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!
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.
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.
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.
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,