Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 132- September22


Sally's Afternoon

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Andy Warhol exhibit which included works by Warhol and his contemporaries.  Pictures were not permitted in the exhibit, so I'm sharing a few pictures from the modern art area of the museum.

A Warhol painting that was not in the exhibit.  I haven't been a big fan of his, but seeing the original paintings led me to appreciate them more.
One piece was a pile of hard candies wrapped in colorful pieces of foil.  Viewers were invited to take pieces of candy.  I waited until someone else took some before I did so, as I wasn't sure if the instruction was serious or if I would be reprimanded by a guard.  The work was titled 175 pounds, and is a tribute to the artist's partner who weighed 175 pounds before he died of AIDS.  The piece is replenished periodically to bring the total weight back to 175 pounds.  So now I own a small bit of a work of art from the Metropolitan Museum. (This picture includes candy from a later visit). 

Mark Rothko.  I love his paintings, but photos never show how he paints the edges of the colored areas- which is the part of the painting I enjoy the most.

 Jackson Pollock painting. He was famous for dripping painting onto the canvas.  I think it is more than paint drips from the way your eyes follows the lines, and the textures created by the layers of paint.

  Here's the play we saw at night- Avenue Q.
Poster outside the theater- warning the audience that "This show contains full puppet nudity."  It was true.

By Al
I went down to the ticket booth to get tickets to Avenue Q. Amy and Drew went off to the museums and Central Park. The ticket booth is by the South Sea Port, so I decided to look around. There is an old lightship there that you can go in. This is part of the South Street Seaport Museum. The museum has some interesting displays about the business that used to exist in this area. There were warehouses, and other business's relating to imports,like rice and tea. It is an interesting museum and not expensive. The light ship is also interesting. This was a ship that used to be anchored off the entrance to New York Harbor to show the location of the channel. It was ultimately replaced by an unmanned light marker. Although lightships didn't travel, they were subject to bad weather and occasionally ships would misjudge their own speed and end up running over lightships.

Looking at Brooklyn from the South Sea Port of Manhattan.

The lightship.

This is a tall ship that is anchored at the South Sea Port.

I next went a couple of blocks to the New York Police Museum. It was very interesting.  I liked the displays showing the how uniforms and equipment have evolved over time.  The history of crime in New York was also interesting.  As many of you know, New York is one of safest large cities in America.  However, this is a recent development.  The following chart shows the change from
2001 to 2007.  I am sure the crime rate has gone down even more today.

That evening, Sally, Amy, Drew and I went to see Avenue Q.  This is a musical done with puppets.  You can see the people holding the puppets and they talk and sing for the puppets.  So, there are actors and puppets.  I was fascinating.  It is also a good story.  I highly recommend it.



Day 131- September 21

We were up pretty late last night, so we slept in. Amy needed to do some emails and make some copies of things to finish up business and personal stuff before she is off to Japan. Then, she needed to go to Wells Fargo and make a deposit in her credit union account. There are three credit unions that are listed as being able to accept deposits for other credit unions. The closest one to us is located in the News Corp building. We got the money from Wells Fargo and walked into the News Corp building. It was like walking into the evil empire. We asked at the front desk where the credit union was located. The young lady asked us if we were employees of News Corp. We were not. She said only employees of News Corp could use the credit union. I thought this was unusual since it is the Federal Employees Credit Union. Anyway, we told her the web site said we could use it to make a deposit. She said they changed their policy. I said, "Classic News Corp" as we left. She smiled.

The Evil Empire, A.K.A, News Corp.

That night, Drew, Amy's boyfriend arrived.  He came in a little late, so there wasn't much to do that evening.

Day 130- September 20

Today we were invited to a lunch at the home of Sylvia Shirk.  She is the minister at the Manhattan Menonite Fellowhip.  She is an excellant person and seems to be a good minister.  She lives in Brooklyn.  She lives in a two story brownstone with access to her roof.  So we carried a table and chairs, dishes and food up to the roof to eat.  It was an excellant lunch and a great view. 

The view from the rooftop.  That is Manhattan in the background

Sylvia on the left.  Her roomate, Sandra, on the right.  Sally with her back to the camera.

That night, Amy arrived for a visit.  Yipee.  We met her at the airport at just a little before midnight.  I was willing to take a taxi home because of the time of day but Sally and Amy decided to do the bus thing.  The trip from the airport to 125th Street in Manhattan was a snap.  We were then going to take a bus down 2nd Avenue to a couple of blocks from our apartment.  We got to the stop at 12:55 AM.  There was a scheduled bus for 1:01 and 1:31.  When no bus had come by 1:37, we took a taxi the rest of the way home.  I love the New York subway system and hate the bus system.  As Sally has said, the New York bus schedules are the most widely read works of fiction in New York.

Anyway, it was great to have Amy here.  I do miss her.  Her boyfriend, Drew, will arrive on Friday and they will be here until earlier Tuesday morning when we all fly to Japan for a couple of weeks.

Sally's Evening
I went to a knitting group at  Bryant Park.  Unfortunately, the person in charge of the lights in the park didn't turn them on, meaning that we quit knitting an hour early.

