A Tuesday in NYC: Meeting St. John and Lady Liberty

On the day we arrived in New York, I received an unexpected – and more than welcome – message from a dear friend asking if we might be able to meet up during my time in the City. Ann and I met over 20 years ago, when I was an accounting temp and she was a secretary for a communications company in Ithaca, New York, and hadn’t seen each other since I moved to Memphis in the fall of 1991. But we’ve stayed in touch, and I’ve followed her progress in the path toward the ministry. She was ordained as an Episcopal priest a couple of years ago, and while her home parish is on Long Island, she was scheduled be in the city celebrating a Mass on Tuesday morning. We made plans to meet for breakfast, with my family in tow, on the Upper West Side. It would be our first trip on the subway!

You may have seen this place before:

It’s not really called Monk’s, the interior is very different from the Seinfeld set, and they serve a pretty good breakfast!

After breakfast, Ann took us down the street to give us a little tour of the famously unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, where she sometimes celebrates Mass in one of the chapels. It’s a beautiful and fascinating place, surprisingly eclectic in style – or perhaps not so surprisingly, since it’s been under construction for over a century – and there are little touches throughout nodding to other faiths and cultures. Ann told us that more of the money the church collects goes to its missions and ministries than to building, so there’s no estimate of its completion date. However, this vibrant faith community has a beautiful, if still incomplete, home. I was thrilled to visit it, especially in the company of my friend. (Note: the better-quality photos were taken by my husband.)

There are peacocks that live on the Cathedral Close. When this white one shed a feather, Spencer picked up a unique souvenir.

We got back on the subway after leaving the Cathedral and rode to the tip of Manhattan Island – we were headed to Battery Park to board the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Like the monuments we visited in Washington, “Liberty Enlightening the World” isn’t done justice by her photos; up close, she’s even more imposing and beautiful. Tall Paul and Spencer made the long climb inside to the statue’s crown; I visited the small museum in the pedestal and didn’t go any higher than its observation deck, but the views from there were pretty good all the same.

Hey, look, it’s the Statue of Liberty!

This cross-beam at the Cathedral and this sphere in Battery Park are both relics from the World Trade Center site, 9/11/2001

Grandma and the kids were ready to call it a day after that, so they stayed at the hotel while Tall Paul and I went back out. We (inadvertently) found our way to Carnegie Hall, and had a terrific dinner across the street at the Brooklyn Diner, where I ate what may have been the best baked mac &  cheese I have ever had!

At  Battery Park, Spencer shares his current reading obsession, the Warriors series. (And yes, Katie’s t-shirt does say “Frak off.”)

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