Sunday, January 12, 2014

Coney Island, Empire State bldg, Central Park

August 2013

Coney Island

During our week in New York City we did a bit of nostalgia and a lot of new.  Somehow we had never made it to Coney Island before, but after hearing a few stories on NPR about how it was bouncing back after hurricane Katrina I figured it was a good time to go.  We ate hot dogs and ice cream, rode the Cyclone, stepped in the Atlantic, and walked the boardwalk.

The Cyclone was only so-so for me.  It is a classic, so it is good to ride once, but I don't think I will ever do it again.  The first half is actually delightful and smooth, but the second half is one of the most jarring (even for a wooden coaster) I've ever been on.  There were a number of interesting rides I haven't seen elsewhere, but they are all pay by the ride-meaning you have to choose, or be okay doling out a bunch of cash.

 Turns out the actual boardwalk is much longer than you think (2.5 miles, but we didn't know that when we started).  The rides are sort of in the center, so first we walked all the way east and walked back through Little Russia.

 Then we walked all the way west and back to the center.  Way fewer people, if you want a nice beach experience you can totally do it here.  So we ended up with a nice 5 mile walk that day!

Empire State Building

We had visited the Empire State building way back in the day but they recently renovated and opened up the very top floor. 

 They have kept the classic art deco style throughout and added lots of history in the waiting areas.  A big poster of one daily work schedule listing what every single worker would be doing made my Project Manager heart warm and fuzzy.

 From the first overlook you can see downtown



 and up.  We also went to the top floor-just cause-would love to be here in a big breeze to feel the sway.

The Guggenheim also had a Turrell exhibit-this was the summer of a Turrell Trifecta (we missed the exhibit in Houston, but saw LACMA and Guggenheim, there is a good You Tube Art Talk by the curators).  He wrapped the entire rotunda and illuminated each level, but only on the inside.  To see it you had to be at the bottom-they had a giant gym mat in the center for people to lay on.  What I found very different from the LACMA exhibit was how many folks used the space as a backdrop for regular conversations,  I heard 15 minutes about a book club drama, while contemplating the slow color changes.  Turrell is a new favorite of mine and I am excited for him to finish his big crater in the desert project.

Central Park
We just missed the Shakespeare in the Park, but it is always nice to walk across the park and take a break from the city.  We did some solid people watching and then checked out the turtles in the pond by Belvedere castle

NYC Bike Share
We also gave the bike share program a try.  Overall it was successful.  Hiccups were the first station we stopped at had a broken kiosk, the UI was crap-you have to accept different T&Cs three different times and the percentage of broken bikes was too high for me.  Pluses were that the bikes are sturdy, stations are relatively close together and lots of people were trying them.  If I lived in the city I would definitely get an account so you don't have to log in for every transaction, you just get a key.

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