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New York City

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

One World Trade Center, viewed from the 9/11 Memorial.On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, I finally made my first visit to New York City.  This was the resolution to an issue that was a major contributing factor to my birthday’s being ruined ten days prior.  Recall in that instance that I had decided on a whim to go to New York City on my birthday.  I left for that trip, but realized by the time I got to the end of my street that such a trip was a really bad idea, owing to the fact that this was a single day off and not my regular weekend, and the following day was my early day at work.  It served as a reminder that I do best when I plan things.  I’m not good at being spontaneous.

So after I finished being miserable about my ruined birthday, I got to planning a trip.  After all, the seed had been planted, and now I needed to make it so.  I had already made plans to get together with my friend Doreen on June 9, originally presumably to do something local (but as yet unplanned at that point), and so I pitched New York to her.  I received an emphatic yes (she’d never been, either), and so the planning began.  We threw out various ideas for things to do and see in New York, mostly landmarks and such, and planned a trip around those different targets.  Recognizing that we both worked late at night and both had the day off from our respective jobs the next day, we agreed that we would have a later start to our trip, and set a return time as “whenever we get done”.

I picked Doreen up from her house just after 10:00, and we were off.  And like all trips up north, there are tolls.  Governor Hogan announced lower tolls on various Maryland roads to take effect July 1, but for us, it wouldn’t be soon enough.  Thus the Fort McHenry Tunnel was still $4.00, and the Tydings Bridge was still $8.00.  My comment to Doreen about the Tydings Bridge was, “This is an $8.00 bridge.  Make sure that you get at least eight bucks’ worth of enjoyment out of this bridge.”  Thankfully, she absolutely loved the view, so I think that she definitely got our eight bucks’ worth out of it.  We stopped to eat at Delaware House, and then headed up into New Jersey on the Turnpike.  Doreen really enjoyed taking in the scenery, as this was her first time in New Jersey.

The plan was to park at Journal Square and then take PATH into the city.  To do this, we got off on Exit 15E, and then followed Route 9 to Sip Avenue in Jersey City.  Along Route 9, Doreen made a comment about all of the out-of-state drivers on the road, which amused me slightly.  She was referring to all of the New Jersey plates, forgetting for a moment that we were the out-of-state drivers with our Maryland tags.  Reaching Sip Avenue, owing to poor signage, we initially missed our turn, which gave Doreen her first experience of a very “New Jersey” kind of feature: the jughandle (specifically, this one).  For those not familiar, jughandles are short roadways designed to eliminate turns across opposing traffic.  Therefore, all turns are made from the right lane, and the left lane is just for through traffic.  Doubling back to get to Sip Avenue, we went through a number of narrow streets in Jersey City, and finally found our parking garage at Journal Square.


Not a bad parking job, if I do say so myself.

Not a bad parking job, if I do say so myself.


A surprise in the parking garage: double Edwards Integrity! I wasn't sure exactly what was going on here. I don't know if this was a double horn, or if the bottom one was a speaker and the top was a horn/strobe and using only the strobe. I have no idea.

A surprise in the parking garage: double Edwards Integrity!  I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on here.  I don’t know if this was a double horn, or if the bottom one was a speaker and the top was a horn/strobe and using only the strobe.  I have no idea.


From here, we took the PATH train into the city, and soon we arrived at World Trade Center station.  That was a gorgeous station, with bright lighting and hiny surfaces.  We had arrived in New York, but it didn’t seem real to me just yet.  Coming out of the PATH station onto the street, however, it soon became real, as we saw One World Trade Center before us.  That was quite a sight.


1 World Trade Center, viewed from across Vesey Street.

1 World Trade Center, viewed from across Vesey Street.


The first thing we did was explore a bit around the World Trade Center.  I got tons of photos of One World Trade Center, and we also explored the outdoor parts of the 9/11 Memorial.


1 World Trade Center, viewed from across Vesey Street.

Doreen stands on the sidewalk along West Street, next to One World Trade Center.


