Sound Bites in New York City

                                            Occupy Movement straggler Trinity Church

  • What the f__________ are you tourists doing here?

 homeless person who says he is part of the Occupy Movement outside Trinity Church at the end of Wall Street

  •  Speak softly. Be considerate. Keep your feet off the seat. 

electronic reminders on the train from New Jersey to New York

Ground Zero Memorial Pool

  •  My husband was crying when we visited the Ground Zero Memorial site.

– tourist from France staying at the same bed and breakfast we did

Immigrant Hall on Ellis Island

  • “My father had left Sicily two years before us to get a job and find a place for us in America. I was seven years old when he finally had saved enough money for my mother and we children to come to America too. I remember him walking through the door on Ellis Island after our ship arrived and he spotted us from across the room and he was just standing there looking at us. And then he knelt down on the floor and opened his arms wide and all five of us children rushed into his embrace. My father was crying and he said, “I promise that we will never be separated again.”

-paraphrase of a first person account on an audio tour guide track at Ellis Island

  • Theatres should have four times as many bathrooms for women as they do for men. 

-woman standing in line with me to use the washroom during the intermission of the Broadway musical Wicked when the announcement is made that there is one minute to curtain time. There were still a dozen women ahead of us in the line. 

  •  That apartment building is where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban live. They have an elevator for their car so they don’t have to get out of their vehicle to go up to their apartment

-our New York City tour guide

Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

  • I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. 

– from the mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on October 14

  • Are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them? 

-Galinda in the musical Wicked

Dave gives money to Battery Park gymnast

  • You can come a little closer white people. No need to be scared of us. Remember we have a black president now. His name is Obama and he wants change but we want bills. 

– African-American gymnasts in Battery Park collecting money from the crowd after putting on an amazing show

Tenement Museum New York

  • In 1898 this tenement building was home to twenty families each with a 325 square foot apartment and on the main floor there was a saloon.  All the tenants and the saloon shared one spigot for drinking and washing water and it was located right beside the four outdoor toilets. The average wage was $10 a week and the infant mortality rate was 30%.

tour guide at the Tenement Museum

  • I left Europe after a failed marriage and entered the United States on a visitor visa. I soon realized if I wanted to stay and become a citizen I would need to get married. A friend set me up with a guy who seemed really nice but we had only been married a couple of days when I realized he was insane. He truly had mental problems and I was scared of him. So I kicked him out and got a divorce as quickly as I could. The second time I chose more wisely, a gay guy who was from Prague. He had American citizenship and needed a place to live while he went to university. It worked out well. We got married. He moved in with me. We were together for a couple of years. I got my citizenship. He got his degree and we got a divorce. Then he went back to Prague to look after his aging parents and he never returned. We have lost touch. I love living here in the United States. I have been able to get a college degree and now I have a steady job and income. You wouldn’t believe how many people I know who got their immigration papers by marrying someone and divorcing them later. Everyone does it!  Just like in the movie Green Card. 

– a woman we met in New York 

  • The United Nations was not created to take humanity to heaven but to save it from hell. 

tour guide at the United Nations quoting former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjol

    What happens to a dream deferred?
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?
 
– a poem called Harlem by Langston Hughes that kept running through my head when we took a tour of Harlem
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