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Cherie's Easter Vacation

New York skyline from the piers of the Fulton Market area. Tall ships sway in the harbor, while a couple embraces on the bench When Jamie was on Spring Break at the Army War College, Cherie flew out to join him in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and together we explored the east coast. It was Cherie's first trip to New York City, Philadelphia, and the Amish country of Pennsylvania. Like most of her vacations, the weather was ducky: that is, it rained all day, with the cloudbursts soaking our clothes and the puddles soaking our shoes. But it was all the more romantic, tucked together in our own little world under the rat-a-tating canopy of our umbrellas. In Philly we got goosebumps visiting the hallowed ground of Constitution Hall, and it wasn't just because of the weather. Some of the other sites—the Liberty Bell, Jefferson's house, and Franklin's row homes along Market Street were neat, but the bustle and noise of a modern urban center seemed to overpower the colonial atmosphere. After walking all day through cobblestoned neighborhoods, we stopped at a quaint revolutionary-era tavern and hoisted ales and ate a warm supper; we window-shopped the stores of Jeweler's Row (yes, Cherie bought a ring there just before closing time); and we visited former next-door neighbors from Arizona who are now living in the Philadelphia area.

Then it was on to New York City, where we criss-crossed Manhattan island from the southern tip to Central Park, and from the Hudson to the East River. Since the weather brightened there, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Above, the Lower Manhattan skyline as seen from a patio restaurant (Gator's) at Pier 17.

Times Square New York has heart. In fact, it has lots of hearts. One of them is Times Square, where the people flow like a river, and if you stand still, you'll be buoyed along like driftwood in the tide. There we watched the kids yell and ape in front of the MTV studio, looked for celebrities in the ABC studio, got dizzy watching the moving neon, and shopped for souveniers of the city.
Broadway above Times Square is home to New York's theaters. Nope, didn't attend a one, but we did have some awesome pickle soup at one of the diners. When Jamie went to New York on a War College field trip (no one knew at the time that New York would be the battleground for a new kind of war) some of the class took in a performance of Miss Saigon , which was incredibly moving. We also took in the Late Show with David Letterman , a major yawn. Letterman treated his audience with all the warmth of an ice cube and we were promted to provide a franetic hand-clapping sound track for his stale jokes. The only redemption was the band, guest-led by Warren Zevan, who performed his "Werewolves of London" with the help of cue cards(!) at the Ed Sullivan Theater. Sitting in the seats, I tried to imagine the mayhem of the Beatle's first American appearance on that stage... Broadway Avenue
The Dakota Building, John Lennon's home in New York, and site of his untimely death ...and during this trip with Cherie, wandered to the Dakota building across the street from Central Park where John Lennon made his last appearance in this lifetime.
While in the area, we walked by Strawberry Fields in Central Park, the Inn on the Green, the zoo, and other attractions in this unique park. Romantic carriage rides are available in Central Park
Tribeca New York is a city of neighborhoods. The artsy Greenwich Village, the funky Tribeca, Chinatown, Little Italy, the staid financial district, the glitzy Times Square/Broadway area. Here Cherie poses by a restaurant in Tribeca which sports a Lady Liberty's crown. My cousin says "Saturday Night Live" shows shots of "teddy's" on occasion. Me, I'm never awake at that time of the night, so I couldn't swear by it.
Walking down Canal Street is like walking through the shops of Mexican border towns. Its filled with street vendors selling knock-offs of famous brand watches, perfumes, handbags; and of course tee shirts and other New York souveniers. That led us to Chinatown, where, God love this city, we found an Irish pub to slake our thirsts. And walking further, the signs and shops metamorphized from Chinese to Italian, and we found ourselves in Little Italy. We stopped for dinner at Caffe Napoli on Hester Street. Now THAT'S Italian. Watch out for that guy on the right. Ooh, ooh, "Hey, you lookin' at me, buddy?" A street scene in Little Italy
New York Billboard Gotta love them New York billboards. Camel smokers puffing smoke, ten-story photographas of celebrities, and this one—an apartment's furnishings hanging, life-size, on the side of a building. Now if only the homeless could find a way to get up there...
Moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, we toured the United Nations building to see where discussion and diplomacy attempt to counteract the effects of natural tensions in the world. The United Nations Buildings
General Assembly Hall with Security Council Chambers in inset Surprisingly, the UN tour was Cherie's favorite part of New York. Our tour guide was African; our fellow tourists were Iranian, Chinese, Scandinavian, and folks from a host of other areas around the world. We visited the rooms where major efforts are made to propagate peace—the Security Council Chambers (inset) and the General Assembly Hall among them. We were shown gifts of art from member nations and exhibits explaining the structure, membership, and goals of the United Nations. Gentle criticism of the host nation's status on back dues and opposition to the land mine treaty reminded us that this is international soil, though firmly on the banks of the East River in Manhattan. The UN has its work cut out for it, but pursues it with a dedication and determination that speak highly of this organization.
One of our goals on the New York City trip was to see the Today Show broadcast and to show our smiling faces on the tube to our kids back home in Arizona. Well, the plan didn't work out quite the way we'd hoped. First, we didn't set the alarm clock, then we didn't bring the poster we'd made, and of course, we didn't get there until five minutes after the end of the broadcast. But we kept smiling (barely, by the looks of this picture), and Cherie's comment was "this place looks a lot smaller in person than it appears on TV." As it turned out, the kids never watched the show anyway. Though we missed most of the action, we were consoled by looking in the studio windows and catching sight of one of the hosts still on the set.

Kitty-corner to the Today studio in Rockefeller Center is the skating rink, where despite it being Easter week with temperatures in the 60s, folks were still lining up for the chance to glide across the ice in the shadow of New York's skyscrapers.

The Today Show Studio Rockefeller Center

From Amish farmland, to Wall Street, to the White House,
Cherie had an Easter vacation to remember.

The Amish Town of Bird In Hand This woman means business on Wall Street
Across the street from the White House, Cherie poses in Lafayette Park

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