X is for Death #AtoZChallenge

Gravestone with crossbones 18th centuryThis gravestone can be found in the Trinity Churchyard at the Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. (The site is also home to the remains of Alexander Hamilton.)

Under the bones crossed in an X reads the inscription:

Here lies the remains
of John Bates
who was Born March
ye 30th 1730 & Dep’td this
Life Decem’br 27th 1770

I wondered about the crossbones above the inscription and it seems that they are simply a reminder of death and mortality. People used symbols such as skulls, bones, scythes, as memento mori, or reminders that all living will also die someday.

For more about gravestone symbolism, visit:


M is for Mumbo Jumbo #AtoZChallenge

Electrical wires and poles outside near waterHere are some various wires and poles and things, some kind of mumbo jumbo needed for the electricity and whatnot.

Once again, I’m amazed that there are people who know what all this stuff is for. OK, of course people built this. I know that it didn’t spring up from the earth. But set along the water near the wild marsh grasses, with abandoned warehouses as neighbors, it’s hard to remember how necessary these things are. One World Trade Center can be seen in the background to the left in the photo. Just think of how much electricity is needed to power New York City. Or even your own city.

I often feel this way when confronted with the intricacies of modern life and the tedious infrastructure that keeps our cities running. Maybe part of my disbelief is based on my experiences with other areas of life that should be straightforward but somehow turn into insolvable problems—when nothing seems to work right, when you feel let down by the people who are supposed to help, and when you can’t understand how the anything in the world functions ever.

These important wires and things aren’t like that, right? Tell me there’s someone who can make sense of it all.

The 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center


I visited the 9/11 Memorial recently. Here is One World Trade Center.

Visiting is a moving experience, to say the least. I stayed away for many years, but now enjoy going there. I do find peace and beauty among the sadness. I come away hopeful and uplifted.

This description of the memorial is taken from the website 911memorial.org.

The 9/11 Memorial is located at the site of the former World Trade Center complex and occupies approximately half of the 16-acre site. The Memorial features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The Memorial plaza is one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed. More than 400 trees surround the reflecting pools. Its design conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.

North Pool at the 9/11 memorial, reflecting building in

This is the North Pool.

Reflecting pool at the 9/11

And at night. In this shot you can see the illuminated names of those lost. They line the perimeter of the North and South reflecting pools.

One world trade center at night

The tower at night.

I wanted to share my photos, but it’s hard to find the right words to say. Instead, I’ll share this quote from President Obama, who said this today,“We stay true to the spirit of this day by defending not only our country, but also our ideals.”

Z is for Zoo

Sea lions at the central park zoo
On a recent beautifully warm weekend day, we decided to check out the Central Park Zoo. We had never been there before and weren’t sure what to expect. Here’s a beautiful tile mosaic in the subway station.
Fifth avenue tile mosaic in

Right in the middle of the zoo are the sea lions.

Sea lions at Central Park zoo

The bigger, lighter brown one was trying to sleep, but the smaller, darker one woke it up and tried to convince it join in the little show it was putting on for the crowd. They got into a little barking match, then the big one went back to sleep.

Sea lions at the central park

Can you see the snow leopard? It’s sleeping on its side, its head is to the left of the tree.

Snow leopard at the

There’s also a snow monkey exhibit. We were lucky to see this monkey walking along the rocks.

Snow monkey at the central park zoo

And between rocks, and across the water.

Snow monkey at the central park zoo

I didn’t get a great pic of the grizzly bears, but they were impressive. Huge! And scary to think there are parts of the country where these giants are roaming around the woods.

Grizzly bears at the central park

Inside the warmest, steamiest part of the zoo (it’s meant to simulate the rainforest) is a collection of exotic birds, bats, monkeys, and a few other critters. Like this blue and yellow macaw.

Blue and yellow macaw

Back outside, the little sea lion was showing off again. We saw it start to climb to the top of this rock pile and were surprised when it got all the way up.

