A Rainy Day in NYC: Perfect for Visiting Museums!

Trip Start Apr 30, 2009
Trip End May 04, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, May 4, 2009

Our final day heading into the city, and we had another busy and fun-filled day! Our legs still hurt a bit from all of the walking that we did yesterday, but that didn't stop us from walking all over the city all day long. After breakfast, we walked up to the top of the very steep hill (10th St.) to the bus stop at Kennedy. We took the smaller "Community Coach" bus again to Port Authority. They're so much more convenient than NJ Transit buses - they run way more frequently!

Once in NYC, our plan was to head up to the American Museum of Natural History. I looked at the map and saw that the A, C, and E trains went to our stop (81st St./Museum). Obviously, I read that completely wrong because only the A and C trains went there and we got on the E train! A little ways out, it seemed strange that we hadn't arrived yet so I checked the map - we were headed out towards Jamaica Plain! Oh no! At the next stop, we got off and took another train (I think an R train) back so we could transfer to our destination. At our transfer stop (50th St.), we were going to transfer to a C train to go uptown to the Museum. Upon reaching the 50th St. station, we discovered that due to the construction, the C train wasn't operating from that station for the weekend. Great, clearly it was not our day for public transportation. We ended up walking to another station, taking a different train uptown, and walking a few blocks to the museum. By this point in time, Poolie's legs and heels were killing him and it was raining out, too. We didn't let this disrupt our day; after all, a rainy day is the perfect day for visiting museums!

We reached the American Museum of Natural History, located on an edge of Central Park. I reminded Poolie that this was where "Ross" on the TV show Friends worked, but I doubt that he cares too much about that, haha. Upon entering, we bought our tickets and decided to attend a show at the "Big Bang Theatre" called "Cosmic Collisions".

We walked around for a while in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, since we both love all things about the universe and outer space. There were lots of neat displays where you could see what your weight would be on various planets and stars. You could also read up on pretty much anything pertaining to the planets and our galaxy. There were also gigantic real meterorites that you could see and touch.

The show at the theatre, "Cosmic Collisions" was so cool. It was in a large theatre with a spherical ceiling that was one giant screen all around us. The movie was narrated by Robert Redford and detailed various collisions in outer space throughout history and hypothesized possible collisions in the future and their implications. The special effects were super awesome and the movie explained the positive and negative effects of these collisions on our planet. We loved it!

After the movie, we stopped for a quick bite to eat, and then continued around the museum. We walked through the Hall of Human Origins, Hall of Meterorites, Hall of Minerals, Hall of Gems, Hall of Biodiversity, and the Hall of Ocean Life. The meterorites were amazing, and it was incredible to the immense variety of minerals and gems from all over the world!

The museum does have over 30 million artefacts and pieces (including the geodes pictured above) - you could spend days and days studying everything and learning new things, and still have more to see and read! I'd love to go back sometime!

At the end, we bought these hologram postcards from the museum store, and Poolie also got me a holographic bookmark of kittens running through a field that is awesome :)

After the museum, the plan was to go to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). When we arrived, it was around 4:15pm and the museum closed at 5:30pm. Plus, the line-up to get into the museum was pretty long. We wanted to have enough time to see everything thoroughly without feeling rushed, so we decided to pass on visiting the museum and save it for next time.

We walked past a smaller museum next door, the American Folk Art Museum, and decided to go inside. The museum has 5 levels, and we were told to start at the top and work our way down. (I didn't take many photos because after snapping a couple, a security guard informed me that you weren't allowed to take pictures). The 5th Floor had the museum's permanent collection, which showcased a variety of art across centuries in a variety of mediums.

The 4th Floor had more art that was part of the permanent collection as well as the Henry Darger exhibit. I hadn't heard of him before, but his art is utterly fascinating. His artwork was not found until after his death, but it is super impressive in sheer volume - he wrote a 15,000 page story that featured many characters that he created for his own ficticious world. His art features these characters - it is incredibly interesting!

The 3rd Floor was a loaned collection of Ulysses Davis who created intricate word carvings of important Biblical and mythical characters, presidents, plus more. I hadn't seen anything like it before!

