Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Thoughts

March, this year, reminds me of the second anniversary of my blog writings, of St. Patrick's Day (my Birth Date), of the first day of Spring and Easter.  My son, while working in Calgary, was instrumental in assisting me with the development of this challenging blog enterprise ~ which at first, seemed difficult.  Since its inception, I've submitted views about...philosophy, religion, seasons of the year, special monthly event days, humour, nature, war veterans...all components that deal with Life and how to cope positively with it.  Many of these topics were and are related to personal experiences.

This time of year, children’s minds and adults are often filled with the happy faced Easter Bunny, Egg Hunts, and a small wicker basket filled with golden straw holding chocolate bunnies and eggs…even European-styled deco-art painted eggs; family dinners, often the norm and possibly watching the oldie movie Easter Parade.  Others will concentrate on the religious aspect of Jesus’ death and His resurrection with services around the world to praise the true meaning of Easter.

Beside the Grand River

Now, as Easter approaches, I reflect on church services my family attended:  the hymns of praise we sang, the sermons delivered by the minister, the altar decorated with white lilies.  When we were teens, our parents gave my older sister and me new spring coats and new hats.  Then on Easter Sunday, they drove us from our Burford farm to downtown Brantford  to attend a Youth for Christ “Sunrise Service”.  In good weather, this crowd of youths gathered along the banks of the Grand River to appreciate the religious morn.  As the rising sun cast its golden rays across the wide rippling river water, gospel songs were sung and prayers presented to honour Easter Sunday.  Spiritual words were spoken messaging  the significance of this day.  At the conclusion of the Sunrise Service, we assembled for a hot delicious breakfast at a pre-arranged church in the city.  Easter Sunday was a most memorable experience!

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

My first visit to New York City was many years ago on Easter weekend.  During the two months off from teaching, I'd toured Europe.  A few of us planned to meet in NYC to reacquaint friendships.  We stayed at The Ritz Hotel.  The weather was perfect:  suits and high heels were the “wear”;  forsythias and crepe myrtle trees were in full bloom;  the high-towering skyscrapers; the Broadway Shows; Central Park (843 acres...truly amazing) ~ by horse-drawn carriage, we observed hikers, cyclists, roller skaters, families playing together...on this warm spring day!  We cruised around Manhattan Island...and of course stopped at Ellis Island to visit the Statue of Liberty.  At a moment's decision, we decided to climb...all 354 steps to the top of her torch...surveying the spectacular panoramic view!  It was going down all these steps with high heels that excruciatingly pained my legs!  In desperation, the shoes were removed to alleviate the aching pressure...totally ruining my hosiery before ground level!

Stroll Along Fifth Avenue

               My son, now working by assignment in New York City, recently sent
               this descriptive commentary about discovering a bit of Manhattan. 
               On Easter weekend he'll explore more areas of this renowned city...
               perhaps an island cruise along the Hudson and East Rivers,  may even
               visit the Statue of Liberty. On Easter Sunday, he'll be attending his favoured
               church services and there play his flute accompanying the congregational
               singing and piano.

Hello Mom,

After work today, I rode the subway up to Herald Square, which is at 34th  St. and 6th Ave. ~ the very corner where the huge Macy's store is.  There was something I wanted to look at in a different store.

There was a nice little Bistro on Madison Avenue near there, so I thought I might walk over that way.  I walked along 34th St. and came to the Empire State Building. It is on the SW corner of 34th St, and
5th Ave.  As perhaps, the most famous office building in the world, the owners have recently invested about five hundred million dollars in major interior renovations and upgrades.  It is well-occupied by business tenants...yet they have a number of suites available for rent.  The public entrance for the observation deck is on 5th Ave.  It costs $25 to go to the main deck and another $17 to go to the top.  It's quite impressive from the looking at Mt. Everest amongst smaller Himalaya mountains.

I realized I was standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue ~ yes, the Fifth Avenue!  The stretch with very exclusive “New York” boutiques and flagship stores is further north, but walkable ~ sort of 42nd St. to 60th St.  So I decided to walk it and see for myself.

It really was not all that impressive.  Yes, the Fifth Avenue stores, but from the street they did not look any more impressive than stores you'd see around Bloor St. or Holt Renfrew (both in Toronto).  Most of them are just street level of old buildings.  I entered one or two stores and was greeted by good service. While I was not really looking for anything in particular, I did not notice anything unusually expensive.  Many were just known stores you'd see in the mall...with a few average souvenir shops and outdoor peanut vendors.  I bought a small bag of peanuts on “Fifth Avenue” .  The empty fist-sized bag, I tossed into an ordinary trash can which said around the rim, (get this) “Fifth Avenue Business Improvement Association”. That almost seems like an oxymoron!  Here is one of the most famous retail fashion districts in the world, and notoriously the most expensive...and they have a “business improvement association”? I suppose it makes sense. Even the most exclusive outdoor retail district needs to be kept.

I walked up to about 57th St. and found that exclusive Toy Store (FAO Schwartz?).  They had closed at 7:00, so I could not go in.  But there it was. Then I cut over to Madison Ave. and thought I might find that Bistro.  When I arrived at 46th Street, I changed my mind and decided to walk across Restaurant Row (46th St. itself), thinking if nothing else, I could go to the Chilean place (which I had frequented previously).  But they they had changed their name and now had an outside entrance...but a different theme.  So I went somewhere else.  There's another restaurant nearby I've been thinking to try...Swing 46. As the name implies, it is a supper club sort of deal with live 1940's big band swing music (and of course swing dancing).  While I know nothing about swing dancing, it's nice to watch; and the prices there are reasonable for 46th St.  I find most restaurants here have a concept called “Prix Fixe” (or fixed price), which is simply a flat rate for a limited choice three-course-meal...a pretty good deal, actually.  Typical price is about $25 ~ not bad for NYC.

By the way, parking for a Broadway show is about $35.00.

From there, I walked back to Herald Square and boarded the PATH train to Harrison (NJ) and then walked up to Kearny.

Pearl of Wisdom

It is easy to  make a dollar.
It's much more difficult to make a difference!

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 23, 2013
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  1. Dear Merle...
    Loved your Easter Memories... and you have
    rich in quality ones !
    Andrew's addition has just made me what to do New York City with Alan... maybe sometime sooner than later !
    Love You... Happy Easter !
    Sherrie & Alan

  2. When Andrew was at University, he discovered (to my pleasant surprise) how well he could write. This meandering he did in NYC has such a flair, one can picture the exploring walk with him. So pleased you both enjoyed my "Easter Thoughts."