Brooklyn Trip, Part 2

Brooklyn Heights Tour Group: Samantha, Eleanor, Tour Guide, Dave, Dryden (small photo clarification–Dave is taller than Dryden, I am taller than tour guide but shorter than Eleanor. How can that have happened? I am the shortest in the family. Yikes)

There are just a few more things to say about my Steam Punk hotel room. The walls between rooms are paper-thin (plywood thin), if the ease of which one could hear neighbors’ conversations gave any clue. I could turn that to my advantage if there was a dialogue that seemed interesting (interesting, as in a fight!). In mid-afternoon the first day in my room I heard muffled shouting from the room next door. All righty, then!

Not enough volume for me to decipher all the words, but “you f**k” came through loud and clear. Whoa. It’s unusual to hear “f**k” as a noun; more commonly it’s used as a verb or adjective when ‘ing’ is added. This conversation might have promise! But alas, nothing else was audible. I thought of leaving my room and stationing myself in front of the neighbors’ door, but what if they were just headed out? I might topple into their room, as a pratfall in a bad sitcom. 

So, I set out to explore the surrounds. The hotel is at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. The grounds, possibly owned by the city(?), stretch for some miles along the East River. They are absolutely beautiful, natural ungroomed green space containing paths for walking and biking. An added benefit for me, since I have no sense of direction and easily get lost; I could walk until tired with the water on my right, return to my origin with water on my left. Fool proof.

I passed four large piers on my walk. On two of the four piers were docked long, disreputable-looking barges. From the condition of their hulls it would seem unlikely they had been far from their docking positions in quite some time. I must get to the bottom of this. The barges were heaped with some type of cargo. Hmmm. Occasionally, workmen would leap on and off the barges with the necessary agility, clutching something. Close by was ongoing construction, cranes and other work-related vehicles in position. So, barges were serving as holding areas for needed construction supplies. Was that cheaper? More convenient? Whatever.

In the next two days were structured activities. My children worried that too much time on my own might lead to a mishap. I think that I, on occasion, have extremely intuitive ideas for improving construction work. There might be some chance that the dock workers disagreed with my suggestions. I was lured back to my room with the promise of an early cocktail.

The first structured activity was scheduled for the next morning. Samantha had arranged for a private walking tour of the Brooklyn Heights area. Our tour guide was a young woman working toward her PhD in some type of history. She was a walking Wikipedia of Brooklyn lore. My favorite anecdote was an account of a magnificent cruise ship, the SS Normandie, larger, grander and more ornate than the Titanic. In 1949, a fire, caused by refurbishing or repairs to the ship, did such damage that the boat capsized while in port and sank to the bottom of the Hudson River. The magnificent dining room doors were salvaged and resized to fit on two entrances of our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights.

Our last scheduled adventure was to visit the first annual Manhattan Flower Show. Several blocks of a street in the Meat Packing District were closed to automobile traffic. Dotted throughout the space were very large flower arrangements, a few up to ten feet tall. One photo op after the next. Native New Yorkers and tourists alike were swarming around the displays. Naturally I charged about with the best of them. Backing up to get a perfect shot, I stumbled over a short wall, and sat down unceremoniously into a stand of bushes. My children are ever-watchful for such events and had me upright in a few seconds. No harm done, praise God.

Your continued prayers are very much appreciated. I will reciprocate them logarithmically.

Erratum: In one of the “Sayings” blogs I described being able to judge a horse’s age by wear (shortening) of his or her teeth. I was corrected. Somehow the upper front teeth in older horses “super-erupt,” (get longer, not shorter) lacking lower front teeth to gnash against them. What happened to these lower incisors? How about the molars? No wonder I got confused. But the explanation of yet another saying has been explained. Have you ever heard a senior citizen is “getting a little long in the tooth”? There you have it.

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