Our last day in New York. Columbia University was our first stop. We spent some time to explore around the library and campus by ourselves (again, as it is summer we did not see much people on campus). Next, we headed to Chinatown for a tour by MOCA (Museum of Chinese in America). Our first stop was the Columbus Park, in which at the first sight caused an image of a place in SF’s Chinatown came to my mind right away -- Portsmouth Square. I would compare Columbus Park to Portsmouth Square because of its purpose and visitors. In both parks, you can see many senior citizens playing Chinese chess and card games. There is also an area with shelter and an area without shelter in both parks. In addition, I see both Columbus Park and Portsmouth Square as a community hub for its residents to gather together and socialize. Another thing that stood out to me was the statue of Dr. Sun Yet-Sen in the Columbus Park, although I do not find it surprising as I have seen and heard about his statues being enacted at places he visited. Along our way in this tour, I have come to see that the traffic in New York’s Chinatown is quite bad. There are many cars and pedestrians, just as packed as SF’s Chinatown, but even more, since New York is much bigger. However, the most shocking moment was when our tour guide led us walking through a crosswalk on a red light. As much as I favor pedestrian safety, I had no choice (or maybe I did but...) but to follow along with the rest of the group to the other side of the street. We made a stop at the Benjamin Ralph Kim Lau Park, where we see a statue of Lin Ze Xu. From what I recall from the tour, Lin Ze Xu was an important figure to stop the illegal drug trafficking of opium dens. When we looked across the street on the other side, we see another statue -- Confucius. Interestingly, the two statues actually face each other and the statue of Lin Ze Xu is placed in the new Chinatown while the statue of Confucius is placed in the old Chinatown, so it’s as if the two Chinatown’s are communicating to each other, which I found to be pretty cool. Next, we moved to one of the more narrow streets, Boyers Street, one of the three streets in which New York’s Chinatown started with. From the tour, I learned that this street was used for many films. I also see many barber shops, hair and skin care shops, and salons on both sides of this street. This actually reminded me of the Ross alley in SF’s Chinatown, given that Ross is known for its appearances in movies and especially the Jun Yu barber shop. Not only that but as we proceed to the other end of the street, I also saw several buildings of family associations, which also reminded me of some of the alleyways in SF’s Chinatown, with Ross being one of them. We also walked along on some of the main streets near the end of the tour. Throughout the tour, I discovered several similarities between New York’s and SF’s Chinatown. I guess many of the Chinatowns around the nation share at least one common trait. After the tour, we settled at the Shanghai Cafe (taken with its name, a Shanghainese restaurant). There, we tried some Xiao Long Bao again, and I also got to taste a dish that I haven’t had for quite a while -- the Shanghai fried noodle, which actually disappointed me as their noodles were a bit too hard. After lunch and our discussion of the plan for the rest of our last day in New York, we headed to Aji Ichiban, where most of us bought some snacks. This was where I reunited with one of my favorite snacks -- the fish snack strips with sesame fillings in the middle. As much as I wanted to buy some, I stopped my hand from grabbing the package to the cashier and placed it back down. This is the struggle you get when you really want something that is too expensive. Then we headed to the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, where their ice cream flavors are all homemade and unique, some of which are flavors that you won’t see in other places, for example -- ginger. I tried a lychee rose flavor and I enjoyed it. We walked through Little Italy to the metro station.
We got off the metro at the Wall Street station. We explored around the Trinity Church, Federal Hall, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, and a small graveyard in the area. Then our next stop was to the Statue of Liberty! Or actually, to sight see the Statue of Liberty was what I actually meant. We went to walk around Battery Park and later found a free ferry ride to Staten Island. As we saw that the cruise was approaching near the dock, we were running to the entrance of the ferry ride. We stood at the entrance waiting for the boarding time and saw more and more people gradually coming to the crowd. It made sense because it was around 5:00 PM when we board on the cruise, which would be the rush hour when everyone gets off work. I guess most of the people standing in the crowd are those who travel regularly from home to work and vice versa through this cruise, while we were just there to explore and rest for a while with the seats on the cruise. We board on the cruise and took many pictures with the Statue of Liberty in many miles distant away from us. When the cruise arrived at Staten Island, we got off the cruise and was expected to board on another one to head back. It was not until we boarded on the second cruise that we realized it was the same one (and thus perhaps we did not even had to get off at the first place). Overall, it was a nice experience as we did actually get to see the Statue of Liberty at least. When we arrived back we saw that the next cruise actually had more people compared to the one we boarded earlier. Well, it probably makes sense as it does take some time for people working in offices to travel from their workplace to the dock.
As much tired as we were, this is our last day in New York so we had to make sure to make the most out of it. Our last stop -- NYU! We explored the outdoor areas of the campus and especially Washington Square Park, where we spent most of our time at. We took a long break there before we headed onto dinner. It has indeed been a very long day. I have gone to the point where I sat down for a long while, and later I was too tired to stand up and continue walking. We finally made it to the Italian restaurant, Carmine’s, where I was about to fall asleep while waiting for a table. We finally got our table after a while of waiting and ordered three pastas and some appetizers to share. The seafood pasta here sure tasted great, despite the fact that we had to use our hands to eat the lobster pieces of course. We ate dinner at around 10:00 P.M., and I would say that at that point, I was too tired to eat, but I still managed to fill up my stomach. After finishing dinner at around 11 something at night, we made our way back to the hotel. Last day in New York, I would say we really did explored and visited a lot of places, as much as we could with our ability. It is now time to say bye to New York and welcome our first day at Boston tomorrow!