“I’m in a New York state of mind.”

LIFE IN GENERAL – I listened to Billy Joel’s song this past week and feel like I understand it for the first time ever.  There is definitely a state of mind that you fall into living here.  Not sure if it is the pace, the activity, or just the general spirit and excitement of the city.  It feels invigorating AND challenging at the same time.

The week was generally quiet.  The beginning of the week was beautiful with a couple cool days and hardly any humidity.  By Wednesday, that was gone though and the heat and humidity were back up to uncomfortable levels.  

FOOD –  My adventure with food this week involved a trip to Katz Delicatessen. Their story starts “Back in 1888 a small deli by the name of Iceland Brothers was established on Ludlow Street in New York’s Lower East Side by the Iceland brothers. Upon the arrival of Willy Katz in 1903, the name of the store was officially changed to “Iceland & Katz”. Willy’s cousin Benny joined him in 1910, buying out the Iceland brothers to officially form Katz’s Delicatessen.”  

I went there after church, arriving around 1:00 pm only to find a long line outside.  I’m told there is always a line at Katz Deli.  So you wait in the line outside and then you wait in another line inside with a meat cutter who cuts the meat and prepares your sandwich.  Oh my was it good.  I had a Reuben that was too big to eat.  You really need to go there in a group.  

The famous pickles . . . yum!
You can’t really see how big this sandwich is . . . I could not get it in my mouth.
I opened the sandwich – look at all that meat!


CHURCH:  My place of worship this week was Calvary St. George’s Episcopal Church on the lower east side of Manhattan. It is a beautiful church.  The homily was fabulous and the pianist and soloist were wonderful.  A perfect Sunday service.

According to the church website, “The life of a parish is like the life of a family, and the parish of Calvary, St. George’s, and Holy Communion in the City of New York traces its roots to 1749 when Trinity Church established the Chapel of St. George’s on Beekman Street in lower Manhattan.  Over the years, the congregation developed in strength, until in 1811 it became a self-supporting parish of the Episcopal Church. In 1846, St. George’s moved to Stuyvesant Square.”  

Notice the projection of information on the front wall. Beautiful interior. I love these old churches.


THE TENEMENT MUSEUM – After lunch I walked a ways to Chinatown and made a stop at The Tenement Museum.  Now that was a find.  I took one of their tours and learned about working women of the time.  

These are the tenement houses still standing today.
This is across the street from The Tenement Museum and the ads on the buildings are from the 1900s. Many of the businesses are still there and operating.


LADY LIBERTY – The heat is back and humidity came with it.  Looks like the week ahead will continue with temps in the 80’s and humidity in upper levels. 

ELLIS ISLAND – Day 2 at Ellis Island is complete.  I’m learning so much and am enjoying my time there.

ARGOSY BOOKSTORE -Argosy Book Store, founded in 1925, is now in its third generation of family ownership. The oldest and only remaining family owned bookstore in NYC.


THE WHITNEY MUSEUM –  The Whitney Museum of American Art was incredible.  I found it interesting although I must admit my art appreciation has some challenges.  I often feel overwhelmed by the piece or feel little if any understanding of the piece.  I shared that with an artist I met and she offered me some suggestions.  Art, she says, is not something everyone will like.  However, if you can focus on one part of the piece and appreciate that it will help.   Look at the technique the artist used or maybe their choice of colors or even the style of the presentation.  Concentrate on appreciating that first.  Worry less about understanding the actual piece if it feels overwhelming.  Just focus on the small parts.  Great advice and I can’t wait to try this out at my next museum stop.

MAIL – Thanks for all the mail this week.  You really made my week!  Amber, Kyle, Anna, Katie, Dana, Jack, and Luke.  And thanks to those of you who called.  What a treat to hear from friends and family.  

Here are a couple random family pictures and shout outs to my grandkids who started (or will start) school this week.  The only one missing is Michaela, who is busy starting her senior year in high school.

