Friday, November 4, 2016

Back in the Big Apple

Dawn over New York City
The first time I actually went to New York, other than to work from morning to night, or to buzz through the airport, was in 2012. Dave took me to upstate New York for our
Entrance to AMNH
anniversary and then down into Manhattan. I loved it all and was anxious to see everything. We had planned to visit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I completely underestimated the size of these two treasure troves thinking we could see them both in one day. So since outrunning the hurricane gave us an extra day to explore New York City, we decided to spend it at the AMNH; I was delighted. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the world. It is just across the street from Central Park and has 27 interconnected buildings with 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to a planetarium and a library. Given that we had an entire day, we still couldn’t see even the small portion of the 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and cultural artifacts that are on exhibit. We did see one of the founders, however; Teddy Roosevelt not only sits astride his horse to welcome guests as you enter, but there is a statue of him on a bench in one of the rotundas. I was also glad to see the T. rex and the cheeky monkey from Night at the Museum were still in residence, as well. Housed in the oldest part of the museum was a collection of Northwest Coast Indians artifacts; this portion of the museum was begun in 1874, with the Victorian Gothic building opening in 1877. Most of the rest of the museum exterior is in rusticated brownstone neo-Romanesque, except for the entry which is an over-the-top Beaux-Arts monument. The entry hall is a vast Roman basilica design that echoes with the excited voices of children and adults.

We spent a substantial amount of time in the geology exhibits. The colors of the gems had
Left: Northwest Coast Indian artifacts
Right T to B: Feathered dinosaur, Gemstones
me thinking about how they could be used with beads to make jewelry. And, of course, I had to visit the room that has the minerals that glow under black light; I’ve been interested in those sorts of rocks since I first saw them when I was a five-year-old. The collection of meteorites, along with the information about their properties and how they were collected was interesting, as well. Dave had never been in a planetarium, so we went to the special showing of Dark Universe. Having been at a university with a space science department, I was familiar with the information, but the presentation was very well done. I was surprised that the show was all digital rather than using the normal star projector. We also went to see Dinosaurs among Us, which is actually about birds; Wonders of the Arctic, particularly timely since we’d just been above the Arctic Circle; and Crocs, which was not about shoes but about this group of reptiles. We also dropped in to see the Titanosaur, a really big lizard, and the Opulent Oceans, a lovely collection of color illustrations from scientific books. Although we had a map, we really needed one of the ‘self-guided’ tours to get to see everything we wanted to see efficiently. I’m sure that there were rooms we never discovered and exhibits we still haven’t seen – that’s a good reason for another visit.
Top L to R: Memorial, Lincoln
Bottom: Elanor Roosevelt
Going back to the ship, we walked through Central Park. It’s quite lovely and there were lots of people taking advantage of the jogging paths. We also saw a large number of people walking dogs. For some reason I’m always surprised at the number of large dogs that
Top L to R: Squirrel, Turtle
Bottom: Arch and Dave
inhabit New York City with their owners. Dave was greeted by a city squirrel, not surprising since he seems to be a magnet for them; this one chattered at us from the safety of a tree. There are also a large number of birds in Central Park, and I suppose unusual ones, since we saw several bird-watchers with their binoculars and notebooks hanging around the lake scanning the trees.

Our last night to be served a lovely meal by some really great waiters went just as we
Top L to R: Peach soup, Mushroom soup
Middle L to R: Prime rib, Shrimp salad
Bottom L to R: Pear, Cake
expected. My meal began with chilled peach soup with goat cheese, followed by prime rib and finished off with watermelon cake. Dave indulged in mushroom soup, black sesame shrimp salad, his very own prime rib, and a poached pear for dessert. We knew when we got home we were going to miss not having all of our meals prepared for us.

Funny place to park
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