Saturday, December 12, 2009

SantaCon, Lower Manhattan & A Cathedral Christmas

When we stepped off the subway in Battery Park, Lower Manhattan, we had no idea we were going to end up in the middle of a huge gathering of Santas - it was the annual SantaCon !

Santas were walking off the Staten Island Ferry, they were arriving via subway, they were hopping out of cabs and arriving on foot. It is hard to capture with a photo what it was like to walk down this street (the gathering point) - there were hundreds of folks in santa outfits.

This kid will need a lot of therapy eventually . . . SantaCon is not the best place for children - there was a fair amount of drinking and carousing going on . . . .

Lower Manhattan was the most visually rich area we visited with incredible architecture and history and a definite feast for a photographer.

Goldfish standing by the Wall Street bull by the NYSE.

I can't remember the name of this building - I'll fill it in later - but I do remember these stone columns are carved from single pieces, not in sections.

Goldfish doing a little subliminal advertising for the holidays . . . .

This is the site (Federal Hall) where George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States in 1782. Another tidbit I had either never learned (or have forgotten) is that Wall Street was actually the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement, with an actual picket wall in place from 1653 to when it was dismantled in 1699.

The New York Stock Exchange.

I love this view of Trinity Church at the end of the street with the two police cars in the foreground.

The mighty "House of Morgan" in this case showing an utter distain for the surrounding area by being only 4 stories high - in an area where real estate is so exorbitantly priced, the ultimate show of wealth is to NOT build a tall building on a prime spot. They did hedge their bets a bit however - the foundation is engineered to support a 40 story building should the need ever arise to build taller.

Cute Panda in front of Trinity Church, posing with tourists for tips.

The inside of Trinity Church, completed in its current configuration in 1846.

I think this is an improvement . . . .

There are graveyards on either side of the church with burials going back into the early 1700's, possibly the 1600's (the headstones on many graves were completely illegible due to weathering of the stone). I've been in a lot of old cemeteries but I think this one beats them all. It acts as a quiet place for office workers on Wall Street to have lunch on one of the many benches.

Remember that cute panda hustling tourists out front? He was back in one of the graveyards and was definitely not so cute with his head off - let this be a lesson for us all, people dressed up as cute animals and posing for tips are probably not what they appear to be . . . .

Alexander Hamilton and several other persons of note are buried in the Trinity graveyards.

This root is from St. Paul's chapel, a branch of the Trinity Church built to deal with an expanding congregation. There are pictures of St. Paul's church further down in this post.

These were very angry protesters by Ground Zero. The gist of her argument (she lost a son in the Tower collapse) is the terrorists responsible should not be tried in a criminal court as what they did was an act of war.

So ironic there is so much blue sky here with those tall buildings fallen. I did not linger, Goldfish especially was upset by the gawking and the "touristy" atmosphere.

I did take pictures of the firemen there for the guys back on the island.

Right across the street from Ground Zero is St. Paul's Chapel, the only remaining Colonial-Era church left on Manhattan. It was a very somber spot to sit and consider the events of 9-11.

The interior of St. Paul's Chapel. It served as a major relief center during the Twin Tower rescue effort with many a firefighter taking a quick break on a pew before heading back into "the pit".

The scottie as very interested in a passing squirrel.

That evening we went back to the big cathedral where we saw the Sting concert for A Cathedral Christmas, a collection of Christmas hymns and the first part of Handel's Messiah, ending with the Hallelujah Chorus. We were only a dozen rows back, so we had a great view. The acoustics were phenomenal with the notes ringing off the stones - sort of like singing in the shower. The venue was certainly fantastic but both Goldfish and I thought we had heard the music done better by the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra (larger orchestra and chorus). Overall a fun night though, culminating a great day of sightseeing.

After the concert we had dinner at the Ben Nash Delicatessen - I had a pizza and Goldfish had the biggest Cobb Salad I have ever seen. Right next door was Fluffy's Cafe, loaded with all manner of things that shouldn't be eaten, baked goods of indescribable excellence, a bakery that has ruined me for all other bakeries . . . we made it to Fluffy's twice while in New York and I still mumble her name in the still of the night . . .


Suzassippi said...

Ah, yes, I have eaten at Ben-Ash many a time! I have never spent much time in lower, so that was quite the treat. Gigi and I did go by Ground Zero on our last visit, but it was very somber and not at all a tourist site at that point.

One of our favorite trips was to lower East, and a tour of some of the early immigrant areas, culminating with lunch at the famous Katz deli. Too bad you didn't have time for that one, too!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Everything seems so vertical. It seems that you two are having a great time. Think of us as you are enjoying all the restaurant choices.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

This is almost too much to take in one post.

I don't quite know where to begin to comment.


Zack said...

Wow New York is quite the place as my boss tells me. Now I actually have pictures to show me all the great sites, through my Dad's eyes. Which obviously have the best recognition on what to show everyone. Love the headless panda.