Yes, I failed. It appeared as a single path to me. This is where a fixed-width font is useful (eg. place such text within [ code ] [ / code ] tags. Since font size/family is a browser's/user's choice, on my system the space is very hard to distinguish at 1600x1200 sitting 3 feet away from the monitor.
I knew the command would fail:
$ cp empty/. ./newdir
cp: empty/. is a directory (not copied).
so assumed the command was incomplete.
Thanks for the clarification.