From the Big Apple to our Nation’s Capital

From the Big Apple to our Nation’s Capital

A little more than a week before going to Spain, I took a week-long trip first to New York and then to Washington, D.C. My friend, Debra and I had planned this trip earlier in the year. And, as it turned out, the timing was great to celebrate Debra’s sister, Cynthia…who goes by Tina’s…birthday. New York is definitely not a place to go to for just a couple of days, but the three of us, along with our hostess…Debra and Tina’s niece…also named Tina, packed in a litany of activities from the African Burial Ground to Ground Zero and from a Broadway musical to the musical sites of the city that never sleeps…New York, New York.

Getting ready to enter Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Manhattan, New York, on Wednesday to celebrate Cynthia’s birthday. From the left, Debra, Tina, Cynthia and me, Diana. Sept. 21, 2016
Our very talented waiter, Jimmy Blue Eyes, dishing up a show tune at the Stardust Diner in Manhattan, New York, on Wednesday in celebration of Cynthia’s birthday. Sept. 21, 2016
Stopping for dessert…the chocolate kind…at the Hershey’s store. I’m standing by my favorite, M&M Almonds. Sept. 21, 2016
We got tickets to see the Broadway play, “The Color Purple,” in New York City’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Sept. 21, 2016
Inside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City for the matinee performance of “The Color Purple.” Sept. 21, 2016
A group selfie outside of the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre after being moved by the musical version of “The Color Purple.” Having read Alice Walker’s book, by the same title, more than 30 years ago and having seen the movie version several times, I was anxious to see the musical version. It did not disappoint. The lead actresses, especially Miss Celie played by Cynthia Erivo, were extraordinary. It was an emotional powerhouse and I’m so glad we were able to go and see it together. From left, Tina, me, Cynthia and Debra. Sept. 21, 2016
After being so moved by the musical of “The Color Purple,” we decided, rather on the spur of the moment to take a night tour Wednesday evening of New York on the Greyline City Sightseeing tour bus. Sept. 21, 2016
The New York City skyline from the Manhattan Bridge during the night tour of the city. Sept. 21, 2016
The Empire State Building all lit up in red and white to celebrate the opening night of the New York Philharmonic while on the night bus tour of the city. Sept. 21, 2016
The Macy’s Herald Square covers an entire New York City block from the night bus tour of the city. Sept. 21, 2016
The glittery, congested Times Square from our night tour of New York City. Sept. 21, 2016
More of the city that never sleeps. Sept. 21, 2016
A late Wednesday night dinner at Amy Ruth’s Home Style Southern Cuisine in Harlem was how we wrapped up our full and fabulous day in NYC. From left, Tina, Debra, me and Cynthia. Sept. 21, 2016
This wall painting in the area of Amy Ruth’s Home Style Southern Cuisine in Harlem, New York, where we were having a late night dinner. Sept. 21, 2016
My Wednesday night dinner choice of fried chicken, cabbage and black eyed peas at Amy Ruth’s Home Style Southern Cuisine in Harlem, New York. Sept. 21, 2016
We paid our respect at the African Burial Ground and visitor’s center in New York. This is the entryway to the museum portion. Sept. 22, 2016
The visitor’s center of the African Burial Ground in New York houses a variety of exhibits including this one of enslaved African and African descendants who were brought to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. From 1626 through the late 1700s, African and African descendants gathered when they could to bury their loved ones. In 1626, the first enslaved laborer a were brought to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, today’s Lower Manhattan. Colonial laws made African funerals pretty much illegal. Enslaved Africans were prohibited from gathering in groups of 12 or more or holding burials after sunset. Sept. 22, 2016
One of several exhibits inside the African Burial Ground museum in New York. Sept. 22, 2016
From the visitor’s center, we walked outside and around the corner to The African Burial Ground National Monument, the outdoor memorial in New York which is administered by the National Park Service. The Circle of the Diaspora, which is a term used to describe the forced deliberate transporting of Africans during the slave trade from their homeland, which includes signs and symbols engraved on the perimeter wall. Sept. 22, 2016
The African Burial Ground National Monument’s outdoor memorial contains a 24-foot Ancestral Libation Chamber that represents the soaring African spirit and the distance between the ground’s surface where the ancestral remains were rediscovered. The grassy area is called the Ancestral Reinterment Ground and is the final resting place for the 419 human remains unearthed in the early 1990s. Sept. 22, 2016
From the African Burial Ground memorial, we made our way to the World Trade Center and Ground Zero in New York. I visited The National September 11 Museum, a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at this World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Sept. 22, 2016
There are a number of emotionally moving exhibits inside The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center that speaks to the impact of the loved ones lost, to the devastation of terrorism on individual lives and to the triumph of human dignity. Pictures alone can’t tell the story so I won’t post any others. This museum must be experienced in remembrance of the lives lost. Sept. 22, 2016
The One World Observatory entrance to the One World Trade Center in New York. Sept. 22, 2016
Getting to the Observatory was rather quick considering we were scaling 100 floors. The observatory’s elevators — called “skypods” — have animated interiors that show New York City’s construction throughout history. This is one of the impressive views of New York as seen from 100 floors up from the Observatory of the One World Trade Center building in New York City. Sept. 22, 2016
Debra and I at the One World Observatory in New York. Sept. 22, 2016
A night view of the North Reflecting Pool at the The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center in New York. Sept. 22, 2016
A night view of the North Reflecting Pool at the The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center in New York. Sept. 22, 2016
The “Oculus” serves as the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City. This huge piece of sculpture is actually the entrance to the Westfield Mall with its variety of shops and various subway stations. Sept. 22, 2016
A night view of the One World Trade Center to the left and the rebuilt World Trade Center skyscraper to the right in New York City. The 104-story One World Trade Center tower is constructed with more than 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass and stands at 1,776 feet tall. It’s said that its height is a subtle tribute to the year America declared its independence. Sept. 22, 2016
The South Reflecting Pool of the National September 11 Memorial site in New York City where the names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging this, and the North Reflecting Pool, is a powerful reminder of lives lost from a foreign attack on American soil. Sept. 22, 2016

