Sunday, August 12, 2012

NYC 2012

So we went to New York for two days.  Well, technically we went to a hotel in southern Connecticut and took the Metro North train into the city two days in a row. Which works if you're from Maine and buying train tickets and riding trains is part of the educational value novelty of being on vacation. And just outside of New Haven is as close to New York City as you care to drive, thank you very much.
Jupiter wanted to go to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She prefers to experience her learning; and not just read about it.  Hard to say no to that interest; even if I had to get the washing machine repaired the same week.

I can see why people want to live in New York.  There's SO MUCH.  But I get overloaded after about a day and a half.  Or possibly just exhausted; hard to say which. 

Day one we were supposed to go to both museums.  We arrived at Grand Central Station (which requires a couple few hours of its own to properly experience; apart from arriving and departing) midmorning and grabbed the Times Square subway shuttle to get to a different uptown subway train.  We weren't sure which train to take and the subway guy in the booth didn't have a subway map.  Really?  The transit cop looked it up on his Iphone though.  Then we went down to the platform and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited.  No train.  So finally we decided to cut our losses and started walking.  I figured it wasn't that far to Central Park; and then walking from the park would be fun; if hot.

The bike rental people on the edge of the park are in your face aggressive.  But once we get in the park it's pleasant.  We get to the museum just after noon.  It's mobbed.  I suspect it always is.  We looked at some of the animal and prehistoric exhibits.  There are no mummies (Jupiter was hoping to see one).  We get hungry and have to break for lunch at the cafeteria at the museum.  I am horrified that I have to pay $21 for two slices of pizza, two juice pouches, and lousy parfaits.

By then it's almost 3pm and we decide to go to the Art Museum the next day because it's open late on Fridays; so we will have more time to spend there.  I've heard it's really big. So we try to find our way out of the museum; get lost; and land in the solar system and earthquake exhibits for awhile before we find our way out.  So instead of heading accross the park to the art museum; we head south through the park because Lina also wants to go to FAO Schwarz.  She's 8 years old; she wants to go buy candy.  We also get a creative art sketch diary for Jupiter; Matroyshka measuring cups for me, and an NYC Memory game.  On the way back to Grand Central; we stop at the American Girl doll store so Jupiter can buy an outfit for her American Girl Target Our Generation Doll ( far as I know; she still thinks they're real AG dolls.  Since she colored the hair of one of them green and purple; it's a good thing they're not real).  Then we have to eat at Grand Central Station; which is marginally less expensive than the meal at the museum.

We ride the CIA train back to CT.  It was really a metro north train; but was the silent train that never announced the destination or any of the stations it stopped at; much less the next station it would stop at.  I was therefore obligated to ask other passengers where we were when the train stopped at our station; because the train also stopped way at the end of the platform where there was no sinage.  We made it off the train; all was well.

Friday we went back and started the day by walking over to the UN.  You  may not bring beverages into the UN complex.  Then we rode the subway downtown to ride the Staten Island Ferry and take advantage of a free cruise past the Statue of Liberty.  Then Jupiter wanted to take the bus back uptown; so we had to get new MetroCards (at the subway station; because we couldn't get them at the bus kiosk); then run the metro cards through the machine at the bus kiosk to get a receipt to be presented upon demand to the bus police.  Which happened about halfway through the long bus ride and one girls cell phone conversation about the end of her summer internship and a wedding. After the bus we walked several blocks accross town to quite possibly the hugest museum in the world.
And bought tickets.  And went in.
And got lost. 
My brain couldn't get around the scope of either how much amazing stuff there was; and how old much of the amazing stuff was. 
We saw some Ancient Greek art; then we found our way to the medieval art and saw lots of armor (displayed on horse statues).  I spent more time looking at the museum map and trying to figure out where we were than looking at art.  We thought we might be lost in the museum for ever and in the decorative arts section Jupiter picked out which beds she wanted to sleep on.  Then I was thirsty; so we stopped in the American Wing in which we found ourselves for a bottle of water and a cookie.  Then we finally found the ancient Egypt section.
Where they did have an actual mummy.  Jupiter was pleased.
 The docent (how cool a job in how cool a place) tells Jupiter she can't touch the sculpture (a huge sarcoughagus; maybe) she's walking around and touching.  Only visually impaired visitors are invited to touch the sculpture. I think (but don't share) that sensory seekers should also be allowed to gently touch the sculpture.
 We never got to see any paintings. 
Fortunately when we were in the gift shop; I heard a mother telling her sons that they couldn't leave the museum yet; because they hadn't seen any paintings.  The sons were dismayed until they learned she was kidding.  Sort of.  The father informed me that all they had seen were the sections devoted to armor and ancient Egypt. 
Outside we go around the corner to the Ancient Playground in Central Park.  Jupiter finally got some swinging and spinning sensory input.
Then we rode in a cab back to 42nd St.  I sat in the middle; and could see out the windshield.  EEEK.  Forget taxis.  Give me a nice sedate subway ride any day.  Although I guess it was good training to force my car accross lanes of traffic and through toll booth lines on the way home. 
The train back to CT has automated station announcements, which is good. It's also a local train after Stamford; which is slow.  We get back late late late.  Fortunately the next day, we don't have to get up early.
Now we're home.  I've unpacked and done the dirty laundry (washer is fixed) and unpacked the few goodies I was allowed to get at I*EA New Haven.  Which I found out is only 20 minutes from the hotel and has a restaurant where I got meals for both of us for $7.  Next trip; we're eating at the I*EA.
Vacation is more than half over.  
Darn it.

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