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Spring in New York City, 2019

This is the view from our front window looking towards Central Park.
Running the reservoir on a windy day.
Sunday Green Market just around the corner.  Caryl and Mike met us here.
Mike, behind Jim with Bennie.

We are settling into the Upper West Side and enjoying it, only one block from Central Park and the subway.  Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues are teeming with shops, restaurants and Cafés so we are happy.  Our runs are now into Central Park, exploring there without worrying about traffic or busy sidewalks.  We tend to eat simple meals at home at least half the time as restaurants are so expensive here especially in comparison to our last home in México City.

One of our longtime friends and blog followers, Linda Rubin, contacted us recently and in back and forth emails introduced us to a friend of hers in New York.  Vivian Judson is a terrific, self made, very successful woman who we finally met at her 31st floor Upper East side apartment.  We spent a few hours with her admiring the East River views, noshing on some goodies, touring her building and walking the neighborhood.  Another New York friend added to our list.  We will definitely be spending more time with Vivian.

Roosevelt Island on the left, Queensborough bridge and the East River, photo taken from Vivian’s living room.
A selfie with Vivian.

Donna Quirk, our friend from Boston who has visited us in Paris, San Francisco, London and Mexico City, came to New York over Memorial Day weekend to visit her daughter Caroline and son Colin who both live here.  We love getting together with Donna for runs as that is how we met her at a runner’s event in Beacon Hill.  We took the subway to Soho for a run along the Hudson River Park with her and then had breakfast at her daughter Caroline’s place.

Running the Hudson River Park.

We stopped and looked through the Crosby Street Hotel on the way home.

After our run and cleaning up we took the subway to New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.  Jim turned what should have been an hours commute and a training session for Donna on using the subway into an extended comedy by getting on the first train entering the station without confirming that it was the correct train.  We all had seats for a change but Jim noted the two guys next to Donna surreptitiously smoking marijuana.  When they got a little crazy, spitting on the floor and cursing we all got off at which time Jim discovered that we had been on the wrong train.  Donna terminated her training session at that point deciding to just continue using Uber to get around.  We did not arrive at NYBG until 3pm.  We were all starved and looking forward to The Hudson Garden Grill which closed just prior to our arrival.  We settled for a small cafe meal before exploring a very limited area of the gardens as we were all tired by then.

Classy Donna in her pretty garden hat.
The peonies were in full bloom and were spectacular.  The best part of the garden by far.
The azaleas and rhododendrons were past their prime but still impressive.
This little chipmunk basking in the warm sun posed for us.
The varied colors of greenery were spectacular as the sun hit it.

An artist at work in the Botanical Garden.
Sandy’s picture from above.
Six miles of walking today, time for a rest.

On the day following the Botanical Garden debacle we met Donna at Grand Central Station for a self guided audio tour which we thoroughly enjoyed.  We would recommend trying for an actual guided tour which was not available on the day that we went.

“Meet me at the clock” is a a famous place for New Yorkers to connect at Grand Central.
There are multi-level walkways behind those windows.
The whispering gallery. You and another person can stand at opposite corners and carry on a conversation while talking into the alcove.
Conversing with Sandy who is in the other corner.
Lunch with a view at Cipriani’s Bar.

Another friend now living in New York is Rebecca Yang who Sandy worked with at Lahey Clinic.  Rebecca, who is a breast surgeon, left Lahey one year ago and now works in New Jersey.  Rebecca and her husband Adam Caper have visited us in Paris and Rome.  We met up with Rebecca at our apartment and had a good authentic Mexican meal at Cafe Frida only two blocks away on Columbus Avenue.

Jim & Rebecca eating at the bar at Frida’s.

Friday night May 24 we took the subway back to SoHo to have dinner with Donna and her family at the Crosby Street Hotel.  We really enjoy getting to know our friends children as most of them are even more remarkable and interesting than their parents.

Dinner with Donna and her family, Colin, Tom(Caroline’s friend) and Caroline.
Our Waiter Joseph who remembered Donna from a New Years Eve dinner in 2017.

We spent a great Saturday with Jim’s nephew Peter Steen and his husband Kurt Vrancken, meeting up with them at Hamilton Grange National Memorial in West Harlem.  This site preserves the relocated home of U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.  The mansion holds a restoration of the interior rooms and an interactive exhibit on the newly constructed ground floor for visitors.

City College of New York.
More of the City College campus.

Interior views of Alexander Hamilton’s relocated home.  It has been moved twice but remains on the grounds of his original estate.  This was the only home that he ever owned.

After viewing the Grange we walked a few short blocks to Peter and Kurt’s apartment for a wonderful homemade lunch.  Peter and Kurt have been in New York for about four years as Peter took a Psychiatry residency on Staten Island and is now in a fellowship at Columbia.  We spent Thanksgiving weekend with Peter and Kurt when we were here in 2017 and we really enjoy their company.