I found One World Trade Center to be a bit difficult to photograph from the street. This is the tallest building that I've ever photographed, and its interlocking-triangles shape, while it looks gorgeous from a distance, does not lend itself well to elegant photography up close. I've done better with this angle on other buildings, especially the Hancock Center in Chicago.  I found One World Trade Center to be a bit difficult to photograph from the street. This is the tallest building that I've ever photographed, and its interlocking-triangles shape, while it looks gorgeous from a distance, does not lend itself well to elegant photography up close. I've done better with this angle on other buildings, especially the Hancock Center in Chicago.

I found One World Trade Center to be a bit difficult to photograph from the street.  This is the tallest building that I’ve ever photographed, and its interlocking-triangles shape, while it looks gorgeous from a distance, does not lend itself well to elegant photography up close.  I’ve done better with this angle on other buildings, especially the Hancock Center in Chicago.


The footprints of both of the old Twin Towers were made into fountains. On this sunny day, I used the polarizing filter on my camera to bring out a rainbow in the spray from the North Tower's fountain. I thought it seemed quite fitting.

The footprints of both of the old Twin Towers were made into fountains.  On this sunny day, I used the polarizing filter on my camera to bring out a rainbow in the spray from the North Tower’s fountain.  I thought it seemed quite fitting.

The footprints of both of the old Twin Towers were made into fountains. On this sunny day, I used the polarizing filter on my camera to bring out a rainbow in the spray from the North Tower's fountain. I thought it seemed quite fitting.


Doreen stands next to the North Tower fountain. The names of the victims of the September 11 attacks are inscribed on bronze plates ringing both fountains.

Doreen stands next to the North Tower fountain.  The names of the victims of the September 11 attacks are inscribed on bronze plates ringing both fountains.


The beauty of One World Trade Center's design became more evident the further away that we moved from it.

The beauty of One World Trade Center’s design became more evident the further away that we moved from it.


Doreen takes a photo of the museum from above. We didn't visit the museum due to time considerations, but it certainly seems like a worthwhile place to visit in the future.

Doreen takes a photo of the museum from above.  We didn’t visit the museum due to time considerations, but it certainly seems like a worthwhile place to visit in the future.


The more distance between us and One World Trade Center, the more the full beauty of the interlocking triangles design became evident.

The more distance between us and One World Trade Center, the more the full beauty of the interlocking triangles design became evident.


Finishing at the World Trade Center, we had other places to go, so we went looking for a subway station.


In our hunt for a subway station, Doreen found this little alcove in a building wall, and posed with it. The first pose was with a smile, and then the second one was sort of a "trapped" pose.  In our hunt for a subway station, Doreen found this little alcove in a building wall, and posed with it. The first pose was with a smile, and then the second one was sort of a "trapped" pose.

In our hunt for a subway station, Doreen found this little alcove in a building wall, and posed with it.  The first pose was with a smile, and then the second one was sort of a “trapped” pose.


Our next destination was the house from The Cosby Show, which, according to my research beforehand, was relatively close to the Houston Street station, on the 1 and 2 lines (yes, the Cosby Show house is in Manhattan, even though the show was set in Brooklyn).  We ended up finding Fulton Street station, and walked through the Lexington Avenue Line IRT platform, a bunch of various passageways, down the Fulton Street IND platform, before reaching the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line platform.  From there, we were on our way, riding car 6977, an R142.  However, I didn’t realize that the 2 only served Houston Street during late night hours.  We sailed right past Houston Street on the uptown express tracks and had to double back, getting off at 14th Street, and having to go back downtown on a 1 train to get to Houston Street.


Doreen poses for a photo on the Lexington Avenue Line platform at Fulton Street.

Doreen poses for a photo on the Lexington Avenue Line platform at Fulton Street.


We spotted our first subway train on the Lexington Avenue Line, with this 5 train consisting of R142 cars.


Wall tile on the IND Eighth Avenue Line platform. As I understand it, this is typical Independent Subway styling.

Wall tile on the IND Eighth Avenue Line platform.  As I understand it, this is typical Independent Subway styling.


This, by the way, is when you start to appreciate the relative simplicity of the Washington Metro.  There are only six lines on Metro, and you can get anywhere with one transfer at most.  However, I’m not going to lie to you: navigating this massive underground train system was fun.  And this is where I took a page from my mother’s book.  She always told me that New Yorkers, contrary to stereotypes, are some of the most polite and helpful people around.  So I tested this.  We needed to get to the other side of the station, and I wasn’t quite sure how to do that.  So I approached a random person and asked.  Mom’s experience held true: they were extremely nice and helpful, and their directions got us exactly where we wanted to go.  Awesome.  We got our train, taking car 2253, an R62A, from 14th to Houston Street.


