Growing up in Burrwood

Monday, October 29, 2012

Before I talk about Ground Zero

Let me tell you about the subway system.

We would walk just up the street from Kathy’s apartment to the entrance. You have to have metro passes to get through the gates to the trains. It was so hot when we were there and the only good thing being in the subway when it’s hot is that you’re out of the sun. It is hot down there as well and very humid. The trains though are air-conditioned thank God!

There’s a big difference between Brooklyn and the city as far as the subway goes. It’s not as clean in Brooklyn right now. Some of the tiles along the walls are chipped and cracked and dirty. Once you get into the city though it’s like a whole other world under there. Once in the city there are shops and restaurants and it’s all spit polished and very clean. Bill said they are in the process of renovating it all under there so it’s just a matter of time before it will all be as nice as it is in Manhattan.

I don't know how many times I've heard over the years that New Yorkers are rude and unfriendly. Well, I'm here to tell you that that isn't true.  Some of my fellow subway travelers offered me their seats more then once.  I'm sure I was red from the heat and of course I walk with a limp so no doubt they thought I needed to sit more then they did and I appreciated it. 

People do find a way to pass the time in their travels though. I saw many with Ipads, and kindles. Some brought their knitting along. Teens and kids had their Ipods and mp3 players. I saw a few Rabbi's reading their bibles, mom's and dad's with their babies and of course some working on their laptops. Me, I'm a people watcher so I would sit and watch them. 

You have to be fast getting on and off the trains as they don't wait for anyone. If there are a lot of people trying to get on the same car it can get pretty tricky. Kathy told me though that I was as good as a New Yorker and got through the crowd like I did it for years  though lol. It's hot under the subway too and humid. At least the trains are air-conditioned though. Thank God for that because it was so very hot there, and of course there's no air flow under there. They do have benches for you to sit and wait for the trains though. Not many but there are some. Just talking about it makes me want to go back. Heat and all lol.

No doubt you've heard about people singing and playing music in the subways hoping to make a little extra money. It is true. Even though I didn't see anyone on the platforms panhandling there was twice that I did on the train itself. They walk from car to car holding out their hats or cups hoping for a donation. No, I didn't donate and in fact, I didn't see anyone else donate either. 

I'll leave you with a short video of one of our entertainers. Tomorrow for sure I will tell you about Ground Zero. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The day we left for New York

We had to get up bright and early to catch the 3:00 a.m. bus to Chicago as our plane was leaving at 6:45. I love flying by the way. If you’ve ever been to O’Hare airport you know how big it is. It’s always a long walk from where you check in to where you board the plane so you want to give yourself plenty of time to get from point A to point B. Once we boarded and were on our way I couldn’t wait until we got there.
I took this picture of the city from the plane with my Ipod.

New York 077

The tall building you see in the center of the picture is Freedom Tower which is  at ground zero and is still under construction. I won’t go into that anymore right now but will talk more about it in another blog.

We landed in LaGuardia around 10:00. I have to say that I was pleased to find out that LaGuardia isn’t anywhere near as big as O’Hare is.
Bill’s girlfriend Kathy, who was born there and grew up in New York, met us at the airport. She said it would be cheaper to hire a car to take us from there to her apartment in Brooklyn so that’s what we did.  Otherwise I guess we’d have to take buses and the subway and change several times before we would get to her place.

Morning walk in Brooklyn 004
She lives on the 6th floor in this building. The best part is is that it has an elevator. I guess the apartment she had before she bought this one didn’t and she lived on the 8th floor there. So needless to say, I was thankful that she moved lol.
Her apartment is nice, small but nice. It’s a one bedroom but she has a hide-a-bed that I slept on and William slept on a portable air mattress so we were comfy.
There is one thing that I didn’t like about her place and it’s a big one for me. When I walked into her place and after we got settle in I went to pull her blinds apart so I could look out the window. You guesed it? All I could see was another part of the building and a direct view into another apartment. Needless to say she keeps the blinds closed at all times lol.
I have to be honest here. I think I could live just about anywhere, there included. But! I could not live in an apartment where I couldn’t sit by a window and look out. I just couldn’t. I’d also have to have a balcony so I could sit out and enjoy the weather. That would be a must for me.
I felt so closed in and penned up while there that I would go out and go across the street and sit on a park bench for a couple of hours. I usually did that every morning while they were still sleeping and after we would get back home from our sight-seeing trips. I would walk down the street to the corner store in search of coffee lol. She doesn’t drink coffee so for survival sake I had to find it somewhere. I’d take my coffee and walk across the street and sit and people watch. Prospect Park is right there across from her building too so I would take walks in the park sometimes as well.
She lives in a nice neighborhood in Brooklyn and I felt safe. I think I saw every race and ethnicity there on my walks and coffee breaks. I was surprised to see so many people with dogs. Some with 2 or 3. They must all take their dogs to obedience school because I never once saw a dog bark or growl at another dog or person the whole time I was there. It has to be hard to have a dog and live in apartments like most people there  but it seemed to me plenty do.
We went out for dinner at a place called Johnny Mack’s that night. It is a typical neighborhood place with good food and friendly faces. I wish I’d taken pictures inside while we were there but I was too excited being with them that I didn’t think of it. We did take these photos though.
Bill, William and I at Johnny Mack's
 Kathy, William and I at Johnny Mack's
We drove around a bit after dinner and made our plans for the rest of the week. I must say, they were very gracious hosts and was willing to do anything and everything we wanted. I think I might have worn them out though because I wanted to keep going and going lol. I’m the type that I want to see and do as much as I can while I’m there and they did everything they could to make that happen for us. I usually have a must do list when I travel and this time was no exception.  I’m happy and grateful to say I was able to check off everything on my list for this trip. 
Stay Tuned. The next blog will be about Ground Zero at the the 9/11 memorial.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I went to New York

I have always wanted to go there and would definitely go back again. This time I mostly wanted to see the sights. You know, The Empire State Building, Lady Liberty, Time Square etc.  and I did and enjoyed every minute of it. Next time I go I’ll go and see a Broadway Show or a museum or two.

We went to Liberty Island, Ellis Island, The Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center and went to the top of the Rock. We went to Central Park, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Station and the 9/11 Memorial. Love it all.

Security is very tight all around New York. When you want to go to the top of the Empire and the Rock as well as the Memorial, The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island you have to go through security the same as you do at the airports. Even at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral they have security personnel that that checks your bags before you’re allowed in.
Over the next few blogs I will take each sight one at a time and post photo’s and tell you all about them. It would take much too long to write it all in one blog. I wish I could pick a favorite but I really can’t.

What I will tell you about right now is about the night we were in Manhattan and it started to storm. Bill, William and I were heading for the subway when the sky literally opened up and it poured.  We had umbrella’s with us but they weren’t much good because the wind was so strong that it was hard to hold them over you. We got drenched. You know what though? I loved every minute of it! The thing that struck me the most was the sound of the thunder coming down between those tall skyscrapers. It was nothing like I hear when it storms here. It is really hard to describe it other then to say it was so different. I think in my opinion the reason it sounds so different is because of the tall buildings. The sound can’t spread out like it does anywhere else so it comes down right on top of you and seems to be amplified.  I couldn’t wait for it to thunder again and again. If I wasn’t afraid of ruining my camera I would have taken it out so I could take a video of it just so I could relive it over and over again.  I know, I’m strange but I love things like that. Bill and William just wanted to get to the subway but I wanted to stay until the storm passed lol. It’s one thing I’ll never forget.

So until next time I’ll leave you with a little video that I took from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.