Bright Lights, Big City

Saturday September 15, 2012

I don’t know what’s wrong with us, but when we woke up today and started moving around the cabin without any soreness to our legs we thought we had lucked out and the 20 miles we put on our feet yesterday had no lasting effect on us. Feeling so spry we thought today would be a good day to tackle the Museum of Natural History. That was number one on Matt’s list of things to do in New York City and I was quite interested in seeing it as well. Assuming we’d have another 80 degree day I threw on a dress and we were out the door. Before we could even get on shore to find out our legs had no in face recovered from the previous day I smashed my knee hard into the dinghy dock while jumping off to tie up. Not looking like a good start to the day. I wasn’t going to let it get me down though and I limped through the streets on our way to the museum. Having skipped breakfast though again we knew we needed to eat before wandering around a museum and I happened to ‘find’ $20 (took from my secret stash) that morning. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend that money than at Grays Papaya. With hot dogs and papaya juice in our stomachs we made our way to the Museum of Natural History and paid the suggested price, which I never understand because it makes it sound like a bartering process. Either way we had our tickets and went into see the animals from Africa first.

 Standing in front of the lions we were reading the plaque on the side when one of the security guards came over to ask if we had a camera on us. Even though the hundreds of other visitors next to us were snapping away on theirs we assumed for a moment you weren’t allowed to bring them in (which we did) and we were about to get in trouble. Shaking our heads no we thought he’d move on to the next people when he started saying, “Well that’s too bad because sometimes when I stand here I just see things that would work great in a photo. If you had a camera on you I’d be able to capture it”. Realizing we were not actually in trouble Matt turns to me and says, “Wait, don’t you have the camera on you somewhere?”. I handed it to him while the security guard instructed me to climb over the wooden partition meant to keep people away from the exhibits and told me to crouch down and put my hands up against the glass at certain angles. He’d snap a few photos and then move me to another area, reposition me, and take more. Then he passed the camera back and thanked us for our time. Matt told me that after we left the couple behind us started doing the same thing at every exhibit in the hall. Apparently we were the only people the security guard offered it for.

Not going in any kind of order we bounced from hall to hall, briefly finding maps and choosing exhibits based on that. It was sometime after learning the history of man in Asia and South America that we realized our legs could not handle all day here. So instead of reading every plaque at every display we started walking through and only looking at the objects and doing no reading. Seeing another map we pinned down about three more exhibits we really wanted to see that day and made our way towards them. On the way up a flight of stairs to the dinosaurs we passed the cafe with coffee aromas wafting through again. What has it been with my coffee cravings lately? Anything with an automatic drip will send me running toward it as our french press has not made morning coffee a ritual lately. More clean-up than I want to mess with on a daily basis, but the cravings are still there. I digress. Back to the dinosaurs, this was probably our favorite exhibit by far. In addition to many skeletons of extinct dinosaurs and other species it also contained skeletons of animals around today. This is the kind of stuff I love. The science and dissection of how things work, I was in heaven. My legs however were not. By this point they had basically given out and Matt was feeling the hurt too. Resting for a bit on a bench we wound our way down to the Rose Space Center and kept pushing ourselves on in the name of education. One note on this area, the heliosphere  in the center is pretty amazing…the information surrounding it…not so much. Either we were in the wrong area or this spot didn’t have much to offer because the only information we could find were things such as ‘if this heliosphere were the size of a blood cell, this ceramic replica in front of you would be the size of a bacteria attacking it’. Now that I read it again, it actually does sound a lot more interesting, I think we were just too tired to appreciate it at the time.

Having spent only two and a half hours in the museum we knew we couldn’t make it any further and exited the building to relax on a bench outside. Although we were still hopeful that ‘we’d go back in an hour’, we both knew it wouldn’t happen. Accepting that fact we went back to the boat for some much needed R&R. Napping and just resting we got ourselves ready to go back out and experience the city at night. We knew we wanted to make to to Time Square again to see all the lights and night and we also wanted to eat out for once. As in, this would be our first time in a restaurant with a server since we left on this trip. Walking over to what we like to call our home corner now of 72nd & Broadway we headed south. Putting dinner first on our list we knew all day we wanted Mexican, but every place we researched on our phone was way out of our budget. Most of the early night went like this: Walk up to a restaurant, look at the menu sitting out front, shake our heads at each other and move on to the next place. It was getting to the point that if we could find a place with entrees starting under $20 we might consider it. After going to every place on the phone and failing we just started walking up to any random restaurant on the street and browsing their menu. $17 for a cheeseburger? No thanks. Just as we were about to give up and go inside the next place we found regardless of the menu items or price we walked around a corner and found a cute little Mexican restaurant sitting there; Arriba Arriba. Looking at the menu outside it appeared fairly cheap and we were sold. The atmosphere was nice, although a little dark and a bit loud. Not a place I’d recommend for a first date but it suited us just fine. The salsa they served was amazing and the portions were huge. Plus the server was very friendly and even got super excited when I randomly picked his favorite beer off the menu. I think we were headed toward BFF territory in his mind.

Getting back to Broadway we followed it until the streets opened up into lights again. There was so much activity going on, from the hundreds of other tourist just milling around to the street performers trying to make a buck. Taking a seat on this large staircase sitting in the middle we just sat for a few minutes, looking at all the billboards and watching the city pass us by. Then getting back to the main square in the center of the streets we could see all the people around us jumping around and moving their arms around like they were on camera. Looking up we saw a large screen displaying a male and female character for a dunk tank, and behind them was a camera showing the crowd in the square. Based on our proximity to all the people waving their arms we assumed we had to be near enough to be on the screen as well and kept searching out our faces. It was like a backwards round of Where’s Waldo. Almost ready to give up I finally spotted us at the edge and pulled Matt in closer so he could be in on the action as well. After being entertained by that for a good 5-10 minutes we went over to check out the street performers. There were lots of Statue of Liberties, silver and gold moving statues, and surprisingly three Elmos. Then while walking by one of the tv productions companies (I can’t remember which one) we spotted a large crowd gathered around someone all trying to take photos. Possible celebrity sighting? We inched in closer just as a young woman was thrown back out of the crowd yelling “You a liar!!, You a liar!!, You’s a fake!” and looked like she was seriously ready to kick some but. Really curious to see the imposter she was so upset at we kept moving forward although I couldn’t make anything out through the crowd. Finally moving our sight up to the cameras, iPhones, and iPads being held above this person we could see the image of supposedly Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion now) reflected on them. One glace and we could tell he didn’t look like the real thing either.

Making our way off the square my bum knee was acting up again and we started the walk back to our home corner. Although we still did considerably a lot today it feels like nothing compared to all the ground we covered yesterday (literally). Only one more day in Manhattan before we’re off to Jersey, hope we find a great way to spend it. Now back to the boat to pop some Aleve and pass out.

View from our mooring into the city.

Gotta love the security guard at the museum for taking these.

See any familiar faces off to the side?


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