Now, nearly six months after the trip, I have uploaded some pictures from each day Kate and I spent in New York in September.
The last day...
We had to spend some more time in Central Park on our last day. We walked from our hotel and tried to spend more time in the middle of the park visiting the highlighted spots on our maps, one of them being this obelisk, which is called Cleopatra's Needle. We took a picture of the inscription near the base that I am reading in the picture below.
The inscription reads, "This obelisk was erected first at Heliopolis, Egypt in 1600 B.C. It was removed to Alexandria in 12 B.C. by the Romans. Presented by the Khedive of Egypt to the City of New York. It was erected here on February 22, 1881 through the generosity of William H. Vanderbilt."
Standing there at the base of that massive piece of stone, or in a world renowned museum full of artifacts from thousands of years ago, it is easy for me to become anesthetized to the significance and age of these artifacts. But occasionally I read a date on a plaque, like the one at the base of Cleopatra's Needle, and the year makes me pause. 1600 B.C. I don't know about you, but I like visualizing the hands that toiled to make the obelisk. They were likely the hands of slaves and that makes me sad, but then I think of the other hands that touched this work of art. Hands of thieves, soldiers, conquerers, and curators and that makes me sad too and confused about the so-called ownership of art. Maybe someone eons ago died in conflict over this obelisk. Maybe someone prayed at the base of it. And now it is in Central Park, a gift from Egypt to one of the greatest cities in the world. Where will it be 3000 years from now?
Walking back to our hotel we ran into barricades set up for the POTUS. Yes, Obama was cruising through NYC unannounced. We found out later that he and former President Bill Clinton were on their way to a memorial at the Lincoln Center for Walter Cronkite. I actually took a video of the presidential motorcade as it passed. It isn't a very good video, but we figured out later on that we must have seen Clinton and Obama in the back of the limo. Clinton's flash of white hair shone easily through the heavily tinted windows of the limo. My favorite part were the SUVs ahead of and behind the limos with SWAT team members hanging off the side with their automatics at the ready. It was a weird sensation standing at that fence knowing that if I jumped over it and took a step toward the motorcade I would be shot dead without any warning.
You know we had to make another stop at the Shake Shack. There is no beating it and there is no beating a five minute wait. We couldn't believe it.
We were cramming in a lot of stops this morning before we flew out. Here is Kate at Washington Arch and the nearby fountains, right next to NYU. I love this picture.
The reading room in the New York Public Library. I just wanted to stop ogling the place and sit down and read a book. To me, this room was the most beautiful room I saw on the entire trip. More magnificent than anything in the Met or St. Patrick's Cathedral. It became more attractive once I heard the silence. You can hear it in a room like this.