Fulbright riffs, 1991 — day 89, Monday August 26th

Gorgeous late August weather. We’re taking the ferry to Staten Island and Snug Harbor. On the way over I finally get a clear view and a shot of the Statue of Liberty.

We discover that most of Staten Island’s attractions are closed on Mondays including the home of photographer Alice Austen. But the the botanical gardens are pleasant enough, another peaceful retreat for New Yorkers.

Our course on the return ferry is crossed by a massive twin barge carrying the city’s rubbish.

Minutes later, the steel and glass cliffs of lower Manhattan defy you not to enjoy yourself and make money.

We wander around Bowling Green, Wall Street and Nassau Street, mainly on a quest for ice cream, then take the subway up to 8th Street for a leisurely perusal of the Strand Bookshop’s miles of shelves. We spend about an hour searching for a book on North American wildflowers, distracted by first editions at reasonable prices: the ‘banned’ Satanic Verses is fetching $50.

Time to cool off back at the apartment before Robert and Diane Heffley call to take us to dinner at the Korean restaurant Woo Lae Oak on 46th Street. Robert asked me to make the booking under my middle name, Lee, to be sure of one of the best tables. It seems to have paid off, and we’re seated at a prime table, a small barbecue burning in the centre to cook our own shrimp, beef, chicken and pork together with several traditional Korean side-dishes ordered by Diane.

There’s nothing of interest tonight in the local jazz clubs but for my last night in Manhattan I can at least indulge in a random selection from Howard Mandel’s vast collection of CDs.

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