Thomas (Melissa’s son) packing to leave for Renssalear Polytechnic and his first year of college.
Jennifer’s boys (Luke, Jack and Reid) got new t-shirts for their first day of school. In honor of their Grammy they work Statue of Liberty shirts! That’s my boys. Jack and Luke are in 9th grade and Reid is in his 3rd year at Oklahoma State.


Have a wonderful week.   Forgive any typos or grammatical errors please.

Hugs to all,  Mara





It’s the halfway point . . . only 7 weeks left in NYC

EMBARRASSING REALITIES – I’ve actually been really good this week!  Grace followed me around and there were no spills, falls, or face plants! However, I did share this gift with my grandson Jack.  He inherited his grace from his Granny and I am so sorry about that.  As he was getting ready to get on the bus for his 2nd day of school this week he fell and skidded under the bus steps. He’s doing well now though as he brushed himself off and went back to school the following day!





FOOD – It was a quiet week foodwise other than the Danish bakery I found! Lagkagehuset is a Danish bakery chain with over 100 branches in Denmark, London, and New York City.  It was founded in the 1990s and it is incredible.  These types of special places are all over here.  You just never know what golden treasure you will find around the next corner.  I love that about NYC.  The cinnamon role missing was mine.  And it was sooooooooo good.  They are called Cinnamon Swirls and the thin layers of pastry flake with every bite! 







Spotted Lanternfly –  Remember this from last week.  Here are the tracking kills . . .







CHURCH:  My place of worship this week was St. Clements.  Their website provides: “Welcome to St. Clement’s Episcopal Church – A congregation that has always celebrated the ministry of women, of gay and lesbian people, and those of all walks of life; a longtime center of service to the poor, celebrating social activism and creative liturgy, we are one of the most diverse Episcopal parishes in New York City.  St. Clement’s celebrates and serves the theatre district community, symbolized by our famous Mass in the Theatre (most Sundays). We remain the third oldest, continually operating Off Broadway Theatre in New York City.”













What a quaint little church and a very welcoming group.  The sanctuary is on the 2nd floor of the building, and they are able to continue operations due to income received from their theatre rentals.  You’ll notice in the pictures of the front of the church that this Sunday was the final showing of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in their theatre.  The congregation was small (only 6 of us this day) plus 2 choir members and a pianist.  However small, they were mighty as they sang and played with gusto.  I am happy to have had this experience. 

LADY LIBERTY –  This week Liberty Island went from unbearable heat to the most beautiful of breezy waterfront days. Check out one of the Ferries coming into the dock on a beautiful breezy day.









One thing I will share with you this week has to do with our wonderful visitors.  These people make us who we are and their interest in the monument allow us to continue doing what we do.  We appreciate and respect them and I’ve yet to see an exasperated ranger.  However, I have been an exasperated Volunteer.  Allow me to share some insights.  As we begin our day the arrivals are happy, calm, eager to see the Lady and visit the museum. 







The original torch as it now stands in the new museum.












My first station is the Torch Room on most days and I stand ready to answer questions about the original Torch on display in the room and the replica of Liberty’s face mounted on the wall.  There are many pleasant conversations with guests as they learn about these items.  As the day progresses, the conversations lessen and the need for direction increases.  You see, there is no food or drink allowed in the museum (can you think of a museum that even allows food or drink inside the building?) nor can you climb on any of the exhibits. 

It seems the parents begin to close that mindful eye and kids begin climbing on the rails, trying to enter the exhibit by going under the rails (normally 2–3-year-olds along with an occasional crawler let loose on the floor), or the adult who decided the rail is really a bench and climbs to sit and relax a bit. “I’m sorry” I say “but you are not allowed to sit on the rails.  It can be dangerous, and we want to protect you and the exhibit.”  Those words are met with apologies, blank stares, or simple disgust that you would dare say such a thing to them.  I continue to smile and move along.