The true historical celebration today in Washington, D.C., was the dedication ceremony of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. Although I wasn’t on the scene during the actual dedication, I got there as soon as I could with my NYC/DC travel friends, Cynthia Harris and Debra Hall. Another celebration, in a very minor way, is the use of the selfie stick. I think I’m getting the hang of it and what better way to bring that selfie stick to prominence than to use it to photograph some of the most iconic, historical memorials in the U.S. So, bring on the selfies!

Back in Washington, D.C. After working and living here for four years, this gorgeous city never gets old and always looks and feels like what it is the political and historical capital of our country. Sept. 23, 2014
Here we are after today’s dedication ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. Although Debra, Cynthia and I originally planned to be at the museum for the dedication ceremony, we actually had a much better seat in our pajamas at the hotel. But we’re excited to enter the museum, with our timed tickets in hand, for Sunday night. Sept. 24, 2016
Our group selfie at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. From left: Cynthia (Tina), Me and Debra. Sept. 24, 2016
A group selfie at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. From left: Debra, Me and Cynthia (Tina). Sept. 24, 2016
A group selfie of the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. From left: Debra, Me and Cynthia (Tina). Sept. 24, 2016

While Debra and Tina were off checking out the sites of D.C., I decided to do a little D.C. reminiscing of my own. I decided not to go back to my old homestead, the Cathedral Mansions on Connecticut Avenue, but instead to just take in the wonderment of D.C., including what brought me to D.C. in 2009 to begin with…to work for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs. I didn’t go in the Frances Perkins Building, where DOL is located, but I did take a leisurely stroll by the building on my way to the National Gallery of Art, where I would escape to when I needed a lunchtime break.

The Frances Perkins Building where the U.S. Department of Labor makes it home. These bikes, lined up in front of the building, were not there during my time at DOL. Sept. 25, 2016
One of my favorite walkways of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Sept. 25, 2016
The rotunda area inside the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Sept. 25, 2016
A self portrait of one of my favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Van Gogh made this self-portrait—one of at least thirty-six that he painted— around 1889 while staying in the asylum at St.-Rémy, France. For six weeks he was confined to his room. When able to paint once more, this was the first canvas he made.Van Gogh believed strongly that only by working could he restore his health—and in this image he holds a palette and brushes, and wears a painter’s smock. Sept. 25, 2016
Another one of my favorite exhibits is this one, the Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gardens. The memorial commemorates the valiant efforts of the men of the Massachusetts 54th, the first Civil War regiment of African Americans enlisted in the North and the man who led them, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. On the evening of July 18, 1863, the 54th regiment led the assault upon the nearly impenetrable Fort Wagner which guarded access to the port of Charleston, South Carolina. Shaw, at the front of the charge, was one of the first to die. Of the approximately 600 men of the 54th, nearly 300 were captured, declared missing or died from wounds they received that day. The steadfastness and bravery of the 54th were widely reported, providing a powerful falling point for African Americans who had longed for the opportunity to fight for their emancipation. By the end of the war, African Americans comprised 10 percent of the Union forces, contributing crucial manpower to the final victory of the North. Sept. 25, 2016

“As these doors open, it is my hope that each and every person who visits this beautiful museum will walk away deeply inspired–filled with a greater respect for the dignity and worth of every human being and a stronger commitment to the ideals of justice, equality and a true democracy,” said Civil Rights Activist and US Congressman John Lewis, who pushed for years for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and who spoke at its opening on Saturday.

Debra, Tina and I had long planned to visit the museum during its opening weekend and when we found out timed-tickets were being required to enter, we worked fast to get them. Well, somehow the stars aligned and we were able to get tickets for last night at 9:00 p.m. And, of course we got there early. As we hung out, awaiting our turn to enter the museum, the electricity of positive energy in the DC night air was of a community coming together to celebrate a remarkable achievement. We were all thrilled, delighted and proud museum goers.

Everything about this museum, from the exhibits to the art, speaks of the experiences and contributions of a people who helped build and shape America. It is informative, it is moving, and most of all, it is inspiring.

Entering the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Inside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., during its opening weekend. Sept. 25, 2016
Tina, Debra and I at the end of our tour of the African American History and Culture Museum. Too much information to take in during one visit, but so grateful we were able to be here for the museum opening. Sept. 25, 2016
The end…for now. Sept. 25, 2016 

2 Replies to “From the Big Apple to our Nation’s Capital”

  1. Dianna I just looked at the postings from our trip last year. It was such a fun walk back. Tina, my sister and Tina, my niece, still talk about how much fun we had just doing things on the spur of the moment as well along with those things we meticulously planned. Looking forward to another adventure with you.

    1. Thanks Debra! Needless to say, I had a great time too! And, now that Tina is retired, we really should plan another outing. I’m ready whenever you two are ready.

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