Sea lion at the

Then surprised again when it looked like it wanted to jump into the water.

Sea lion


Sea lion splashes into the water at the central park z

It was a nice day out for us. We don’t get into New York as often as we’d like, especially with the kids, and it was nice that everything went smoothly.

This concludes the A to Z Challenge. I had fun with it again this year. I enjoyed meeting new bloggers and reading your blogs. Thanks for your comments and for making this a fun challenge!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!


I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. The idea is to post every day, except Sundays, and end up with one post for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a good challenge to help me to blog every day.

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W is for White Marble Corridor

Monochrome path station, NYC train

Several times during recent years, I have traveled through the PATH station at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and watched it go through different stages of construction. Each time, I have marveled at this beautiful, airy station as it slowly unfolded. White marble, high ceilings, and the unique structure gives the impression that you’re walking through a dream. Maybe you fell asleep on the train, and your subconscious is playing with the idea of walking through the lobby of a museum dedicated to displaying the giant skeletons of ancient mythical creatures.

2015-11-05 01.34.06

The West Concourse of the World Trade Center PATH station is now called the World Trade Center Transportation Hub because it connects the PATH to several subway lines and includes new pedestrian walkways. The station, created to replace the World Trade Center station that was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, was designed by Santiago Calatrava. He and his project have come under fire in the New York press for being delayed and overbudget. This article, The Glorious Boondoggle, discusses the controversy, as well as this article.

The design has also been mocked for its look, which is intended to represent a bird taking flight. Critics have had fun with this one, calling it “a turkey skeleton after it’s been stripped clean at Thanksgiving,” and saying that it “looks like the inside of some fantastically large (but immaculately clean) marine organism” here. They say this, of course, after praising the beauty and majesty of the space.

WTC path station west concourse

Parts of it have been opened over the past year or two, and according to this article, it seems that the station’s centerpiece, the Oculus, opened to the public last month. The photos of the finished Oculus in the article are exciting, and I can’t wait to see this in person.

Even walking through the station in a limited capacity, with jersey barriers, fences, and bright orange construction barrels marring the view, I leave awe-struck and inspired by this dreamy place that is unlike any other normal, functional, (mostly concrete) train station on my journeys into the city. It’s going to be amazing to walk through the completed space.

Sculpture at Brookfield place and WTC path station

Here’s one more dreamy version of the white marble corridor.

NYC train station, path station West


I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. The idea is to post every day, except Sundays, and end up with one post for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a good challenge to help me to blog every day.

A to Z Challenge badge

Photo Challenge: Harmony

Coffee and a nutella crepe

What’s better together than coffee and a crepe?

Nutella crepe and coffeeeeeee, sit together in perfect harmony,
Side by side on the table let’s try, oh my, so yummyyyyyyy!!!

I’ve had “Ebony and Ivory” playing in my head since seeing the photo challenge on Friday, and I’m not complaining. I like that song, and love Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

And taking a note from the challenge post about the museum’s music that was both chaotic and melodic, I thought about Times Square in the same way. It’s made up of so many people, each trying to get to a different place, all at the same time, yet somehow it works out in its own unique way. One moment a guy is pushing a nuts cart down the middle of 7th Avenue, and the next minute he’s back up on the sidewalk and traffic resumes.

Times square at night

I love the music and energy of Times Square. For some people, like my dear friend, it’s practically cause for a panic attack. I suppose I get energized and inspired with the possibilities found in New York. It is full of surprises and potential. This concept seems to be distilled and exaggerated in Times Square, but I love it anyway in all its loud and neon glory.

Photo Challenge: Monochromatic — PATH station NYC

Subway hallway NYC monochromeThe hallway in the 9th Street PATH station in NYC.

What fascinates me is that each one of the pipes lining the ceiling does something, and there are people whose job it is to know which pipes do what and fix them if necessary.

Hats off to the engineers who make the subways, roads, and cities go.

This week’s theme is monochromatic.