Lunch @ Tiffany's...

Trip Start May 22, 2010
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When exiting the Subway at the American Museum of Natural History station, we were herded along with the rest of the people wanting to enter the museum, straight to an entry that didn't even take us back above ground. Most museums in America open at 10am sharp, so we were right on time. I was disappointed not to enter through the front of the building, because the outside of the museum is just as spectacular as the inside.

We paid our 'recommended donation’ fee and ascended the stairs into the Hall of North American Mammals. This, besides the entry hall with the enormous dinosaur skeleton, was the main attraction for me.

The hall was dimly lit (as in, there was practically no light to speak of, apart from the lighting inside the dioramas) lending it a dramatic feel. Each diorama both verbally and visually set the scene – the accompanying text for each diorama began something like this:

"It’s late fall in the Rocky Mountains. The sun sets on an icy mountain stream"...

Which of course made it easier to actually READ the information, instead of just looking at the displays.

I tried to be a mature museum goer, I really did, but when I came across the Mountain Lions, I couldn't help myself. Because all you Twihards would know that Mountain Lion is a certain vegetarian vampire's favourite meal...

As we finished that hall though, and moved on to others – History of Evolution, North Western American Indians (I was unsuccessful in locating a Quileute artefact), I could feel the panic rising. I hadn’t seen sunlight since we descended into the Subway much earlier. And I was worried about all the other wonderful things out in the real world of New York City we were missing out on.

In short, my attention span for museum viewing was rapidly diminishing.

Shane, being Shane, was completely absorbed in all the learning, and failed to notice my increasing restlessness, until I gave up and chucked a (subtle as I could be) tantrum – in the middle of the Hall of Asian Peoples.

“I can’t cope with this much longer – I want to get outside again!” I hissed at him. “Can we just go find the dinosaur bones and then leave?”

Shane, being the wonderful (or much hen-pecked, I’m not sure which) husband that he is, gave in with a sigh, and we went off in search of the T-Rex.

Admittedly, even had we spent all day in the museum, we wouldn’t have even scratched the surface of the amount of information that is held in that building. Sure, we could probably have seen every hall, but we would have done it at a run, not stopping to read or understand anything. But that’s not the point of museums really, is it?

We found the dinosaurs, took some rushed pictures, and escaped – this time through the main entrance, where a towering Brachiosaurus reaches almost to the cavernous ceiling.

Outside, we were hit with the full force of the New York summer. But being tough Aussies, we just wiped the sweat from our brows and continued on our merry way...

...The Dakota building is on the upper West Side, and looks just like all the other buildings on the block – like a well to do apartment building, across the road from Central Park.

What makes it different is a spot just outside the main door. The place where, on the 8th December, 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman.

I might have been merely a twinkle in my parents’ eyes when Lennon was murdered, but in my teens I became a big fan of the Beatles, and of Lennon in particular. This site was significant in more ways than being the site of his death. It was the site where he LIVED the last years of his life, in the city and country he fought long and hard to call home.

I stood there at the base of the Dakota Building, and I wondered what could possibly possess someone to take out a gun and shoot a legend five times. It wasn’t the first time I’d pondered that, but it certainly hit home for me even more being right there where it happened...

...We took a brief interlude through Central Park. I was amazed by the number of trees - it's so shady, which was a welcome respite from the muggy heat on the pavement. We walked through by the most direct route, having something special planned for Central Park for our last day in NYC, but I couldn't help but snap a few shots in the lovely green, and I got somewhat distracted by a squirrel - they're just so much fun, and so brazen; they'll just stare at you like they're saying 'what're YOU looking at, punk?'. Our stroll through the park brought us out at Fifth Avenue – home to many expensive boutiques. But I was only interested in one.

Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue is the flagship store for the world’s best known jewellery company. The store became an icon of pop culture in the 1961 movie adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring the always sparkling Audrey Hepburn.

Shane wasn’t keen on spending too much time there – he was hungry, and a hungry man does not a happy jewellery browsing experience make. But I was determined. Being after 1pm, it certainly wasn’t breakfast time, but who said lunch at Tiffany’s was against the rules?

The store is six levels, and each level is enormous, with gold and glass counters, giant urns of flowers and, of course, JEWELLERY. Jewellery that would have given Shane a heart attack if he’d taken a look at the price tags.

To avoid the myocardial infarction we took the elevator (operated by a red coat and hat clad Tiffany’s employee) to the third floor – sterling silver. Even here I felt out of place – all sweaty from my walk through the streets of Uptown New York, with dirt up my legs from chasing a squirrel in Central Park. Shane didn’t look much better than I did. We were lucky that we even got served in the place where women in Dior, Prada and Valentino strutted past. The attendant still gave us a look like she had a bad smell up her nose. Which she possibly could have – we were very sweaty after all. I probably smelt like squirrel.

But she would likely have been happy when Shane passed over the credit card and I strapped my “Please return to Tiffany’s” bracelet to my grubby wrist. Nothing like a Tiffany’s bracelet from Fifth Avenue New York to make a girl feel special...

...Wearing my new bracelet to dress up my skinny leg jeans and white blouse, I took my seat next to Shane.

When in New York, staying in the theatre district, there’s one thing that it would be a crime to miss, and that’s a Broadway show. This PARTICULAR Broadway show I’d been waiting to see for a very long time.

Wicked, for those who aren’t musical buffs, is the story of the witches of Oz – before Dorothy showed up. I knew little of the storyline, but had heard rave reviews of the Australian tour of the musical, and had purchased my Broadway tickets months before we left.

The story was very clever, weaving in funny references to The Wizard of Oz (my favourite – Nessa Rose: “What’s in the punch?” Boq: “Lemons and melons and pears.” Nessa Rose: “Oh my!”). Even Shane laughed at the Glinda’s (the good witch) antics.

The musical actually had an interesting message to impart also, about how perceptions of people can be more enduring than the truth about them. Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) was the heroine of the story, but because of her green skin, she was ostracised from birth, and when the real baddies conspired against her, it was all too easy for them to portray her to the masses of Oz as the Wicked one, because she was different.

No good musical would be complete without a happy ending, and Wicked was no exception. As I stood to give the cast a standing ovation, my eyes prickled. I only had one more day left in New York, and I wasn’t looking forward to leaving. Not at all...
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lyn on

Great you went to Tiffanys. Such an Audrey Hepburn moment.

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