6.08.2008

The BIG Apple

I'm still behind. But, if I do a couple posts this next week, I should be caught up. And Ian is going home for Mike & Trista's wedding (congrats, and I wish I could be there too!), so I'll have a nice relaxing catch-up weekend (I think).

First up, we saw Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It had all of the elements of an Indiana Jones movie (chase scenes, canned witty banter, type villain... you name it), with some tongue-in-cheek comedic referrals to Harrison Ford's current age. And I was mildly impressed at the combination of two major genres — adventure, which Indiana Jones is the epitome of, and science fiction. We decided, however, it was missing the spark, or essence, of the films. Perhaps because it doesn't yet have that nostalgia.

Saturday, the first day in this year's Memorial Day weekend, we cleaned the apartment and enjoyed the weather by wandering over to Penn. We discovered some neat little spots we hadn't seen before. (And a warning — this blog post is going to be very photo-heavy!)

squinting smile - it's bright
a funny photo of me taken by Ian. I put this in so I can justify putting a funny one of him in later... keep watching!
fountain at penn's vet med building
a really cool fountain.
park on penn's campus
the garden area we found.
light through the leaves
waterfall on penn's campus
grotesques on Penn's dorms
some sports gargoyles on the dorms. and you thought they were all scary monsters...

Sunday was fairly normal, except we booked our trip to New York the next day, for our Memorial Day outing. It's not far, and there's Bolt Bus, which is an express service to NYC from Philadelphia (they do trips to/from other locations as well), for fairly cheap. We ended up booking Amtrak, a little more expensive, for the trip back, because the bus didn't come back late enough for us to do everything we wanted (some spaces done by Olin, the MoMA, and Prince Caspian). But the bus would be great for another inexpensive round trip day trip sometime this summer.

Our Manhattan trip began at 7:30 a.m. from the 30th Street bus stop. We napped a little, but woke up in time to see the skyline before rocketing into the Lincoln Tunnel (if you enjoy the movie Elf, like we do, you'll recall Buddy walked through this tunnel after he "passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest," and then "through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops.")

the bolt bus into nyc
"and then, i walked through the lincoln tunnel"
and here's the funny Ian picture (in the Lincoln Tunnel).

After stepping off the bus, we wandered around a bit, and decided against touristy things like going to the top of the Empire State Building, because it costs $20 per person. We're trying to be more frugal. At any rate, from this point on, there are lots more photos, so I'll just narrate our trip via and in between the photos.

The Empire State Building was the first big landmark we saw.


our first landmark: empire state building

The second landmark: Macy's. I thought their old signage was pretty sweet. It is a huge store, but we agreed that the one here in Philly is nicer on the inside because they used an amazing old building — they even have an organ that someone plays in the late afternoon.

old macy's

Ian captured the taxis. There are several more behind these three. It's nice they are all yellow. You really do notice them more, unlike most of the taxis here.

a bevy of taxis

This is in front of the New York Public Library, the location of Bryant Park, which was designed by Laurie Olin himself. So we had to see it. It was beautiful! Ian admired and was inspired. It's a landscape architect's goal to have a successful (a.k.a. well-used and loved) space. I could tell you more design things, like the chairs you can carry anywhere in the park, and the reasons for everything, but there are lots more photos, so onward!

a new york public library lion

Ian and I enjoyed the Great Lawn (formal name, not my opinion, although it is great!) in Bryant Park.

all smiles in bryant park

We went inside Rockefeller Center, but most stuff here was closed.

nbc studios

This is where the ice skating is in the winter, but in the summer it's a dining area, so it's currently a sea of huge umbrellas for tables.

statue at rockafeller center

We walked by Radio City Music Hall.

radio city music hall

This is the floor at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). This isn't the entire floor for the whole museum, just the first floor past the lobby section. I'm fairly certain this is all tape someone put down. It looked awesome!

jim lambie | zobop!

Following are some highlights from our museum visit — this is a neat installment of an artist featured right now, Olafur Eliasson, whose work is spread throughout the museum. The pamphlet about this "first comprehensive survey" of his work, called Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson, mentions he likes (or liked? I'm not sure if he's alive still, but I think he is) to engage people and make them think about perceptions and society, or something. This was a light in the center of the room with various colored pieces on a rotating disk so the white walls were ever-changing, and you became part of the art, as shadows. It was pretty amazing.

olafur eliasson | i only see things when they move

This is another by the same artist. It took me a bit to realize it's a cube of light. It was hard to get a photo of just that though, with so many people in a small, stuffy room with a fog machine. Hence why Ian got my silhouette in the photo.

olafur eliasson | 1 m^3 light

Andy Warhol. They had lots of his work, including this famous set.

andy warhol | campbell's soup cans

Picasso. What else can you say?

pablo picasso | three musicians

VanGogh's Starry Night. Even if you didn't know what this was, you'd know it is famous by the constant crowd in front of the painting. It is pretty amazing to see a famous painting in person. The texture and concreteness of it make it so much more vibrant than just seeing a photo, and I wish I could share that experience with all of you!

vincent van gogh | the starry night

Jackson Pollock. It is much more interesting, again, to see this work in person. It looks strange, but it feels like it has so much meaning when you see the weight and texture of the painting. It conveys a feeling. I think I'm more intrigued by him right now, as well, because of recently discovering the site where you can create your own Jackson Pollock.

jackson pollock | number 1a

This is Columbus Circle, another Olin Partnership project, which won lots of awards. It was a really great place to just sit and enjoy the city. We hung out here for a while, and this is where Carissa met up with us! After this, we went to the theatre to watch Prince Caspian. I enjoyed it so much, and I'm excited for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

columbus circle fountains

This is the New York Times Building. This is my favorite paper to read (online, it's free to subscribe via e-mail!). And I recently read how a couple people climbed up the outside a few days ago (separately). You can read the article here. It's crazy!

new york times building

Times Square... this photo is mainly for Cold Stone, and thinking about how different it is from the one in the Little Apple. This spot is also where we saw a guy smoking a cigar that was roughly the size of a small pillar candle (seriously, 3 inches diameter!).

times square lights
anna & carissa in times square
Carissa and I in Times Square.
m&ms lighted billboard
a final shot of the city.

Congratulations if you made it this far! You've basically spent a day in the Big Apple with us! After wandering around a little more, we got some pizza with Carissa, then headed back to catch our train home. Overall, it was a great trip. We'd love to go back and see more, although its not the kind of place we'd like to live. And one thing they never mention is how dirty the city is. Even the nicer tourist locations seem really trashy. Here in Philly, they keep places like Independence Hall and the area as immaculate as possible. But in New York, it doesn't seem a priority. In fact, they don't have dumpsters in back — businesses just put trash in bags out on the street. It doesn't smell so nice, as you can imagine. Despite this minor issue, we are looking forward to going back another day sometime, before we go home!

Well, I'm sure I've kept you long enough, so I'll end this post. Keep watching the blog for Sarah's visit, and our Danny DeVito sighting!
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