Friday, October 24, 2008

City Guide Part 9

The American Museum of Natural History stands out among the
apartment buildings along Central Park West. The bold stone facade of
the building would look more in place at the National Mall in
Washington D.C. than here in a residential area of New York City.
Nevertheless, this museum is, in my opinion, one of the most worth
while places to visit in New York City.
From New York City

The main museum entrance, also
known as The Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda features a large skeleton of a
barosaurus. This prominent display is the tallest freestanding
dinosaur mount in the world.
From New York City

There are many other fossil displays
throughout the museum. Massive rooms are dedicated to the display of
fossils. In one of the rooms, I ran in to a group of high school
students who were all wearing t-shirts similar to the one I was
wearing. Scott took a photo, but the picture didn't turn out very

From New York City

A staple exhibit of Natural History Museums around the world is the
diorama. This museum is no exception. Dioramas are similar to zoo
exhibits, but unlike a zoo, nothing in the diorama needs to be fed or
watered - only dusted. They display pinnacle examples of the taxidermist
profession. Looking into these small dioramas is just like looking
onto a Congolese Jungle or a Mongolian desert. There are rooms with
dioramas featuring the environments of New York, of North American
forests, African mammals, birds of the world, mammals of North America
and many more.

The anthropological exhibits alone would have taken days to thoroughly
appreciate. Each display features the native peoples of each continent,
excluding Antarctica. Dad, Mom, Scott and I found certain exhibits
more interesting than others. Because of this, we decided to part ways
and take in this part of the museum at our own pace. Personally, I
found the exhibit hall of the South American Peoples and the Hall of
the Oceanic Peoples to be the most interesting exhibits. I had no idea
how bizarre these cultures were. I was blown away. Some of the weapons
that these cultures produced looked very painful. A 62 foot long
painted war canoe is on display in the Hall of Pacific Northwest
Peoples. It must have been a challenge to even get the canoe to
Manhattan; let alone find a way to place it inside the museum in one

Nestled in a small corner in the lower floor of the museum lies the
Halls of Gems, Meteorites and Minerals. The variety of natural objects
that come from the earth is astounding. The display holds tens of
thousands of unique
specimens from the earth and beyond. At the center of the Meteorite
room sits the ominous Cape York meteorite. This piece of iron is so
dense and heavy that it required its own foundation to be built into
the Manhattan schist below the museum. Again, I was amazed at how this
item came all the way from Greenland to the basement of this building.
The designs brought forth after meteorites are cut and polished are
stunning. One specimen that caught my interest was a stone that continually
deteriorates when exposed to light. The "photo-decay" is evidenced by
powdery yellow debris on the floor of the case, beneath the mount. A
large display of California gold
took up one corner of the Hall of Minerals. Most of the specimens,
including whole veins of gold, up to a foot in length, were mined in
the decades of 1850,60 and

I met up with Scott and then with Mom, and I found out that Dad was
waiting for us in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda. As we walked out of the
museum, Dad asked what we thought of the life-sized blue whale. I had
spent 4 hours in the museum and hadn't noticed one of its largest
display rooms - The Hall of Ocean Life. Scott, Mom and I walked back
into the museum in search of the hall. On the way, I found other parts
of the museum I hadn't yet seen. We finally arrived at the Ocean Life
Hall and I was glad we came back. The blue whale was suspended from
the ceiling, while two stories of dioramas featuring ocean life from
every part of the ocean lay below. One impressive diorama depicted a
battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale in the darkness of the
deep ocean floor. After quickly taking in all the displays, we
traveled back to Dad at the museum entrance. Back outside, we crossed
Central Park West, and entered the green forest of Central Park.


Continued in Part 10

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Saturday, July 26

My day started on a high note after I received an email from a
contributing editor of The San Fransisco Chronicle. He told me that a
question I had posted for an interview of a financial adviser was used
used in a story earlier that day. After reading the interview, we
walked up to the tracks and headed to Manhattan.

