Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New York....again....Museums, Islands and Lions....

I left Boston on a bright sunny Saturday morning. As I left the room, one of the Korean guys who has done nothing but cough, grinding his teeth and snore, actually spoke and asked where I was going to. When I said New York, he opened his bag and gave me a Metro Card for NY that he says has a few dollars left on it. They aren’t all bad!!

Breakfast was at South Station waiting for the Megabus and we left Boston at noon after bagging a front seat on the double decker coach. It was an uneventful journey except for when the bus driver drove straight through a toll and et toll officer shouted down the road at us, so the bus pulled to the side and sat for 5 minutes while the driver went back on foot.

We got into New York on time though and after being told to join the queue as I booked into the hostel (There was only one person being served at the desk, which is 15 feet wide, so I had to stand behind him, nit next to him. Twatty staff! I got my room, which is directly below the room I had over Christmas. It has 3 other people in it, but I havent met them yet. I’m up before 8am tomorrow for, hopefully, a good Manchester Derby match in the FA cup, then I’m off to the Natural History Museum.

Well, what a brilliant day it was.....a 3-2 win to United after leading 3-0 in the FA cup 3rd round game and then a full day wandering around the brilliant Natural History museum. It was a very busy one too as I paid to see all the exhibits and shows too – So after the planetarium film, it was a look around the huge dinosaur collection before the IMAX Tornado Alley movie, which was just brilliant.
Next, a couple of hours looking around exhibits from around the world, including a few places that I have visited n my trip so far. After that The Future of Space travel and loads of new ideas of how we are going to travel in space and colonise other planets. Then after another look around the animal parts of the museum, it was the last two exhibitions – Butterflies and Frogs. I didn’t expect much, but the butterfly garden was just jam packed with thousands of them -at one point there were butterflies flying around at ground level and people stepping over them carefully.
The frogs too, were really great. Loads of brightly coloured highly poisonous frogs from all around the world.

Me and a dinosaur...cool!

A big head...cool

Been there.....cool

and been there too...cool

like looking in a mirror.....not cool !!!


My final stop was in the marine hall, with a massive whale hanging from the ceiling. It was nearly closing time by the now, so I headed back to pick up my coat, but on the way I spotted a load of photos taking from et moon landings, so spent another 15 minutes looking through them., In the end I must have been one of the last people to leave the museum as it was closing, A really tiring but satisfying day.

Today was a different day... I started with a walk around the Time Warner Centre and The Lincoln Centre. It was nice enough, seeing a couple of weird naked statues and a nice pond, but it was all while I was waiting for midday. I had booked to go to see something, which turned out to be just extraordinary - The Ground Zero Workshop museum. Unlike the 9/11 memorial, which is on the site of the disaster and attracts thousands of people, this is quite literally a one room museum. No, I mean it – It is ONE ROOM, no more than 7-8metre square and able to accommodate no more than about 20 people at once. But what is kept in the room are some of the most meaningful things you could imagine. It was put together by a guy called Gary Suson, who was the official photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Fire-fighters Association. He spent 9 months alongside the workers who recovered the bodies and cleaned up the site. He has also collected artefacts that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Its a very moving place and I am happy to admit that during my 2 hours there, I was filling up on more than one occasion. The stories accompanying some of the photos are tragic, such as the fire-fighters looking for their older brother under the rubble. But some are also uplifting – like a Texas woman somehow getting around security so she could feed the fire-fighters Then there’s the story about the beer cans being found in the collapsed walls, that were left by the builders who originally built the towers and were drinking the beer up to 100 floors up and hiding the cans in-between the walls of the building.

Then, you get to see the artefacts – Pieces of glass and steel from the towers, that you are allowed to pick up and handle. A clock that stopped precisely when the 1st tower fell and a calendar forever showing Sep 11th, 2001. But the part that made it feel real, made it feel unbelievable and still as I think about it now is just incredible, is a part of the jet that hit the south tower. An actual piece of the plane that everyone saw smashing and disintegrating, live on TV. Its incredible that these things were found and even more incredible that we are now allowed to see them. The museum is not for profit, with all the proceeds going towards various charities related to 9/11. I was also really lucky as Gary Suson himself actually showed up to talk with the 2 staff at the museum. I said hello and thanked him for the experience. He seemed like a nice guy.

I left the museum (I was the last one to leave) after the 2 hour time allowed and my head was spinning. I couldn’t help myself, so I walked slowly down beside the Hudson River and took a last look around Ground Zero itself one last time before I leave New York. On the way I found an outdoor football pitch on one of the old piers and took some photos of the Manhattan Skyline, so that next time I come here I can compare them. Then it headed back to the Hostel to relax for the evening with a beer.

Space..in the future!!

more space!!

Butterfly

Frog

A nice relaxing day today – After riding into town on the subway and picking up my ticket for The Lion King on Broadway for tonight. I took a short walk to The Roosevelt Island Tramway- a cable car that travels from just east of Central Park, over the river and to Roosevelt Island. A quiet little tranquil island away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. At least the southern tip is, where there was just me and a small green park overlooking the river. As I walked up through the Island roads, I came across what looked like a 1960's housing estate, that appears to be where all the old and strange than normal people live in New York. It would have been lovely to be just a little oasis, but I suppose with the other Islands, particular with the Statue of Liberty on one of them, that this Island has been left in the past. A real shame, but at least I enjoyed a nice cable car ride over the river and a really peaceful stroll around the park.

After lunch I packed my stuff to leave tomorrow and as there was no one in the room, I also had a nice afternoon kip. Maybe being around all the old people on the Island rubbed off on me. I’m now off out to Broadway for my last night in NY for a while and to see 'The Lion King'......

Ground zero workshop museum

man

woman

cool

stuff found in ground zero

the 9/11 clock

Well, I am back and I can happily say that The Lion King was brilliant. Having never seen the film, I didn’t even know the story – expect it was about a Lion, obviously! But the show was just great. Awesome costumes, including a massive elephant coming through the audience, great music and spectacular sets. It was on a par if not better than Blue man show and Cirque – but different than both. I am now hooked on the theatre and cant wait to go and see something else. But for now I have to pack my stuff and get some sleep as tomorrow I start my journey down the east coast. Next stop....Philadelphia.

me with new World trade centre behind

the tramway to Roosevelt Island

cool

Where I was tonight

My view...ace!!

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