Here is my friend Merv with a baby sweater he made.

The 81st Street stop on the Subway is below the Museum of Natural History.  The stop has a been
decorated with maosaics of nirds and animals.  I smile every time I walk past these parrots sitting on the railing.

Day 129- September 19

Sally's Day

The New York Philharmonic offers free tickets to a dress rehearsal for their opening concert.  This, of course, means standing in another line.  Tickets were handed out at 8 a.m., so I arrived at 7 a.m. with my coffee and little chair.  The performance was at 9:30.  The sponsors were very generous- they went through the line several times with gifts for us- bottles of water, pens, chocolates, and finally a CD of the Philharmonic.

They play Stravinsky's Rite of Spring- a piece with a lot of dissonance.  I had heard of this piece many times, but never heard it performed.  In my brain, I can understand it's significance.  But that does not make it a piece that I enjoyed.

Leif Andsnes, who is a super pianist, played Beethoven Concerto #3- it was great.  They also played a short piece- Kurtag quasi una fantasia- which included harmonicas and drums spread throughout the auditorium.

I took pictures, and when I find them will add them to this post.

By Al

I had a lazy day today.

Day 128-September 18

Sally's Day
I walked up to the north end of Central Park to see what might be there.  I discovered three wonderful gardens.  Since it was a rainy day, I had the gardens to myself. 
Plants in the English Garden,

The fountain in the English Garden.

More flowers in the English Garden.

The fountain in the Italian Garden- which is much more formal than the English Garden.

Sidewalk in the French Garden.

Fountain in the French Garden.

The Harlem Wier.  It is a man-made lake which gathers water from the western side of Manhattan.  Water is released into the East River to maintain the water level in the wier.

A man fishing in the wier. (he is at the bottom of the steps)

Sidewalk next to the wier.

By Al

Today I went back to the Chinatown Rotary Club.  Good food and good people.  On the way, I walked by the Manhattan Detention Complex.  This is located on the south end of
Chinatown by the City Government complex.  There is skyway with interesting sculptures.

The skyway.

Detail of the skyway.

After the meeting, I decided to walk home.  This is about 5 miles.

On the way, I passed the Cooper Union.  This is a college that was founded in 1858 with an emphasis on making higher education available to all.

One of the buildings for Cooper Union.  Very interesting.

I also walked by Bellevue Hospital.  It looks a little more modern on the outside than I thought it would be.

As I walked up First Avenue, there were police officers on every intersection. I finally asked who was coming. Obama. He was in New York doing some fundraising. I didn't wait to see him go by, but the amount of security was impressive. As I walked by the UN, there were a bunch of Tibetan protesters. They were very loud, but when I gave them a thumbs up, they all smiled.

It is hard to see, but there are a lot of police in this picture.

The Tibetan protesters. 

That night, I walked up to Staples to get some business cards for out trip to Japan.  You need business cards in Japan.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 127- September 17

By Al

Today Sally and I walked up to the Museum of the City of New York.  It is located at 103rd and 5th Avenue.  It was a good walk.  The Museum is interesting but unremarkable.  It has a very good film about the history of New York.  I wish there was a book that expanded on the information in the film.  The only comparable book I can find is over 500 pages, which is a bit more than I want.  But, if I cannot find a better book, I might break down and get it.  Anyway, they had an exhibit about the financial industry and about Staten Island.  It was worth going, but I wouldn't put it on a must do list for a visit to New York.

Sally went to  her volunteer work serving the homeless, so I walked home and worked on the blog.  On the way, you see the change from the high rent district along 5th Ave. and Park Avenue.  The Metro North track runs up the middle of Park Avenue and at about 96th it come above ground.  This is were you get the transition to a lower income neighborhood.

On the way we walked by a fire house.  Here is a memorial to firefighters that were killed on 9/11/01.

An arch of the Metro North train trestle at 101st. St.

Looking south along the trestle.

The Islamic Cultural Center of New York.  I walked by it on the way home.  I do like the things that you discover as you walk around New York.

This is what I like about New York.  I was walking down the street and I thought I heard falling water.  I turned a corner and here was a little pocket park with this waterfall.  New York always surprises me.

Sally's Comments

The museum had a display on the history of protest in New York.  The introduction said "New Yorkers have never been known a people who are hesitant to express their opinions." A real understatement.

The exhibit started in early New York and went through Occupy New York.

I enjoyed this section on the garment workers.  Here is a shirtwaist- made famous by the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.
 Here are some pictures of the building, which was more interesting than the exhibits.


