From Sea to Space: Another Day in New York

When your morning begins with a tour of a submarine, a supersonic jet, a space shuttle and an aircraft carrier, you know it’s going to be a good day. A nice bonus was that our membership from the Okanagan Science Centre got us in for free (OK, the Concorde and the space shuttle did cost extra…this is New York, after all.)

The submarine was the U.S.S. Growler, a Cold War-era sub that carried nuclear missiles but contained less technological wizardry than my cell phone. (Think about that for a second.) Our walk-through tour showed us the engine room, crew quarters, galley, missile hangars, etc.

We were more interested in the Concorde, however. The museum has an actual British Airways jet that made hundreds of supersonic trips between New York and London. We got to sit in the first class cabin (you know, where the Queen of England also sat) and see the cockpit, which was beyond cool.

The space shuttle Enterprise was another highlight. This was the prototype shuttle that never actually went into orbit, and you can’t actually get inside it, but you can walk all around the outside and even go right underneath it. Awesome.

We had to curtail our visit to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid due to time constraints, but that was OK because we toured a bigger aircraft carrier in San Diego a few years ago anyway. Chris took hundreds of photos of everything on the flight deck, but the only thing that stood out for me was the Blackbird spy plane — it was so sleek. Nice.

Next up was a harbor cruise that we took mainly to see the Statue of Liberty (I was also hoping to see the UN building, but the general assembly is in session, so security won’t let anything near it).

I’m in a rush to finish this entry cause we have to run out and get something to eat before our Broadway show tonight (Rock of Ages, here we come!)

To DC tomorrow…

A Second Bite of the Big Apple

We started the day with a quintessential New York experience: going up the Empire State Building. Early risers that we are, we were among the first ones there when the doors opened. I was amazed that it only took 60 seconds to go up 86 storeys in the elevator — I know some buildings in Kelowna whose elevators take that long just to get to the third floor. The views were incredible, but we were done after 10 minutes. At least we didn’t spend hours waiting in line for that.

New York may be big and crowded and loud, but it does have some kick-ass museums. We spent four hours at the American Museum of Natural History, and there was lots more we could’ve seen, but our feet just couldn’t take any more. Dinosaur fossils, a planetarium space show, a special exhibit on whales, plus the largest meteorite on display anywhere…”wow” doesn’t begin to cover it. Awesome.

Tomorrow is another museum, a harbor cruise, and a Broadway show — it should be cool!

I ____ New York

New York has never been high on my list of must-see destinations. In fact, it ranks pretty high on the list of places I wanted to avoid. I always thought of the city as huge, crowded, expensive and dangerous. Now that I’m here, I think of it as huge, crowded, expensive…and kind of interesting.

Granted, we haven’t done much yet. The train ride from Boston took four hours, and by the time our cabbie fought his way through traffic and deposited us at our Upper West Side hotel, it was mid-afternoon. We finally hopped the subway to Times Square and caught a sightseeing bus that took us all around downtown and lower Manhattan. It was an open-air double-decker bus, so of course everyone sat up top, but no one dared sit up too tall or they’d be clipped by overhanging traffic lights and tree branches. Huh.

Still, we were so happy to be able to sit back and relax that we didn’t care about having to watch our heads. The guide had all kinds of interesting factoids about every park, church, and skyscraper we passed, and there were a LOT of them. (One factoid that stuck with me: most schools in Manhattan don’t have playgrounds, so at recess time the cops actually close down a section of the street so the kids have somewhere to play. How sad is that?)

This might be the city that never sleeps, but I’m ready for a good long snooze. Tomorrow we’ll have a full day to explore…

On the bus at Times Square

On the bus at Times Square