Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our 2013 American Trip: Columbia University, NYC

First of all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my American friends.  I can't think of anything that makes me happier than being thankful.  I'm thankful for you who stop by to read and comment.

May your cup runneth over with Joy, Love and Laughter.
(image from our Brooklyn Bridge day in NYC, last post)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The very next day (October 8), after blustery, misty weather on the Brooklyn Bridge, we awakened to glorious sunshine.  This was the day earmarked for our walk to Columbia University from Robin's apartment at 72nd and Riverside 116th Street.  On a beautiful day, you can walk forever!

It's called the Upper West Side.
We didn't walk along the river but you get the gist.
And we took our good ol' lazy time.

You know me and architecture!  
See what I mean about a glorious day?

As we say, it's all in the details.
(I always try to get the forest and the or the other of which I sometimes miss.)
The brownstones.  The brownstones.  It wasn't hard to spot them.

But it was the water towers I feasted on that morning walk.
Did I hear there is talk now to start covering them? 
The low-down on NYC's 10-15,000 wooden water towers is here.

Do you like to people watch?  You've come to the right place.

No matter where you go, there you friendly NYC!

How friendly is that!  See what I mean?

And suddenly we were outside the gates of Columbia University from 1754.
It's NY's oldest institution of higher education, and the nation's 5th oldest.
On Amsterdam Avenue...of all places!

And why there, you ask?
Because my mom got her Master's there in 1939, that's why!  
I wanted to see what she saw.

Almost immediately, after passing through the gates, you see Low Memorial Library.
It's the administrative center of the university, built in 1895.

Inside was where I got directions to the university archives, to find my mom.  
That was my goal for the day:  Find Mom's name in print!

And that would be directly across the campus in the Butler Library, from 1934.
You get a great point of view on it from the steps of the Low Memorial Library.

And there...EUREKA!  I found it, finally, with the help of this nice lady.
It took some doing.  I even called sister Ruth at Michigan State.  HELP.

Barbara Nelson Bennett
She graduated in 1939 with a Masters in Music Education from the Teacher's College.
She had graduated from Smith College in 1937 with a History degree.
She was always a woman ahead of her time.

As we walked around campus that morning, I had tears in my eyes, thinking of her.
(center image is from Astrid)

1939 seems like forever ago but I 'spect some of this was there for Mom to see.
The Scholar's Lion statue was presented to the school in 2004 by alumus and sculptor Greg Wyatt.
I bet Mom would have loved it...since the school's mascot is Roaree the Lion.

And did she ever step foot in this St. Paul's Chapel, dedicated in 1907?
So many questions I'd love to ask her now that I've been there!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On that note, we walked down Amsterdam Ave. from Columbia University to the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 1892..and first found a café across the street where we ate lunch.

After lunch, we first stopped at the Peace Fountain next to the cathedral.
The sculptor is the same Greg Wyatt who made the Scholar's Lion above, at Columbia!

The sunken plaza of the fountain was its own outdoor cathedral, basking in the sun.
We could have stayed there for hours...but we had miles to go....

The entrance to the cathedral reminded me of the grand cathedrals of Europe.
Right there in NYC!

No wonder Robin knew we'd want to see it!

And as if to plant a seal of approval on the day thus far,
this wife-n-wife wedding party greeted us as we left the cathedral...

...and made our way to the High Line (to be continued).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our 2013 American Trip: Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

Back to NYC again from when we visited Robin at the beginning of October!  I already showed you our day in Central Park.  The next day, Monday, October 7, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge...something Astrid had already done in 2008, but a first for me.

Of course, we had to get there and so saw a lot beforehand.
It's not just the destination, you know!

Once we saw the Brooklyn Bridge sign, we could almost taste it.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of America's oldest suspension bridges, completed in 1883.
It spans the East River, connecting the buroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The upper level is for pedestrians/bikers only.

Talk about a photo-op!
Everyone wants to get in on the action.

It was so blustery, with some mist, we almost blew off the bridge.

Even Lady Liberty hung on for dear life, at the beginning of the government shutdown.
And don't forget the Jehovah's Witnesses and their iconic sign for NYC.

But I especially loved the Manhattan Bridge on the other side, open since 1909.

