Another One bites the Dust! . . . with a tandem ride and a sobering visit

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My Bucket List is dwindling! That’s two, practically back to back! Wait . . . does that mean . . . well, I still have many things on it. My wife and I took our adult daughter to New York City for a getaway this week. It was a blast! Well, the trip as a whole, not the city . . .  more on that later. Seeing a Broadway play with Tammy has been on the list from its inception. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is Phantom the longest running production on Broadway, but it was a magnificent production and one of our favorites anyway. Since it was a big thing, we splurged and landed GREAT seats in the center of orchestra, just far enough back to see the entire production and all of the special effects.

New York City is represented on television quite a bit different than actually being there. Yes, there are spectacular things to see and I know it would take more than a week to completely give an educated opinion, but on the surface it is quite dirty and oppressive. I will say that I was quite shocked at how wrong people are about New Yorkers being rude. We had many people help us and were very friendly at our rookie status. As an  example, one total stranger swiped my wife through a subway turnstile when our metro card did not have enough on it. She did it and walked away without a word, much to our telling her how much we appreciated it. The congestion and dirt of the city comes with so many millions of people living in close proximity, but a place like Boston did not give us that same feeling. Piles of trash bags were on every block, putting off a non-attractive aromatic scent, even on blocks of millions-of-dollars brownstone houses. The city as a whole just attacks the senses, overwhelmed them, crushes them, and leaves them whimpering.

IMG_20170627_095424843One of the crown jewels of New York City is Central Park. Take a big city like Atlanta, Georgia, it is a metropolis surrounded by woods. New York City is a metropolis that surrounds a block of woods. Stepping from the city into the park is mesmerizing. Birds are singing and fluttering about, while squirrels scurry in the leaves. My daughter noticed a tandem bicycle for rent and want it for us, so I grabbed it and my wife mounted a single for her. The whole ride was an event that I will take to my grave, as one of my best memories. We all laughed and took pictures, as my daughter “allowed” me to pedal. The park is clean and kept well groomed. There is virtually no trash to speak of, and most everyone in the park is either riding a bicycle or walking. We spent half of the day just cruising around and seeing the beautiful park. There are so many things to see. We all agreed that we could have spent much more time in the park, but we also had other things on our list.

IMG_2882The 9/11 Memorial is something else on which I must comment. We saw many of the sites around the city, but none was more sobering than the site what use to be the Twin Towers. The design of the memorial is incredible to see in person. Water cascading from a square waterfall that use to be the foundation to each building, dropping into a dark square in the middle. The cite is respectfully quiet. Names of the victims are in granite around each memorial square. There is a flower or a flag here or there that has been placed on a name by someone in remembrance of a family member or friend.

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My family and I stood there in silence and looked at the water and the names. Thousands of names of people who died, even a mother or two listed with their unborn child. The tragedy of that day must be remembered by the world, not as an American thing, but the remembrance must be for all those who have died in innocence and honor those who are fighting the fight every, single day to prevent the Islamic terrorist agenda. I noticed even other Muslims, Jews and we Christians were represented at the cite that afternoon. To be honest, was it hard for me not to look at certain people and not wonder if they were there to celebrate the “accomplishment”? Yes, but I did notice a Muslim woman who was softly crying and touching the name of someone on the granite. Emotions that evening were running rampant. I felt anger and sadness, mixed with a flood of others too numerous to list. I am a military veteran and a sheepdog of sorts and passionately loyal to my country. I thought a lot about my family standing there with me and those who were back home. I pray that things will not grow worse due to “tolerance” issues. I pray for my brothers in arms, fighting overseas, and our local protection back home. We cannot lose this fight. It is a fight for generations to come.

So, all in all, the trip to New York City was definitely a trip to remember. The main thing was being with my two favorite women in the world. I am just not set on going back any time soon.

Bon Vélo!

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