Tripp shot this as he dropped us off at Dulles - the most beautiful and serene airport in the world - to catch our 6:30 am flight to JFK airport.
Is this amazing or what? I can't believe the doors that open for Jonny wherever he goes! I asked if I could take a picture of him in front of the cockpit and the captain went me one better: he got up and gave Jonny his seat.
Jonny with co-pilot.
Jonny with the pilot before giving him back his seat so he could get us there :) Here he is with the pilot himself. This was Jonny's first flight. He loved every minute - laughed so appreciatively when we took off. For many people we met, I think Jonny brightened their day.
Instead of offering him a choice of snacks, the stewardess magnanimously gave him one of each!
Getting off at JFK airport - we were on a small plane, the old-fashioned kind where you come down the stairs onto the tarmac and get matched up with your suitcase right there.
I love New York! It is so easy to get around here. We took AirTrain from the airport and hooked up with the subway to Times Square. The subway was crowded and very, very colorful! Here's Jonny in front of a graffiti-d window.
It was a long ride to Times Square. Jonny was feeling pretty excited about all the adventures to come.
Engine Company 54 is the is the fire station located in the Broadway district. This is a memorial plaque to the firefighters who gave their lives on 9/11.
Under the frieze.
Mural on the red roll-up door.
Same fire company, another memorial - this one with fresh cut roses. I was wondering if they came from the florist across the street and if this was an ongoing tribute to the fallen men.
Jonny hams it up with murals from Hairspray, the musical.
The theater district is amazing - musicals everywhere.
Someone just cast him now, please.
Oh, the hat - Jonny bought it at the first store we passed. It became his signature look for the three days.
Start spreadin' the news. . . .
Jonny befriends a bird - and a pretzel.
Trying to lure the pigeon - "Mmmm, great pretzel."
Everyone has a racket to make money. Jonny put something in the tip bag, I snapped a shot.
Skating at Rockefeller Center. I thought it was just in winter - is it all the time? The man in the middle is about 75 years old, but was having a better time than anyone else!
75 and still dancing on ice :)
The Rockefeller Center is full of Art Deco sculpture. murals, friezes - all in homage to American industrialism and capitalism.
This St. Francis above a doorway seemed really out of place with the surrounding materialist themes. Love the birds forming a halo.
St. Patrick's Cathedral - seat of the archdiocese of New York. I took this shot above the scaffolding surrounding the lower part of the building.
Looking up from the front steps - that's a piece of scaffolding at the bottom.
These are the front doors (interrupted by a piece of temporary scaffolding) - Jesus with the apostles at the top.
The front doors depict six saints from New York.
Across the street from St. Patrick's cathedral is a piece of Rockefeller Center art typical of the humanist theme. Interesting juxtaposition.
This is station 8 of the Stations of the Cross at St. Patrick's. The interior was absolutely awesome, but this was the only picture I took. Though photos are allowed, I just felt uncomfortable taking them. You will just have to see St. Patrick's for yourself if you ever go to New York - you will be glad you did.
New York has a heavy Catholic population, so there's a lot of excitement about Pope Benedict's arrival. These banners were flying from lamp posts.
Fifth Avenue is lined with jewelry stores and full of hustle and bustle. And lots of Hasidic jewelers conducting business and sometimes smoking cigarettes - which surprised me.
We went to Toys R Us, which has a huge four-story elevator inside the building. Each basket is something special to kids: Mr. Potato Head, Sesame Street, Scooby-Doo, Barbie, etc. Jonny had to ride alone because I am terrified of ferris wheels - no kidding, the two times I've been on one, I've panicked and screamed until they let me off. So Jonny posed and I took pictures.
Everywhere you look, there is advertising.
It is so hyper-stimulating - an adrenaline rush just walking down the street.
How can you take it all in?
Day two in New York started out with breakfast at McD's (saving money and Jonny loves it anyway), a cab ride to Battery Park and this sighting of a mounted policeman.
Like I said, everyone has a way to make money. This guy is painted with something that makes him look like the Statue of Liberty. Leave a tip, take a picture.
We waited in line to buy tickets for the Ferry, then waited in lone for the ferry - all in all, about 90 minutes. But there are lots of acts to keep you amused and spending money :) Here is Jonny as we bot near the front of the line before going inside for security checks before boarding the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. See it in the background?
