Saturday, June 6, 2015, Part 1
After not sleeping so well last night, I woke up to a text message that Michael was headed here to start the day.
I took a couple pictures out our window. It’s really sunny out but these pictures make it look pretty grim:
After milling around a bit, we decided to go to a diner I’d seen last night. On the way, it started raining. We got to the diner and it was closed so we headed to another one.
We ended up at Amelia’s Diner and had breakfast.
On the way to Tribeca Park, we saw Duarte Square
Juan Pablo Duarte Square
This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.
In the late 1600s the land that is now Juan Pablo Duarte Square was developed as a farm by Trinity Church. A forty-foot-wide canal was built to the south in 1810 to drain the pestilent Collect Pond into the Hudson River. The canal was filled in 1819 and now forms Canal Street. As the city spread northward, this became an important commercial thoroughfare. Canal Street achieved further prominence with the construction of the Holland Tunnel at its western end in 1927.
Juan Pablo Duarte Square was officially dedicated in 1945, when Sixth Avenue was renamed Avenue of the Americas in celebration of Pan-American unity. The name of the square, located near the southern end of the Avenue of the Americas, honors Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876), the liberator of the Dominican Republic.
As a young man, Duarte founded a society called La Trinitaria which sought to promote democratic ideals among the Spanish-speaking inhabitants of Hispaniola Island, most of whom were clustered around the city of Santo Domingo. In 1843 Duarte launched an attempt to free the eastern half of the island from Haitian rule. When the rebellion failed, Duarte fled Hispaniola. However, when a new revolution succeeded in winning independence for the Dominican Republic in February 1844, Duarte was invited to return as President of the new republic. Although he eventually lost control to a military dictator and died in exile, Duarte was instrumental in developing the Pan-American traditions of democracy and self-government celebrated by the Avenue of the Americas.
Duarte Square, a triangular plot bounded by Sullivan Street, Grand Street, and the Avenue of the Americas at the intersection with Canal Street, was initially developed and maintained by the Department of Transportation. The square was improved in 1975 with the addition of benches, trees, and sidewalks.
On May 26, 1977, Duarte Square was transferred to the Department of Parks. A statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, donated by the Consulate of the Dominican Republic, was dedicated in the square on the 165th anniversary of Duarte’s birth, January 26, 1978. The thirteen-foot bronze figure, which rests atop an eight-foot granite base, was designed by the Italian sculptor Nicola Arrighini. It is one of a pantheon of six monuments to Latin American leaders which overlook the Avenue of the Americas.
We continued on to Tribeca Park and no one had put the tarp over the piano so it was pretty unplayable 🙁
The next stop was Albert Capsouto Park
Albert Capsouto Park
Laight St., Canal St., and Varick St.
Directions via Google Maps
Capsouto Park, named for neighborhood activist Albert Capsouto (1956-2010), is a vital public space located at the triangle between Canal, Varick, and Laight Streets in Lower Manhattan. Once a parking lot, this park opened in 2009 as one of the more than 30 parks and open spaces funded through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s revitalization project.The park features lush plantings and an award-winning design. The park’s new plantings include a double row of canopy and street trees and three large planting beds filled with low flowering shrubs and colorful perennials. Nestled into the edges of the planting beds are several continuous rows of contemporary benches and a small cluster of chess tables at the southwestern gate. At each of the three entrances to the triangle are etched stainless steel plaques with images from the New York Historical Society, New York Public Library and Library of Congress that tell of the area’s urban evolution
The centerpiece of Capsouto Park is a 114-foot long sculptural fountain by SoHo artist Elyn Zimmerman. This fountain bisects the interior space. Water spills from an 8-foot tower into a series of stepped “locks” evoking the canal that once flowed along the Canal Street. A sunning lawn rises up to meet the fountain from the south and granite seat walls adorn the fountain to the north.
We stopped by Freeman Plaza East but it was on a “break”(?)
In the street, though were some odd rocks called lemniscatus.
From there back to our hotel so Michael could go to his training session.
And, so ends the morning.