On the 2nd and 1st Floors, there were a collection of Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscope Quilts! What a unique and interesting concept. I've never seen anything like it! When you got up close, you could see just how detailed the quilts are - careful planning on the precise placement of the fabrics to create a perfect kaleidoscope design. There were many different takes on the kaleidoscopes as well - snowflake patterns, and "shards" - a kaleidoscope that was broken and pieced back together.

There was a little shop at the museum where we were able to purchase a book about the Henry Darger collection at the American Folk Art Museum, an "opulent ornament" that looks like the patterns from the kaleidoscope quilts made of fabric, and a kaleidoscope quilt postcard. All in all, the fact that we didn't have time for MOMA didn't matter - we found a hidden gem in NYC, the American Folk Art Museum.

After the museum, we made our way back to the subway. Tired with sore feet, plus hunger setting in, we were in search of good eats. I consulted my list of restaurants that I looked up in advance, and I wanted to try out a nice vegan restaurant called Angelica Kitchen. Located in the East Village, it was a bit of a trek on the subway (transfer to the L-train), but we arrived and walked a couple of blocks to 12th St at 2nd Ave. The menu looked very appetizing so we went inside.

We ordered some tasty selections from the menu - Norimake to start, fresh lemonade and cool apple cider, and main dishes: Poolie got a Tempeh special and I got the Dragon Bowl with soup + bread: rice, beans and sauce, a green pea and vegetable soup, and sourdough whole wheat bread with onion spread.

The Norimake sushi rolls had many vegetables and bean curd. The rolls were really too big and they fell apart really easily - they weren't really rolled properly. I enjoyed some of the flavors, but Poolie didn't feel as though the vegetables all necessarily tasted good together.

My soup was excellent and had garlic croutons. The bread was nice, but the onion spread was a tad too sweet and pasty. The juices were excellent.

Our main dishes arrived - mine had rice, pinto beans, tofu cubes, sea vegetables and other veggies with a soba sauce. The sauce tasted great! The tofu cubes and rice were the best part of the meal, the pinto beans were just okay and the veggies were alright. The sea vegetables were kinda gross. Poolie's tempeh dish wasn't as great - he said it was totally bland and had no flavour - it came with a bland sauce with a few sides (beans, cucumber) that didn't add anything special. The tempeh was spiced but was uninspiring.

It didn't help matters that two of the most vapid girls sat down next to us, plus we had a pseudo-intellectual who read a book during half of his meal on the other side of us. Clearly, this was a dining locale for fake-hipster-wannabes in the city. Our waitress was also rather dour; she lacked any sort of spirit, was neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but brought an air of depression to our table. I guess you win some, you lose some when it comes to restaurants! Next time, we will do ourselves a favour and head back to Gobo's in Greenwich for a fantastic vegetarian meal!

After dinner, Poolie was a little disappointed so we stopped for ice cream (I got a coffee instead since I was pretty full from dinner!) We took the subway back to Port Authority. The NJ Transit schedule that I printed out from the website before we left for the trip said that the bus came at 7:56pm. We waited for 20 minutes after purchasing NJ Transit tickets for the 125 bus from the machine. We waited and I thought to check the wall to make sure that the bus was coming. The bus schedule changed - the bus now comes at 7:30pm on Sundays (must have missed that one) and then not until 9:00pm! Ugh, we did not want to wait that long!

We decided to check back at gate 51 for the Community Coach bus and they had a large coach bus to take people back to NJ! Community Coach is way better than NJ Transit - way more frequent and way more reliable! So, we have unused NJ Transit bus tickets...oh well, a $5 souvenir, haha.

Back to the hotel...we took the elevator up to our room and our room keys didn't work. We went all the way back down and got them activated again. Back in our room, thank goodness the toilet seat was fixed! But...this time, the toilet was broken! It wouldn't flush! Another call to the front desk, and we waited again. Finally, someone showed up to fix it (a Howard Johnson employee from next door, just like yesterday) and after about 10 minutes, he was able to fix it. Thank goodness, I did not want two nights in a row with a broken toilet!

Now, we are finally settled in and will get ready to leave bright and early tomorrow morning! We have had a great vacation here and will have to come back for more!
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