NEW YORK FRAME OF MIND 9/1/2017

Our time in New York has gone by so quickly. We are now nearly experts at getting around with subways and ferries.

Inside the Oculus train station near One World Trade Center

It is a quick ferry ride from the boat into Manhattan and we have traveled it often. We have been able to spend time with friends from Cleveland - had dinner with Randi and Eric Packer and their daughter Melissa's family in Park Slope. Eric made delicious burgers that he brought from Cleveland.

packer family

Eric, Amelia, Rob, Nora, Melissa, Rosie and Randi - We are blessed to have great friends.

We saw ‘The School of Rock’ on Broadway, which featured some of the most talented kids; walked through SOHO, China Town and Little Italy. We went to the Tenement Museum which was interesting but a little too focused in its approach for me. You had to choose between 5 different tours. Each tour focused on a specific family and their experience as immigrants and living at 93 Church Street in the lower east side. We saw a model business establishment that sold lager beer from the time of the German immigration and a re-creation of the room they would have lived in. I would have preferred hearing about more experiences rather than going so in depth on only one. But, it was a good experience and I do recommend it. Our group leader was very expressive and got our very diverse group (from all over the US and abroad) to participate and share.

Buildings of the Tenement Museum

The marina is situated next to the very large (1200 acre) Liberty Park. I have ridden my bike in the park a few times once to an old rail road station that sits next to Ellis Island.

Old train station at Liberty Landing

There is also a memorial for the people from New Jersey who died on 9/11. It is called EmptySky because it is made up of two stainless steel walls that form a path down which you would have seen the twin towers if they were still standing. The names of the people who died from New Jersey are inscribed on the walls. It is very impressive and the rest of the park is beautiful.

Empty Sky

We also had an unexpected visit from Rob Certner – He just dropped in on us at Liberty Landing Marina. What an unexpected pleasure! We had lunch together and Rob gave me some encouragement and information about Long Island Sound – our next stop.

Central Synagogue at 55th and Lexington

Yesterday, we went to services at the Central Synagogue and our friend Leah Gurvis, who we know from her days in Cleveland when she worked for Bob, met us there. We were not sure that we were in the right place when we arrived at 55th and Lexington as there were about 30-35 priests and monks standing out in front of a very ornate building.

central synagogue

Central synagogue

The building had stars and stained glass but no Jewish stars, which I thought odd. The priests and monks were students from a local seminary who were studying interfaith relations, and were coming to the Friday night service as well. One of the priests saw the look of confusion on my face and asked if we were looking for the synagogue. When I told him we were he directed us to a side entrance, which is used for summer services. The service was held in the the Pavilion – a round room on the lower level of the building – rather than the main sanctuary. The room was full, and the cantor had a delightful voice that reminded us of our Cantor Kathy. The Service was full of singing and there were two musicians accompanying the singing. The rabbi gave a sermon about “fearing G-d”, which he explained should not be about being fearful or in awe of G-d, but about serving as inspiration to take care of the most vulnerable among us. He suggested that doing so out of respect for G-d, even though there is little likelihood of retribution from G-d or those who are powerless fulfills the Parsha’s intent. This was reminiscent of the quote I admired from the FDR museum which also dealt with judging a society by how they take care of their most vulnerable.

We were then guests at Leah and Mark’s house for a delicious Shabbat dinner. Two of their three daughters were there – who we had not seen in at least 15 years. There was also another couple, who had recently returned from a three month cross country trip. It was a dinner of travelers. Leah is a terrific cook and baker and we had a wonderful meal and great conversation. They live in the upper two stories of a four story brownstone in Park Slope. Thank you Leah!

Bob, Sheila, Leah and Mark

We got back to the boat after midnight.

Some misc. observations:

  • Although we are away from home – this is not just a “vacation”.We are in residence on the boat and on a journey. The requirements of daily living are still part of our day to day life – grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills, maintenance, etc... While the journey involves amazing vistas,discovery, learning, meeting wonderful people and at times stretching outside of our comfort zones, the daily life tasks do need to get done – and at times aremore challenging when living in approximately 400 square feet – subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Guessing what we will discover at the end of the day is that the rewards are directly proportionate to the challenges. That said, we still want to be part of what is going on back home.Please don’t be afraid to call us and reach out.We want to hear from you.If we can’t talk because we are maneuvering the boat or sightseeing – we will gladly call back. We are also loving your comments on the BLOG.

  • We are blessed to be able to see some interesting places and very interesting people.This is a diverse country – nowhere do you see this more than in NYC.

  • Looking ahead, our itinerary (written in water soluble ink) continues to evolve based on weather and things we learn from reading and the people we meet. We originally thought we would be going from NYC down to Cape May (entrance to Delaware Bay).We have now decided to spend some time on Long Island Sound before moving south.We have the time and everyone has told us how beautiful it is.So, weather permitting, we will leave tomorrow or Monday for the Sound. We need to remain open to change.

  • It is okay to do nothing for a few hours – this is probably one of the hardest things for me to do - but I do need the time to recharge.We have had 10,000 step days one after another.

  • There are so many good people out there who want to help you.Sometimes you need to just let them.

  • You never know who you will make an impression on.If you can lend a hand, or share a book – do it. It is wonderful to be able to touch people.

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