Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - New York City Day 2

Our second day in New York was an interesting mix. We decided to get up and have breakfast at the Tick-Tock diner at the hotel (which was tasty, although they could learn a little about cooking bacon from our Texas greasy spoons) and then take the subway down to the World Trade Center site. Our hotel was at a great location across the street from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, which made traveling by subway easy.

The WTC site was a hub of activity, prepping the site for the future buildings and memorials. WTC 7 was recently finished and the PATH station at the site was open. It was interesting to see the very obvious change from construction that was pre-9/11 and post 9/11 at the station. Up at the street level was a series of panels with all the names of those who died at the site (I think just those on the planes and in the buildings, since I didn’t see one or two of the names I knew from the Pentagon and Flight 93 in Shanksville). They also had a nice timeline series of signs. We walked around the site and went into the World Financial Center across the street. They have a gallery on the second floor that looks over the site and gives a pretty nice view. They also have a timeline on the clean up and the plans for the future at the site. It’s still hard to imagine those very tall buildings on such a small footprint.

We walked over to St. Paul’s Cathedral, across the street from the WTC. I mostly knew about it from 9/11, but it turned out to be a neat historic church in its own right. George Washington heard a sermon there after his inauguration as the first president. But, most of the displays are related to 9/11, even almost 5 years after the fact. One neat thing was a collection of patches from all the different rescue services from around the nation who worked at the site. I saw one from Cedar Park, Texas of all places!

From the church we walked up past City Hall (and the end of the Brooklyn Bridge) and caught the subway up to Union Station to drop on in the Leaky Mug podcast. It was cool to finally be able to see one of those fan events in person. We were getting pretty hungry, so we left early (since I knew I would be able to download it later) and went up to Grand Central Station. Wonderful architecture. We snagged some pretty tasty pizza in their food court.

Since we wanted to allow time to get back to the hotel and clean up before the show at Radio City Music Hall, we just stopped in on the New York Public Library and walked through Times Square. We saw the lions at the library and went up to the main reading room, which was lovely. Lots and lots of wood. Although I’m pretty sure that most of the shots I’ve seen in movies didn’t include all the laptop connections that it has now!

Times Square was still lit up some, even though the city was asking people to conserve power due to high demand from air conditioners in the high heat. Walking through the Square was the one and only time I felt a little faint, although I recovered pretty quickly.

We got back to the hotel and I took a shower. After I got out, I heard lots of sirens (which wasn’t that unusual, considering that it was New York), but after a point, I decided to look out the window and noticed a building down the street with black smoke billowing out of it. We never did find out exactly what happened. They got it under control fairly quickly and presumably no one was hurt since we didn’t see anything about it on the news that night after the show.

We stopped down at the Italian restaurant at the hotel for an early dinner (I had a nice chicken picatta) and then decided to go ahead and take the subway to Radio City. It was very hot and we waited a while for our train, so I quickly started sweating in my nice clothes. Should have splurged on a taxi. Oh well! As it turned out, it didn’t matter if we had managed to stay cool on the way over, since we got stuck in a security line for about 20 minutes. The one cool thing about that was that I briefly got a chance to see and talk with Melissa Anelli and John Noe from The Leaky Cauldron/Potter Cast. I was a total fan geek and asked Melissa if I could see the ring that JKR gave her when she and Emerson Spartz from MuggleNet went over to interview her last year. It was really neat! I’d love to find something similar, perhaps with a dragon shape. Melissa, if you ever read this, I apologize for being a babbling geek…I think the heat was getting to me!

(More about Harry, Carrie and Garp in a separate post)

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