My pessimism about NYC derives from what I feel has been a loss of culture over the years. I realize now that I may have been too harsh on what I consider to be my home city. Despite the seemingly endless chains of Starbucks and nail salons, there is still much historic preservation in the City, some of which turned out to be just blocks away from our temporary home at One West Street.
I decided to walk through Battery Park to the East Side Docks Esplanade to the South Street Seaport. I discovered that Battery Park is home to several memorials and landmarks. The East Coast Memorial, for example, honors missing American servicemen who died in the Atlantic during World War II. A statue of a bronze eagle on top of a wave signifies the act of mourning, and it overlooks the East Coast Memorial, which is made up of walls carved with the names of those who died in combat. Clinton Castle can also be seen in Battery Park, which is one of five forts built to protect the New York harbor during the War of 1812 period. I have always seen this fort, but had never realized its significance.
To get to the Esplanade and the South Street Seaport, I actually found myself following the tourists to make sure I was walking in the right direction. Walking along the Esplanade, I passed the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, where several government helicopters were landing. South Street Seaport is full of tourists and the things they like to see and purchase. "I Love New York" tee-shirt vendors, bands, magic shows, hotdog and pretzel stands, restaurants and shops fill the area. For some reason, I did not feel out of place. I enjoyed feeling the strong winds coming from the East River, watching the boats go by, seeing people enjoying NYC and walking the cobblestone streets.