Thursday, January 28, 2010

Seven Quick Takes, New York Style!

This year's Christmas present from my in-laws was a family weekend in New York City and tickets to see Blue Man Group. I've decided to use the Seven Quick Takes meme (hosted by Jennifer at Conversion Diary) to give you a rundown on the fun we had in the Big Apple.


In my last post, I told you about how the kids were sick the day we left, and how we became part of a crowd of Marchers for Life in a service area along the highway. We reached our hotel on Friday night at around 10:30 pm--way past the kids' bedtime (a side note--we believe in letting kids watch DVDs on long trips. Some of my fellow bloggers may balk at this, but let me tell you, it makes for a much easier trip. For the record, we watched "UP" and "Rattatouille.") Our hotel room in Secaucus, NJ, had a view similar to this one,

except we couldn't see the river. It was nice to wake up in the morning and look out at the WAY COOLEST city in North America.


We opted to drive into the city, and frankly I was surprised at how easy it is to find parking in Manhattan. There are parking garages on practically every block. Some of them even have valet parking, which makes it that much easier. (I left the driving to my husband; that's another story.) We spent a big part of Saturday at the American Museum of Natural History. For several hours we wandered through the exhibits (five floors of them), took in a planetarium show, and resisted the temptation to buy junky souveniers at the gift shops.

one of the many dinosaur skeletons on display

I'm always saddened by the fate of the once-abundant passenger pigeon. Seems folks took them for granted and recklessly killed them off until suddenly there were none left.

We liked this display--it reminded us of the monkey in the movie "Night at the Museum;" after all, this was where it took place. Some of the museum exhibits we saw were featured in the movie; others (like the wax figure of Teddy Roosevelt) were made up.

Is it just me, or should this say "the Sandhill by far the more widespread and more common?" Isn't "commoner" a noun, like "riff-raff?"

My mother says that Helen Keller wrote once that if she were granted the gift of sight for one day, she would visit this museum so she could look at all the dioramas. If you can't see the world in one day, she reasoned, at least she could get an idea of what the world's marvels looked like.


Next we headed over to the Empire State Building. Here is Moe's painting of it that he made the previous weekend... ...when we got to it, we couldn't see the top. Oh, there it is!

We were on the observation deck just as the sun was setting. It wasn't nearly as cold and windy up there as we thought it would be.


My father-in-law, who grew up in and lived in New Jersey for many years, decided to wait for us in the Starbucks across the street from the Empire State Building. He has been to the top many times, and he decided to sit this one out. When we reached the bottom and arrived at the coffee shop, to my surprise he had bought this mug just for me:

After dinner at Jack Dempsey's Pub, it was time to drive down to Greenwich Villiage for the Blue Man Group show. The venue was a small, intimate theater; nothing like the Vegas- or Broadway-style mega auditorium I imagined it would be. We couldn't take pictures or videos at the show, of course, but here's a taste of what we were treated to. (Sorry I don't have the video posted directly to this blog; the only way I know how to do it is to put the video up first, and write the rest of the blog post around it. Forgot to do that this time.)

If you ever have a chance to see a Blue Man Group performance, it's a real treat. Larry, Curly, and Moe decided that if the Three Stooges were aliens, they'd be Blue Men.


Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral was magnificent. We attended the 10:15 Mass, which seemed to be one of the most popular. When my husband and I came here two years ago, we had a flight to catch Sunday morning, and went to the 8 am Mass, which had no music or singing. This time the cathedral was filled with pipe organ music and the voices of the amazing choir (which sounded like one probably had to audition for); there was inscense, and the Gloria, Pater Noster, and Credo were all sung in Latin. This photo does St. Patrick's absolutely no justice. I opted to bring my old 5 megapixel pocket camera instead of my other one, which takes better pictures but is a little clunky.

St. Anthony of Padua's statue and side altar

The beautiful side altar of Our Lady of Czestochowa


After Mass, it was across the street to Rockefeller Plaza, and a visit to the Nintendo World store. Larry informed us it was the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The other Nintendo World, he says, is in Japan. Then it was lunch at the famous Stage Deli, a walk through Times Square, and finally it was time to retreive our car from the parking garage and make the long trek home.
The only negative aspect of the trip was that my mother-in-law wasn't with us. Poor thing, she was sick at home while we were on the town. It was a fantastic weekend, but it would have been even better if Grandma were with us. We'll just have to plan another trip; next time, we'll treat them!

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