Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NYC catch-up

Happy Birthday Dave (it's still the fifteenth here) – maybe the card arrived. Now that I'm sitting on a bus driving through New Jersey, I have a chance to catch up with the previous four days in NYC. As I got progressively more tired after each >12 hour day, I slept better & better at the hostel. It was nice to get in to a little routine – out the door by about half past eight, up 9th a couple of blocks for my standard bowl of hot cereal (porridge) with raisins & three pieces of cinnamon toast (I only realsied on about the third or fourth morning just how much sugar was on there – no wonder it tasted so good) & then off sightseeing.

Saturday I hopped on the uptown hop-on, hop-off bus to take a look at Harlem & Central Park. It was also a day of museums – first was the Natural History one. It was OK, but since I'd been to the fantastic San Diego Zoo & Sea World, all the stuffed animals didn't really do a whole lot for me. Mind you, these bears were a little bigger than the one we saw when we were camping at Big Meadow. The highlight of the museum was the mineral & gem display – I'm not much of a rock person, but colours were so brilliant & the structures so intricate it was hard not to be amazed.

After hopping on & off a couple of times, the Museum of New York was quite interesting, as it of course explained the history of New York. Following that I avoided the bus & strolled down Central Park admiring all the green & space & avoiding all those out riding, jogging or pushing strollers – I managed to not walk past the Guggenheim. I think the building was the most spectacular part of the complex – there was a large architectural exhibit & while it started out interesting, there are only so many unrealised ideas, plans & models one can look at. The art was pretty good, but as you couldn't take photos, it can't have been fantastic as I can't remember anything specifically (or I am a Luddite).

Escaping the Guggenheim it was getting late in the afternoon, but riding past the Metropolitan Museum of Art I saw that it was open to nine o'clock that night. Why not? Backtracking through the park I snuck in for what I expected would be another hour or two. How wrong was I? The place was huge & full of heaps of really cool stuff. I started out spending quite a bit of time looking at a lot of the Greek, Roman & Etruscan statues & artefacts. Then there was a lot of Eygptian exhibits, included reconstructed tombs that had somehow made their way from Eygpt to NYC. The old American furniture & art display was good, as was all the weaponary & suits of armour. I was trying to make my way around the maze in some sort of orderly fashion, but the way it worked out I had to semi-rush around what was my favourite part of the museum – the European sculptures, portraits & paintings. I have seen enough “Portrait of a man” & “Portrait of a woman” signs to last me a little while. There was plenty of religious works displayed, as well as all the portraits – but I think my favourites were the landscapes that had people doing things, as opposed to sitting, posing for a painting. One such painting of a village fair in France had me staring at it for ages – the detail was great.

After the Met closed, it was time for the long walk back to the hostel. As it was Saturday night, there were plenty of people about (but that really goes for almost any time of the day in NYC). I spied a big Apple sign above a stairwell, so I crossed the road & headed in to the basement – my first Apple store. Say what you will about Apple & their products (personally I quite like my MacBook), their marketing sure is something. It was ten o'clock on a Saturday night & the place was teeming with people. There is of course all the products & accessories shelved in a normal store, but there were benches & benches of every Apple product with scores, if not a couple of hundred, people trying them out. I had a brief play on a MacBook Pro, but as I already know what they are about, mostly contented myself with wandering, looking at the store that never closes & all the people packed inside it.

This was about an eighth of the store

Back home eventually to rest my weary legs.

The bus pulled in a few hours ago – it's nice to be back in Doylestown & have a nice big afternoon nap (when in Rome...). We (the four Lindes & I) are off upstate for a nice long weekend in the Poconos – which promises to be a lot less hectic than NYC & a lot cooler, should be great. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on the rest of the NYC stories & add some Poconos stories.

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