Our first stop of the day was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

main exhibit at the museum featured the work of Louise Bourgeois.
( The building itself
was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and I was more impressed with the
design and layout of the museum than Louise's contorted "Bodies" and
From New York City

There was much more at the museum than the work of Louise.
Works from Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger and Ad Reinhardt were also
on display. Ad Reinhard's "Ultimate" was something that at first, I
walked passed with only a glance. Then, after listening to an
explanation of his painting I went back and began to see all the
detail in the seemingless solid black canvas. It was an amazing
experience. Photography was not allowed in the upper floors of the
building, and it was amusing to see the extent that museum patrons
took to take a photo.
A few times, some patrons, who didn't take much care to hide the
camera were severely scolded in front of everyone by the security
From New York City

We left the museum early in the afternoon and walked along 5th Avenue
and entered Central Park. We walked along a path that encircled the
Jaquelyn Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
From New York City

It seemed to me that everyone on
this path was determined to win the New York City Marathon. Everyone
was wearing logo sports wear and running really fast. We didn't want
hold back the party, so we found a back road that ran parallel to the
path and took it all the way till we exited on the other side of the
park at Central Park West. We walked down till we arrived at the
massive American Museum of Natural History.

Continued in Part 9

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

City Guide Part 7

The tour leaders at Madison Square Garden took
us first to the WaMu Theater which is under the larger stadium. It was
very quiet in this lower room. We were told that even with a
basketball game going on above, no sound is able to enter the
theater below. Next, we visited The Garden Club. The Garden Club is
an exclusive area reserved only for sky box ticket holders. We then
went way up to the sky boxes. We were able to see all the amenities in
the box including a fully stocked refrigerator. The price to lease a
sky box is not publicized, but the tour guide guessed that a one year
lease might be as much as 1.1 million dollars. Next, we walked through
the general seating area and into the locker room for the Rangers
Hockey Team. The tour ended at the end of a hallway lined with photos
of sporting highlights which took place at the Garden since It's
completion in 1968.

After exiting the Garden, we walked directly under the building, and
entered Pennsylvania Station. We took the train to lower Manhattan.
When we got off, we walked to the New York Stock Exchange building.

From New York City

The security was
heavy. Masked, bullet proof vest wearing, automatic assault rifle
toting commandos were guarding the street corners. I wondered how they
stayed cool while wearing all black. We ducked into Federal Hall, just
a few feet from the large flag displayed on the front of the NYSE.
This is the site of the first United States Capitol building. Inside,
a stone slab is displayed from the first Federal Hall building. George
stood on the slab when he took his first oath of office on April
30th, 1789. The basement of the building, although smaller and less
ornate, looks exactly like the basement of the current Capitol
Building in Washington, D.C. We left the Federal Hall Building and
walked down Wall Street all the way to its end at Trinity Church on
Broadway. This stretch of Broadway is known as the "Canyon of Heroes."
This is where the fabled "Ticker Tape Parades" take place. On the
sidewalk, etched in Bronze every 10 paces or so is an entry of each of
the parades, in chronological order. Each entry gives a date, and the
reason for the parade.
While we walked along, we talked about what we wanted to do next. We
decided to take the train back to the Upper East side and visit the
Whitney Museum of Art. On the way to the station, we walked through
City Hall Park. Mom and Dad decided to rest on a park bench for a
while. While they were resting, Scott and I walked to the base of the
Brooklyn Bridge. This part of the bridge is known as the Brooklyn
Banks. On our way back through the banks, I noticed from a distance,
someone taking a break from a television shoot. When I got closer, I
realized the man holding the microphone was Chad Muska.

From New York City

I introduced
myself, and Scott. He seemed genuinely pleased to meet us. He told us
that he moved to the City to help promote his shoe company. We kept
the meeting short. I didn't want to interrupt his video shoot for too
long. As we walked back to meet Mom and Dad, we stumbled upon another
more elaborate television set. This set had film cameras, lights,
grips and important looking people sitting on director chairs. I asked
one of the onlookers what was going on. She said that filming was
taking place for a television program called "Ugly Betty".

Scott and I met back up with Mom and Dad at City Hall Park and we
entered the train station at City Hall.
Inside the station, I found a copy of The New York Times.

