On our way back to Philadelphia from Connecticut we stopped to spend the day in NYC. The Manhattan Temple was our starting point. We left our car parked nearby in a garage for the low price of $30 for 12 hours of parking. We walked up the street to the temple to admire it’s beauty amidst the bustling city. I had read on the church’s website that this was the 3rd time the church had repurposed a building. They had planned to build the temple in White Plains, outside of the city, but after some big hurdles, they decided to use the building they owned in Manhattan and build a temple inside of it. The building had been built in 1975 and so they gutted it and built the temple—fully sound proof inside. It even has a cornerstone inside the building on a corner of the temple portion. A portion of the building is still used as a meetinghouse, distribution and church offices, but the majority of it is occupied as a temple. I wished we had time for us to enter and participate in a session inside, but we only had the afternoon and kids with us.
One block from the temple is Central Park. We walked through the south portion. The kids had fun playing on the paths, in the playground, climbing rocks, and of course riding the famous Central Park Carousel. We walked out the south end of the park and into Midtown Manhattan. We did a walking tour thru the area to see Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and all the big buildings. We visited the American Girl Store, where Savannah picked out a new book. She has read the books of almost all their historical dolls and had fun seeing all the dolls. Isabel of course loved the dolls too. The boys wanted to pick a store to visit, and upon seeing the M&M store, they knew where they wanted to go. They had fun making their own bag of M&M’s from the large wall of M&M cannisters and picking out the colors they wanted.
After walking the city and stopping for dinner, we headed back to the car to drive through the financial district. We were aware that there was a demonstration going on in Manhattan financial district, but somehow didn’t connect that it would be a problem in our site seeing plans. We drove by the empire states building, and with difficulty we drove by the World Trade Center site. If we’d had more time we would have liked to have explored the memorial there. As we tried to make our way to Wall Street the traffic, which hadn’t been bad at all- even in rush hour- just got worse and worse. Streets were closed with many detours. Finally it occurred to us that the street closures and traffic were probably due to the demonstrations. Just as we realized this—we made it to Wall St. I really am not sure how we were able to drive down this road, we must have missed some blockade, but we were able to turn down Broadway a block north of the NYSE. There was one lane of traffic, a huge bus in front of us and a huge bus behind us and a wall of police on both sides of us. Behind the wall of Police were thousands of people for over a block. It felt like we were in a parade—except we weren’t suppose to be in the parade.
As we made our way out of the demonstration we decided we wanted to cross the Brooklyn bridge over to Brooklyn; the bridge is so beautiful at night. As we headed to the entrance of the bridge, I didn’t think we would run back into the demonstration as we were traveling up a street a few blocks over, that we had driven on in one of our detours. It is a one way road with a stop sign at the intersection. As we are edging up the road waiting for the cars in front of us to take their turns to stop and go, a large crowd of a few hundred people come around the corner chanting together and flooding the street. Since there were no police around with this group, it didn’t feel as safe, but they all passed by peaceably chanting their point of views. We made it to the bridge and saw several hundred people, including families with children headed to walk across the center of the bridge, all carrying red balloons. I assume they too were part of this demonstration. This protest has been going on for 3.5 weeks and has just grown larger and larger. We got a more up close and personal look at it then we were planning.
On to Philadelphia!