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New York, Day 1: April 8, 2016

Michael’s original schedule for today:

<2016-04-08 Fri>


What really happened:

We left DC on schedule.  I happened to get this picture out the train window at New Carrollton and had no idea what these hands were:

New Carrollton hands

A bit of sleuthing when we got home came up with this article from the Washington Post:

Answer Man: The Big Hands of the Law

By John Kelly
Monday, June 20, 2005
My query is about the two enormous hands on black-and-white pillars outside the Internal Revenue Service building across from the New Carrollton Metro station. A friend at the IRS suggested they represent the idea that “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” Somehow I feel there is a more lofty story.
Gretchen Dunn, New Carrollton

The two pillars are just 66.6 percent of artist Larry Kirkland ‘s sculptural work in front of what is technically, if rather drably, known as the Federal Building.

The centerpiece is a black granite pyramid etched with the U.S. Constitution. Across a little plaza are the two columns. Each is composed of alternating bands of black granite and white marble. (For some reason they reminded Answer Man of the Hamburglar‘s outfit.)

The most striking elements are the huge, white marble hands atop each column. Each hand points skyward, one with the forefinger extended; the other is an open hand, the fingers ever so slightly cupped.

They are open to many uncharitable interpretations: One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. The pointing hand is the IRS telling you to pay your taxes; the other is where you put the money.

So what’s really going on?

The 1997 work is called “Vox Populi,” which is Latin for “the voice of the people.” The hand with the raised index finger represents deliberation, argument, the gesticulation of a speaker giving his or her opinion. The hand with an open palm represents the act of voting or taking an oath.

The columns are engraved with more hands, the profiles of people engaged in conversation and quotations from various well-known figures, including Ben Franklin, John Milton and Frederick Douglass. One catchy selection is from the late senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), whose basic forms of “Americanism” include “the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.”

Here’s a better picture, courtesy of Google.



We arrived at Penn Station right on time and  Michael met us.



We took the subway to the Wall Street stop and walked over to our Airbnb which I chose because it was so close to Michael’s apartment.





We followed Sam’s directions (Airbnb owner).  I felt a little like a secret agent!

There will be a lockbox set on the apartment door, and the code is ****. There will be two door keys inside of the box.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, when you enter the building, directly go front-left, there will be two sets of elevators, turn right on the second set, and go to the 23rd floor. Turn left when you get out of the elevator. The apartment number is PHS (there will be lockbox on the door, so it will be obvious).

The reason I don’t want you to ask doorman for access is that the doorman will call my room (I will not be home), and if you just walk in directly, the doorman will not stop you.

We finally got into our penthouse home for the weekend at 10 Hanover Square and no doorman was used.

Looked around, unpacked a little and decided to eat before the show.  A quick walk past Hanover Square and we ate at Harry’s Cafe and Steak across from Hanover Square.



After a yummy meal, we walked up to Modells so Tom could buy new shoes. His old ones had holes in them so they weren’t so good in the rain.  (He bought black Nikes.)


We took subway to the Palace Theater for An American in Paris.

It was a fantastic show, different than the movie, but somewhat similar.  There was some Gershwin music added that came from different shows.  The woman in front of me was humming along to most of the music, which was most annoying.

The backdrops were so clever but the dancing was out of this world.

From the Variety review:

After the show, we took subway to Michael’s stop and got a new knee brace and snacks at Duane Reade in the Trump Building, then back home.

We found this place has no tv so we watched Downton Abbey on my iPad.

My knee was very uncomfortable from all the walking and stairs (lots of stairs in the subway!) so I took 1/2 a Vicodin and put on the new brace.

At first I thought the bed was too hard but it was a firm foam. Very comfortable.

According to my phone, we walked 3.66 miles and climbed 13 flights of stairs!


Costa Rica, Day Four: August 18, 2014

Palo Verde National Park.

Awake at 1:00 am to use newly restored iPad hotspot to do church work.

Up with the sun and hiked up the 4 flights of stairs to wait for the bus to pick up up at 7:00 am. We saw lots more damage from rocks falling in the night.

filadeflfiaWe rode for a couple hours until we reached the small town of Filadelfia. We waited outside the park for quite a while for 2 women and a young baby. They would accompany us for the rest of the trip.

On the way to our main event, we passed several soccer games and a LOT of sugar fields. We passed El Viejo Mill (Azucarera El Viejo, S.A), a Costa Rican company dedicated to growing sugar cane and sugar production. The company annually produces 50 thousand tons of sugar in the forms of raw, white, and special; by the industrial processing of half a million tonnes of cane grown by over 500 farmers in the Tempisque Basin. The sugar here in Costa Rica goes mainly to the Coca-Cola Company and for producing energy. I was very surprised that there was no rum production like in Barbados and other sugar-growing countries.

After many dirt roads, we stopped at the Palo Verde Restaurant and had juices and coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Since we were going to Palo Verde, I assumed (you know what they say about assuming!) we were close to beginning our trip. Well, no. Back on the busses. More narrow dirt roads.

Finally, we got to the Temique River and into our small boat. One of the women getting in commented to Michael that she had sat behind him in the plane from New York. Small world.

bats2Right off the bat (no pun intended!) we saw these weird little bats. They line up on a tree and pretend to be a snake, even moving slightly to simulate a snake writhing.









monkeyWe saw lots of white-faced capuchin monkeys – several came right inside the boat. The Capuchin monkey is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. I’ll bet those friars are happy to hear this!




jclizardAlso, we saw Jesus Christ lizards, so nicknamed for their ability to run on water at an average speed of 8.4 km/h (or 5.2 mph), for about 10 to 20 meters.

We saw lots and lots of iguanas of various colors, in the trees, on the ground.





crocodileWe also saw something that looked like a hawk but were told it was a black vulture. We also saw blue heron, egrets, and of course, crocodiles. The crocks saw we were there and slowly circled our boat.

In the photos below, the guide is showing us a huge grasshopper with red underwings.

After our boat tour, we went back to the Palo Verde Restaurant for what is called a “tipical meal”. We had Casados (black beans and rice) with chicken, beef, salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla. Casado, the name referring to the eternal “marriage” of the beans and rice.

A l-o-n-g bus ride and we were home again, ready to rest up for the next day!

My pictures:


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