Justin's Graduation at West Point and Sightseeing in New York

Beaver Family and Friends


May 31 through June 4 2001


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On Friday, May 31st, we assembled for the 2002 West Point graduation parade. This was our meeting point: Eisenhower statue. In the background (behind the trees) is Eisenhower Hall, where Justin dormed.


This majestic statue of George Washington stands in front of the appropriately named Washington Hall (left). On the right is MacArthur Hall (MacArthur statue out of range).






Another segment becomes attached to "the long gray line" tomorrow. These 1,000+ cadets queue up to form their representative portion of the 200-year-old line of gray.


Underclassmen are required to march in the graduation parade. Notice these men and women do not display the plumes of the graduating class.






The color guard of USMA. Note the French batallion in the background. France celebrates the 200th anniversary of its military academy this year as well. To reciprocate, A representative battalion of our cadets will travel to France to honor their festivities.


My cousins: Justin on the left, class of 2002, and Ryan on the right, class of 1996. Here you can see the plumage of his graduation parade hat.






My wife, Michelle, and I strike a pose with the soon-to-be Lieutenant. It's hard to believe this was the same tyke who used to need help putting on his mittens. Now he stands taller than me in the dignified colors of a USMA cadet.


Here my parents get in on a photo opportunity as well. We are all very proud to have West Point alumni in our family.






It's the whole fam damily! From left to right, that's Justin's girl Joey, father Lawrie, mom Jeanie, Justin, Ryan, and Ryan's Missus, Angie.


After the parade, we relaxed with some cold, refreshing barley-pops at the "Firstie" (First Classmen, a.k.a. Seniors) club.






On Saturday, June 1st, the pleebs (first year cadets) and French batallion had to sit in the far end-zone with some of us civilians for the graduation ceremony. The French are a little more lax with cadet rules on tobacco (note the three standing up at top).


Our seats in the end-zone were a little far from the action. I could pull in the guests with my binoculars, but my camera simply didn't have the zoom. The circled figure is President George W. Bush. To his left are first lady Laura Bush, NY Governor George Pataki, as well as House Representatives from the state of NY.






The traditional graduates' hat toss. Children lined up to collect the hats as they returned to earth. They would often contain a small amount of cash, and sometimes contact information for the cadet who whore it. Here is video footage of Ryan's hat toss in '96 (large 4MB file).


On Michie Stadium field, we greet Justin for the first time as Second Lieutenant Beaver.






From the graduation we went to the Old '76 House in Tappan, NY. It was an important facility to the American Revolution and once hosted the original "George W." (our first president) for dinner. We bellied up to the 300 year-old bar rail that served our soldiers (militiamen) before we were even called a country.


In an action photo, my wife spouts some nonsense, to which my father and grandfather cry "B.S." To the right is Angie's brother (Ryan's bro-in-law) Tim who appears to be buying the whole story (he got a good "story" on this tie too).






After a lengthy delay (Justin had one afternoon to clear out his dorm and out-process four years of medical, dental, academic records, etc.), the new Lieutenant shows up to happy and proud friends and family.


Justin proudly displays his new 2nd Lt. "butter bars", as well as his lovely lady from Florida, Joey. As an aside, the glass may say Sam Adams, but the only draught served at the Old '76 House is Bass Ale.






As I flip a 180 at Justin's table, we find the class of '96 graduate and his bride. Ryan and Angie always look way too happy, but it rubs off, and we always enjoy their company.


After the Old '76 House, we headed back to our lodgings in Nanuet (near Tarrytown, NY). At this point, we've kicked ourselves out of the hotel bar (our friendly midwest attitudes could not tolerate the NY swindling any longer) to congregate in my parent's room.






Grandpa Beaver sleeps soundly, as his grandkids (my wife and my sister) give him sweet dream blessings.


On Sunday, June 2nd, Michelle and I head into the city by ourselves. We took the subway to SOHO and walked toward Little Italy in search of a good pizza place. Our hunger overcame our taste and we settled for weak pizza and then went to the Empire State Building.






