Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Baby Chicks

We picked up some new baby chicks right before we left for New York. Jim's associate at work and his children took care of them while we were out of town.

Jim told the kids before we left that the baby chicks loved to be held and sung to. He told them that the chicks' favorite song was "Up, Up in the Sky" which he sang to them. Jim asked the kids if they could remember the song. They shook their heads with a look of concern on their faces. We assured them that any song would be just fine. Their dad reported to us later that his kids held and sang to those chicks every single day! They would go out in the garage to check on them often, even in the middle of the night! I wish I could have witnessed it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Springtime in New York

At the end of April, an opportunity for a business trip to New Jersey arose. We jumped at the chance to visit Jacob. Jacob had been raving about spring in New York. I couldn't wait to experience it! My biggest surprise? Temperatures in the 80's! Coming from the cool, Northwest-type weather we had been experiencing, the warm sunshine felt so-ooo good.

We stayed with Jacob in his fantastic brownstone studio apartment. The large windows overlook the garden -filled courtyard below. Jacob's comfortable budget-friendly furnishings are practical and yet so sleek. What a perfect home for him!

We spent the first afternoon exploring Jacob's neighborhood in Harlem. It was built on the property that once belonged to Alexander Hamilton. His home, pictured on the left, still stands. There were several beautiful churches like the one on the right ....

...and a castle built in 1888 by James Bailey founder with Phineus Barnum of the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

We were overwhelmed by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine which, apparently, is one of the largest in the US. Construction was begun in 1890 and continues today!

It's gardens were stunning.

Jacob led us to the beautiful Riverside Park on the Hudson River.

We then made our way to Central Park past the eye-catching "U" Like Garden restaurant and a raccoon that seemed out of place in the middle of New York.

We safely crossed the park through the dark and foreboding North Woods. Because we had some time to kill before we joined up with Jacob's friends at the restaurant, we sat on a park bench by the Harlem Meer to rest and enjoy the cool evening air. Dinner, Ethiopian style, was a totally new experience. Mounds of food heaped on trays were placed in the middle of the table along with a bowl filled with several rolls of thin flat bread. The bread served as the eating utensil. Of the various selections, the lentil dishes were my favorites. We enjoyed every minute of that opportunity to visit with a few of Jacob's New York friends.

The next day we set off to explore a museum and ride bicycles through Central Park. We peeked in the Guggenheim to check out the impressive ramp that circles the building from the ground to the dome. Unfortunately, the camera died as we were taking pictures of it.
Convinced that a camera needed to be purchased before we could continue our tour, we set off to find a camera store. We ducked in the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the way to cool off. We unanimously agreed that the two million works of art displayed there required much more time and patience than we had at the moment (especially since we realized our stomachs were growling). We moved on to find some lunch. We enjoyed a delicious meal at Cafe Lalo, the restaurant featured in the movie, "You've Got Mail". The dessert we shared was the
highlight! We finally found a camera store and a camera. Deciding it was way too hot to ride bicycles, we made our way to the American Museum of Natural History (as seen in the "Night at the Museum" movies) to do some exploring. The massive replica of a whale was our favorite exhibit.

After consuming some quick but decidedly delicious pizza, we returned to Jacob's apartment, freshened up a bit and then went shopping for items for Jacob's apartment. Carting an eight foot rug in a taxi was a first-time experience! Wanting to purchase some food for our Sunday dinner, we made our way to the fabulous Fairway Market in Harlem. I don't think I've ever seen so much food crammed into a space. We were especially intrigued by the walk-in freezer with the down jackets provided at the entrance.

We attended Jacob's ward in Harlem the next day and were amazed at the diversity of the members--accomplished professionals to the humblest of humble of many different races--united by the desire to worship Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. We were warmly welcomed. As we attended each of the three meetings, we were touched many times by the Spirit. What a blessing to have had that opportunity! After church, we prepared and enjoyed our Fairway meal before heading out to explore Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters near the northern tip of Manhattan.

As we entered the park, we were greeted by an abundance of beautiful flowers.

The views from the park reminded us that we were still in New York City--a bridge (George Washington Bridge?) over the Hudson River and some dilapidated apartments in the Bronx--but what a beautiful oasis!

It was like walking back in time to round the corner and view the medieval-looking Cloisters. What was it? How did it come to be? What was it's purpose? I have since found the answers. It houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of art and architecture from medieval Europe--even the gardens are medieval replicas. The building is composed of elements from five medieval French cloisters that were disassembled in Europe and then reassembled in New York in 1934/36. The building, art and park were donated to the city by John D. Rockefeller.

Because Jim had to work the next day, we checked into a hotel Sunday evening. However his plan to work all day while I explored (taking a break to have lunch with Jacob) never came to pass because we had to be in New Jersey sooner than had been expected. I met Jacob at Union Square for a quick lunch while Jim finished up his work then we drove to New Jersey in bumper to bumper traffic through a downpour! I was surprised by the lush green hills that greeted us in New Jersey. I couldn't wait to do some exploring.

Jim had meetings most of Monday in Bridgewater. I took the opportunity to explore. I noticed a Morristown National Historical Park on the map and headed toward it. I eventually found myself in Jockey Hollow where George Washington's Continental army had wintered twice during the Revolutionary War. The home of Henry Wick (on the right), who owned a successful farm with over 800 acres of timberland and open fields, became a central command point during the second encampment of 10,000 soldiers. His timber was used to build crude cabins for the soldiers (replicas on the left). Fascinating!
After my interesting jaunt through history, I returned to Bridgewater and picked up Jim. We took a meandering route to LaGuardia airport in New York to catch our flight home.

Goodbye New York...for now. Thank you, Jacob, for another great vacation. I can't wait until the next visit!