The Trip Starts ~ Friday, June 5, 2015
I woke up at 8 and still have to pack. We’re leaving for the train at 11…
So, naturally, I did some online stuff and at 9:08, I posted “We’re getting on a train at 1:02 (love how precise Amtrak is!) today so I guess I should start packing…”
Tom called for a cab to arrive at 11:15. The cab arrived about 11 and started honking his horn. Mimi started barking. I took the first bag out at 11:15. Good thing – the driver was getting ready to leave. I told him that we’d said 11:15 – he’d missed that part
We got the 3 finally packed bags to the cab and settled in, fairly early to get to Union Station.
About 15 minutes out, I asked Tom if he had his passport. He’d been thinking New York, not the cruise to Bermuda so we went back home and started again.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, if expensive. The driver was fairly talkative and carried on an interesting conversation with Tom about Sikhs and other religions. Also, immigration to the states as opposed to the UK, education here, life in India…
Finally – Union Station. Hooray!
We only had to wait in line for about 10 minutes before our train was called. Since the train originated in DC, we were able to get seats together. Hooray!
View of the next train to our left…
The ride to New York was fine. No derailments, which was really good. The train that derailed in May was Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188. We were on Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 186. I assume that they retired #188. It seemed ridership was down a little but we were on an earlier train than usual so maybe not.
We arrived at Penn Station, NY on time and started getting in the cab line. I hate to say it, but the line was long and we fell for a gypsy cab trip. The driver didn’t take us out of our way – I was following the trip on my Waze. The driver got us to our hotel – and wanted an exorbitant amount of money (plus tip), cash only. Tom convinced him to take a lot less (and NO tip!) and we checked into the hotel.
Four Points by Sheraton SoHo is apparently built on a small lot – it’s very compact, but tall. Our room is on the small side and I think that there are only a few rooms on each floor.
We’re on the second floor and the view is a next door roof. I’ll try to get a picture of that tomorrow.
Michael arrived – hooray! After some discussion – nap or food – we decided to go out to eat. We walked through Father Fagan Park. Mimi wouldn’t consider this to be a “real park” but then, she’s not a city dog.
Father Fagan Park is gem of a vest-pocket park on the western edge of Soho. This park commemorates four local heroes who perished in the face of fire.
The first restaurant we tried could have taken us without a reservation but we’d have to eat quickly so we could be out when those who had reservations arrived. We left, allowing plenty of time for those who planned ahead.
Walking along, we read other menus until we arrived at Spice. Yummy Thai food! I had Pad Thai with tofu and Tom had the same but with chicken. Michael had rice with mixed seafood – some of the mix was squid. EEEWW.
As an afterthought, I asked for Thai tea. I was surprised, and very happy, when it came as a bubble tea. As far as I know, there are only 2 places near me with bubble tea so this was a real treat.
At the bottom are yummy boba tapioca pearls. Here’s why I don’t make bubble tea at home:
How to Make Boba and Bubble Tea
What You Need
1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
1-2 tea bags per serving, any kind
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Milk, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk
Fruit juice or nectar (optional)
Bowl for holding the cooked boba
1. Cook the Boba: Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.
Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.
2. Prepare Sugar Syrup for the Boba: While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare a Strong Cup of Tea: This can be done either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the boba. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Remove the tea bag after 15 minutes and chill the tea.
4. Finish the Boba: Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
5. Make the Bubble Tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the boba. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba.
• Very Chilled Bubble Tea: For an extra-chilly bubble tea, combine all the tea, milk, and/or juice, but not the boba in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and add the boba.
• Shortcut Boba: If you want immediate gratification, just cook your boba until they are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, and use them as soon as they’re cool. This kind of boba don’t [sic] keep for very long (turning rock hard in a few hours), but are delicious if eaten right away.
• Saving Leftover Boba and Making Boba for Later: Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated with simple syrup for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.
During dinner, we discussed where to go next but that was fairly indecisive. We thought about going to Tribeca park where one of the Sing For Hope pianos is located. That was going to be about a mile walk and it was about 7:00 so we went back to the hotel to use the free WiFi and find another activity. We ended up doing nothing except coming up with ideas for tomorrow.
So far: breakfast, Michael has a training session at 12:30, Barge Music, Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York to hear an all-Mozart program, possibly a talk before that. Somewhere in there we need to practice some…
We’ll see how that all works out! Meanwhile, It’s 5:30 and I’m going back to sleep!