Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 5 : Minskoff and Misc Manhattan

16 July 2014

It's real Broadway show day today! And non-admission sightseeing. How exciting!

We began our day at Bryant Park, which of course is technically the backyard of ... the New York Public Library! I'm here to visit two Automatons that were activated by sequence Daedalus Twenty-Three during the Battle of Manhattan (I'm sure everyone knows which recent geekdom I'm alluding to).

It's Patience and Fortitude - the Library Lions - guarding the entrance to the Library!

Apart from Percy Jackson, my first recollection of the Lions was in another fantasy book. I always thought it was Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere but that was set in London, so I could be wrong. And I really cannot recall at the moment. If you remember, do let me know. I vaguely remember a female protagonist and the Lions were guarding the entrance to somewhere (not the Library).

The next Automaton we visited was Hermes at the Grand Central Terminal - popular film location for lovers to meet. Or like in Castle, someone was murdered in one of the phone booths (couldn't find that though). What I wanted to see most was the constellations on the ceiling.

I first read about it in BSC Super Special #6

Coincidentally, Luv and I saw a movie on TV the night before which had a scene in Grand Central with a special moment at the Whispering Wall. Took us a while to find it, and when we did, of course, we had to try it out ... and it sort of worked! 

See, the architecture makes it that when two people stand at diagonally opposite corners of the 'wall', they can have a conversation by one whispering into their corner, and the one at the opposite corner will hear what was said. But here's a tip: it's called Whispering for a very good reason. You have to whisper. Talking softly doesn't work. I couldn't hear what Luv said, but he could hear my random whispering clearly.

There's an Apple Store on the mezzanine floor of the Terminal, but ... it was nothing special. The architecture of the building itself is a lot more spectacular than the Genius Bar. And just like every Apple Store in the world, there are numerous people swiping screens along the long white tables.

Next, we headed back to Broadway for our matinee show. Minskoff Theatre means ... The Lion King! Even with Luv's corporate benefits, the tickets cost us an arm and a leg. And it was so difficult to choose which show to watch. At that time, we were split between seeing the extremely famous Disney Classic, or catch an A-Lister live. If we had more time and money, it might have helped. When I was there, Idina Menzel was starring in If/Then, Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan, and Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Ah, tough choices, but The Lion King won and we didn't regret it. Very superb costumes and stage effects. I think my favourite scenes were the opening Circle of Life (of course), the Wildebeest Stampede, and that one Waterfall scene.

Oh, we also saw Naked Cowboy.

The great thing about Summer is the extremely long daylight hours, which meant we could squeeze in more outdoor sightseeing. After a walk through the Theatre District, we took the Subway to Battery Park and then to Wall Street on foot.

Charging Bull (and his b*lls) is a very popular attraction.

We saw an 'invisible' building, can you see it?

The bell goes 'ding' at the NYSE.

From Wall Street, we proceed to what I felt is the saddest place in NYC - the 9/11 Memorial. When I saw the size of the Memorial pools and the number of names engraved around them, I couldn't help tearing up. So many innocent lives wasted.

At the Park, there is a very special callery pear tree which they call the Survivor Tree. The story goes that after the attacks at the World Trade Center, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero. It was severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned, broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.

Survivor Tree supported by cables

Nearby, is the home of the brave heroes of FDNY's Ten House - the only fire station located inside Ground Zero. You can read about their 9/11 chronicles here.

We ended the day with a nod to HIMYM fandom - dinner at McGee's NYC, the pub that inspired McLaren's in How I Met Your Mother.

It's basically an Irish Pub and Restaurant,  whose cocktail menu has a touch of HIMYM. Luv ordered the Slutty Pumpkin :)

The interior walls were decorated with some photos of  HIMYM cast members who have been to the pub. I wonder if my seat was the same seat as Robin Scherbatsky's... Also there is this mural that apparently is also replicated in the TV Show's bar.

Can you see Ted and Robin?
That mural

Later, on our way back, we realised the pub's famous neighbour is none other than Letterman himself!

Up next: perhaps a post that will make your mouth water...

Till then,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day 4 : Treasure in the Basement

15 July 2014

Sounds like a Nancy Drew title :)

Due to the weather change, Luv decided to postpone his day-off to the following week since it would be a bit pointless for us to sightsee NYC in the rain. So today is my independent exploration of Morristown day.

Behind the apartment is a Century21 which fulfilled all my discounted shopping needs, but that wasn't the highlight. Further down the road is the Post Office, where I mail my postcards. It's $1.15 for stamps, by the way :)

The grand ol' post office

Well, since I am at it, let me show you some cool sights around the little historical town. First, we have the Morristown Green. According to Wikipedia, it has in the past served as a military base, a militia training ground, and an area for public executions. It is now a public park in which many community events are held. 