Doreen rides on car 2253. The Christopher Street-Sheridan Square station is visible in the background.

Doreen rides on car 2253.  The Christopher Street-Sheridan Square station is visible in the background.


Our train departs Houston Street station.


Coming out of Houston Street station, we were in Greenwich Village.  We stopped at a nearby McDonald’s, where Doreen got a quick snack.  While she was eating, I spotted a mural on the building across the street, showing Redbird subway cars being consumed by fire, among other things.


The mural, as viewed from the upper level of the McDonald's.

The mural, as viewed from the upper level of the McDonald’s.


"Scratchitti" on one of the tables at the McDonald's.

“Scratchitti” on one of the tables at the McDonald’s.


Then it was time to go to the Cosby Show house.  I fired up Google Maps on my phone, looked up 10 Leroy Street, and we were off.  A funny thing happened while we were on our way over.  We were talking about The Cosby Show, and I recalled one scene that took place partly on the steps.  Theo and Cockroach were being pelted by snowballs by neighborhood kids, and accidentally dropped a Shakespeare record outside that they had to retrieve.  Cliff got the record, but first after shouting at the snowball throwers, “THIS IS DR. HUXTABLE!  I DELIVERED SOME OF YOU!  I’M A PARENT, AND A TAXPAYER!  AND I’M PROBABLY THE ONLY ADULT WHO WILL SUE LITTLE CHILDREN!”  This lady was walking up the street a few steps in front of Doreen and me, and heard me quoting the line about suing little children, and gave us this what’s-wrong-with-you look before walking off.  Apparently she didn’t understand the reference.

Continuing to follow the directions that Google gave us, we ended up here, just before the intersection of Leroy and Bleecker Streets.  We found 12 Leroy Street, but no 10 Leroy Street.  Plus the stoops along the whole block were too low to be the Huxtables’ house.  Something was clearly wrong here.


Doreen posed for a photo on the front stoop of one of the houses on Leroy Street.

Doreen posed for a photo on the front stoop of one of the houses on Leroy Street.


I hit Google again to confirm the address.  I knew I was close by, because I had located the house earlier on Street View, but I was clearly wrong with my current position.  That’s when I was reminded of a naming issue with part of Leroy Street.  Part of Leroy Street had also acquired the name “St. Luke’s Place”, and that was why we were sent up the wrong block.  Putting in 10 St. Luke’s Place got us back on track, sending us across 7th Avenue and straight to the Huxtables’ house.  For those wondering, the address of “10 Stigwood Avenue” that was given in the show is entirely fictional.

Arriving, I played the theme song on my phone from YouTube to kind of set the mood, and we looked at and photographed the house.  Turns out that the Cosby Show house is an apartment building in real life, which makes enough sense.  I was also a bit disappointed to find out that renovations were underway on the house next door, and that work blocked some of the shots that I wanted to get.  But we still had fun seeing this bit of television history in real life.


This is the usual angle that we saw the Huxtables' house on television. Today, however, this angle was temporarily blocked by the construction going on next door.

This is the usual angle that we saw the Huxtables’ house on television.  Today, however, this angle was temporarily blocked by the construction going on next door.


Here is the Cosby Show house from a few different angles, which we didn't see in the establishing shots. Note that the front doors have clear glass windows in real life, rather than the frosted glass shown on the show. Likewise, the doors lead to a small, nondescript vestibule space, rather than a large, ornate living room as shown on the show.  Here is the Cosby Show house from a few different angles, which we didn't see in the establishing shots. Note that the front doors have clear glass windows in real life, rather than the frosted glass shown on the show. Likewise, the doors lead to a small, nondescript vestibule space, rather than a large, ornate living room as shown on the show.

Here is the Cosby Show house from a few different angles, which we didn’t see in the establishing shots.  Note that the front doors have clear glass windows in real life, rather than the frosted glass shown on the show.  Likewise, the doors lead to a small, nondescript vestibule space, rather than a large, ornate living room as shown on the show.

