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Lower Manhattan (and my story about a mouse)

February 9, 2007

Federal Hall

Trinity Church, Broadway

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street
(Wall St is actually really tiny, not main road size at all)

The Bull on Broadway

A big, old, nasty rat
I think this has something to do with strike breakers on a picket line

South Street Seaport
Brooklyn Bridge in the background

Tall Ships at the South Street Seaport

Now, that I’ve kind of done the things that I really wanted to do, and am mostly over my cold, I thought I’d dive back in to New York.

I took a walk around lower Manhattan. I started at City Hall and walked down past Ground Zero, down Broadway, past Wall Street, and then on to the South Street Seaport where they have an exhibition on called “Bodies“. Now this, exhibition isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s actual human bodies, preserved and stripped down to muscle, bone veins and arteries. The bodies are from a university in China. It was interesting if not a little weirdly gruesome.

I then grabbed a ticket to go see Rent tonight, and headed back into Soho.

Katz’s Deli
This is Harry & Sally’s table

On the way home I stopped at the legendary Katz’s Deli. I had a huge sandwich and pickles, and met an Aussie girl from Melbourne working behind the counter.

The Story of the Mouse

It was three in the morning and everyone was asleep. Reem, mouth breathing because of her cold, was sound asleep and dry of throat. Suddenly, Reem heard an odd rustling sound coming from the bin in her room. “What is that? ” she wondered to herself. Drowsy but alert, she rolled over and switched on the light. At first, she saw nothing, but continued to hear the odd rustling noise. Then as she sat up, she saw a small brown mouse in her bin! her breath caught and she leapt from her bed. The mouse, however, was faster and jumped out of her tissue strewn bin and headed for the door.

As you can imagine, Reem was rather put out by this mouse, but she did her best to get back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later, she heard a familiar noise. This time, she made as though to get out of bed, though the thought of sharing the same floor as the mouse grossed her out more than words can say. The mouse bolted.

Again, Reem attempted to sleep. And again, the mouse zeroed in on the bin. (Reem had no idea what the mouse was after, as the bin, to her memory was filled with snotty tissues from her cold). This time Reem removed the bin altogether and put it in the kitchen.

The mouse returned no more. Fingers crossed!


Harlem Shuffle

February 8, 2007

Convent Avenue, Harlem

This might be Striver’s Row

The Abyssinian Baptist Church

The Apollo Theatre

Those of you who have known me since my days at uni, would know that I focused primarily on studying African American culture and history. Essays about Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, The Black Panthers, the development of hip hop, and the progression of the Civil Rights Movement.

Coming to Harlem was really significant for me, and probably, emotionally (as wanky as that sounds) the core of the trip for me.

I have to admit to getting teary as I walked down Malcolm X Boulevard. The things that really struck me about Harlem, was how obviously poor it is in comparison with downtown. Where I’m staying is a hip, studenty area, full of boutiques, restaurants and cafes with a really diverse mix of people. Harlem, I saw two white people when I was off the main strip. On the main strip of W 125th Street, there was a little more of a mix, with some Hispanics/Latinos thrown in, but not much.

I went to the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture. Oh, how I wish I’d had access to this treasure trove when I was at university! They are in the middle of a major renovation, so they only had one exhibit open on the discovery of the African Burial Ground in downtown NYC. The Centre has a range of amazing things there, from African artifacts to the papers of some of the most recognised African Americans, such as Malcolm X. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see anything else. If I’d been better prepared I would have come with a list of things to request (It’s a research library).

As an aside, there was a gorgeous female security guard, she must have been from the Caribbean somewhere as she had an accent. She loved that I was from Australia and warned me about the upcoming weather and the hazards of snow in the city. When I was on my way out, she insisted that I put on my hat and gloves before I left the building. She was a gem!

I continued to wander and ended up at the Studio Museum Harlem. This is an innovative little museum/gallery that presents work by African American artists. I got to see the exhibition about Africa Comics, a range of hand drawn comics from around Africa addressing issues such as human rights, female circumcision, education and crime. It was really fascinating.

Then, I headed home, thinking that I would get a ticket to see a show tonight. I’ve been very lucky so far. When I got to the ticket booth at Times Square, the queue was enormous!!!! So, I came home instead! Will try for Sunday and Monday nights instead. Methinks that’s where my luck lies!

8 more days till I leave New York, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I can’t wait to leave the house without having to carry a coat, and a hat and gloves and scarves!

The Tenement Museum

February 7, 2007

No photos today.

The Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, has preserved the history of the Lower East side and it’s waves of migration for the 20 years.

It has preserved an actual 20 apartment (I think) tenement building at 97 Orchard Street.

Check out the tour, I really enjoyed it.

Another low key evening at home, with my cold.

Reader’s Requests

February 7, 2007

Alrighty, now what I would love from you, my darling friends, is your feedback on what I should do in my last week or so in the Big Apple.