From New York City

We got out
and walked a few blocks to Madison Avenue and entered the Whitney
Museum of Art. Inside, a strange futuristic car made over a half
century ago was on prominent display. The two headline displays were
of Paul McCarthy ""
and Buckminster Fuller
"". I wasn't
very impressed with Paul McCarthy's display. However, Buckminster
Fuller's display was interesting. His use of interlocking geodesic

shapes to create large structures was unique.
After about an hour at the Whitney, we took the train back to Queens.
Mom and Dad took it easy for the rest of the evening. Scott and I went
back to the Brooklyn Banks. One of my bearings broke right after we
got out of the station at the Brooklyn Bridge. Consequently, my wheel
kept falling off. Scott was amazing all the locals at the banks and we
got a few great video shots.
When it got dark, Scott and I took the train back under the river and
to the hotel.

Continued in Part 8

Thursday, August 21, 2008

City Guide Part 6

Friday, July 25

After riding the tour bus for 2 days and 3
nights, we had a much better idea of where everything was and what we
wanted to see. On Thursday evening, we wrote down all the places that
piqued our interest on small sheets of paper. We organized these
papers into four piles that corresponded to areas of the city. There
was one pile for each day we had left on our trip.

Early on Friday, we hopped on the train and
headed under the river to visit the United Nations. The closest train
station to the UN was at Grand Central Station. Outside the Station, a
news lady handed me a fresh copy of the Metro. It was a long stroll
from Grand Central to the banks of the East River. But I was glad to
walk past the several amazing buildings that stood along East 43rd
Street. The security on the UN grounds was tight. several armed UN
police guarded the perimeter. There was a sign just inside the complex
warning that no protests were allowed on the grounds. I became aware
that theoretically, we were no longer in the United States.

From New York City

inside, we were met to our right with a large carpeted stairway which
led to the general assembly chamber .

From New York City

We found the tour ticket counter
and the ticket agent told us that our tour tickets were no longer
valid. I was a little disappointed. We decided to give ourselves our
own tour of the public area of the UN. We saw a Mosaic, given to the
UN by Pope John Paul II. We also toured a display on the climate
changes in the Amazonian Basin. One of the more impressive displays in
the public area, was a series of portraits of past as well as the
current Secretary Generals. When I looked at the caption of the
portraits, I read that the Iranian artists did not use paint, but
individual strands of silk. I was amazed. The detail was so very
intricate. On our way out, we admired the sculptures in the UN garden.
One piece that I was familiar with was the "Knotted Gun" by Carl
Fredrik Reuterswärd.

From New York City

From New York City

After leaving the UN we Walked back to Grand Central Station and took
the train to Madison Square Garden.

From New York City

When we got there, we found out
that the next tour of the Garden would not start till 11:30. This gave
us an hour to do whatever we wanted. Dad took the time to visit a
store called Jack's. Scott, Mom and I rested on a ledge and then Scott
and I walked around the block.

We all gathered back in the Garden at 11:25 and the tour began.

Continued in Part 7

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Part 5

We entered Harlem on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Boulevard. There were several clothing stores on this street. We
turned right, and traveled down Malcolm X Boulevard.

From New York City

We passed a very
large and colorful Mosque.

From New York City

A few minutes later, we ended up back at
Central Park on 5th Avenue. This side of the park had fewer dense
trees than the opposite side on which we came up. We stopped and got
out at The Museum of the City of New York.
This Museum contained displays taken from actual rooms from historic
period homes. It also contained a display of props used for various
Broadway productions. A display featuring the unique architecture of a
recently designed building took up much of the top floor of the
museum. One of my favorite displays was building concept

After an hour or so at the museum, we got on another tour bus and
headed back to Times Square. The tour guide on this stretch was very
animated. She especially enjoyed showing us the apartment buildings
where various celebrities reside.

From New York City

From New York City

From New York City

We got off at Times Square and
walked across to the Hudson River to catch a tour boat.

