Sunday, January 04, 2009

Gallivant 1: Midtown Uptown

Second day of Jason's visit to NYC.

We met up at Grand Central terminus and happened to catch the kaleidoscope light show which danced across the walls and the cavernous ceiling, to the delight of the tourists and commuters. Then we headed out to start our touristy things.

New York City is kind of phallic, don't you think?

We stopped at the Chrysler building and I got some shots I hadn't captured before.

Then we fought the crowds at Rockefeller Center to see the big Norwegian Christmas tree and the ice rink, which was melting in the 65F/18C warmth of the day.

Because it was so crowded and the barricades were up, we entered on a different avenue and I saw a bold art deco frieze I'd never noticed before.

I enjoy the juxtaposition of the old against the new.

Then we got hungry and went into a diner which was manned by a very polite maitre d' in a suit. Remember what I said about juxtaposition?

Anyway, here is the 15-bite hot dog I ordered. I cut it into thirds to share with the boys, and my one-third still took 15 bites! Chris also halved his burger with me. So I was full enough by the end of the meal and I topped it off with a hot chocolate.

Full of food, we headed uptown to the Guggenheim Museum. Thank God Chris gets in for free as a corporate employee (those people in finance get it good, don't they?) because although the building is stunning, I wasn't impressed by the modern installation art, and only slightly interested in the paintings, despite there being some French Impressionists in the rooms which branch off from the main spiral...

These were odd cardboard panels which we had to wind our way around to walk up the spiral. This was too tiring for a museum. Found out soon enough that I wasn't allowed to take photos above the ground floor, but ha! It was too late by then.

A question. Or a statement?

A building...

...or a spaceship?

It was only 5.30 pm when I took that photo, but it was dark and felt much later.

The boys came with me to Bay Ridge so I could pack things to join them out in Jersey City, much more expedient than slogging my way into town every day from the bottom of Brooklyn. They carried my bags, and we headed off to J.C.

Jason and I spent a few minutes chatting with Vanessa, and I think we spent the rest of the time looking up odd things on YouTube. Try Ideas worth spreading.

Sometime after midnight, we got hungry again and Googled a 24-hour food source. Back in the university days, our old fave was Greek Biba's or House of Pies, but all we could think of here was possibly IHOP (that's International House of Pancakes to the rest of you). Chris thinks that Houston has more 24 hr places than New Jersey. Frustratingly, New Jersey roads are like magic mazes, so it took us a while - sometimes you can see a place and never reach it, and it rarely works like it says on the map. We told Jason about how we got lost in exactly the same way the first 3 times we went to Wal-Mart.

We reached an IHOP about 5 minutes after it had closed on holiday schedule, but on the way there we'd passed a nice big shiny diner with mini jukeboxes at each table, so we wrangled our way back to it and sat down. Oh, my, the characters working there. I don't know whether it's because it was past 2 am, or because that's the way she is, but our eclectic conversation about weird dreams captivated and distracted our waitress, who listened in and kept dropping things, including a bottle of orange soda, some of which got on Chris's shoes.

By the way, I wore my awesome WWI-style chukka desert boots and they served me well for the next few days. Those things broke glass just by stepping on it.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, your take on the Guggenheim. I've always thought the spirals looked kind of surreal, but with the cardboard thingies, I can see how they would be annoying. Your photo just at 5:30 looks shivery -- it's dark here by that time, too. Too dark by a little after 5 to see well enough to prune!

beginninghere said...

Interesting review of the museum. Doesn't sound like it would be my favorite either but now you know :) How 'bout that hot dog!

Carol said...

the Guggenheim shape reminds me of "Space Mountain" at my vote is spaceship!

sounds like a great visit, and thanks for all the photos! I'd imagine you could live there your whole life and still find things you'd never noticed.

MattJ said...

There's a House of Pies?! OK I'm coming to New York.

meimei said...

Now thats a hot dog

Anonymous said...

Hoorah for vintage boots! They look chic, and the meanind of durability, is swen in every sole!

Your right. New York is very Phallic. I had been thinking the same thing, since every skyscraper, always seems to "peek", at the sky.

Congrats on eating, even 15 bites of that hotdog. I doubt, if I could even hold something like that, let alone eat half of it! But, it looks tasty. :)

Olivia said...

Nikki - yes, the spiral was amazing. I think the light will begin to last longer and longer a January progresses.


BH - At least I can say I've been there and seen it. When I was here last year, it was shrouded behind scaffolding, so I was disappointed.


Carol - it's true, that's what I was thinking when I saw the frieze at Rockefeller Center. I've been there at least 5 times now, and still saw something for the first time.


Matt - nope, go to Houston, as that is where you will find House of Pies!


Mich - indeed, I don't need one for a long time now.


Miss Fluff - they are actually new Timberlands (thankfully don't look it, but are part of the Earth Friendly line). I am sure they will last me many years.

On Facebook I mentioned in my caption that it was phallic and that it was an upshot, and the use of both words grossed Chris out!

The hot dog was not easy to hold, it was falling apart and it was burning my fingers. What you don't see is the delicious juniper berry infused sauerkraut and dijon mustard on my plate, which went really well with the dog.

It was tasty, and still more than I cared to eat.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Everytime I visit NY I find something I've never seen, even after living there years ago.

Always loved the Guggenheim, a fab place to escape...

Selba said...

Love to see New York through your pictures :)

What a long hotdog!!! I want!!! *drooling*

Jo said...

Oh my gosh! New york is phallic!

Love your photo stories, Liv!

Anonymous said...

Must....not....say...anything....rude dog....argh, it's too hard not to! ;o) LOL It doesn't help that you went on about willy shaped things *gasp* you kinky rudie!! I best not show Henk your blog, you'll make him blush and hide for weeks! LOL xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Olivia said...

Rick - indeed, it is one of those cities. You could spend your entire life trying to eat through it and ever accomplish that, either.


Selby - are you sure? Stick to the little ones in future!


Jo - ya think?!?!

There are two more installments of this story to come, by the way, so y'all stay tuned!


Diva - oh go ahead, knock yourself out. The photo wasn't my idea, and Jason was hoping there would be more jokes anyway. Bring Simmy along, I'm sure he won't run out of good material. I would love to see Henk blush, he's so cute!


The Moody Minstrel said...

With all the talk about how "phallic" New York City is, I recalled a debate in my old college newsletter about whether or not our government was so obsessed with missiles simply because they are phallic symbols. Then somebody pointed out quite rightly that the female sex organ isn't exactly aerodynamic.

By the same token, I figured that the female sex organ doesn't exactly make for practical architecture.

But then I remembered Gothic arches...

One of the better shoe stores in our area currently has Timberland boots for 40% off. I told my wife that that's what I want for my birthday. Somehow I doubt she'll indulge me. (She doesn't go in for the rugged, outdoorsy look, unfortunately...)

Olivia said...


Anyway, the female sex organ is represented in plenty of medieval imagery as the mandorla.

So, what do you wear for hiking in bad weather, or clearing undergrowth in the yard? Sneakers are a bit leaky...