it!  They forced me to be in a picture too but I made Frankie delete it as soon as we walked away.  I got nervous and made smiley squinty face.  

It went something like this.

It wasn't pretty.

I am sure that the brave men and women of all rescue workers were respected by many before the terror attacks of September 11th, but knowing what they went through and that so many perished elevated them in status, if to no one else, they did in our eyes.

Our hotel was in Lower Manhattan across the street from the September 11th Memorial.  Everyday when we would walk from our hotel to a subway stop we would see reminders of that time.  I could never comprehend fully what those people who were there went through since I wasn't there.  I was almost 2,000 miles away, a lifetime away really.  So far removed from Ground Zero, I cannot truly know the depth of fear they felt.

I do know I will never forget no matter how far away I am.  The twin towers will always be an icon of New York City!

We Shall Never Forget Sign at Resturant Near Ground Zero NYC

My next post on our New York City trip will be about all the September 11th memorials we encountered.  I hope you will return to read about them.

Until then!