Last Saturday, December 5, Nancy and I took a trip into New York City. It had been a long time since I was in Manhattan. My dad was born on Long Island just outside the city, and in the years when I was growing up, we would sometimes go to my grandfather's house and take the train into downtown New York. When I joined SIM, we also had to go into the city for medicals and some outreach. But other than using the airports and speaking at my dad's home church, I have not been in the city for almost 25 years!
We took the bus from Scranton into New York. Good thing we did, too as the weather was nasty and the traffic was horrendous. We went to meet up with two colleagues who had come from Niger for a conference. Peter Cunningham hails from Australia and works on our agricultural project in Niger. Ayouba Saabo is a Nigerien who works on the project. He had never been in the US before and had never seen snow. He got to see it on December 5.
We didn't have much time, so we elected to take the subway to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan Island, where we walked around in the cold and dreary weather while it got increasingly more inclement. It was raining during a good part of the day. It would have taken all of our time to visit the Statue of Liberty with the long lines, expensive tickets, and miserable viewing conditions, so we decided to take the Staten Island Ferry.
The ferry goes from Manhattan Island to, naturally enough, Staten Island. Here I am with Ayouba on the ferry.
When I was a kid, this ferry cost you a nickel one way. Now it is free. That's deflation for you. Anyway, the ferry goes right by the Statue of Liberty and gives you a good view.
After the crossing, we had lunch in a deli ( a very New York experience) and then went up to Rockefeller Center where we wandered around and saw the big Christmas tree, the ice skating rink in the plaza, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick's cathedral. Across from St Pat's is the famous statue of Atlas straining to hold up the world. We never saw the statue of baby Jesus holding the world in his hands in St Pat's, even though we looked for it.
By then the rain had turned to snow, and it was blowing and cold. The snow was melting on contact. The crowds were intense and ballooned with all the umbrellas people were carrying. In fact the worst part of the day was all the umbrellas barreling at you down the street at eye level. You had to dodge and weave in order to avoid getting one in your face. We did some window shopping and had something to eat, then caught our bus back to PA. It was great to be on the warm bus, out of the wet snow. I don't know if the snow accumulated in New York, but just outside the city it was laying on the ground, and when we got home, there were 4 inches (10 cm) on the ground. Here are two pictures of Times Square, one in the morning when we got there when the weather was still okay, and one at night just before we left. Note the snow falling!!
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