Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aug. 9: Pouring Rain

Bob and I made very good use of the subway system today as we spent time on the Upper West Side and Lower East Side. The first thing we did on the Upper West Side was turn left instead of right so we accidentally ended up in Riverside Park. If you look carefully at the photo above, you can catch a glimpse of the Hudson River. A very nice New Yorker set us straight and gave us a hot tip to look for peacocks behind St. John the Divine Cathedral. As we headed to the cathedral, we saw these dog walkers; my favorite dog in the pack was a shaggy thing who is mainly hidden from view to the right of the two standard poodles.

We were on the Upper West Side to see the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an Episcopal cathedral, which is the largest cathedral in the world and is yet unfinished although its cornerstone was laid in 1892.

This photo that Bob took of me in front of some of the faux doors gives an idea of the scale.

We went behind the cathedral, based on that "hot tip" and found peacocks wandering wherever they wanted. Notice that the white one has particularly good taste as she stayed close to the Mercedes.

From there we made a quick stop at Lincoln Center as I was really hoping I could get one ticket for the Royal Shakespeare Company's "King Lear" tomorrow afternoon. The only ticket available was $250 so I sadly turned away. We then came back to Times Square and caught these men changing a billboard. Now that's a career choice we never mention to WCS students.

From there we went to The City Quilter but I resisted taking a photo since I do everytime and they all look the same. In proximity there was a flag shop so Bob bought a Spanish one which will hang proudly at Weyburn's Rotary meetings for a year as our inbound student is from Spain.

We then went to a Rotary meeting in the restaurant pictured below.

The club is the Rotary Club of Manhattan, Chinatown, and it is totally wonderful. Now I have talked about food so often in this blog that some of you might mistake Bob and me as foodies. We certainly aren't connoisseurs as Ross will attest, but I do have to tell you about this meal. I would have taken photos, but that would have been crass. First of all, there were 17 of us at the meeting including us, a financier from Hong Kong who travels to NYC often and does his makeup meetings with this club, and the guest speaker.

We sat at two tables and each table had about a dozen little bowls with various sauces in them. Each place setting had chopsticks although forks were brought out later. There were eight courses, each consisting of one dish and each served by a waiter from a center dish. These were the courses: egg rolls, barbequed pork ribs, shrimp soup, barbequed duck including the feet, a dish full of squid, octopus and other squishy seafood, pork with pineapple, Chinese greens which were a brilliant emerald, orange chicken, and then oranges with fortune cookies. Rightly so the club is very proud of its meals. They are also proud that they were the first Rotary club to have a female president.

The guest speaker was interesting as he is a Google employee and was there to talk about Google+ and other social media. When we mentioned we had been to "Hair" last night, he said, "oh, my roommate plays Claude in it." That really impressed me as it is probably as close to a celebrity as I will get on this trip.

We had a bit of a chat about Google as I used to teach about it in media studies. I thought I remembered that Google's mission statement is "be nice" but he corrected me as it is actually "don't be evil." Now isn't that practical and so much more sensible than WCS's one that is both meaningless and a run-on sentence!

From there we (Bob and I, not the Google guy and I!) went to the Tenement Museum where we had a tour booked which told of two families living 50 years apart in the tenement. It had been raining a bit when we went in, but when we came out 90 minutes later it was pouring. It was a deluge of 1.5" and it compelled everyone to want to be on the same subway as us. Nothing like being crowded in with a lot of wet people dripping wet umbrellas around you. Bob and I will admit that we were also wet people dripping wet umbrellas on those around us.

By the time we headed over to "Lion King" the rain had stopped.

Even with damp clothes, it was a wonderful day.

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