The boat was a very large former Coast Guard ship built in 1913. We
sat at the very front right behind the tour narrator who pointed out
many interesting sites and the stories behind them. When we traveled
over the Holland tunnel, he pointed out the very large fresh air
intake towers. I thought about the hundreds of cars passing 120 feet
below the boat. We passed Chelsie Pier where 4 levels of golfers
were practicing their drives on top of each other. The fence that was
used to keep the golf balls out of the river was several stories high.
On the opposite side of the river was Hoboken, New Jersey, where the
former Colgate Toothpaste factory once operated and where the huge
Colgate clock still tells perfect time. The boat then turned around at
the Statue of Liberty and traveled back to it's slip at midtown.

From New York City

Instead of walking back over to midtown to catch the train, we took a
bus to midtown and took the train down to Canal Street. We scoped out
another piece by NECK FACE.

From New York City

After walking along Canal street for a
while, we took the train back to Times Square to check out Madame
Toussauds Wax Museum of New York. The main Madame Toussauds museum is in
London, but there are several branches in cities around the world.
Going in, I wasn't expecting much, but when we exited the elevator on
the top floor, the ambiance of the first exhibit room gave the feeling
of an exclusive party with sounds of flash bulbs in the distance.

From New York City

we filed down through the various themed rooms, I was very impressed
with the surrounding props and sounds used in the displays. The Biggie
Smalls exhibit made me feel like I was at an actual Notorious B.I.G.
show with the figure of Biggie up front performing away. Some people
like Ted Turner and Napoleon Bonaparte were taller than I expected.
Others, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Lou Reed were shorter than I
had imagined. The last figure in the museum was the figure of Simon
Cowell. He was placed in an American Idol stage where visitors sang a
karaoke song and then waited to hear one of his famous critical
wisecracks. Mom suggested I give it a go. So I decided to sing the
song "Wild Thing" by the Troggs. After singing and checking out my
review video, I decided to do myself justice by singing "I Want You
Back" by the Jackson 5. After Simon suggested I "sue my voice
instructor" I thought it was time for me to give it up.

It was fairly late by the time we emerged from the ground floor of
the museum, so we decided to call it a night and headed back to the
hotel in Queens.

Continued in Part 6

Monday, August 11, 2008

Part 4

Thursday, July 24.

On the way to the train stop, I picked up a copy of the
Metro and enjoyed its to the point and concise coverage of local and
national events. Because we made a later start to the day,
there were less
passengers on the train into Manhattan. I took advantage of this
opportunity to take a video of one of my favorite stretches of the #7
line. The stretch that I taped started at the Court Square station and
ended at the Hunter's Point station.

At Times Square, we got out of the train and climbed the
stairs out of the subway. When we arrived at the surface,
we filed onto the Uptown Tour Bus.

From New York City

traveling over to the Hudson River, we doubled back to Central
Park on 72nd street. At the intersection of 72nd street and Central
Park west, the tour guide pointed out the Dakota Apartment building
and the site of John Lennon's assassination. We turned left, and
traveled up Central Park west with the infamous and beautiful Central
Park to our right. The landscape of the park gave a taste of what the
Island of Manhattan looked like before modern civilization. The
natural landscape was accented by large mounds of extruding dark rock
called Manhattan schist. This heavy dense stone underlays the length
of Manhattan and provides a solid base for all of the tall heavy

Then the bus turned left, and we slowly rode
past The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

From New York City

It was an amazing building which, after over 110 years of
construction; has yet to be finished. It is a very tall stone
structure and is the 4th largest Christian church in the world.

Just beyond the cathedral is President Grant's tomb. Then we found
ourselves in Harlem. Our guide pointed out the location of Bill
Clinton's office.

Continued in Part 5

Friday, August 08, 2008

Wednesday, July 23

We started out the day early and on the walk to the train
stop, I picked up a copy of the newspaper called The Village Voice.
There was a wide variety of no cost newspapers available. Besides the
Village Voice, there was The Metro, a paper called The AM and several
Spanish and Mandarin language papers. At most busy corners in
Manhattan, newspaper distributors were asking passers-by to take the
paper. I wondered if newspapers 100 years ago were given away at no
cost like these.

