During the 2012 spring break at Howard Community College, Gail and I visited CJ in New York. We drove there, listening to a German language lesson and part of a Robert B. Parker western on the way. After we arrived, CJ took us for a walk in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Spring is just beginning so many things were not yet in flower, but there were interesting things to see. This large, gnarly Caucasian Wingnut Tree was one of them.
White blossoms silhouetted against a deep blue sky Gail and CJ stand in front of gnarly old 

We met Eric when we returned to CJ's apartment and then went to dinner at the Lincoln Park Tavern, which is very close by.

In the evening we took the train into Manhattan and walked along The High Line, an elevated garden park constructed on an abandoned railroad bridge. Amateur astronomers were holding a star party there, but the sky was mostly cloudy so we skipped standing in line to look through their telescopes.

Wednesday's activiites started off with a terrific fish sandwich that Eric made us for lunch.

After lunch the beautiful blue skies enticed us to head for Coney Island. The amusement rides and many shops were closed for the season, but we walked along the boardwalk and on the sand. (Gail got her toes wet.) Then we went into the New York Aquarium where we saw sea lions, walruses and penguins being fed, tanks with jelly fish and other stinging creatures, and a large coral reef exhibit where we saw some fish like those we had swum with at St. John. After more time on the board walk, we ate hot dogs at Nathan's world famous hot dog restaurant. The consensus was that the hot dogs are world famous, but not the world's best. I ordered a Killian's beer to go with my chili dog. The woman at the counter must have thought that I looked thirsty because she brought me a 32-ounce cup of beer. I must have been thirsty because I drank the whole thing.

Back at CJ's apartment that evening, we had a fun time playing Apples to Apples.

Gail, Eric and CJ on the pier with the
Coney Island amusement park in the background

Nathan's famous hot dog restaurant
A close up photo of Gail, Eric and CJ with the 
             ferris wheel and other rides visible beyond the
             water and sand. Behind the amusement park are high-rise
             buildings. This yellow and white building is covered with signs
            proclaiming Nathan's World Famous Frankfurters since 1916.

Thursday's activities began with delicious sandiches of portabello mushrooms and mozzarella cheese that Eric prepared for us. Then CJ took us for a bike ride around Prospect Park. She has four bikes so there was one for each of us.

CJ, Eric and Gail on bikes in Prospect Park
The three bicyclists are
          riding away from the camera on a paved street. There
          are trees on both sides of the road.

We took the train to Manhattan again for the rest of the day. First we visited with people at Occupy Wall Street, but we did not take part in any activities. Next we showed our support for small business by buying books at Strand Book Store.

After a quick dinner at the B Bar and Grill (my veggie burger was tasty and juicy), we attended an Ask Roulette session at the Housing Works Bookstore. In Ask Roulette, participants chosen from the audience ask and answer questions of each other in front of the audience. The questions can be about any topic, great or small, personal or general. In addition to the audience participants there were three celebrity participants: Kurt Anderson from Studio 360, Julie Klausner from How Was Your Week, and Maria Popova from The Brainpicker. It was an entertaining and thought-provoking evening.

Afterwards we stopped at a shop for ice cream, despite the chilly evening.

Occupy Wall Street in Union Square

Al, Eric, CJ and Gail after ice cream
Two men hold a
        yellow banner proclaiming Occupy Wall Street. Two men in
        the foreground play chess. The sky is a beautiful blue. We are wearing jackets
         and standing across the street from a Vietnamese restaurant

Gail and I drove back to Maryland on Friday morning while CJ was at work. We had a great time visiting the Big Apple. There are many places we still need to visit and many things still to see.