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New York, Day 3: April 10, 2016

Today’s Original Schedule:

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What really happened:

Michael had his workout with his trainer so he came at 10:30. We checked out of 10 Hanover and took our luggage to his place. Ubered over to the Lowline Lab.

What a fascinating place, interesting idea – I wish I’d thought of it!

The Lowline Lab is a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground. Built inside an abandoned market on the Lower East Side, just two blocks from the site of the proposed future Lowline, the Lowline Lab includes a series of controlled experiments in an environment mimicking the actual Lowline site.

From http://ny.curbed.com/2015/10/19/9909938/lowline-lab-offers-a-glimpse-of-nycs-first-underground-park

Behind the doorway of a hulking, unassuming warehouse on Essex Street, a fascinating—and potentially game-changing—experiment is taking place. This is where you’ll find the Lowline Lab, a prototype for New York City’s first underground park, which until now has existed only as an idea. The lab, which opened to the public on Saturday, is the culmination of years of work by its creators, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, who have been tinkering with plans for the space since at least 2008. The idea is to create a green space deep below NYC’s streets by projecting the sun’s rays down into a disused trolley station, a complicated process that the Lab is now putting on full display. “We’re kind of blown away now that it actually exists,” says Ramsey. “To our great delight, all of our equipment and technical pieces are performing in excess of our calculations.”

When visitors come to the lab, they’ll have a chance to learn about the science of the Lowline—which involves harnessing the sun’s rays with pieces of optical equipment on the roof, transferring it into the warehouse through a protective tube, and then diffusing it over the site via a canopy that stretches across the ceiling. In addition to its solar-harnessing system, the centerpiece of the lab is its huge living display, which functions as both a science experiment and an art installation. There are thousands of plants in it—from hardy moss to edible herbs to baby pineapples—which are placed in accordance to how much sunlight they need. (Fragile spearmint is closer to the light, low-lying ferns are further away.) And because it is a living, breathing installation, it’s meant to morph over time. “It’ll look different in a few months than it does right now,” says Ramsey.

That adaptability is one of the defining traits of the lab: “We’ll see how people come in and use the space, and we’re really excited about being flexible, and play[ing] with what works and what doesn’t,” says Barasch. And while they have yet to see how the Lowline technology will work long-term—this is one of many phases, and the projected opening date for the actual park is 2020—he and Ramsey are excited to see what happens next. “I feel like we’ve been toiling in obscurity for a long time, and now this is our time to show off all the work,” Barasch explains.

 

 

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We were early for lunch so we walked through Tompkins park (across the street from where Michael used to live). We saw statues of others, but not Tompkins. We were surprised to see that the WCTU has a water fountain.

Lots of dogs were having fun at the dog park.

Met Lingyi at (Northern) Thai Sontum Der Restaurant. I didn’t know anything on menu but we ordered anyway. It is her favorite place. Michael had taken her there for her birthday last Wednesday (April 6). Pretty spicy-hot but good.

We walked to New York Historical Society Museum and Library.

It was very cool and had a section devoted to the World’s fair that I went to as a kid.

We also saw the Batmobile

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And some uniformed Civil War soldiers teaching kids (and adults)

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From there, we walked to Juilliard School Music Store, the last store in New York where you can buy sheet music.

Then we Ubered back to Michaels.

We had a bit of extra time, so we saw Trinity Church

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Back to Michael’s, rested 5 minutes, got our stuff and ubered to Penn Station where we took the train home.

 

 

9/11 – We Remember

We will always remember 911

I originally wrote this on 9/11/01…

I, too, was stunned to hear the news this morning and continuing throughout the day.

It was just something unbelievable.  My husband and I were on a Land Rover 4X4 tour of the off-road areas of Barbados when we first got the news.

At first, when we got the very first news, around 9:30 am, I thought that it was some tale that the driver was weaving…and that there would be a punchline.  As the day wore on, more interest was on the radio than on the tour.  Some of the people in our Land Rover were from New York City and they were terrified for friends and family.

What an awful day in history this is, one of those that we’ll always remember where we were when we got the news.

