Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 49 to 51 July 2 to 4, 2012

DAY 49- July 2

Al's Day

I went to a massage, which was good.  It was near Aldi, so I went back and got more basics.  Not much else, but a good day.

Sally's Day

 Today was also a quiet day for me.  I walked to the beauty shop and got my hair cut.  Then walked to the nearby pedicure place for a pedicure.  I spent the early evening serving meals to homeless folks at a nearby church.   Their model for service is to provide a restaurant quality meal in a restaurant atmosphere-  green fabric table cloths, a young attorney volunteer playing piano music throughout the evening, place settings with real china and silverware.  The meal is served in courses- beginning with a soup course.   The volunteers cook and serve the meals, pour beverages, clear the tables,etc.  My waitress experiences from 40 years ago were useful.  There is also a licensed social worker available to the guests.  The guests are encouraged to take whatever they want with them- e.g. bread, leftovers, etc.

It is wonderful environment to provide a meal and services to folks.  The difficulty is that it is a very labor intensive project.  There were at least 50 volunteers to serve 300 people.  It would be very difficult to duplicate this program on a larger scale.

I enjoyed working with the other volunteers, and was worn out after 2 1/2 hours of constantly being in motion.  I also enjoyed meeting the people I served.   

I have no pictures of my day- as you probably would not enjoy seeing my toenails being polished  and it seemed inappropriate to take pictures of the dinner.

Day 50- July 3
Al's Day

I went to the Chinatown Rotary again.  They are really very friendly.  I then walked around Chinatown a little more.  I went way out of the tourist areas.  It is interesting, but people kept looking at me like they were wondering what I was doing there.  I have not felt that anyplace in New York before.  But, it was not in a hostile way.

In the evening, I was walking along the East River.  It seemed to be flowing up stream, so I did some research.  It is not really a river.  It is a strait.  It connects Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  It flows toward the Atlantic when the tide is going out, and toward the Bronx and Queens when the tide is coming in.  Also, the Hudson is not a river at New York City.  It is an estuary.   It also flows upstream when the tide comes in.  Interesting.  Technically, it is not a river below Albany, New York.

Sally's Day-
I started the day with a trip back to Macy's.  I took a picture of the escalators.  They appear to be the original escalators- wooden slats, narrow, and you hear the clackety,clack from the stairs winding around.  I returned two of the three pairs of pants I had purchased.  It is 90 degrees- no need for more long pants.

Wooden escalator in Macy's.

Then on to a free knitting class at Bryant Park.  They provide needles and yarn.  I wanted to re-learn how to cast on stitches- which they taught me. I also knitted for an hour.  The teacher told me I knew enough to graduate from the class- so she invited me to come to the open knitting table next week. 

Knitting class.

Lion in front of New York Public Library, which is on the same block as Bryant Park.

Then home for some quilting.

Day 51- July 4

Al's Day

Sally and I were surprised to see that there really aren't any July 4th celebrations in New York.  Macy's has a huge fireworks display on the Hudson River.  They shoot off fireworks from 5 barges.  But, aside from that there is nothing.  Brooklyn has a July 4th parade and celebration, but this year they had it on June 30.  Coney Island had their hot dog eating contest and fireworks at night.  That is all we could find out.  We didn't want to fight the crowds and heat on the banks of the Hudson.  So, no celebration for us.  We do have a little flag out that we got from some Army guys when were were at Coney Island a few weeks ago.

Anyway, we went to see "The Intouchables".  This is a French movie.  It was very good and we both highly recommend it.  It was at the other end of the scale from "Beasts of the Southern Wild".

Sally's Day

The day started with making potato salad- as potato salad and chicken seemed the appropriate dinner for July 4.  It seems that most  people make potato salad using the same recipe as their moms.  I am no exception- celery, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, a little sweet pickle relish.  Miracle Whip, a little milk, a dab of mustard, and sour cream for dressing.  Yum.

Then off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Having been to the Monet's Garden exhibit last week, it seemed appropriate to first look at some of his paintings of Giverny.  I chatted with a couple from France while looking at the painting of the garden bridge.  The husband told me that they live  very close to Giverny, but have never gone to the gardens.  I guess it is the same everywhere- we don't go to see the sights that tourists travel thousands of miles to see!

One of the many painting Monet did of the bridge in his garden.

Next on to the American Wing to look at some paintings for the 4th. The first- Washington Crossing the Delaware. It is HUGE. Probably the largest painting I have seen. The crossing took place at night, and Washington did not stand up in the boat. The artist did a good job of conveying the cold weather.

The people at the lower left of the painting give you a perspective of how large it is.

They have at least 4 portraits of George Washington. The Gilbert Stuart one is the most familiar. Stuart painted the version at the Met for Martha Washington.

I love the bust of Benjamin Franklin. His hair is messy. His eyes are looking skyward- I imagine him thinking about the future of the country he helped create.

The Nathan Hale statue shows him as he is about to be killed.  He stated "I regret that I have but one
life to give for my country" just before he died.

I could not find a painting of John Adams (who is one my favorites).  And I found only a very tiny painting of Thomas Jefferson.

Then on to to movie "The Intouchables."  Al and I both enjoyed it.  The plot concerns a wealthy French widower who has been paralyzed from the neck down in a paragliding accident.  He hires a Senagalese immigrant, who has just been released from prison, to work as his attendant.  Dritt, the attendant, brings Phillipe back into the world. Rather than driving him around in the van equipped for Phillipe's wheelchair, Dritt drives Phillipe in his sportscar.  The movie is very funny and has some insight into how people with disabilities are treated.  The movie has been criticized as being racist in its creation Dritt. The movie is based on a true story.  I looked up the people on the internet, and  found that Dritt cared for Phillipe for 10 years.  Phillipe has re-married and has two children.  Dritt has married and runs a chicken farm.  Not surprsingly, they have both written memiors.  Go see it.

We walked home through Central Park, and came upon the Alice statue near the south end of the park.

As we came around the corner by the Alice statue, we saw a group of about 50 people with cameras and binoculars.  They were looking at the "Pale Male Hawk of Central Park.  He has a nest across the street on the outside of an apartment building.  Apparently, he is quite famous.  I googled him, and found that he has his own entry in Wikipedia! 

He had captured a pigeon, and was sharing it with his three children (who were with him).  You can see the feathers scattered around him.  The bottom picture shows one of the children in a tree.

He does not sign autographs.

A good 4th- even without the fireworks.

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