An Historical Visit ……

…… well, not really. More like a visit to an historical place.
I just couldn’t come up with a really good title.
So sue me.

Before I tell you about my visit to a really cool historical site, I’ll show you a picture of what I saw yesterday:
IMG_4278

This was a hilarious show. It’s been around for 30 years and it lampoons shows and actors/actresses on Broadway. Current and past.
So it really behooves you to see a ton of Broadway shows before you see this. So you can, you know, get it.
Fortunately for me, I have, at one time or another, seen every single show they skewered.
And it was hysterical.
Only four people …… two men, two women …… and they were great. They had terrific voices and they could really imitate a lot of the actors.
It was a riot.

So that was yesterday.
After I died a dozen deaths at barre class.
And dripped at least 16 ounces of sweat.
And then froze in the 25 degrees snowy weather.

The me from two years ago would never have believed that I would’ve typed those last three sentences.
And she would’ve whined if she had to go out in less than 50 degrees.
Boy, has she gotten old.
And lost a lot of estrogen.

Anywhoooo …… today I went on a tour of the New York Federal Reserve with the Manhattan Women’s Club.
Or “The Fed” as we locals (and the guy who led the tour) calls it.
On the way I snapped a few pics so you could see the progress of Freedom Tower:

IMG_4279

IMG_4280

You can’t really tell how amazingly tall this building is, but it is.
As I was looking at it, it occurred to me that there are at least two jobs that I would never want.
Ever.
Really.
I’m talking EVER!

Here’s one:
IMG_4281
Look closely. See that little rectangle up there? That’s an elevator-like thing that was moving UP the side of the building.
With people in it.
Seriously.

Here’s the other job I would never want:
IMG_4283
You have to look at this picture even more closely.
Sorry about that. But this is as close as my iPhone could get.
See it? No? Yes?
In case you don’t …… way up there, high in the clouds, is one of those platforms hanging from ropes on each end. With guys cleaning the windows or doing whatever it is that they do up there.
I would be crying and throwing up.
Probably all at the same time.

Here’s what you should know about this side of NY …… it’s at the very most southern tip of the island. And in the winter you can not believe how incredibly, horrifically windy it is there.
I’m talking hurricane-like winds.
All. Of. The. Time.
As I was walking down there today I literally had to push my way through the wind. I think it’s the windiest place I’ve ever walked in.
And you can trust me on that. I went to Oklahoma State University, where the wind tunnel between Kerr-Drummond and Willham (two large dorms) was incredible.
So there.

Where was I?
Oh yes …… The Fed.
So we got to go 5 stories underground …… to the gold vault.
Where the largest storage of gold bars exists. True. Larger than Fort Knox. Or anywhere else in the world.
And where, ironically (or so I think) 98% of that gold belongs to other countries.
And where there’s no fee for storing your gold.
Just in case you have a large amount that you’d like to store.
Here’s the catch: you have to pay to have it moved. Any of it.
Pretty smart, huh?

So we went down to this air tight, water proof vault. Where this many-tons circular door locks the gold in safely.
So very safely that, when the vault is closed there are only 72 hours worth of air in it.
Now, I’ve never been one who suffers from claustrophobia.
Until today.
When …… while our tour guide was talking and not paying too much attention …… that many-tonned door started to close.
Really.
The most interesting part? There were over 20 of us down in that vault and the tour guide was talking to maybe 5 of us. And no one, not nary a person, said a word.
No, not even me.
I watched that door. And inside I was thinking, “Ummmmm, is that supposed to be closing? And oh, my word, are we going to be stuck down here with only 72 hours of air??!! And how long will it really be if over 20 women (and one man) are sucking up all that air???!!!!!!”
But just as I started to hyperventilate, the door reversed itself and started to open.
And I was very glad that I kept my manic thoughts to myself.

As we exited the vault we saw the man who was turning the huge wheel-turning-thingee (because I don’t know what else it’s called) …… and he had kind of a smirk on his face.
I thought about slapping him.
But I didn’t.

After we escaped left The Fed, we went to lunch at a place called Fraunces Tavern.
Here’s what it looks like from the outside:
IMG_4292
IMG_4294

This is where the historical part comes in (although The Fed is totally historical …… it was built in 1924).
The tavern was built in 1719 (I know!) to be a home for the Delancey family (don’t worry if you don’t know them …… they’re not that important, as you will now see). By the time it was finished, that area of town was no longer “fashionable” to live in. Talk about peer pressure!!!!!
So they never lived in it.
Keeping-Up-With-The-Joneses-Whores.

It was sold to Samuel Fraunces in 1762.
Yep, 42 years of paying for an empty house.
Go figure.

So this Fraunces guy was a pretty decent cook and he evidently found in niche in early New York. In fact, he was the first person to start “take out”. No kidding.
Anyway, this tavern was very, we’re talking VERY, popular. Of course, during this period in NY the average adult drank 18 gallons of alcohol a year (that’s a quote …… I did NOT make it up), so most taverns were popular.
But this tavern saw a lot of action. In fact, when the Revolutionary War was over, General George Washington gave his “farewell” to his officers there on December 4th, 1783 (check Wikopedia if you’d like). There were over 150 people at this event. And George cried as he said goodbye. As did every other man in the room.
Make of that what you will.

Here are some pictures of the rooms where they, and the New York Tea Party (WHO knew that there was a NY Tea Party that dumped tea in the river, too??!) and the Sons of The Revolution met. You know, guys like Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, etc.
Pretty dang cool, if you’re in to that sort of thing.
And I am.
IMG_4284

IMG_4285

IMG_4287

IMG_4288

IMG_4293

So there you go.
A simple blog post.
That maybe taught you a little bit of history.
You’re welcome.

Oh, and here’s a pic of where I caught the subway:
IMG_4296
What movie does this bring to mind?
If you thought “Working Girl”, kudos to you.
If you didn’t. you need to go rent/download/or whatever that movie.
So fun.

So that’s it for today.
Oh, except for this.
As I waited for the subway/train to go back uptown, a guy asked me if this was the uptown train.
I told him that it was.
And then I added, “You’re about as downtown as it gets.” Because we really were. There was no train coming from the opposite direction. There was just a wall.
I felt so New York-ish.
I love it when people ask me for directions.
And I can give them a correct answer.
🙂

2 thoughts on “An Historical Visit ……

  1. Kathy

    Thanks for the pictures of Fraunces Tavern.
    I learned about it first from The Bowery Boys. They have a podcast about NYC history. They also have audio walking tours available. My family is planning a visit to NYC this summer. I can’t wait!

    Here’s a link to their website: http://theboweryboys.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s