Daya 126- September 16

By Al

This morning we went to the Hillsong Church.  This was recommended to us by our friend Ken.  Hillsong claims to be the largest church in Australia.  I know that some conservative churches never purge their membership roles, so they have massive membership lists, but I don't know if that is the case with Hillsong.  It is associated with the Assemblies of God.  Anyway, the church is held in a old theater in Midtown.  When you walk in a rock band is really rocking on the stage.  People are clapping and swaying.  The theater was packed, I suspect in violation of fire codes.  They have a light show with the music.  They started the service with three songs with the words projected on a big screen behind the band.  The first song kind of disturbed be.  The refrain was that "Our God is an awesome God."  It kept referring to "Our God" in multiple ways.  This seemed pretty Old Testament to me.  It implied that there were other Gods but that our God is better.  It also implied ownership of God.  He is our God, not your God.  This was the first song and it set me off on a negative inclination right away.  The rests of the songs were praise songs, which I don't really like that much.  The whole service was clearly designed to 20 somethings who might be a little disaffected with their situation.  God was offered as a panacea.  Most of the people in attendance were 20 somethings.  All of the people who spoke from the stage had Australian accents, so I don't know how much of a US staff they have.  It was interesting, but I am not going back.

From there we had lunch at a restaurant that had Mexican and Chinese food.  This is actually a fairly common type of restaurant here.

We then walked a couple of parks to Gramercy Park.  This is one of the few private parks in Manhattan.  Residents in the surrounding apartments get keys.  We looked in through the fence.  It was a very nice park.  It also is where Lexington Ave. starts at 21st Street, so we saw One Lexington Avenue.  We have written about how the building numbers vary from street to street because the numbering for all of the streets starts with "1" wherever  the street starts.  Not all streets start at the same place.  For example, Central Park West starts at the south end of Central Park at 59th Street. A street number does not give you any idea where the building is located.  You always have to ask for the cross streets.

One Lexington Avenue, the start of Lexington.   Lexington Avenue starts at 21st Street.  The next street to the west is Park Avenue.  It starts at 14th Street, but for some reason starts renumbering at 32nd Street.  The next street to the east is 3rd Avenue.  It starts at 6th Street.  All three start at number one.  So none of the numbers are consistent as you go across the streets.   So, if you walk west across 46nd street you will find 741 Third Street, 476 Lexington Avenue, and 240 Park Avenue.

Gramercy Park plaque and looking through the fence.

We then walked a few blocks over to Madison Square.  Not the sports venue, that is on top of Penn Station on the other side of Manhattan.  The original Madison Square Garden was located here, but was moved in 1925.   The main landmark of Madison Square is the Flatiron Building.  It was built in 1902 and was one of the first skyscrapers built in the world.  It helped to revolutionize city buildings. 

The Flatiron Building.

Detail on the Flatiron Building.

First floor of the Flatiron Building.

We then went to a movie at the AMC Empire 25 movie theater.  This is a six story movie theater with 25 screens on 42nd Street near Times Square.  We saw the "Mansanar Fishing Club".  This was a very good movie about Japanese-American detainees during World War II at the Mansanar camp.  The detainees were required to build the camp in the high plains desert of California.  It was surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers with machine guns.  Remember, none of the thousands of people imprisoned were ever charged with a crime. 

The movie explained where they came from, mainly Southern California and how they lost all of their property and were required to live in the barracks that the government made them build.  However,there were several  very good trout streams near the camp. Several men and a few women started to sneak out of the camp to fish.  It was a way to rebel against their forced imprisonment. 

The movie theater has a balcony overlooking 42nd Street.  It gives an interesting view of buildings around Times Square. 

Looking down 42nd Street toward Time Square.

An interesting building on 8th Avenue.

We were going to a play that evening and it wasn't worth going home so we walked over a couple of blocks to Bryant Park.  They have some very nice areas to sit and read.  If fact, they have an area they called the Reading Room where they have newspapers and magazines to read.

The Reading Room at Bryant Park.

In the evening, we went to see Enemy of the People. This was a play written by Henrik Ibsen in 1882. The play is about  two brothers (one a doctor, and the other the mayor) in a small Swedish town. The town is known for its healthy baths. The baths attract tourists and are the major source of income for the town. One brother, the doctor, finds that the baths contain pollution that is very unhealthy. He wants the town to shut the baths down and make repairs to fix the problem. His brother, the mayor, convinces the community that it would be a financial disaster for the town and that they should only make minor, cosmetic repairs. Neither brother is willing to yield and the doctor is labeled as the enemy of the people.

You first sympathy is with the doctor, but as the play progresses you find that his motives are no more pure than the motives of the mayor. It was an interesting and well acted play. The famous actor in this play was Richard "John Boy" Thomas.

The cast.

The Copa Cabana- is this the nightclub in Barry Manilow's song?
Sally's Comments
 I edited Al's comments, so have little to add.
I am accustomed to a church service including the Lord's Prayer, a confession of sins, some quiet time, a benediction at the end, and being able to see the other worshipers.  All of these things were absent in the service.  It was good for me to learn that I feel that I haven't worshipped without these bring part of the service. 
Coming from MN, many of our immigrants are from Sweden.  In the play, one of the characters arrives while another is eating dinner.  He is offered food, but states that he has already eaten- because he can't imagine not eating at  6 p.m. It reminded me of my childhood and community- where meals were at 7, 12, and 6.
I concluded that the Mansanar guards must not have been very attentive to the camp residents- the credits listed about 150 people who went fishing.  A group of the men left for a week for a trip into the mountains to find a lake which had a unique variety of trout.   Like Al, I was curious about other aspects of life in the camp and the conditions of the camp.

The Copacabana is across the street from the theater.