June 15, 2005


We arrived safe and sound into the outstretched arms of my decades-old friend Ms. Heather Jean Bates. It had been far too long since she and I had last spoken face to face and what a welcome face to see among the hoards of huddled masses in Grand Central Station. Heather expertly navigated us through the city to the sanctuary which is her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. After we moved in, learned which corner of her spacious 100 square foot studio was ours and learned the proper way to appease her attack cat we felt like we were ready for a night on the town.

Heather, Me and Dan.

We met up with Heather’s boyfriend Raf (Rafael) and went promptly to their favorite Japanese Restaurant. Heather is a very wise woman who knows that the fastest way to get two country bumpkins to embrace the city is through their stomachs. A few sushi rolls and a bottle of sake later we were throwing fahgettaboutits and vaclemts out like old pros. We strolled along the promenade in Heather’s neighborhood, staring at the city all lit up we marveled at how beautiful something entirely man-made can be.

The next day was marathon-see-everything-in-NYC-in-twelve-hours-or-less kind of day. Again our expert tour guide led us unflinchingly through the city. We raced over the Brooklyn Bridge, past Heather’s office, right into downtown Manhattan.

We paused to visit the World Trade Center Site and I was struck by how hard it is to reconcile the pictures we all saw on TV with the pit that is there now. Thousands died there, and yet I couldn’t wrap my head around it like I could when we visited the Vietnam Memorial just a few days before. It made me long for a Memorial- something to bring it into perspective. Then Heather took us to catch the Staten Island Ferry and en route we passed the sculpture that has become the de facto memorial. That is what made it hit home for me. It is what remains of a fountain that was in front of the buildings. Somehow it survived in good enough shape to be re-constructed here in the Battery and it, more than the site, is the place to come and pay homage.

We rode the ferry past the Statue of Liberty; it is a good, free, way to get a nice view of her. With three boroughs under our belt we headed uptown. A quick sprint through Time’s Square left Dan in shock so we opted to keep with that and thrust him into the East Village. His head swirling with Broadway and green-mohawked, pierced teenagers, we decided to spare him further trauma and retired to an Irish pub for a pint.

Back in the relative calm of Heather’s neighborhood we had another dinner out followed by a nice evening with friends.

Sunday morning we ate bagels along the promenade and said goodbye to Heather and Raf. Heather walked us to the subway station and made sure we got on the right train. Somehow we managed to navigate the city all alone and miraculously made it onto our Connecticut bound train right on time.

Back in New Haven cousin Heather met us at the train station and gave us a tour of the Yale campus where she used to work. We enjoyed a nice dinner with Heather, Lee and Lee’s two teen aged boys. One more night in the Mental Health Facility parking lot and it was time to head off on our own again. Lee and Heather took us to a nice place for lunch where we could stroll along the very pretty shoreline and relax to the sounds of the ocean. Once again we must thank them for saving us from certain divorce, should we have tried to in any way navigate NYC in our rig, parking in CT was a relief and a much, much better idea.

Monday night we made it to Rhode Island and enjoyed a very mellow night. It was really nice to be back in our routine again. Yesterday we drove to Cape Cod, rather than hob-knobbing with the beautiful people we opted for doing laundry and bowling. Fortunately for us the laundry mat is right next door to the bowling alley. Apparently they bowl a little differently out here. There was no bar, no greasy spoon and not even balls with holes in them. This is candlestick bowling, you use bocce-like balls and you get to throw three times instead of just two.

Here are some more New York shots:

The tree sculpture in Grand Central's Market.

Subway performers.


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