On the ferry. Such a dramatic scene for immigrants to see as they entered the harbor.
Makes me want to cry. Our country was built on such noble concepts.
We didn't get off at the Statue of Liberty, as I've been there several times and we were too late to go inside the Statue. So we stayed on the ferry to Ellis Island, which I've never been able to see because of stopping at the SoL. Here is the view of Manhattan from the ferry between the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Jonny took this. I wouldn't publish it for any other reason :)
An exhibit just inside the entrance. I could tell we were in for a moving experience.
A really cool exhibit about how the melting pot of our culture has produced unparalleled richness in our language.
If this whets your appetite for more, read The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson - I'll blog more about this incredible book.
This was the great hall through which up to 5,000 immigrants a day were processed as they entered the United States.
I can't begin to describe the richness of the exhibits at Ellis Island. This was from a collection of memorabilia from countries people were longing to leave to find better opportunities in America.
From an exhibit of states encouraging immigration.
Hard to believe how these inducements worked to populate our country.
Anti-Catholicism has deep roots.
A pro-immigration editorial cartoon from the magazine Judge. Look closely.
Love this explanation from the artist about his tribute to his mother: "She had no time to become neurotic."
Family Supper by Ralph Fasinella - a tribute to the hardworking mother of an immigrant family.
Jonny leaving Ellis Island.
Asked a German man to snap this picture.
Battery Park. The two men and a woman in orange pants have an act. The one on the left had lined up "volunteers" from the audience and after ten minutes of banter had negotiated a running somersault over the line-up. I tried to catch him mid-jump, but wasn't fast enough. Jonny loved this. And talked to each one personally afterwards. Whenever he met anyone, he finished by making the telephone sign and saying, "Call me."
Jonny on the subway again. There were seats, but he wanted to hang on to the pole :)
I think what was strange was not seeing many reminders of Christianity. This jacket stood out.
Time for dinner - then home to get ready for the show.
The Majestic Theater, where we will see Phantom of the Opera. I had splurged with my American Express rewards points - which had been accumulating because I never really noticed them (thank you, God!) - and we had tickets in the SECOND row! No one was sitting in the front row so we were right there practically part of the play.
Jonny studying the program.
I am standing at my seat to take this picture of the orchestra pit.
This is the set for the opening scene, an auction which takes place 40 years after the events in the play.
One of those "Look, Ma, we took this ourselves!" shots.
Knowing that Jonny's experience of Phantom of the Opera would not be complete without meeting the actors, after the show, I asked a theater worker where the stage door was. Godd thing I asked as I never would have found it otherwise. It was clear around on the opposite side of the block. It was raining, but we rushed around to find this inauspicious exit for the actors. At the end of the hall there are signs and arrows for stage doors from three theaters that merge into this very undignified regress - piled high on either side with trash and dirty linens from the hotel above. What a humbling experience for the stars that just finished shining on stage.
When you see the actors after the show, you can hardly believe they are the same larger-than-life figures you just spent a couple hours with. This was Christine - the female lead. She had a big voice and a big heart. When I told her we had come to celebrate Jonny's 16th birthday, she was so sweet. She autographed Jonny's program with a silver pen - and told us the Phantom would be coming out soon, we would be able to know it was him because he wears glasses and comes out with his dog.
And here he comes.
He was also wonderfully sweet to Jonny. Are actors the nicest people in the world or what?
Day Three and we are towing our suitcases with us as we search for breakfast before going to church and then going home. We didn't stop at Hershey's, but Jonny wanted me to take this picture.
This is a window at Colony Music, a really famous place - well, famous with people who love music.
The Actors' Chapel is in the heart of the Broadway district. They even have an 11 PM Saturday night Mass for actors getting off work. Jonny and I were going to the 12:15 daily Mass.
It's called the Actors' Chapel, but it's really like a small church.
I've added light, so this doesn't really capture the tender darkness inside. Really unique: the angled pews and the baptism font in the center. During the homily, the priest came down and walked in the aisle as he talked. The daily reading was about the Egyptian eunuch and he reminded us that there were always people seeking, what a miracle it was in a time when Scripture was not in plentiful supply that Phillip found this man reading and was able to answer his questions. The priest reminded us that we live in a world filled with people like that seeker, and we are called to be ready with answers.
Our last subway ride - back to Jamaica Center where we switched to AirTrain which spills out at JFK. We were the happy travelers!