Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend we took the train down to New York City, for no special reason, except that there are a lot of things we enjoy about visiting the city.   There's the walking around and checking out the scenery, such as City Hall Park.

There's the food.  Traditional NYC deli food at the Second St. Deli.

There's the bookstore (best slogan seen there;  "Make America Read Again!"), and the more food.  In this case, really excellent meatballs.

There are the really gorgeous buildings. 

And, of course, museums.   Saturday was pretty nice for February- dry and about 45°F (7.2°C for my Canadian friends).  But there was still a lot of slush on the streets, and we had planned for more indoor pastimes than outdoor.   We went to see an exhibit on the history of zoning in the city at the Museum of the City of New York.  Much of it was a lesson in unintended consequences and misplaced incentives.  Such as efforts to get builders to include public space in their planning which resulted in dozens of giant towers sitting in the middle of ugly bare plazas. 

We went to see the Cuba exhibition at the Museum of Natural History, and while we were there also took in the disturbing but inspiring exhibit Countdown to Zero, talking about the efforts to eradicate various diseases.  The Cuba exhibition was split between a rather superficial look at the people and history- the oppressive nature of the government there was soft-pedaled considerably- and a rather more interesting look at the native flora and fauna, including many species that are found only on Cuba.  I highly recommend it.  

Sunday it was colder and we dodged ice pellets in the morning, which turned to rain and finally drizzle as the day wore on. 

At the Met, we went to see the exhibit on Picturing Math, which featured a number of drawings and prints from the Met's collections.  We found it a bit uneven- many of the older prints were gorgeous.   Some of the modern pieces were interesting, others would not be out of place in a high-schooler's geometry homework (one who wasn't necessarily passing).  One of the more intriguing was a series of equations that were done as a collection by asking scientists and mathematicians to show the artist what they thought was the most beautiful equation.   That exhibit would have been better, I thought, if there had been some effort to explain the equations or represent them visually.   As an engineer, I recognized many of the equations, but didn't have the gut level understanding to appreciate their artistic qualities.   From the math exhibit, we just wandered- there was a spectacular photographic exhibit.  We lost ourselves in French 19th century paintings for a bit while tracking down the finished version of a sketch we'd seen in drawings exhibit. 

It was after that, we went to lunch, and to see the Skyscraper Museum, which is small but interesting to us geeky engineer types.  And then we finished up with a visit to Fraunces Tavern (where George Washington and his officers drank during the American Revolution), and a short visit to the NYC branch of the Museum of the American Indian.   We hadn't expecially planned that last, but it proved another interesting stop.   The building alone was worth the price of admission:
It's located in the Alexander Hamilton Customs House.  And we spent a pleasant hour in the Central American section before the museum closed and we headed off to our last dinner in the city.  After a certain amount of dithering, we decided on more deli food, and went to Katz's, and then waddled off to Penn Station in a stuffed condition. 

Somewhat to our relief, the train was on time, and we got back to Boston to find freezing rain in the city and snow-covered roads outside it.  So our weekend finished up at 1:30 AM Monday morning with us shoveling out a huge snowbank in front of the driveway so we could get the car into the driveway.   But it was a terrific weekend, and entirely worth it!  (There was lots of train knitting, so progress was made but nothing finished.)

And, the slideshow:


  1. I have never been, but its a place I'd like to visit at least once. I'd really like to see Central Park.

  2. I ♥ NYC --- I worked there back in the late 70s. The buildings!!! OHHH, the buildings. My two favorites are the Chrysler Building and the Flatiron Building.

    Looks like you had a wonderful visit.