Street corner view from their second floor apartment in West Harlem.
Kurt in the kitchen suggesting he give us a tour of Brooklyn Heights.
A very comfortable apartment with great windows.
And so the tour begins,
We ordered coffees to go here,
A Catholic church in Brooklyn Heights,
Kurt is a manny for a veterinarian who lives in this house which was once occupied by  Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, who watched and supervised the construction through the second floor window.
Washington Roebling suffered a paralyzing injury as a result of caisson disease or the bends shortly after ground was broken for the Brooklyn tower foundation. Roebling’s debilitating condition left him unable to physically supervise the construction firsthand, so he designed and redesigned caissons and other equipment from his apartment. His wife, Emily Warren Roebling provided written communications between her husband and the engineers on site. Emily Warren Roebling studied and understood the intricacies of bridge building so well that she spent the next 11 years helping to supervise the bridge’s construction.
A glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Who can get tired of viewing this skyline?
Lady Liberty view from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
A welcoming Patriotic front door entry in Brooklyn Heights.
A Famous author wrote a famous book here
Such an eclectic mix of wonderful architecture in Brooklyn Heights.


The sign below Kurt says please do not climb on the rocks.  Hey rules are meant to be broken when your inner child beckons!!!!! Right????
We absolutely love their love and ours.
New York knows how to provide spectacular green space.
Sailors in town for Fleet Week.
Our handsome nephew Peter chilling out with us in Brooklyn.
We waited 30 minutes for this table at Noodle Pudding, cash only, no reservations in Brooklyn Heights.

As we said earlier our friends Adam and Rebecca moved to New York just one year ago.  The end of May they moved from New Jersey to an apartment in Chelsea and on a beautiful Spring evening we christened the grill on their common roof deck with the grill master Adam grilling the whole meal for all of us.

Adam grilling in the shadow of The Empire State Building.

Sunset over New Jersey with Hudson Yards in the foreground.
Close friends of Adam & Rebecca, Hunter and Megan.

On May 28 we tried MegaBus and returned to Melrose for grandson Jack’s prom.  When Jack was nine years old he and Grammy were watching the limo’s with all of the prom goers and Grammy asked Jack if he would take her to his prom.  His answer was “Grammy you’ll be dead by then”.  We had to be here for this prom to prove him wrong.

A toast to Jack.
Jack shaved his full beard for the Hulk Hogan look and Grammy’s still here.
Walking the red carpet with his date.  One of two men without a tie.  Most wore tuxedos.
Backyard birdwatching in Melrose, a goldfinch and pink flamingos.
Next up, Jack’s graduation on May 31.  Grammy & Grampy wearing Melrose HS colors.

Jack’s other maternal grandparents, Bob and Carol Cipriani and his uncle Daniel.
Rob’s mother Kiki McMahan.
Step mom Lindsay and sisters Olivia and Avery.
Lindsay’s parents Lou and Paul.

Jack & Jill, born one day apart in the same hospital, have attended most of the same schools since.
Jack & Jill at York Beach in 2003.
Attending YMCA day care together.
Shared fifth birthday party in 2006.
Proud parents
and grandparents.
Jack’s stepsisters, Avery and Olivia.
We spent Jennifer’s birthday June 1, oyster bar hopping in Newburyport.  Jen’s husband Rob and mother-in-law Kiki.

Meanwhile back to New York, a seven hour slog door to door.

The Falconer Statue in Central Park representing the union and communion between bird of prey and man
We have rowed on this beautiful Lake in Central Park
We visited the new museum on Liberty Island formerly known as Bedloe Island prior to the Statue of Liberty
This museum just opened May 19 20019. We were there June 4 2019
The museum gives the history of the Statue of Liberty from its inception by the Frenchman Edouard Rene Laboulaye who in 1865 originated the idea of a monument to be presented by the French people to the United States. Ten years later sculptor Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with 1876 in mind for completion , to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. Gustave Eiffel designed the internal supporting structure of the sculpture.  The Statue of Liberty survived hurricane Sandy with no damage due to the brilliance of its designers.  The gift from the French people commemorates the Alliance of France and the United States during the American Revolution. Sadly Laboulaye did not live to see the completion of his idea.
This is the original torch which became unrepairable and was replaced in 1985.  It was originally supposed to be gold-plated and lighted externally but the state of New York tried to make it a lighthouse with windowpanes which led to extensive leakage and erosion of the copper.  The new flame has reverted to copper covered by gold leaf.
A life-size copper model of the face of Lady Liberty.
We took a free Ranger tour, learning that while the statue itself was a gift from France, the US was supposed to fund and build the base.  Joseph Pulitzer contributed to this funding by publishing the names of every donor, even a penny, on the front page of his newspaper.
Ellis Island with New Jersey and Manhattan in the background.
East Coast Memorial in Battery Park honoring the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II.
Mid-afternoon respite after a day of touring.
Our son-in-law Rob was in the city on business and we met him for dinner at BXL Zoute a Belgium pub.  We all had moules frittes.
A walk to Madison Square Park after dinner.
Birthday dinner for Mike Erdos at Celeste on Amsterdam in the Upper West Side.  We were the surprise dinner guests.
We returned to New York Botanical Gardens with Mike and Caryl to see the roses.  We also took this free tram tour of the gardens.
Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

We made it to the Hudson Garden Grill for lunch this time.
A horse on 81st street.
On June 8 Sandy participated in the above race.  It is named mini to imply miniskirt not a shortened 10K.  10,000 women only.  This was the 48th year.
Running north on Central Park West.
A beautiful sight, all these women running in Central Park.

We are down to only nine days left in NYC.  We are liking it so much that we are having thoughts of moving here.  Today we start going to open houses.

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