This past Saturday, over 100 Trinity High School students, teachers, and parents joined millions of other people marking Christmas in New York City. This is the second time we have sponsored this trip and like last time, the weather was perfect for December, around 45 degrees all day with no wind.
We left Trinity on two buses at 5am and after stopping at a rest stop for food, we were in New York a little after 10am. The students then broke off into their groups with their adult chaperones and did whatever they wanted. Most spent the day around the Times Square area, shopping, etc. I actually didn't have a group as we had plenty of chaperones so I took the opportunity to visit some historical sites. I jumped on the subway and headed uptown and visited the General Grant National Memorial (aka Grant's Tomb) and the Hamilton Grange National Memorial (the home of Alexander Hamilton). What was especially nice is that these sites are far away from all the tourist areas so there was no one really around. I was literally the only person at Grant's Tomb and there were just a handful of people at the Hamilton Grange. I then met up with Bryan Dufour '14 who is now studying at Fordham University. Bryan was one of my main go to guys in Campus Ministry and it was great to have a chance to catch up with him. I wanted to find a real local place to eat so we went to a burger restaurant called Harlem Public where I got the Peanut Butter Burger! I wasn't sure what to expect but you couldn't really taste the peanut butter but it certainly added to the overall taste, it was excellent.
I then got back on the subway with no real destination in mind, I was going to see where the train took me. We got to a stop for the American Museum of Natural History so I jumped off there and went inside. Unfortunately it was packed so I decided not to go in although it was tempting as the place is a virtual shrine to my favorite president, Teddy Roosevelt. So I just decided to walk downtown and I walked from the museum (Central Park West and W. 79th Street) all the way down to Lexington Avenue and E. 28th Street! I wanted to see the house where President Chester A. Arthur lived and took the oath of office when President James Garfield died in 1881. The home is privately owned and there is a restaurant in the bottom part so there's nothing to see other than a plague.
From here, I decided to walk over to Penn Station to get some of my favorite food ever - Krispy Kreme! On the way I walked right into a huge march of those protesting the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner. I guess there were over 10,000 marching and it was pretty tense. One protestor yelled at two cops standing on the sidewalk, calling them "Pigs" and saying racist is spelled "NYPD." Yikes. Check out this time lapse video of the march here and you will get a sense of the size of the crowd.
After my donuts (so good) I made my way up to St. Patrick's Cathedral. I decided to hop on the subway this time and when I got off, I made my way through throngs of people near Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and 5th Avenue, it was absolutely mobbed. All of us from Trinity attended the 5:30pm Mass at the cathedral although we didn't sit together due to the number of people there. The cathedral is undergoing major renovations and the entire altar area is covered in scaffolding. I was wondering as I was looking around just how long it must of taken to put up the scaffolding and to prep for the work. The Mass was beautiful and after, we all met on Madison Avenue and jumped on the buses. We were a little delayed getting out as one of the buses got hit by a car on its way to get us. Luckily there was a little damage to the bus and the driver was fine. We stopped at a rest stop in Connecticut on the way and were back at Trinity by 12:45am.
Phew. It was a whirlwind of a day but so much fun. I was especially grateful to have the chance to see some sites that no one would ever see with me! Let's do it again next year.