"On September 6, 1833, Le Blanc became the last person hanged on the Morristown Green." - Wikimapia

Ulp. Public executions. I'm glad I didn't know about that when I was there. 

My memory and knowledge of the American History is quite stale, but if I'm not wrong, during the American Revolution, General George Washington and his troops wintered in Morristown and restrategised their military plans. There is a statue in the Green commemorating the meeting of George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Alexander Hamilton, discussing aid of French tall ships and troops being sent by King Louis XVI of France as support for the budding nation. 
Them historically important dudes

Since Morristown is also the home to The Seeing Eye program, across the Green, there is a statue honouring Morris Frank, the founder of The Seeing Eye, and his guide dog, Buddy. And since the town is the home of this program, dogs in training are a common sight. I saw one being trained in Century21 store!

So last but not least, my basement treasure story! I decided to go to the Public Library because, apart from museums, I love libraries. And Morristown has such a pretty one!

How can one not love this?
And lucky me, Tuesdays is Book Sale day! Second hand books donated by the community, but still in pretty awesome condition and even more awesome prices. Took me a while to find the Sale though, which turned out to be in the basement of the library. And after browsing the whole place for hours, I found two books that I've been looking for...and such a bargain!

I got these for $1.50!!! Treasure!

Also I came across some nostalgia while going through the shelves, especially in the Kids' section :)

Flavia de Luce! (how did I get the sixth book in the basement?)
Gaiman, and my all-time favourite: Good Omens :)
The Baby-Sitters Club, oh my!
Yellow jacket Nancy Drew!

I ended my evening at the Green with an apple crumble ice cream from Coldstone Creamery, and my new old book. Luv will be back in a bit, and he is cooking dinner for us tonight! Is this the good life, or what?

Up next: Broadway and a couple of automatons!


Day 3 : The AMNH

14 July 2014

I love museums, and the ones found in the Big Adventure are some of the creme de la creme of museums worldwide. First up is the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. 

It even has its own Subway station
I never imagined I would ever get to visit the place where exhibits come to life after hours, but here I am! Even better, we have complimentary tickets, thanks to Luv's corporate benefits. We spent close to 6 hours in there (would be longer, if they practice later summer closing times) and yet I did not finish everything.

Theodore Roosevelt greets everyone on the front steps of the Museum
Unlike the movie, Rexy doesn't greet you in the main concourse, but Bronty does! Finally, after 6 years since Berlin, I get to see dinosaur (bones) again! 

Since museums are all about showing, let me share with less words, more photos! There are just too many, so I will share my favourites (in no particular order):

Olmec head, cast of original from Vera Cruz
This reminds me of this old show on Nickelodeon aeons ago - Legends of the Hidden Temple. They called the big talking head Olmec.

Tzolkin, the Mayan calendar
I first came across the Tzolkin in ND6 Secret of the Scarlet Hand (SSH). And of course in 2012 this was a big deal, being the "predictor" of the end of days. So cool to see one up close.

More things that I recognize from SSH. Who says computer games are not educational?

Mayan tablet with glyphs
King Pacal
(I think it is him,they all look the same to me)
A replica of a Mayan ruler's tomb

Shrunken heads
Remember the talking heads on the Knight Bus (Prisoner of Azkaban)?

This sacrificial altar
Because I just NEED to show you this.

This big prehistoric mammal

This triceratops skeleton

Hello Rexy!

One wildlife diorama (out of the many)

The Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway at the Rose Center for Earth and Space

Hall of Biodiversity!!!

The Blue Whale in the Hall of Ocean Life

This diorama of turtles and Portuguese Man O' War 'cos just too cool

This showcase of Giant Squid vs Sperm Whale

This beautiful display of a Nautilus in prehistoric seas

'sup, Theodore?

Our initial plan was to walk through Central Park to the east side and get to the Met. For some unknown reason (and bad navigational sense) we ended up several blocks north of AMNH, still on the west side. So instead of the Met, we found The Dakota! 

In Super Special #6, half of the BSC lived here
with the Cummings'
We also stumbled upon the Historical Society Museum, and guess who's there?

Miss Clavel and the girls in two straight lines
(the smallest one was Madeline)

Peek-a-boo with Honest Abe

We ended the day in NYC with some inadvertent romance: dinner on a park bench, sharing an umbrella, in the rain. Yes, we got caught in one of those unpredictable NYC showers, but it was just perfect. When I was in my teens, I imagined one of the most romantic things to do is to walk in the rain with the one you love. So it was just wonderful that I got to do it with Luv in good ol' New York City.

Tomorrow: I stumble upon treasure in a basement! Stay tuned!