Hangzhou Global Tour: Day 31 in NYC
Many of the great cities around the world have water running through them…from Prague, Chicago, Paris to Hangzhou and New York City to name a few. I have always been a fan of water tours as you can really get a different perspective of a city. This morning we boarded a cruise that would take us by many of the most famous landmarks in the world…the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.
As we cruised up the Hudson River, our tour guide provided us with some interesting facts about New York City (NYC):
- The Hudson River separates NYC from the mainland.
- The East River isn’t really a river, but rather an estuary.
- Cornelius Vanderbilt was an enterprising young lad…at age 15 he started the Staten Island Ferry. He took his profits and built a railroad empire, becoming the 3rd richest man in history at the time.
- Hollywood’s first “naked lady,” Audrey Munson never did another movie after posing nude, but went on to live in infamy as a nude model for famous sculptors. NYC has 15 statues of Ms. Munson, who went on to live in obscurity until she was 105 years of age.
After our cruise we visited Chelsea Market, which is located just a block from the Hudson River in an area known as the Meatpacking District. More than 35 vendors sell everything from cheese, spices, wine, to books and gifts. The building was originally constructed and used by the Nabisco Company back in the late 1800s, it’s now a neighborhood market with an international perspective. It’s also a wonderful place to photograph…especially in B&W.
Just down the street from Chelsea Market is the newly developed High Line Park, which is a fantastic urban development project that turned an old elevated train track, into an urban oasis. The film crew found this to be a perfect location to finalize filming of the 2015 Global Tour.
This was not my first time to the High Line Park; I visited a couple years earlier, shortly after the last section had been completed (the park has opened in stages over the years). The initial movement to develop the High Line into an urban park was catalyzed by stunning photographs taken a decade before the park would open to the public. These images captured the wild and natural beauty of the landscape that grew along the tracks during the period in which the trains stopped running. Since that time, photography has played a central role in telling the ever-changing story of the High Line.
That evening we donned our best (clean) clothes, boarded our bus, and drove to the lower east side of town for a commencement dinner at the Co-Op Restaurant. Before dinner, we spent time enjoying some spirits, along with great conversation. This was actually the first time we all had been together, with an opportunity to just relax and talk about the epic journey we had just completed. Before this, we were all running a mile a minute. We then took our places around a large table to accommodate the nearly 20 people in attendance…an informal time to share moments and stories of the tour with the entire group. The two Global Tour families, and the two storytellers, each exchanged gifts with one another. It was a heartfelt moment. As a matter of fact, while Niu (wife of the Chinese family) was speaking (in Mandarin, mind you, and I without a clue as to what she was saying), something struck me. While I didn’t understand a word of what Niu was verbally saying, I could feel what it was she was trying to communicate. At that moment, I realized that emotion transcends language barriers. Communication is not just verbal; there are so many additional elements involved. It was a powerful moment for me. Hopefully one of growth. It’s those connections with people that make life special.
Many of us had spent an entire month together, morning, noon and night. While we were all excited to get home, it was bittersweet. The ending of the Global Tour would mean that we would have to part ways from some dear friends we had made along the way. We would see no more sights or cities together. We decided this would not be the end, but rather the beginning. Simply a new chapter in the book called, “life.” The Global Tour may be over, but our friendships have just begun.
I would like to thank everyone at the Hangzhou Tourism Commission, Guru Online, the film crew at Garage, the Capaldi family, the Zhou Family, Hailong and all the folks we met along the way for making this one adventure that I will never forget. I am so grateful for the opportunity and am looking forward to keeping in touch.
Click here if you’d like to start from Day 1. Or, click here to read my abbreviated wrap up.