See how close the two bridges are!  They could easily hold hands.
(image by David Shankbone)

And guess what!  Yes!

Enough love padlocks to sink a ship.
But not nearly as many as on the bridge in Köln when we saw them in March!

Once we crossed the bridge and were now in Brooklyn, we discovered we were in DUMBO:
Down Under the Manhatthan Bridge Overpass.
At ground level we could look up to both bridges.

Robin knew we'd want to see Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park,
 even though it wasn't open.
We were even privy to a wedding photo-op nearby.

As we walked to where we'd eat lunch, we had another photo-op of art-slash-graffiti.

Who says this isn't art...or that it's boring (top-right).

In fact, there is art of some sort everywhere you look in NYC!

Even where we ate lunch, I was more interested in the photo-op
than what we ate...apparently!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Fully replenished from lunch, we headed to the NY Public Library...

...taking the subway from Brooklyn back to Manhattan.

The New York Public Library is America's second largest, behind the Library of Congress,
and the third largest in the world.

Once again, Robin knew exactly what we'd want to see!
Totally worth the time it took on our way home.

Impressions.  Impressions.  Impressions.
Oh, and did I mention George Gershwin used to live in the same building as Robin?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Weekend Here with Philine

You know the drill.  Put on your seatbelt and fly through this with me.  Many of you are starting to recognize these places...that you, too, will see if you ever come to visit us....

Which dear Philine did this past weekend!  She's one of our Shutterchance bloggers with whom we have contact almost every day.  That's saying something!

I picked her up at our train station last Friday at noon, just a 10-minute walk away.
Astrid was still at work but was home by 4p for her spinach tart supper!
We even watched "Mamma Mia!" that of our favorite movies.

We woke up to fog on Saturday morning and decided we didn't care.
We did our citadel walk regardless and saw everything with new eyes.

Philine is such a trooper!

And so adorable!

In spite of the fog, we weren't the only ones out-n-about.
Remember that water surrounds our citadel, so we get to see these delights while walking.

It really was foggy!
A photographer's paradise.

Since Philine is our Shutterchance Wiki brainiac, it's appropriate that she knew the artist,
Jan van Munster, who created the Brainwave sculpture in the canal below (not pictured). 

It so happend that Sinterklaas entered Gorinchem that morning before we got to the inside harbor.
Seeing the little Black Petes took on new meaning with all the controversy this year.
(sigh!  we won't even go there!)

The festivities were over by the time we got there....but that was okay by us.
Everything was calm at the harbor.

And still foggy!
De Hoop windmill is still a symbol of...well...of Hope, no matter what.

 The stillness was a balm to the soul.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Once the citadel walk was done, we went to eat lunch at one of our favorite cafés, the Metropole, and then got in the car for a short drive across the Merwede river.... our sister city, Woudrichem.
I am such a glutton for any city with harbors, especially on a foggy day!

Here, too, were Black Petes, ready to help Sinterklaas arrive in their harbor at 5p.
(center image by Astrid)

Because it was getting late and the fog had not lifted...
we decided to high-tail it to Loevestein Castle before it closed at 5.
We could barely see it!  Seriously.

But we did get to put Philine in the stocks before leaving.
What a good sport!

That evening we ate ertwensoep for a light supper and then watched "Calendar Girls." 
We sure know how to pick the movies, right?!  :)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The next day, Sunday, was our day to drive out into the polder....

We told Philine she could stop the car on a dime any time she wished.
Besides the sheep, she LOVED the willows.

I was the one who wanted to stop for the doves and the chickens...

...and the white herons that are so rare here in the Netherlands!
These images are not good images but they're from 1200mm out!!!  Each time Astrid stopped the car,
they flew away and then landed where they felt "safe" far away from me.  HA!

We stopped in Nieuwpoort long enough for a short walk around the center.

I even "eavesdropped" on two neighborhhood ladies.
(click any collage to enlarge)

And then, yes, of course, we ended up at our favorite pannenkoeken restaurant for lunch!
(image of Philine by Astrid!)

...looking out the window on this!

What a way to end a delightful visit with a dear friend...

...before walking her to the train for her trip back to Germany.
And until the next time!