This morning – Saturday – started out late, as the sites we wanted to see weren’t open until 10:00 AM. We lazed around a bit until we got some breakfast late downstairs.
After breakfast, I twisted my ankle quite badly off the step of the B&B – Jenny tried to avoid getting hit in the bum with the front door, walked too fast, and down I went! It HUUUUUUURT! But the show must go on, as they say, and we walked down to the New York Fire museum, where we looked at interesting stories about the history of the fire department, and Jenny and I even got to try on some gear!
After a quick trip back to the B&B, we took the Subway to Bowling Green, where we sat down amongst a small swarm of pigeons and other birds to enjoy a beautiful picnic lunch. It has been unseasonably warm here in NYC; I think the city has taken pity on us poor Canadians and given us an extra week of autumn. We’ve heard so many stories from other travelers – from Florida, Australia, and other warm climates – that they were disappointed not to see snow; we told them to come to Canada to visit us… THERE they would get snow!
After our lunch, we met up with the Slavery and Underground Railroad tour from Inside Out Tours. Before the tour started, we met up with two tourists from Germany, who joked and laughed with us about life in general. Oliver, one of the tourists, told Ben he owed him a beer on behalf of all Germans as an apology for a German-speaker who called him an a**hole one day while he was driving a bus. We would’ve taken him up on it if we’d caught up with him again, but the tour was rather large, and we didn’t get the chance. We also met up with the Australia couple who were on the Inside Broadway tour with us yesterday, giving proof to the idea that New York is, in effect, a small world.
The tour guide described many ideas that New York has traditionally held about slavery, Africans other races, and it was an incredibly eye-opening experience. I had no idea that New York bought slaves until the early 1800s, but did not emancipate them all at once, but it was a gradual abolition of the institution. We also saw pictures of what was done to slaves who ran away, or men and women in free states who passed themselves as white. This also brought up the fascinating question of “passing”, and what that meant for people; many lost their families because they couldn’t acknowledge them due to their African ancestry, but this also enabled some to survive, and others to help free slaves. We also passed many historic buildings, almost all of which were rebuilt after one fire or another, including taverns, churches, and homes. At one point, we even saw some wooden spots in the road that are where the original wall of Wall Street stood.
At the end of the tour, we got insanely lost, taking the wrong Subway, then getting turned around on foot and having to walk at least 12 blocks to get back to the B&B. My ankle was throbbing at this point, and many of the streets were aggravating the injury by being uneven. When we got back, Ben wrapped my ankle in the tensor bandage from Jenny’s emergency kit (don’t judge me!), and that kept the ankle stabilized enough to heal.
We ordered in chicken strips for dinner through the same site that we ordered last night’s Chinese food. I am constantly surprised by the number of restaurants in the city, and the number that will deliver through Seamless. It is nearly overwhelming, the amount of choice here.
We packed up Jenny, put away our cameras, and took off to Madison Square Garden to watch the New York Rangers take on the New Jersey Devils. If you know we’re from Edmonton, you will have heard about our hockey woes; if not, look them up, because they are fascinating (if depressing) reading. we purchased accessible seats so we could have room for Jenny, which turned out to be a great choice, since my ankle was NOT up to climbing up and down a ton of stairs to get to other seats. The view was fantastic, and Ben could see the whole rink from where we were – we’re pretty sure there’s not a bad seat in the house!
The atmosphere (beyond chaotic) of the Garden is electric. These fans love their team, get into the game, and it has been a long time since I have felt something that electric at a sports game. Even the pre-game preamble was classy, polished, and engaging. We got snacks for the game, including cotton candy that came with a free hat (or did the hat come with a free bag of cotton candy?) We went on to see the Rangers beat the Devils 3-1, and it was the first time we ever saw a hat trick live! It was fantastic! At the end of the game, the fans gave the Rangers a standing ovation.
All this time, Jenny was… terrific. The whole day, she walked calmly with Ben and I. If we were in crowded areas or with walking tours, I put down the harness handle and held her leash; in less-crowded (though still crowded) areas, I walked with her harness. She did nearly flawless guide work all day, ignoring an insane amount of dogs (I stopped counting at 6), walking at a steady pace, and moving through crowds like she’s done it for years. She curled up at my feet during the hockey game, MuttMuffs in place, and handled herself with grace and professionalism. I just want to pick her up, snuggle her, and tell her to keep do whatever she’s been doing.
Ben and I talked today about how much we love the city. We thought we would hate the crowds, and while we have had moments of panic due to the sheer number of people, it has not been as crazy as we thought. We have met some great people along the way – along with a group of MTA bus drivers while coming out of Madison Square Garden; one of them hit Jenny in the bum with a door, apologized profusely, and we got talking and found they were a group of bus drivers, many with more than 20 years on the job. Ben gave one of them his ETS patch from his old parka, and the driver gave him an MTA calendar. It was great to hear them swap war stories, laugh at their pronunciation of Newfoundland, and just enjoy some levity.
Tomorrow, we’re off to a NYC Gospel Music tour, the New York City Transit Museum, and whatever else we feel like doing.