Like the rest of you, I am stunned, absolutely shocked that this could happen, using our own planes, no less.  I cannot imagine the terror of the people on those planes, or in the World Trade Center…or the Pentagon.

The rest of the story:
The year of 911 my mom and my son had been with us for the first week. My son had to be back at college so on Sunday he shepherded my mom through the airport, customs and all and got her back home before he headed back to UMass/Amherst on Monday. Thank goodness they got back before the mayhem started!

On Tuesday we were out on a 4X4 from Island Safari with our favorite guide, Zario. Zario is a fun guy and and very knowledgeable about Barbados and world events. We were very happy to have him again because it was the “luck of the draw” which driver/guide we got.

I remember that morning being kind of stressed already – I was having trouble with one of my contacts and I was just grumpy.

Zario picked us up first, one of the benefits of staying at The Crane – everyone picks us first for everything and drops us off last. Then he picked up another couple from New York City who were staying at Bougainvillea.

The tour started off through the fields, down cliffs as usual. Zario had the radio on in the background. When we got to the first stop he told us that there was a “problem” in New York. That it seemed that a plane had hit a building. We thought that there was going to be a punch line somewhere. There wasn’t.

As the tour went on, the news got worse. The couple from NYC was very worried about relatives.

By the time we got to lunch and met up with the other 4x4s everyone had heard. We were in a little chattal house restaurant, the TV was on CNN and everyone was just watching in silence and horror. Usually this lunch is very festive and fun. Not a care in the world. Not today.

We left the New York people off at their hotel and went “home”. The TV was full of New York news, then Pentagon news. We know people who work at the Pentagon. The news just got worse as we went along.

We were basically stuck in Barbados.  Phones to the US didn’t work well, email was slow to non-existent, all we knew was what we got on CNN, incessantly.  My mother and son had been with us the week before and had just flown back the Saturday before.  I was so glad that they had gotten back home ok, then my son off to college.

We were supposed to fly home on the next Saturday, but if was iffy if that would happen since the airports were closed for the longest time.  We were flying into the DC area. The phone lines to the Barbados airport and to American Airlines were always busy.

Finally, we decided to give it a shot, packed up and went to the airport to see if we could fly out or not.  They could only guarantee the flight as far as Puerto Rico.

The San Juan airport was crowded with Americans trying to get home, flights being canceled due to closed airports, people sleeping all around the airport, using backpacks for pillows.  It was a very difficult time.

We did finally leave for home later that night.  This is what I wrote the next day…

I flew on American Airlines last night (9/14/2001).  We left Barbados on time but the connecting flight, originating out of Aruba was very late, and we waited for a long time in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After that flight had arrived though, we were all sitting around, hoping they’d board the plane soon.  All of a sudden, there was cheering in the hallway.  We turned to look – our pilot and crew were marching up the hallway with a huge American flag.  He stopped and talked to us.  He explained that the copilot would hang that flag outside his window as we taxied out of Puerto Rico and into Dulles.  The flag was making the rounds of American flights all over the country and that the yellow streamers hanging down were being signed by all the American crew members.  He posed for lots of pictures (I have some I’ll post later, when my eyes are less bleary!), then, as they were going to get the plane ready, he asked us in a loud voice if we were ready to fly to Washington and everyone cheered.

Along the way, he thanked us so much for having faith and flying (like we had any choice!).  The headphones for the movie and the drinks were all free on this flight!  He also told us that there were a lot of fighter planes in the Washington to NY corridor and not to be surprised if we were intercepted by one, who would just be making sure that we were “who we said we were”.  I thought that would be kind of neat to see, but I didn’t see them.  We arrived in Dulles (Washington, DC) with a jet fighter escort.  At the time, that sounded so comforting, but it turned out that they had been there to shoot us down, if we’d made any funny moves.

Then, when we arrived at the terminal, the captain said that we were back in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and got some more cheers.

It was a memorable flight for someone like me, who is terrified of flying under the best of circumstances.

Us, on 9/10. Who knew?

9/14, San Juan Puerto Rico:
After the crew marched down the hallway.

The captain, letting others have a chance to fly the flag.

This young woman lead us onto the plane.

MaryOUSAheart

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