Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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New York, New York New York, New York, Tuesday, 18 October 2011 7:32pm

I took the train down to New York City for a few days, with the goal of seeing some sights I've never seen, despite having lived an hour away from The City for more than a decade.

Since I've been doing a tour of the formerly-tallest buildings, I started with my first visit to the Empire State Building. It was a gorgeous day, and the views were great. Afterwards, I walked over to the Museum of Modern Art and strolled around the galleries for a little while. When the museum closed, I rested up in Central Park until my host returned to his apartment.

Baris, a TEP who's a few years younger than me, was letting me stay in his apartment in the East Village. He called up some of his friends and we all went to an oyster bar, where I had oysters from near my birthplace on Long Island. After a few drinks, we proceeded to an amazing Serbian restaurant. All of the food was great, but the smoked pork loin and a dessert called zito, made from wheat, nuts, and honey, were exceptional.

The next morning, I hit a little snag when I tried to take the bus uptown. The reader refused to accept my MetroCard. I eventually figured out the problem: I was accidentally using my leftover Chicago transit card, rather than the New York one. Oops.

After sorting that out, I went up to the United Nations building, where they were hosting an interesting exhibition from the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, focusing on design by and for rapidly developing cities. There were some really interesting schemes for constructing buildings from available materials, and I liked the idea for kits of bicycle pieces that could be used to build wagons or other vehicles by bolting them on to wooden frames.

Tinny mentioned the Lock Museum at the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, so I walked over to check that out. It's an amazing collection of historic locks, ranging from early door locks to electric locks with clocks in them for bank vaults. The catalog is a slim hardcover book which goes into a lot of detail about how locks work and what's special about each of the items in the collection.

I ate a knish from a street vendor in Times Square and walked over to the American Museum of Natural History. I think that the collection of fossils there is even better than the one at the Field Museum, though I think the Field's presentation of evolution punctuated by extinctions was a more interesting framing for the collection.

After the museum closed, I spent some more time in Central Park. The weather continues to be gorgeous, and the park is very beautiful in early Fall.

I had dinner with Peter, another TEP who's a few years older than me, and his wife Phyllis at a great Italian place in the West Vilage.

On Tuesday, I had lunch with Baris at his office's cafe and he showed me around Chelsea, including pointing out the really cool High Line Park, built in space reclaimed from an old elevated cargo railway line.

I'd intended to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art, but I didn't do my research carefully enough. When I arrived, I discovered that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I decided I'd done enough walking anyway, so I spent a peaceful afternoon in Central Park.

In the evening, I met up with my sister, who's studying at Hunter College and we took the LIRR to have a family dinner at my other sister's house on Long Island. The whole gang was there: my father, my sisters and I, my brother-in-law, and my two twin nephews.