After finally getting some sleep, I awoke on Sunday with a day will of promise. I’d already had to rearrange the schedule as our Saturday delay had carried over. The sun was shining and I had 5 overenthusiastic students on my hands ready to go and take on Manhattan.
We started our day heading into Central Park. It’s the first time I’ve seen the park in the summer and it truly is beautiful. I was about to say that every city should be so lucky so have such an amazing common green space for photos, running, picnics, biking, playing in the park etc….but I guess Vancouver does have one of those….
I digress. Central Park is a magical beautiful place. It was bright and warm and the perfect day to be wandering through. From Strawberry Fields to the Bethesda fountain to the Bow Bridge – we saw many of the highlights. My students were fully immersed in taking photos in front of or beside every rock, bench, tree or body of water. I’m so glad they enjoyed it as much as I do. We didn’t have long to spend through before darting down to 5th avenue. Most of 5th avenue is far above my pay grade, and, more importantly, my interest. The only 2 stores were really ventured in to were the Apple “Cube” (as I like to call it – FYI – it’s just a big glass apple store) and FAO Schwartz – the coolest toy store around. After that is was a speed walk to Rockefeller Center. We stuck our heads into the glorious St. Patrick’s, and for the first time ever, witnessed Mass. I was surprised they allowed tourists to wander with cameras into such a sacred space. I started walking down, thinking, “well, if they are okay with this” – but then they started to sing a hymn I was familiar with (though, it was in Latin) and it just felt wrong for me to be intruding.
We followed our brief time in St. Patrick’s with a well deserved lunch at ‘witchcraft – Tom Colicchio’s sandwich chain. I had the most amazing hickory ham, aged cheddar dijon mustard and poached pears on a pecan cranberry grain bread. I need to figure out how to make this at home. If you go – try it. seriously.
We met up with my students and got ready for our trip to Columbia. After registering them for classes, we sent them on their way, and then started to wander. We went into the Church of St. John the divine, but once again stumbled upon Mass. This was a HUGE and beautiful church, and yet it was next to empty. Maybe 50 people on a few rows of chairs. Also on my list of places to revisit. Of course it was getting hot, and we were getting dehydrated. So we stopped for a snack and water before heading back to the hotel for a little down time. Down time is incredibly necessary and I haven’t had enough!! One hour later we were back on the 1 train headed uptown to 116th street to meet up with the students. Columbia is an absolutely beautiful campus and we have only begun to explore it.
I was over ambitious with the evening plans. I wanted to go to Peanut Butter & Co – a cute Greenwich Village shop that sells a whole variety of PB sandwiches – fun right? Then we could eat in Washington Park. So there were a FEW problems.
1. Students had tons of email depended homework. I didn’t think this would be a problem, as I though we’d be back early. #fail
2. Sunday was the NYC gay pride parade….all of the west village, greenwich village and soho was roped off. We arrive right when it finished. When people were “celebrating” all over the streets and garbage and people and rainbows and craziness was everywhere. The students loved seeing this kind of NYC – the people watching was amazing. The 45 minutes of extra walking to the restaurant was not.
3. By the time we arrived, the restaurant was about to close. Took our orders to go. Arrived at Washington Square Park – which was under construction. Ate dinner on a park bench with the locals, the homeless and the elderly playing chess. #sketchy
4. Walked back up to the metro and up to Empire State Building. The lines looked short…they weren’t. Took 1 hour to get up to the top. 15 minute after arriving it started to rain. Lineups were so long to leave we had to walk down the first 6 flights of the building (86th to the 80th floor). By the time we got home it was 12:30 #tired
5. Homework still needed to be done. I finally went to sleep at 3:30…students shortly after #stilltired.
Moral of the story – even the best of plans can be easily foiled.