Here is the Cosby Show house from a few different angles, which we didn't see in the establishing shots. Note that the front doors have clear glass windows in real life, rather than the frosted glass shown on the show. Likewise, the doors lead to a small, nondescript vestibule space, rather than a large, ornate living room as shown on the show.  Here is the Cosby Show house from a few different angles, which we didn't see in the establishing shots. Note that the front doors have clear glass windows in real life, rather than the frosted glass shown on the show. Likewise, the doors lead to a small, nondescript vestibule space, rather than a large, ornate living room as shown on the show.


Doreen poses for a photo on the front steps of the Cosby Show house.

Doreen poses for a photo on the front steps of the Cosby Show house.  I commented that it reminded me of Margo Farnsworth, the person that Vanessa was pretending to be while sitting on the front steps in the episode “Theo’s Holiday”, where the family gave Theo a taste of the real world.

However, that scene, as well as any other scene showing the actors in front of the house, despite the show’s being filmed in New York, was not filmed on location at the actual house.  Rather, they duplicated the front of the house on a soundstage for those scenes.


Doreen gets a selfie in front of the Cosby Show house. Afterwards, we realized that the background was not as she intended: rather than the house, she got the plastic sheeting covering the renovation work on the house next door. Wonder if, in the show's universe, this would have been Jeffrey Engels' house?

Doreen gets a selfie in front of the Cosby Show house.  Afterwards, we realized that the background was not as she intended: rather than the house, she got the plastic sheeting covering the renovation work on the house next door.  Wonder if, in the show’s universe, this would have been Jeffrey Engels’ house?


I specifically looked to see if there was a basement entrance that might represent the entrance to Cliff's office, and I found one. This is under the front stairs.

I specifically looked to see if there was a basement entrance that might represent the entrance to Cliff’s office, and I found one.  This is under the front stairs.


And before we left, we got photos of each other in front of this famous house.  And before we left, we got photos of each other in front of this famous house.

And before we left, we got photos of each other in front of this famous house.


Finishing up at the Huxtables’ house, we headed back to the subway.  And on the subject of nice New Yorkers, a woman helped us out without any prompting, after overhearing our discussion about finding the subway entrance, and told us which entrance to use.  We thanked her for this unsolicited assistance.


On our way back to the subway, I spotted a New York fire and police call box. I was expecting a system similar to that which I saw in Boston, i.e. Gamewell telegraph boxes, so this was a surprise. Apparently, you lift the cover for the service that you need, press a button, and then speak into the box after someone answers.  On our way back to the subway, I spotted a New York fire and police call box. I was expecting a system similar to that which I saw in Boston, i.e. Gamewell telegraph boxes, so this was a surprise. Apparently, you lift the cover for the service that you need, press a button, and then speak into the box after someone answers.

On our way back to the subway, I spotted a New York fire and police call box.  I was expecting a system similar to that which I saw in Boston, i.e. Gamewell telegraph boxes, so this was a surprise.  Apparently, you lift the cover for the service that you need, press a button, and then speak into the box after someone answers.


We took the 1 train from Houston Street to 14th again, and then we took the 2 train to 42nd/Times Square.  There, we transferred from the 2 train to the C train through some long and relatively steep passageways, and headed uptown on the IND Eighth Avenue Line on car 8595, an R160A, to 81st Street-Museum of Natural History.


As we made a transfer, we spotted this sign on a vendor's stand in the subway system: "Subway information limited to customers only". I guess, with his being located in a very busy (and complex) part of the subway system, a lot of questions about the subway come with the territory.

As we made a transfer, we spotted this sign on a vendor’s stand in the subway system: “Subway information limited to customers only”.  I guess, with his being located in a very busy (and complex) part of the subway system, a lot of questions about the subway come with the territory.


When we got to 81st Street, Doreen got a photo of me with one of the signs on the columns. Unlike DC Metro pylons, these are much easier to pose with.

When we got to 81st Street, Doreen got a photo of me with one of the signs on the columns.  Unlike DC Metro pylons, these are much easier to pose with.


On our way out of 81st Street station, I grabbed a movie of a B train arriving.

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1