By afternoon, poor Lady Liberty’s face has been slapped, smacked, kissed, and thousands of pictures have been taken with heads and hands up her nose.  I did have to ask the parents of a 4-year-old to remove her from the face as she was using Liberty’s lips as a climbing platform.  They were not pleased with me.  (We always try to find a parent first to address as opposed to the child as that never seems to go well.)

The same is true for food & drink.  More open cup lemonades find their way into the museum requiring direction.  Again, apologies, blank stares, or just ignoring your words seems to work equally well amongst them.  Food issues are rare until the 3-4ish crowd when you’ll see children carrying open bags of chips, some folks trying to have a picnic inside the building (it is air conditioned, so I guess that makes it the most desirable location), or the occasional muffin coming straight out of the backpack for an afternoon snack. 

So, the next time you go to a museum where there is a ranger or volunteer available, ask them a question.  That’s what they are there for and that’s what they love doing.  And be sure to thank them for all the work they do with a smile on their face to maintain the exhibits.  And please, no food or drink inside the museum. Ha!

ELLIS ISLAND – My first day on Ellis Island was last Thursday.  To start my day there I met Charlie DeLeo, known as the keeper of the flame.  He climbed the torch every day and completed maintenance of the torch from 1972 to 2002 with no harness. And then, after retirement, followed this as a Volunteer for the next 22 years. He definitely loves Lady Liberty and what she represents. 

Charlie cleaning the glass on the torch
Charlie cleaning the new torch installed in 1986.



















Click on following for a video about Charlie:  Charlie DeLeo Video











Ellis Island or Liberty Island?  Which do I like better? –  There is a very distinct difference between Liberty and Ellis Islands.  Not only is the pace slower (only about 30% of visitors who come to Liberty Island make a stop at Ellis Island), but the amount of information Rangers can share is greater because it is so much less chaotic there.  You may find this difficult to believe but not all people are interested in the history of our country or the history of immigration. 


My first day there was all about learning the mechanics – – – how this and that works, where to go to find x or y, and, naturally, where the restrooms are!  There are lots of questions about the Wall of Honor (which I learned is a donation based wall that anyone can be listed on for a donation) and the “Book” many think exists with the signatures of the immigrants.  Unfortunately there is no “book” with signatures.  There are records of immigrants from 1892-1924 maintained by the American Family Information History Center (AFIHC) and anyone can search these records here at Ellis Island or online at https://www.statueofliberty.org/discover/passenger-ship-search/






The Hard Hat Tour, which is talked about with great respect, is a walking tour of the Hospital area of the island.  The tour is $50 which goes to the restoration fund to upgrade these buildings. I hope to attend one of these this week or next. 











Now that I am ‘trained’, I will go there every Thursday and learn more and more I am certain.  Because of the slower pace there, it is a great opportunity to glean more information from the Rangers who have a huge depth of knowledge after the history of this island and immigration as it occurred in the past.  I also find it interesting and enlightening to gather their thoughts on immigration today.  All in all, an incredible learning opportunity for me.

 WEATHER – Finally, a reprieve!  “HELL” arrived early in the week with temps near 100 (and heat indexes over 100). I know I live in Texas but I must say this is a different heat and it was miserable!  By Thursday though it had cooled and we had a wonderful end of the week.  Temps in the low 70’s for the morning walk and the high didn’t go beyond the upper 80’s with a very nice breeze.  I was happy to be walking the streets of NYC again.

MAIL – Daughter Melissa,  who never fails to send me a card or package each week,  sent a mug that says “MAMA” to me this week and I just love it.  The little things can warm your heart and make being away so much better.  You’d think I was too old to be homesick but not true.  I thank her and everyone else for their calls and notes.  You make it so much easier for me to do and enjoy these crazy adventures.  I appreciate you ALL more than you know.  

