34th: It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us with whom in no sort we ought to begin.
I'm a proud
DOG DAY AFTERNOON
27 September 2004
Yes, that flying house has caught the tail end of Hurricane Louise, or whatever is the hurricane du jour (not really) and it has spun us back from whence we came. We are home. It is 1 a.m., California time, or 4 a.m. New York time. I have just spent the better part of the last two hours polishing my last three journal entries and adding photos. I did it to make the record of the trip complete for me, but you are invited to revisit those entries and see the pictures, if nothing else!
Last night was a more typical "hotel night" for me, waking too early with a bad back--but I had two good nights, so I'm not complaining.
We showered, breakfasted and checked out of the hotel, leaving our bags behind so we could do a little more exploring before heading back to the airport.
We were going to take the bus down into the heart of Greenwich Village, but instead we got off to investigate what looked like it might be the remnants of the San Gennero street faire that had been going on yesterday, but turned out to be a run of the mill farmer's market.
However, the market was situated beside a fence I'd seen on the tour bus yesterday, and was curious about. It turned out to be a fence filled with ceramic tiles painted in memory of 9/11.
Not surprisingly, there isn't a place in this town that we didn't find some reminder of 9/11, whether it was the omnipresent security guards, literally everywhere in their chartreuse vests, or the posters reminding people to report anything suspicious, to the things like this tile fence (it actually wraps around and there is another section on the other side of the corner). Firehouses and ambulances all carry memorials to people who lost their lives on 9/11.
The more I wandered around the town, stumbling over unexpected memorials to victims of 9/11, promises to remember, honors to those who were the heroes of the tragedy, the more I came to undertand the depth of the shock and grief of those who lived and/or worked in New York, who were personally touched by the events of 9/11/01.
On our tour yesterday, the tour guide would point out various places and explain the significance in relation to 9/11. I recognized his tone--the tone of someone who has been through the horror and who has adjusted to it, and yet knows that other people want to hear about it, so the information is given matter-of-factly in a tone that says that inside he's still screaming. I recognized that tone. I use it all the time when showing people the "memorials to the Dead Sykes children of Davis."
One such memorial is at St. Vincent Hospital, where many of the victims were brought after the collapse of the buildings, and where people spent so much time searching for loved ones who would never come home again. The hospital collected a lot of the signs that were posted, begging people to let them know if a loved one was found (most were not). The hospital has put a lot of these notes in a display case along one wall of the building. Another in a very large collection of "we will never forget" displays.
After we'd treated ourselves to a strawberry/banana smoothie, we walked on down to Washington Square. I remember being there in 1999, with Ken Moses as our guide through the Village and I remembered that there was a dog park there, the first time I'd ever heard of a dog park. In fact there are two dog parks, one for little dogs (under 25 lbs -- Bichon Frisees seem to be "the" dog of New York!) and another for larger dogs. By this time I found I was really missing Sheila, and I suggested that Walt go off and tour Greenwich Village himself and I'd stay there and watch the dogs.
We both had a much better time that way!
I had such a good time sitting in the large dog park, making friends with logs of four-legged critters and taking pictures, and then sitting by the small dog park and watching those little guys run around.
I knew I was ready to go home and see Sheila again!
I loved the idea of a Pug Fest--and was sorry that we wouldn't be there for it. It sounded like it would be a great photo op!
Walt sauntered back after his explorations and we went to a natural foods place for lunch (we didn't know it was natural foods until we got in there). I had lemon ricotta pancakes, which were quite odd, but, after I got used to them, pretty tasty. Walt had a broccoli and cheese omelette with foccacia bread.
We then caught a bus to go back to the hotel to get our luggage. As we rode up Park Blvd, I was given one last reminder of why I really don't like this town.
Every street we went on was like this--gridlock with a bazillion cabs, cars, people, etc. I just longed for the quiet of Davis.
Getting back to the airport was its own adventure, since the express line to JFK was not running and they had posted signs, but not where people transferring from other lines could see them. So we waited an hour for a train that was never coming. Finally a German exchange student suggested we share the cost of a cab, but he and Walt checked with a station attendant first and learned of the problem and how to get to the airport by an alternate subway route, and we did that instead.
The flight home was totally uneventful (as you want all flights to be!) and we got into the airport around 10 p.m.
As we drove home, and turned onto our street, I was struck by the fact that there wasn't a single car or a person in slight, and how much I loved that.
They say you can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl, but I think that after 30+ years "out of the city," the genes have finally died. There was much I enjoyed about our trip to New York, and I'm very glad that we went. But the size, the noise, the crowd, the traffic and all the stuff that goes along with being in a big city--and this is one of the biggest--just left me wanting to crawl into some nice quiet cave somewhere.
If The Big Voice gets "discovered" by someone who wants it to have a regular run in New York, I'd go back in an instant. I'd stay at that same hotel again in an instant. But barring that, or some other real reason to go to New York, I really have no desire to vacation there again.
(Oh...and Sheila didn't destroy a single piece of furniture in our absence!)