I’ve covered almost all the significant museums (except the Whitney, which I’ll hit this week), done the major tourist attractions (Empire State, Statue of Liberty, etc..), which leaves me with my personal mission, Harlem & more of Brooklyn.

But that still leaves me with significant time to kill. So would love your suggestions. Just click on the little pencil icon at the bottom of this post, and I’ll see if your suggestions are do-able!

G, G, Guggenheim!

February 5, 2007

The Guggenheim was lovely, and very, very small, in comparison with the other galleries and museums. What was funny, was that when I got there, I couldn’t find it, because of the scaffolding! I was looking for this:

What I found you can see in the pictures above. It is an amazing building. Really gorgeous, and open and airy. Great little cafe too.

The exhibition that was on was called El Greco to Picasso. It was very impressive.
The parts of the permanent collection that they had open, weren’t really my style. But hey, can’t please everybody!

I’m hoping to get back before I leave and see Family Pictures, a photographic exhibition.

The rest of the afternoon, I headed down to to Soho to grab some stuff, back to Union Square for food, then to Liqueteria for the hot killer, grabbed a movie ticket for later. Going to see “Fired” later, then home to bed!


February 4, 2007

Midtown Manhattan

This is a driving range
(For golf, that is)

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building

If you click on this photo and enlarge it, you can get an idea of where the World Trade Centre was. If you look for the crane, and look to the left slightly, (in between the matched domed buildings) it’s around there. It was significantly taller than the buildings around it and dominated the landscape. (Apparently)

Ellis Island

Manhattan Bridge

I think this is the Queensboro Bridge

Today was fucking cold. Minus 9 to be exact. All the photos I took of myself look terrible, because it was so cold I couldn’t smile properly cause my face was numb!

I’ve been attempting to take this cruise for a week, because I have a voucher for it. First time I went down, the sign said the cruise runs everyday except for Tuesday/Wednesday in January and February! I was there on a Tuesday.

The next time I went down, I was told that the cruises only run twice per day: 10am and 4pm. I got there at 2pm.

Today I was prepared. I got up early, rugged up (clear days = very cold temps) and set off.

It was a two hour cruise. I get motion sickness. After the first hour, I was completely over it.

On the way back to my place, I thought I’d try and grab tickets for show this evening. Prior to 3pm all the shows on sale are for the matinees. Annoying, but then I realised I could get tickets for Stomp which conveniently for me, is just a couple of blocks from where I’m staying. It was absolutely fabulous, and I got front row seats.

Tonight, I’m staying off the streets as the Superbowl is on.

Washington, or Canberra, I forget?

February 2, 2007

Me, at the White House

The White House

The Capitol Building (Parliament)

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Me, at the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Memorial in the background
Normally, the area behind me, is green and the pool is filled with water. In winter, apparently not.
You may know this vista from many movies, including Forrest Gump.

The Korean War Memorial

Planes, hanging from the ceiling!

Space station thingy from the 1960’s

Abraham Licncoln’s Hat that he was wearing the day he was assasinated

Kermit the Frog
Ruby Slippers and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz

C3PO & R2D2

Malcolm X by Richard Avedon

Muhammad Ali’s Gloves from his second title win

Ray Charles’s Suit, and Dizzy Gillespie’s Cornet

Thomas Jefferson’s Uniform

On February 1, 1960 four African American university students protesting segregation entered a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro , North Carolina, sat down at this “Whites Only” lunch counter, and politely asked to be served. When their request was denied, the students refused to leave.
For six months, students and supporters staged a sit-in protest and boycott of the store. In July 1960, the Woolworth’s lunch counter was desegregated. A watershed event in the Civil Rights Movement, the Greensboro sit-in led to to similar protests across the South.

Prince’s guitar
And Tito Puentes’s Timbales

Carrie Bradshaw’s Computer from the series
Sex and the City

Signpost from the tv series, MASH

Jackie Kennedy’s Inauguration Gown

Yesterday was long. Very long. I didn’t sleep well, as I was worried about getting up in time to get to Grand Central, our pick up point. So got up at 5:15am (not cool when you are on holiday), and headed over.

So, on the bus with a bunch of Italians, Spaniards, Argentinians, Germans and some English people. It was probably the least professional tour I’ve ever been on. The bus driver didn’t know where he was going half the time, and was very “tired”. The tour guide, a little Israeli/American guy, didn’t understand the English/Australian sense of humour, e.g. sarcasm

The food stops were at McDonald’s. Yuck!

But, I got to see a couple of really cool things. Like the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial.

But Washington seems worse than Canberra in Many ways. There was no one around. And I mean, it was worse than Canberra in Winter! At least, you go to Civic and there are people shopping and stuff. Couldn’t find anything like that in Washington. The people we did see, seemed very unhappy!

We had such short time there, but it didn’t feel like it was somewhere I’d go back to. No soul.

I didn’t get back till round 11pm last night. I’ll be cancelling that trip to Boston!