So I got to the hotel in New Jersey late on the Saturday afternoon. I headed across the road to the mall thinking it was still early as the sun was only just setting. I learnt two things that night, 1- malls in America do not have supermarkets, they only have fancy clothing stores, and restaurants and fast food outlets. In comparison to here in South Africa where every mall has an anchor shop which is always a supermarket.
And 2- That far away from the equator, the sun sets a lot later than here, the sun was setting at nearly 9pm. In mid summer here in Durban we are used to the sun setting latest at 8pm.
I managed to get a burger before the last place closed for the night and headed back to the hotel to crash in the soft downy bed, thinking I was going to sleep almost too well. But lo and behold, I woke up with the sunrise at 5am, and that was my version on jet lag the whole time I was in the states.
The Sunday morning I was abuzz with excitement, getting to hang out with a friend whom I had only really known a little bit from the International Convention here in Durban in 2009, and getting to tour the Big Apple. The tour group took us first to the MET museum, that is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It’s right on the side of Central Park. Before the tour I really was not all that excited about going to a museum and seriously thought of skipping that in favor of going for an explore through Central Park. But I’m so glad I didn’t!
There is a great tour called the World Power Tour (Check em out at www.worldpowertour.info), which basically takes you through the museum looking at historical artifacts of Seven World Powers which all had and one still has a direct impact on God’s people as seen in Revelation 17:10 and Daniel chapter 2, how they came to power, how they affected Jehovah’s people and how they fell. All of it showing how bible prophecy was accurate and came true!
Egypt was our first stop. We went past a tomb/pyramid that had been moved to the museum from Egypt, stone for stone, that dated back to the days that Abram and Sarai were journeying to Egypt – the tomb of Perneb. We saw the way the Egyptians kept their slaves, and how Moses must have lived as he grew up as a son of the daughter of Pharaoh. We then saw a temple that had been brought from Egypt, and how the Egyptian gods inscribed on the walls of the temple had been humiliated by the ten plagues. Also how the mythology of those times was still in false worship down to the days we live in now, the trinity gods, the halo, and the half animal half human gods. Did you know the Chrysler, Bentley and Mini (car makes) symbols are an imitation of a god of Egypt – the winged sun disc?
Assyria was our next stop. Seeing the impressive gateway to the city was like stepping into the Insight Book (published by Jehovah’s Witnesses). The impressive and scary gates that no doubt the prophet Jonah had to go through. seeing the inscriptions on the walls of how cruel those people were makes our recent congregation bible reading come alive, knowing why the threats by Sennacherib were so scary to the nation of Israel (2 Kings 18 & 19), and secular history proving that 185,000 of the Assyrian army were put to death in one night by God’s angel as fact!
Babylon, the third major world power. Getting to see what the Babylonians believed, and how again those beliefs are so widely used in false religion down to this day. How the captives from Israel and Judah were kept, and the challenges that the prophet Daniel would have faced.
Medo-Persia – the first major duel world power known in history. Why they were religiously tolerant, and allowed the Jews to go back to Israel. Also we saw some of the artifacts that have been used as inspiration for paintings in the publications of the days that queen Esther lived (check out the comparison in the artwork here), which was quite amazing. Did you know the name Mazda (another car make) was the name of a god of Darius the king?
Greece, the rapid rise of Alexander the Great and his quick fall because of a mosquito bite. We saw how the Greek language and art spread (those guys were nudists – just saying), and how they had impressive architecture.
The Roman Empire! Getting to see the kind of coins Jesus would have held up for those around him to see when he made the famous statement at Matthew 22:21 “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”. We were also introduced to the beauty of the homes of roman times, the brightly colored interior walls, because there at the museum is a building with its lovely paintings brought back from Pompeii, the paintings preserved in the volcanic lava of many moons ago. We also saw how the Roman empire slowly fell and faded away.
Lastly, we were introduced to the Anglo-American world power. As Revelation 17:
10 foretold, the final one who must remain a short time. We saw how the Roman Empire was divided into 4 smaller “kingdoms” under the 4 generals, and how in time the one kingdom overthrew the other three. Britain, a seemingly insignificant opponent overthrew the Spanish, the Dutch and and French to become the Anglo world power. They rose to power, to the point where it could be truthfully said that the sun never set on the British empire. However, the Americans were all about liberty and freedom and broke free of British rule. In time though they made their alliance with Britain and thus rose the Anglo-American world power that exists today. And with a recent statement by the current USA president stating that “without the alliance with Britian, the United States could not hold its power.”, we see so strongly how bible prophecy comes true even here in this day and age!
What got me mostly in the American Wing was the statue called the “Lybian Sybil” (see picture), it is one of the most modern art works containing the Tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew consonants that make up God’s name “YHWH”)
All in all, it was unexpectedly worth while and great fun to do that tour.
We headed from the MET via the UN buildings. Only stopped there for about 5 minutes, we saw the famous inscription of the verse from Isaiah, and then headed off to Times Square.
Next we were taken across to the Times Square area. It was a bustling area and a hot hot day (I was regretting my choice to wear jeans). The tour bus dropped us off , there were 9 of us to meet back there at 8pm. I had made friends with a lovely sister and her 11yr old daughter from California, so together with John (the one friend I already knew when arriving in New York), we headed off to the Dallas BBQ for lunch. We then headed for a walk around the area, nearby was the famed Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, which interested me until I saw the $30 price tag which was a just a little too much for me.looking back now, I realize I should not have tried to cheap skate as badly as I did, but in a way it was fun.
We walked down the street past all the hustling vendors trying to sell us tickets for some tourist trap, admired some random caracature artists, and like a teenager seeing a city for the first time I gawked with amazement at the huge infamous screens of Times Square. We decided we would like to see the famed New York public Library (how could I not want to after watching National Treasure?), so headed east. Alas we discovered that on a Sunday, the library is closed, but enjoyed the prettiness of Bryant Park, an unexpected emerald in this concrete jungle. Sitting and people watching while waiting for our new friend and her daughter to enjoy a ride on Le Carrousel, I realized how surreal this felt. Me, Amelia Byrne , sitting on a wrought iron chair in the cool shade of some random public Park in the middle of New York City, chatting easily to a friend whom I had only really known across Facebook, smiling and laughing as we whiled away an almost carefree afternoon.
When the carrousel ride was over, we decided to take a walk to Grand Central, only 3 blocks we told ourselves. Half an hour later we stepped into an air conditioned terminal, out of the heat of the hottest week of the year in that city!
There is much talk and many a movie that involves possibly what is one of the most famous train stations in the world. And it’s all true! Seriously, you walk in through the old wooden and glass doors with the brass handles, and immediately feel like you have stepped back in time to the early 1900s.
The wooden handrails down the meticulously tiled ramp and the arched entryways to the various levels. But nothing, no movie, not even the beautiful entrance can begin to prepare you for the heart stopping breath taking grandure that is the main terminal of Grand Central Station. As you pause at the top of the marble staircase looking out over the crowd,you try to catch your breath and take it all in, looking up at the domed ceiling with the star constellations painted across it in an evening sky blue colour. The wooden ticket sales stalls lining the sides, and the giant Tiffany clock standing like a sentinel in the middle of the large room. We walked around for what felt like hours, admiring the architecture, saying hello to the brothers and sisters who were looking after the metropolitan witnessing table in the station,
and window shopping at the many boutique stores and such. After a long day of walking , we did some more walking – a whole 7 blocks of it to get back to the meeting spot with the tour bus.
And that was the end of an incredible day one in New York.