Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New York Weekend June 2011, day 1

Ah!  What happened to the summer!  I had excellent intentions of staying up to date as I went on trips...but somehow that fell apart.  Oh well, now is a good time to catch up!  On this trip we went out to NYC and met up with another couple, Mars, specifically to see The Tom Stoppard play, Arcadia, on Broadway, but we managed to work in quite a few other treats as well.

Late flight
I love to take the red-eye on trips to the east coast and this one was no exception.  It was a great plan, E- and I were going to meet Mars' plane within an hour of their landing and off we go....except bad thunderstorms made our flights late late late!  Mars made it work and got on a better flight!  Us, not so much.   We checked out some of our options, but I was surprised there were so few...until I realized that JetBlue flies out of the international terminal at SFO, meaning all the other options were in the other terminal.  We decided to suck up the 4 hour delay and just arrive late morning.  Luckily Mars was flexible and met with our week-end landlord. Another place through AirBnB, though this was an otherwise empty apartment instead of staying with folks.  It turned out to be really great.  Every place has some issues, but it was more than made up for by location location location!  This was a theater trip and we were within walking distance-super nice at the end of the evening-we will do this again.

Eventually we all are assembled and hanging our in our little place and figure out that if we leave about now, we will be just in time for pizza lunch!  We head of course to Lombardi's Pizza.  On the way we come across The  Evolution store.  We are all science nerds, so we love this stuff (I used to visit Maxilla and Mandible after any visit to the Natural History museum and am pleased that NYC can handle two of these types of stores!).  We resist buying would I carry back that extremely fragile ostrich egg?

So, you are in New York and you want New York pizza...there are many great options (did you hear Jon Stewart rip into Donald Trump?).  But if you can't decide, just start with Lombardi's Pizza.  We learned all about the history of pizza on Scott's Piazza tour a couple of visits ago and it is easy to go back to the first New York pizza.  We managed to arrive at 11:45 and get seated immediately-had a lovely mozzarella and roast pepper appetizer followed by the margarita pizza.  mmm.

We are pleasantly full, but walk past Rice to Riches, which is trying to make rice pudding the next hip and trendy desert.  They are making a good go of it.  The rice pudding is fantastic-innovative flavors and toppings, the servings are generous, the store is fun (see hip commentary bubble) and you can order online.  What's not to love?

Now we are completely stuffed and have to roll down the street to our next stop-the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I adore the Met,  I could (and have) spent days in it.  But it is better to visit for short periods of time-just being there is weighty on the mind, in a good way, but still, you can only take in so much visual material at a time.  So the biggest problem is how to limit yourself-what do you pick in the time to do?  We start with a bit of a plan and then deviate as need be.  So we started off in ancient Egypt, but then had to find the restrooms and ended up wandering through Asia.  My favorite porcelain horse!  The new Jain exhibit!  Tibetian ritualistic rugs-disturbing flayed people depictions!  Before coming back to Egypt to rest at the Temple of Dendur.

A quick dash through the American Sculpture garden to see the Tiffany glass, wrought iron staircases and giant fireplace mantles on our way to a quick snack. Then knowing that we need to focus, we went to the photography exhibit and on the way discovered that about a million people were in line for the Alexander McQueen exhibit-I'm sure it was interesting, but boy you need some stamina for the crush of people.  The focus of the photography was on night photography and ran the gamut of styles.  My favorite was one of the ocean that you could barely tell was anything at all, no idea why it was so fascinating to me.  The most interesting was taken in Japan back in the day when couples (gay or straight) would go out to parks to get some privacy from the family, but because everyone knew it was happening, the couple could end up with 4 or 5 onlookers.  So the photo is of 5 guys peaking around the bush at the couple on the ground.  We couldn't actually decided if the photo was staged.  This photo also got a lot of attention from the museum goers-voyeurism, how human!  We then indulged in natural beauty by walking across the park past Cleopatra's needle, Belvedere castle, the Shakespeare in the park theater, and the big ball field.  Nap time before going out for the evening.

Cirque du Soliel
When making plans I realized that I had never been to Radio City Music Hall.  Never seen the Rockettes other than the Thanksgiving parade, and I think that is enough.  But it turns out they do other shows in the hall, and in fact this weekend was opening weekend for a new Cirque du Soliel show, Zarkana.  Great!  Sign us up!  So the show was actually a little different than the usual in that they were trying to tell a story.  Our consensus was that it didn't work out all that well, the sound was not good, so it was hard to even understand the story they were trying to tell.  The use of high-tech projections took away from the performers.  And even the parts of the story we understood felt forced.  But it was the opening, maybe they can do some tweaks and improve that part.  On the plus side this was designed to fill Radio City Music Hall specifically, and that is a tall order, mainly well executed. The pre-performance mingling of performers with audience was more than I have ever seen before.   And the acts were top-notch as always. I was most impressed with the hand sand artist.  She 'painted' a pile of sand into pictures, flowing from one to another.  It was so cool and something I'd never seen before!!

street food
We were too full from snacks throughout the day for actual dinner beforehand, but on the way back from the show we ran across irresistible gyros.  The patter was pretty good too, you ask for one and he gets the order and then says, What do you want on the second one?  So you have to be pretty firm to resist, but they were delicious, so it is hard to go wrong.  Home to bed-within walking distance!

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