Sunday morning is clearly for sleeping in. I generally pack a lot of activity into a small space, but never neglect sleep! Lack of sleep makes everyone cranky and less fun. After E-- and I finally get going, the first stop is another nostalgia food stop. Amir’s falafel-they have a super decadent tahini on the schwarma that we’ve not found elsewhere. Fortified we head to Brooklyn for the New York Transit museum http://mta.info/mta/museum/index.html. We’ve been meaning to go pretty much forever-the subway system is so cool and living in New York it’s a necessity so you come to know about your little piece of it that you take for granted while keeping in the back of your mind that the possibilities are endless. Anyway, turns out we don’t think we ever really have been to Brooklyn. I mean we’ve been across the bridge, we’ve been on the Long Island railroad to the beach and of course the airports….but never Brooklyn for its own sake. Finally we are going there for the museum. Which is just right-not too small, not too big, not empty, not packed. There are exhibits on how the subway was built, the history of the ticket system (from paper, to tokens, back to paper), the improvements in turnstiles, the money (this was amazing-the amount of $$ in the system-wow), the trolleys and buses, and of course the subway cars themselves. And all of it is in an old subway station that still has working controllers. Probably not a must see on your first visit to New York, but if you ever lived in the city, like trains or transit in general it is worth a stop.
To get back to Manhattan, we walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge. It is quite a popular attraction for tourists, plus some folks actually use it to get back and forth, so it is busy with people and thus good people watching. The bridge ends near city hall and our plan is to wander up to China town to catch the subway. On the way, we stumble across a National Monument that we didn’t even know existed. It is the African Burial Ground National Monument http://www.nps.gov/afbg/index.htm and it’s quite moving. It is a tiny little plot of land in Lower Manhattan where burial grounds were discovered during a construction project. During the 1700’s this area was outside of the city and since Africans weren’t allowed in the cemeteries, they formed their own. The symbolism is nicely explained in the brochure and you can get more information from the Park guide.
Once we wander through Chinatown, we get on the 6 train heading south. Which is odd because there is only one stop left and it is City Hall, and we just walked up from there….hmmm. I’d read online http://jalopnik.com/5684329/how-to-see-new-yorks-secret-city-hall-subway-stop that there is an old stop at the end of the 6 line where the train turns around. It was designed to be a highlight with beautiful mosaics etc. but because it is on a sharp curve it is not safe. So at the last stop they ask everyone to get off, but they don’t enforce it, so you can stay in the car, ride past the stop, and be on the Uptown 6 when it stops again. So we take the short ride, sit put when the canned announcement asks everyone to leave and look over at a father and son who are also sitting put. We admit to each other that we heard about this online and wanted to check it out. The doors close and off we go. It is a short ride, and sure enough, midway through we can see out the right hand side that there is a subway stop. It is dimly lit so hard to view all the great work that is there, but worth this quick detour to see something usually reserved for the conductor!
And we’re off to Times Square! The whole reason we are here is to see Pee Wee’s Playhouse on Broadway. We meet up with our friends and grab a quick dinner at Mars 2112, a space themed restaurant. Is it good? Well, it all depends on what you are looking for! Entertaining? Yes. Food? Decent, a tad pricey (remember that you are paying for atmosphere). American style? Most definitely! I would call a novelty place, almost on par with Casa Bonita. And finally we get to the show. It was fantastic! Now, obviously we are fans of the original. Which is why we went and it was exactly what I wanted. Enough of the original to do fan service (the set, the cast, the word of the day) but with current events (including suggestively naughty bits) as well so it is not just something you could have seen on tv.