Redeemer Church West is where we chose to worship on this Lord's Day. Their website is linked to their name in the previous sentence and an interesting and informative article was posted on The Gospel Coalition website in May. If you read the article, you'll quickly realize that reaching New Yorkers is different from what many of us from the south and mid-west have become used to as church and ministry. They are obviously very effective in ministering the gospel. We attended a service that features jazz instrumentation. Traditional, Classical, Gospel/Soul, and Contemporary/Eclectic, are also choices that are available at different times across the 4 Manhattan locations. For a bit of clarification, a jazz service simply means that jazz instrumentation is used but the worship songs were very similar to what we sing at home. I'm sure the other genre-centered services are the same. And no, Tim Keller was not preaching at this location. It didn't matter. The message was biblical and presented well!
Allow me to interrupt this blog to give you a little perspective on the day. We started at our hotel in Long Island City, Queens, NY (right middle on the map). We took the subway to Lower Manhattan and visited the sites starred near Westfield World Trade Center. From there we took the Big Bus to midtown (Just south of Central Park) and caught a subway to the Upper West Side for church (you guessed it, opposite of the Upper East Side on the map). After church, we took a bus and stopped at Trader Joe's for peanut butter (you have to know me) and then back down to Times Square (the star by Hell's Kitchen) for a Big Bus night tour which went back to Lower Manhattan, across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn and back over to Manhattan, eventually ending at Times Square then back to Long Island City. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it is to map out some of the sites you want to see before you go. It helped me tremendously to have an idea of where the 5 Boroughs are and the general layout of the city. But, even with a general feel for the geography of the city, it was nearly impossible to keep an entire day’s events in one area - especially when we were trying to work around specific events in the evening. And, count on not working in something you had hoped to see and having to move it to another day - this completely throws off your geographical planning. One more note on getting your bearings... no matter how hard you try, you never know right away where you are when you come up from the subway!
On our walk to the night tour stop, we saw some of New York's finest patrolling on horseback. This isn't exactly what we expected to see in Times Square! We had to wait in line for nearly an hour to get on the tour bus. While waiting, a young man who was obviously from the Middle East asked us where we were from. When we told him St. Louis, he lit up and said "So am I"! He just graduated from Webster University and was touring in NY before returning to Saudi Arabia. An incredibly friendly young man who had been alone in NY for 3 days and was noticeably ready to find someone with whom to converse. It was fun to meet him (I don't remember his name) and to hear about his background. But even after 4 years in the mid-west, he was convinced that NYC was what America really is!
Now for some images from the night tour:
All paths eventually lead to Times Square
Flat Iron Building
When the tour was over, we grabbed some more pizza from Ray's and decided to try their wings this time - good decision. While deciding where to eat, I had to do this:
Fortunately, posing with Lin Manuel Miranda's
picture doesn't cost the $400-$2000 that
tickets to Hamilton costs!
And finally, a word about trash... This scene begins developing every night all over the city. It seems that when you build buildings everywhere and have no back alleys (that I've noticed), so this is the only place to put your trash! It's all gone by morning and the city starts over for the day.