Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The Met, the Walk, The Drive

Day 3

The third day was dominated by walking where cars roared past and driving where nothing but people were walking. Through an error in judgment (otherwise known as stupidity) I drove into Central Park on a "car-free"day in an attempt to get closer to the Metropolitan Art Museum that I had alread drove past. I thought it was rather strange that no other cars were on the road. There were thousands of people milling about, along with a fair amount of horse drawn carriages. Finally one jogger rapped on my window and broke the news to me, that it was a car-free Saturday and he pointed to where I might exit the park. Thankfully the CNN helicopters didn't hover overhead and break into their news coverage.

After driving down Park Ave. and turning correctly on 85th Ave., we arrived at the Met. Our main focus was on the El Greco special exhibit. I enjoyed this immensely. I especially liked the "Adoration of the Shepherds" it gave me an insight into a mission I'm preaching in a few weeks entitled "Let us go and see what the Lord has made known to us." The one downside about the El Greco exhibit was the lack of religious insight into the various paintings.

After several hours at the Met, including twenty minutes of trying to find our way out (which gave us a quick look through many galleries we might otherwise have missed) we grabbed a cab and headed to Saint Patrick's Cathedral. I had wanted to pray at the tomb of Archbishop Fulton Sheen but this turned out not to be possible because of all that activity going on at the Cathedral on this day.

Next we hiked over to Rockefeller Center, watched the folks skating on the ice, peeked into the Today Show studios, walked underneath the GE building, checked out the toy soldiers on top of the marquee of Radio City Music Hall, saw the Time-Life building, walked over to the Fox News building, saw the Simon and Shuster building, walked a few blocks to Times Square, walked up one street and then down a block and ate at Hamburger Harry's. Next we walked back toward Times Square, into the theater district to where The Producers was playing, then back through Times Sqaure, over several blocks to the New York City Public Library, then to Grand Central, then to the Empire State Building. All of this on a very cold windy 41 degree day!

Hopping on the subway, after another two block walk we headed to Ground Zero. The cold fit the mood of one of the largest graves of the twenty-first century. A fence around the site carries pictures of happier times, and the cross at ground zero stands as a monument reminding us of all who died on that fateful day in September. The site now reminds me of those religous sites where apparitions have occurred with trinkets and memorabilia for sale everywhere--but no one seems to buy any of these wares. A street preacher railed against the money being spent to rebuild, while so many continue to die the victims of disease. Meanwhile across the street at the Century 21 department store people cram the ailes in some mad rush to consume...anything...just consume.

We walked a block to St. Peter's the oldest Catholic Church in Manhattan. This is the Church where Father Mychal Judge was carried and laid before the altar. The wheels of one of the planes that struck the second tower landed upon the roof of this church. The smell of incense flooded my nostrils as we walked in out from the cold. A plaque announced that Father Sorin the founder of Notre Dame had said Mass here before making his trek to Indiana to eventually start the famous Catholic University. The Mass we attended was simple (no music) and the readings for the the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica were startling, "destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days." Earthly temples eventually fall and in the end Our Lord's offer of salvation is our only hope. Sitting in St. Peter's one was reminded that the Lord gave charge of His assembly, His church to St. Peter so that we might receive Him at this Mass.

After Mass we made a futile attempt to take the subway to the Statten Island Ferry, after a visit to the aforementioned Century 21 department store to get out of the cold, we went to the omnipresent in the northeast-- Dunkin Donuts across the street to await Father Joseph Wilson who had graciously invited us to dine with him.

Father Wilson entertained us, taking us to a fine Italian restaraunt in China Town. Father Wilson is the friend of converts and a frequent contributer to The Wanderer...also Crux News has some of his columns here. At the end of our evening Father called a cab for us...the driver, Amy surmises a Korean spoke very little English and couldn't understand any of us in the back seat trying to direct him back to the Met where our car was parked. We ended up in Brooklyn for a time, but finally back to our car at the Met parking garage. Then off from the island back to White Plains where the moon slowly recovered from an eclipse and we longed for home.