Friday, June 25, 2010

First Full Day in NYC

This day was an adventurous one! We woke up early to catch our 7:35 AM train to see Bard. Unfortunately the train actually left at 7:05 so we missed it. Because we missed the Bard Experience, we had extra time before Vassar to see more of New York. We ate breakfast to feed our souls and eventually decided on visiting the Empire State Building. We went up to the 80th something floor and my, what a view! I loved being able to walk all around the deck to see all of New York, part of New Jersey and we could even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. I probably walked around the observation deck about four times because I simply could not get enough of the scenery.
Next we took our train from Penn Station to Poughkeepsie to visit and learn about Vassar College. Vassar’s campus was absolutely beautiful. Something that stuck out about the college was their dorm system where it is both co-ed and co-class to create a sense of family.
After Vassar we took the train back to Penn Station where we walked to our fine dining location: Oceana Restaurant. Again, this was a great choice by Mr. Ramsey. We toasted to the “funders” of both our trip and our meals like this one. Thanks to all of you for such a great dining experience.

After being around New York for a day and a half, here are some quick observations:
1. A lot of the public restrooms don’t have toilet seat covers. This is a weird thing to mention but I find it most odd. I guess on the West Coast we have a lot more germaphobes.
2. Since there are so many people walking around Times Square, foot traffic behaves just like car traffic; people walk on their rights and if someone is in the wrong lane or stops when they shouldn’t others honk.
3. The New York area is full of history. Last night’s restaurant, Keen’s Steakhouse, was over a hundred years old and had pipes used and signed by many historical people; there was a sign in Poughkeepsie pointing to FDR’s home; numerous buildings on Vassar’s campus were referred to as historical landmarks. It’s really remarkable how New York preserves and innovates

1 comment:

  1. Michelle,

    Here's a heads up for you about the differences between different cultures: in many other places in the world--and I understand that many places back East are included--they simply don't have any germs. Either that or they've all been infected so many times over the years that they're immune from most bacterial infections. Thus, no need for such things as seat covers, even regular soap and mouth filters to keep their profanity from coursing through the air. :-)

    When foot traffic becomes such an integral part of the culture the culture develops their own set of rules and the locals all seem to know what they are.

    When in Buenos Aires a few years back I couldn't help but notice a few things. Two of them had to do with traffic.

    First, their vehicles couldn't operate without the constant honking of their horns. Even the most inconsequential thing demanded a lengthy honk of the horn. That was a tough one to get used to.

    Second, the vehicles and the pedestrians had a symbiotic relationship with each other. Pedestrians would step out into the street and the vehicles wouldn't even slow down yet no one seemed to get in each other's way. I sat back and watched this for more than an hour and never saw an incident. It was as though the pedestrians knew when they could step out and the drivers knew that they could wash off the pedestrians if their timing was off.

    It was an interesting lesson in how different cultures do things.

    Even here in the Bay Area, go into a BART station and try standing on the left hand side of the escalator. Real commuters already know that those wanting to stand still will do so on the right hand side while those wanting to bound up the moving escalator as if it was a moving staircase had the free reign of the left side to do this. The same is true with the people movers in airports.

    We find a problem and then we find a solution to that problem.

    Where we run into difficulties, though, is when we have a stranger to the system that was never taught the rules of engagement and the hardened veterans show no mercy.