Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trip to New York

While I was attending the 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Meeting on Bacteria, Archaea, & Phages [1] with my professor and the other two graduate students in the lab, we wanted to see New York City. So the day I presented, after that session was over, we cut out and caught a train to New York to see the sights. (As I wrote that I realized that I could've put sites and still had the sentence be grammatically and informationally correct.)

They say that you can tell who the tourists are because they're the ones looking up at the buildings. Perhaps some people do this just because they're amazed at how tall the buildings are, but I was looking up because some of them looked really interesting. We saw the Empire State Building (bottom), the Chrysler Building (top left), and several other interesting buildings (the rest). The streets of New York often smelled like burnt flatbread because of all the street vendors selling Mexican-Indian-Halal-American-Pakistani-Kosher food.[2][3]

We saw Grand Central Station. The ceiling has part of the zodiac painted on it with small light bulbs shining to represent some of the stars. I have no idea how that helps you make your train on time.

We saw the Rockefeller Center.

A LEGO shop nearby. (I took a lot more pictures in this shop, but I decided not to overwhelm you with them.)

And a few other iconic businesses. Radio City Music Hall (left) is the home of the Rockettes and Saks (right) is a fashion store.

Around the thoroughfares Central Park smelled like rancid, sun-baked horse manure. But deeper into the park it smelled better. A lot of people go there to sunbathe, which I hadn't anticipated, but it now seems inevitable (since there's really nowhere else to do so in the city).

We took the Staten Island ferry (which is free) to get a look at the Statue of Liberty, then turned around and came right back. On the way back her torch caught the light of the sun just right and looked like it was aflame, but the pictures I took weren't that impressive. There were a bunch of French tourists on the ferry and I asked myself again how a man who spoke that sissy-sounding language (Napoleon I) ever struck fear into most of the European continent. I still haven't found an answer.

We passed the Wall Street Bull on our way back into the city. There was a line of people waiting to take their photograph next to it. We didn't want to wait, so I took a picture, anyway, and got these people, instead.

Then we visited the 9/11 Memorial. Both of the memorial pools have the names of the victims of the 9/11 attacks around their edges. The memorial is handled by the NYPD and it looked like a pretty cushy job. They mostly just stood around and made sure people stayed in line and didn't want on the freshly-planted sod. I didn't take a picture of the Ground Zero Survivor Tree because at the time I didn't know what it was.

After that we went into a pizzeria for dinner (I didn't have the guts to try a tandoori chicken burrito). Then we caught the subway to Times Square [4] and by that time it was dark enough that the garish advertisements it's famous for were in full blaze.


[1] See my post 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Meeting on Bacteria, Archaea, & Phages.

[2] Most of them defined American food as pizza, hamburgers, and sub sandwiches (which they call heros).

[3] I hyphenated this because sometimes they sold items from each class separately (e.g. tandoori chicken or tacos) but sometimes they sold them combined (e.g. tandoori chicken in tacos). It appears that Indians, Pakistanis, and Middle Easterners are the most recent immigration wave to hit New York City.

[4] I actually got separated from my professor and the other two graduate students. So we took the subway separately and met back up at Times Square.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a fantastic trip! I would love to see New York. Thanks for sharing your experience.