Have a wonderful week.  I’m off today and am heading off to see the Whitney Museum of Art and find a new lunch place to try.  Hugs to all,





Life Continues in NYC as I learn more and more along the way . . .

EMBARRASSING REALITIES – Thank goodness there have been none this week.  However, there has been a little residual effect from last week’s fall.  Apparently, I fell harder than I thought and ended up with a large bruise down my shin.  It got painful enough that by Thursday evening I knew I needed to take a day or two off to rest.  I called in sick on Friday and went to urgent care (something I wasn’t counting on during this New York experience!).

I found a newly opened urgent care location just one block away from my room and they were great.  Super friendly people, kind and considerate, and very thorough.  The doctor didn’t look older than 18 but she knew her stuff.  Good news, nothing more than a deep bruise for which rest, elevation and ice should repair in 2-4 days.

I’m on my fourth day in my very small room, finding ways to elevate the leg (suitcases work great), and using a zip lock bag full of ice for icing.  Watching old movies and reading to fill the hours and it is beginning to look and feel better.  I went on a ‘test-walk’ this afternoon and while it still swells some the pain is pretty much gone.  An ace bandage wrap is doing the trick and I plan on returning to work tomorrow. 

Feels so much worse than it looks! This was last Friday at Urgent Care.


Urgent Care facility


BROOKLYN – Last Monday I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Walking across wasn’t a problem.  The problem was finding the entrance to get on it!  Between construction and a very remote, somewhat hidden entrance I walked by twice before stopping to ask policeman and street worker to help me find it.  

The stairway up to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Everywhere I go seems to have multi flights of steps to climb!














Walking along the bridge. As you can tell it was a fine misty rain all day.
The car lanes are below and to my right as I cross the bridge.
Really foggy so I did not get good pictures of the New York and New Jersey coastlines.
Plaques recognizing the bridge and its builders.

















Also, in case you did not know this, ETSY is headquartered in Brooklyn!







FOOD – Once I arrived in Brooklyn I stopped for lunch at a Bistro where I had the best burger and fries ever!   Only $30 and I didn’t mind.  It was really good!

Brooklyn Bistro







And just for grins . . . I thought Brooklyn had some lovely green grass!













Spotted Lanternfly – This invasive species is a threat to trees, plants, etc.  It excretes a gross residue that can turn to mold and leaves a sticky substance which becomes slipper when stepped upon.  Plus, they stink!  We are asked to kill them when possible and there is a ranger contest going on at Liberty to see who kills the most!  Take a look at one below:

Spotted Lanternfly






CHURCH: I was a Youtube attendee again today at my home church this week.  So glad they are online as my need for rest and elevation required online church yesterday.  

LADY LIBERTY – This past week I was able to rove inside the pedestal on my own and learned even more about this wonderful monument.  Did you know:

  • Liberty is 305 feet tall and weighs 225 tons.
  • The water around the statue is 62 feet deep.
  • Visitors could actually walk up all the way to the torch until July 30, 1916.
  • Lightning strikes the torch an average of 600 times each year.
  • It is 215 steps to the pedestal and an additional 592 steps to the crown.

ELLIS ISLAND – This week I will add a new adventure as I begin spending Thursdays on Ellis Island.  I am really looking forward to this and the chance to learn more about the Immigration Museum and Research Library.  I’ll be taking a hard had tour of the island this week or next, not sure yet.

WEATHER – Today is HOT HOT HOT and HUMID HUMID HUMID!  A little rain yesterday just added steam to the mix.   This past week was another hot and humid one.   Expectations are for rain to follow me this week through Thursday with highs in the 90’s, and high humidity levels.   I really am looking forward to September and some cooler weather with much lower humidity levels.

MAIL – I’m giving a huge shout out to my Aunt Jane for the crossword puzzle books she sent.  I got them today and am really enjoying the break to work the old brain!  What a great idea!  Thanks Jane.

Hugs and love coming your way,  Mara