Here is my wife on the observation deck. On the 86th floor the wind can play tricks on you. It was mild on one side of the building, but felt like it would lift us away on the other side. The circled item is the Statue of Liberty.


This is the view from the Empire State Building looking northeast, across the East River. The Chrysler Building is visable, but there is a better view in the next photo.






Zooming in, we see the Chrysler Building a little closer, as well as the Queensboro bridge in the background. On the left is the MetLife building with the Grand Central Terminal building in front.


Here we are looking north from the ESB Observatory, uptown toward Central Park. Above the many rows of buildings, you should see a patch of open grass: Central Park.






Now we are looking northwest across the Hudson. After the ESB experience, we headed to the ESPN Zone in Times Square to watch the Sacramento Kings lose to the L.A. Lakers in game seven (their first game 7 victory in playoff history).


Looking southeast, across the East River, we see some bridges. The obvious one on the left is the Williamsburg bridge. A keen eye will then see two more bridges further south, first the Manhattan Bridge, then the Brooklyn Bridge.






Here we look south and see something we shouldn't see. The barge (circled) would normally be obscured by the twin towers of the World Trade Center.


The view westward across the Hudson toward New Jersey. Note Macy's on the right. After the observation deck, we rode the NY SkyRide virtual reality tour (interesting, but flying at a slow curve directly toward the twin towers was a little unnerving).






On Monday, June 3rd, we decide to take a double-decker bus tour of Manhattan. It's a great way to catch some of the diverse scenery and flavor of this fantastic city. Here is one of many beautiful cathedrals located amongst the commercial buildings and skyscrapers.


And another.






And one more.


As I turn around on that last cathedral, I get an interesting photo of the Empire State Building in the background.






Here's another view of the Empire State Building, looking down 34th Street. Its 1,400+ feet of stature makes for an impressive site from many areas of town.


New Yorkers can always spot the tourists. They are the ones who tend to look up to see the tops of the skyscrapers. As this photo shows, it can be futile. The top of the Empire State Building is not visible from the ground, due to the telescopic design.






5th Avenue and Broadway intersect at about a 30 angle near 23rd Street. New Yorkers, in their defiant nature saw this as a fit location for a 285-ft tall building 100 years ago. Originally called the Fuller Building, it is now known as the Flatiron Building.


The Municipal Building is topped by a beautiful gold statue. It is the largest statue on the island of Manhattan. Of course, there is a much larger statue just off the island (see below).






The Woolworth Building, at nearly 800 feet was the world's tallest building until the Bank of Manhattan (over 900 feet) was erected, followed only a week later by the erection of the Chrysler bulding (over 1,000 feet).


Here's a closer look at the unmistakable green top of the Woolworth Building.






This spherical sculpture from the plaza of the World Trade Center now serves as a temporary memorial to the horrific events of September 11th.


Here is a better view of the damaged sculpture in its new location at Battery Park.






Michelle and I stopped to check out a patriotic ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza.


Turning around from all the flags, we see the studio where Matt Lauer and Katy Couric do their thing for the Today Show.






Here again are the three bridges of the lower Manhattan section of the East River. First, with the heavy brickwork is the Brooklyn bridge. Next, with the skinny spindle supports is the Manhattan bridge. Finally, with the dual supports visible, is the Williamsburg bridge.


The lower Manhattan skyline is still beautiful, but not as awe-inspiring as it was when the twin towers stood here. These last photos taken from the Hudson River, were from our last day, June 4th, when we only had a couple hours to tour the area before heading home.






Due to hightened security, the wait for the Liberty Island ferry was nearly three hours. Once there, visitors were not allowed inside. As such, we opted to view the lovely lady from the Staten Island ferry. Here's my lovely lady in front of the lovely lady.


This is as close as we got to Lady Liberty. The tiny specs at the base of the statue are people waiting very hard to not get in.



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Here are some photos from my sister.
And here are some more.

Here are some photos from Ryan.
And here are some more.


The background image was scanned and modified from an actual "I Love NY" pin I bought in New York in 1996.
For more information on West Point, see their official web site.