Reading a local newspaper was something to do while riding in the
dark tunnels of the subway system. In addition, it was another
tactic I used to avoid looking like a tourist.

We got off the train at Times Square and boarded a tour bus headed for
Lower Manhattan. The bus took us through the Garment District, into
Soho and around Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village is a
designated Quiet Zone. Our tour guide had to stop talking while we
drove through its narrow streets. On nearly every corner was a sign
that threatened a $350 fine to anyone who honked a car horn. It was
the quietest part of New York City.

From New York City

At Battery Park we disembarked and got in line for the boat ride to
Ellis Island. We looked back toward Manhattan, and thought
about people who were probably on this boat on September 11, and
watched the whole event from the harbor. On the way to Ellis Island
the boat made a stop at the Statue of

Liberty. Once at Ellis Island, we toured the building where millions
of immigrants lined up to gain entrance to the United States. The main
processing building was converted into a Museum of Immigration.

After a few hours there, we gathered up on the boat for a ride back to
Manhattan. While waiting to get back on the boat, we were
completely surrounded by people, and noticed that not one of them was
speaking English.

Once back on Manhattan, we took another tour bus back up to
Canal Street and China Town. When we were on the bus riding down Canal
Street, Scott and I noticed a public art piece created by the artist
known as NeckFace. We got off the bus and took a few photos.

From New York City

admiring the artwork for a few minutes, we walked through the
nearby neighborhoods. In Chinatown, we stopped at a little shop that
sold authentic Chinese food. We all got Chinese dumplings with pork -
different from anything we'd ever tasted. While we were enjoying our
meal, a policeman came in. He spoke perfect Chinese to the people in
the shop, ordered his meal and left. But just as he was walking out
the door, he suddenly turned around because he had forgotten to pay!
They all laughed. A few blocks down the street there was a Jewish
shop. They had hundreds of different kinds of yamakahs, as well as
jewelry and other items from Israel. It looked like the whole family
was in the shop.

From New York City

After that we caught another tour bus up
to the get off point at Times Square.

As the bus drove up along the
East River, Dad took out his phone and checked his email.
After a few seconds, he let out a gasp and said, "Oh No!" We all
looked back at him knowing something serious had happened. He told us
that Steven had passed away the day before. I knew how much sadness
my relatives were going through at that very moment.

We were all very quiet for the rest of the tour and got off at Times
Square. From there, we took the long train out to Coney Island. There
wasn't much going on there.

From New York City

A few of the rides were operating
including the roller coaster known as The Cyclone. On the ride back to
Manhattan, the train traveled straight through Brooklyn. On this ride,
I began to realize how very large Brooklyn is.

The variety of night activities that interested us in the
city was fairly limited. One

attraction that was available during the evening hours was something
called the New York Sky Ride. The Sky Ride, which was based in the
Empire State Building, is basically a large box with about 80
seats in a small theater. The box is fitted with hydraulics

that elevate and shift the box according to what is being shown on the
screen at the front. It was more or less a helicopter ride gone wild
in Manhattan. We were able to get a better grasp of the city around us
after we took a ride on The Sky Ride.

On exiting the Empire State Building we were met with a downpour of
heavy rain. Mom had an umbrella, but Dad, Scott and I were fairly
damp by the time we got to the subway station. When we got off the
train in Queens, the rain had stopped and we had a pleasant walk to
the hotel.

Continued in Part 4

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Part 2

Times Square provided a lot to see. I felt like leaning
up against a wall and letting it all soak in; but we had plans. Our
plan was to take tour buses around the city for a couple of days. We began with the night tour with our tour guide Olive, who was from someplace around India. She knew a lot about the city. After riding the buses, we hoped to get a better feeling on where
everything was and the locations of the places we planned on visiting.

I noticed that many of the people in Times Square looked like
tourists. It was our goal not to look like these people. We would
receive confirmation of our goal when people asked us for directions
or advice.

