Friday, July 12. Thankfully the rain had passed overnight and there was no more in the forecast. I got the blog up around 9am and made my way out.
I took a bus to Journal Square PATH, only made a huge rookie mistake, and got on the bus from the wrong side of the street, therefore going in the wrong direction. And I wasn’t paying attention so didn’t figure it out until my only option was to enjoy the ride until it made the complete loop! Oh well, good thing I wasn’t on a tight schedule.
I was very excited that the World Trade Center line ended underneath Oculus (a major transportation hub which I’ve mentioned in prior entries).
I’d read somewhere that this was designed to look like a bird taking flight, which I can see from this angle.
You had to buy tickets for specific times for the Museum of Jewish Heritage; now I was glad I had picked 11am! I would only be a few minutes late.
This museum was a late addition to my itinerary. One of the (many) guys I met at the Gay and Sober Men’s conference told me about it (I wish I could remember who now!), specifically that there was a special exhibit on Auschwitz. For those of you who have been around for the earlier Europe blogs (2013-15), you know I’ve sought out a lot of material on WW2, so I didn’t want to miss this opportunity while I was here.
This was at the entrance to the exhibit.
The exhibit wasn’t just about Auschwitz, but the whole history of the Jewish struggle dating back to 70 CE. It also provided details of the creation of the Nazi party, starting after WW1 (which, as some of you have heard me say before, you can’t really talk about WW2 without talking about WW1). So it was an extensive, historical exhibit.
I decided early on not to take many photos. It was a crushing exhibit and I realized there was no way I could do it justice. If you have an opportunity, just go. What I did think about was how anyone can deny this happened in the face of overwhelming and soul sucking evidence.
This was one thing I wanted to remember for sure. These were photographs that people sent to Auschwitz had on them when they got there, even though everything else had been taken from them. These were somehow kept in administration files somewhere, and found years later when Auschwitz was being converted into a museum. It made me wonder: who kept them? A Nazi soldier who still had remnants of humanity left inside of him?
I was there about 2 hours. It was more than enough. I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the Village (Greenwich and West) again so made my way there via subway.
On my way to the subway.
This used to be known as the Brooklyn-Battery bridge. It’s the longest span of underwater vehicular bridge in the country at just under two miles.
I got off the subway at 14th St and went in search of one last pizza stop for this trip.
This was at 13th St and 8th Ave, in Google as a “small, nothing-fancy local pizzeria.” Perfect!
From here I really just wandered. I sort of made a point of going by every public park space I came across on the map as I did so.
I had walked by this before from the other direction sometime last week, but hadn’t noticed what it was until Jonathan took me here after the meeting on Monday. Note the tree is covered in a rainbow sweater. And that both the flag and the sweater include brown and black stripes, expanding the diversity representation of the flag.
This is an amazing center with over 20 different support groups meeting here each day. There’s also a nice coffee shop, with both indoor and outdoor seating. I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos of the inside or outside since there was so many people about and that might not go over well. That fig bar, by the way, was a thing of beauty.
This is a park in a triangle formed by 12th St, 7th Ave, and Greenwich Ave.
These run alongside the Greenwich Ave section of the Memorial.
This is at the corner of Greenwich and 12th. This location was picked because it’s across from the old St. Vincent’s hospital, which was at the center of the early epidemic, as featured in “Angels in America”. That’s a lovely, soothing fountain in the middle. While not easy to see in this photo, the ground is fully inscribed with lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
Bleecker Street starts just below Abingdon Square. Since I keep coming across it this trip, I decided to walk the whole thing. So glad I did. It might be the most interesting street I’ve come across in all of my travels. There was a wide variety of shops, many of them quirky, and incredible people watching opportunities as well. Just a few photos of the many I took.
From nycgovparks.org: The popular West Village square is named for Father Antonio Demo, who was appointed the pastor of the nearby Our Lady of Pompeii church in 1900 and served the community for more than 30 years
This is MacDougal street where it intersects Bleecker. I’d never seen so many different kinds of restaurants in one place before. In just one block you could have: burgers, Italian, Ethiopian, Indian, Egyptian, a Berlin Doner (which is really sort of Turkish), playa bowls (fresh fruit, smoothies, etc.), crepes, Mexican, Vietnamese, pizza, and Japanese. One block. And those were just the ones I noticed.
My favorite? Insomnia Cookies. “Warm, fresh cookies delivered until 3am.” You really can get just about anything you want at any time in NYC.
It was now about 5:30pm. I’d thought about doing a number of things – seeing another off Broadway show, going up to “the top of the Rock” at Rockefeller Center as examples. In the end I was more in the mood to wind down, and realized I’ve “lived” in Jersey City for 2 weeks and had never been downtown. So that’s where I headed.
I picked up the PATH train at 9th Street and got off at Grove St in Jersey City.
That banner says “Groove on Grove” announcing a music event along Grove Street, which is filled with restaurants and bars, and is running across the intersection in this photo so you can’t really see it.
There were several blocks of “pedestrian plaza” which I always appreciate, filled with a wide variety of nightlife and food.
This is a gay focused restaurant/lounge on the rooftop of 128 Christopher Columbus Street, which intersects Grove at the center of downtown. It is named Six 26 in honor of June 26, 2015, when the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
It was about 7:30pm and I was officially done. I took a Lyft back to the house because from this particular spot it would have taken 2 buses to get there. Luckily I had earned credits from prior Lyft rides and it only cost me the $2 tip!
I have to check out of here by Noon but my flight is at 6pm. What was I thinking? Good thing I will have lounge access. I will start – and hopefully finish! – my traditional “final thoughts” entry from there.
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