Just a quick post on Saturday’s wandering down to Battery Park. I’ll be posting more on that area soon, but Battery Park is at the absolute southern tip of Manhattan. The “Battery” is actually the site of an old fort that protected Manhattan from enemy navies, should they want to invade (and, on occasion, they did). Nowadays, it’s a wonderful little park and a jumping off point to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Anyway, every year the city holds an event called CultureFest. It’s actually a pleasant and popular event with an emphasis on kids. Not that it is geared toward kids, but that there are definite kid-friendly items including some of the bigger names.
Mostly, the event is a place that national cultural centers love to exhibit their paraphenalia. Mostly, that’s just brochures, but it can veer off into actual items. Some of the national groups that exhibited this year were the French, Irish, Germans, Japanese, Spainish, Chinese, Mexican, and Tibetian. Some not-quite one-nationalities also exhibited like a Carribean group, a Hispanic group, and Scandinavia House. I was speaking with the woman working the Scandinavia House exhibit and, noticing her very black hair, asked if she were a descendent. “No,” she answered, “all the real Scandinavians are working today.” I just loved that response.
And then there were the museums. I’m not even going to try to name them. Dozens. All sorts of museums (to re-classify such things as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens in addition to more traditional museums) were there, but all they had were brochures and kid stuff. Lots of kid stuff for them.
The fest was performed along a series of walkways within the park. Each of the groups had their own white tent. It was pretty nicely done.
There were also some exhibits. The flax works were moderately popular. Okay, for me it was fascinating. I’ve seen it before, but the process and the results are fun to watch.
The woman would pull the flax through the nails and it would slowly align all of the strands. Eventually, it looked like hair (that’s a final sample drapped around her neck). This would later be spun and woven to become linen. It seemed like a lot of work.
There was a small group of these Historic Richmond Town re-enactors. At one point, they did a little dance performance.
I didn’t think of it at the time, but I don’t know the time period they are enacting. When I first saw them, I thought instantly of the Amish so that was sort of the mindset I had for them, although I knew they were acting. Later, I saw one of the their number, in full costume, going by carrying some Starbucks for the group. It was a moment of cognitive dissonance that made me smile.
My favorite moment of the wandering was a very simple one. I was looking at a Battery Park Conservancy group’s exhibit and the two of them and I started conversing. Just a very simple conversation where they talked about how much better the weather was than it had been the previous day. Their friendliness was very engaging and they really seemed to be happy to have all of the people wandering around their park. Nothing notable was said, but their attitude was really pleasant. New Yorkers are really nice people.