The tour buses were modified so that a door in the side of the bus
led to a stairwell onto the roof of the bus. The top level of the bus
was lined with seats which provided an excellent view of the
surrounding spectacles. The evening bus route took us across the Manhattan
Bridge and into Brooklyn. The bus stopped at the base of the Brooklyn
Bridge at one of 3 man-made waterfalls. These waterfalls were a
temporary project commissioned by the New York Public Arts Commission.

From New York City

After a relaxing rest under the bridge, we loaded back onto the bus
which led us back to Times Square. On the way back, we took roads with
low hanging tree branches. When a branch came close to the bus,
everyone had to duck to avoid being hit by these branches. One time,
Dad ducked suddenly and hit his eyebrow on the seat in front of him
causing a small gash on his forehead.

From New York City

Once we got off from the bus, we decided to call it a day. On our
way back to the hotel, we got off along the way at Grand Central
Station. We took a few minutes to walk around the main room of the
station. It was very spacious and tastefully decorative.

Continued in Part 3

Sunday, August 03, 2008

July 22, 2008

I woke up a little before 5am after Dad peeked his head in the
room and said, "It's time to get up."

Scott and I spent the night at Mom and Dad's house, and
I immediately sprang out from the covers. The sleep I usually crave
was not appealing to me today. Today was the day we would leave for
New York City.

We all pretty much had everything all packed, so all we had to do
was finish up what was in the refrigerator and toss the bags in the

We left the house a little after 5:20. I brought along a strawberry
banana Dannon Fusion for the van ride to the airport.
When we were a few blocks from Grandma and Grandpa's house, Mom called
Grandpa and told him that we were close.
After pulling onto Borah street, we saw Grandpa; with all his morning
energy stride out from the house.

We arrived at the airport and Grandpa took the van back to Nampa.
After printing out our tickets, we headed for the security line.
Everyone got through smoothly except for Scott. Something in his bag
needed closer inspection. So a security lady with blue latex gloves
went through Scott's bag.

After Scott re-packed his backpack we headed to the gate.

We were still quite early, so Mom, Scott and I viewed the art gallery at the Boise Airport.

At the appointed time, everyone gathered on the plane and settled
down for the ride.

I was fortunate enough to have a window seat.

When we were over Yellowstone National Park, I took a photo of
all the snow still nestled there.
From New York City

After landing in Minneapolis, I realized that I forgot to enjoy my
yogurt drink. My computer did not recognize the airport internet, so I
whipped out dad's iTouch and typed out an email to Grandpa asking him
to enjoy the drink for me.

I was not assigned a window seat at Minneapolis, but I was able from
my middle seat to notice Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and as we began our
descent, the massive metropolis of New York City.

After we landed, Dad bought MetroCards and we headed to the bus
stop. After hopping on the bus, Dad asked the lady behind him where to
get out for the train.
She gave excellent directions, and we were able to find the
train station with ease. The train in this part of Queens is on an
elevated track above the street. As I entered the stairway, I
immediately realized that this train system was well used.

A few weeks before the trip, I had scoured Google Earth focusing on
the city. So I was familiar with the buildings I saw on the left and
right of the train. We noticed the Hotel ( La Quinta ) from the train
and exited at the next stop.

After we deposited our bags, we left the hotel and skipped up the
steps to meet the train for a ride into Manhattan.

Before traveling under the East River, the train dipped under
ground. When we stepped out of the train at the Times Square station,
we were hit with the intense underground heat of the subway. We found our way out of the station to
the surface in Times Square where the air was more tolerable. I was amazed at the mass of people there.
So many people. So many enormous buildings. So many giant high
definition screens!

From New York City

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Vain Stitch

Vain Stitch, originally uploaded by blvd_flicks.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

handbook on horses

handbook on horses, originally uploaded by Least Wanted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


mi, originally uploaded by Buytronick*.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Epok - Sepr

Epok - Sepr, originally uploaded by Tatty Seaside Town.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yves and his monster fisheye

Monday, March 24, 2008

buytrek & sego process

buytrek & sego process, originally uploaded by Buytronick*.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Hiperion, originally uploaded by doddie79.

Art enthusiast

Art enthusiast , originally uploaded by mark_pemble.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008