Battery Park, New York City
Favorite thing: My sister completed the First Annual Empire State Ride which was from Niagara Falls to Manhattan, Battery Park to be specific. It was a 500 mile ride, over 6 days. She raised over $6000 dollars. The ride was BRUTAL as it was over mountains... and as much as she trained, we don't have MOUNTAINS to train on in Florida. And yet she DID IT. She might have been last each day coming into camp, but she never quit and never took the VAN. She rode into Battery Park on Aug. 23 the Champ that I know she's always been.
Favorite thing: Almost 20 Friends and family were there to cheer her on! How cool is that. Friends and family from LA, Orlando, Jersey... and Brooklyn, too! Friends since High School, and friends of mine that have known Mary through the years. Family from all over to including our parents.
Favorite thing: Here is a photo of the immediate family that was taken at the Park/ EndRide. Jason, (Mary's Husband), Mary, Val (Even our sister, the reclusive Val, made it! WOW!), Dad, Golda, and da Hexe! It was wonderful we were all there. If only my brother could have made it, but he phoned in his congratulatory wishes.
Favorite thing: What is really touching is that our cousin, Janet, and her daughter, Marcella, made this AMAZING, COLORFUL banner. How thoughtful is that?! And when Mary rode in, they made sure she saw it. I can't tell you how touched I was to see the love and excitement in the air as everyone rode in. And then Mary (Kinda trailing at the end, naturally) came cycling in. Hugs were tossed, kisses were caught, tears were shed. Very Emotional.
Favorite thing: This is the offical Jersey that the riders wore in on their End Ride Day to Battery Park. Pretty Bright, colorful... snazzy in short. It was cool to see a SEA of Yellow Jersey's on all the riders. Mary wore another shirt, and boy, get the tissues out for THIS one folks... Next Tip (gotta keep you in suspense!)
Favorite thing: Mary's Shirt was made by two Comedy Warehouse Fans/Regulars that adore my sister. Aidee & Lisa, a couple from Ft Lauderdale, asked Mary for photos of loved ones that died of HIV/Aids. They took all the photos and surprised Mary with TWO t-shirts with ALL the photos on the shirts. When times were tough for Mary, the thoughts of those loved ones that were on her shirt kept her pedaling. LOVELY story and really sad to think how many folks adorned this shirt. I slipped in two photos that made the shirt. My first friend who died of HIV and another photo of my best friend who's been positive for 18 years!
Favorite thing: Here is the FRONT of the Shirt. It has photos as well. Not ALL the photos are of folks that died of HIV. Some photos are of dear loved ones... that inspired Mary. My Mom, for example, and our grandparents, etc... And our pug, Belle, that passed this Spring. There are folks on the shirt that are departed friends of Mary's friends.. So, it's a real tribute to many who have fallen, most from HIV, but all people (and dogs) that have impacted our lives.
Favorite thing: This was the Empire State Rides' FIRST organized ride. It was not a large ride. In the past Mary has participated in rides that are of shorter duration/length, but with hundreds of riders.... This ride managed to go w/ approx. 63 riders. But the 63 riders raised over $250,000. That's Darn Impressive.
Favorite thing: At the End of the Ride, when all the riders gathered in, guest speakers held the attention of the Riders, and the friends and family that attended the closing ceremony. A doctor that specialized in HIV spoke and said some very sobering things. During the course of their ride - 6 days - 5100 people around the world had died of AIDs. He went on to say other things... how medicine was prohibitively expensive in Africa, where HIV/Aids is ravaging the nation's population, male/female, young/old. Sobering facts... we all need to do so much more!
Favorite thing: Well, if you know me, my favorite photography subject is kids. And this little girl, engrossed with playing with her Dad, caught my eye. She posed for me for what seemed like 10 minutes... I took many photos of her, but this one sums it up, under the protective arm of her Dad.
Favorite thing: Oh, by the Way... Battery Park is home to the BOATS that can take you to Liberty Island. It is here that you can walk around our Gift of Blessed Liberty, from France. She's a beauty, and has been around for many years. Certainly ever since I was a little one living in Jersey. May she always stand. Crappy photo. Sorry. I didn't take it, grin...
Favorite thing: Ground Zero isn't very far at all from Battery Park. In fact, I took the subway from Penn Station to Franklin Street (the #1 Line) and walked by where the World Trade Centers used to be. It was my first time up close since 9/11/01. Talk about surreal and my being in a state of denial: I actually asked my friend what that gaping hole in the ground was. New Yorker that she is, she matter of factly said, "You know what that is...." And we said little else for our walk past Ground Zero. She did say that the Post Office was one of the ONLY buildings that pretty much survived intact. All the newer building suffered lots of damage. The Post Office was a much older building, circa the 30s. They Don't Make 'em like that any more... But passing this site was very sad and filled me with sadness.
Battery Park is on the site the 1624 Dutch fort in the shadow of Wall Street skyscrapers at the southern tip of Manhattan. The park contains 30 acres of protected open space, beautifully planted and maintained public gardens, plazas and parks.
Fondest memory: The Bronze Globe (see picture) was moved to Battery Park from the WTC after September 11,2001.
Whilst on our Circle Line Ferry Cruise as we passed the Financial District in Lower Manhattan we saw helicopters continually landing and taking off from the heliport at the edge of the river. It was interesting to watch the skill of the pilot.
For those wishing to take a flight contact Liberty Helicopter Tours, on 1 800 542 9933 or web site www.libertyhelicopters.com Pier 6 East River or their other locations.
Elizabeth Seton (1774-1821), from Staten Island, NY, was canonized in 1975 as the first Roman Catholic Saint of the United States. She lived here, on the southern tip of Manhattan, across from Battery Park, from 1801 to 1803, and this site has become an important religious shrine in her honor, as well as a flourishing R.C. parish.
Mother Seton was responsible for the creation of the first order of sisters native to the United States, and she is credited with having been responsible for establishing the form of Catholic parochial education. Her group, the American Sisters of Charity, worked both in education and immigration, providing aid and assistance to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who steamed into NYC in the 19th and early 20th centuries.