Tuesday, August 17, 2010
18/8/10 - The Only Living Boy in New York
Please note, the title of this blog has little, if not anything to do with the actual blog. The male population of New York has not died, nor has it turned into a zombie plague, but the song *has* been stuck in my head. Besides, I thought it made for a catchy title.
I set out today to have another look around the city. And look I did. My first port of call was on the mid west region of Manhattan. It was a store called "B&H Audio and Video". It seemed like a typical Australian electronics store, except it had a massive high-end audio section as well. Sadly, everything in there was nearly half the price that it is in Australia. Worse yet, I had no money to buy any of the shiny, shiny goods from there, because I've spent it all on traveling. Irony, please stop following me, kthx.
I then headed downtown to the very lower end of Manhattan. I visited the Ground Zero site. It was mostly shielded from the public - and I can't blame them for that - but what I did see held a chilling resemblance to the photos of twisted wreckage I saw nine years ago. Admittedly most of it is now a construction site, as they are erecting a single new World Trade Centre tower, but the two scarred holes where the towers stood were still there.
These two holes are being transformed into large, cascading pools, surrounded by plaques bearing the names of all those who perished during the attacks. I found the whole thing quite moving.
I then looked into the memorial museum located close by. This almost brought me to tears. Reading the stories of love, loss and bravery was a very emotional experience for me. I began to listen to a recording of a man recounting the love he shared with his fiancé before she died during the attacks. I was hit with an overwhelming wave of sadness. I donated a sizable amount of money to the memorial fund, and then stood still for a moment, pondering the world that we currently live in.
Now I'm not going to go waving any American flags or scream patriotic messages from the rooftops, but the human life is a priceless thing, and it is truly a tragedy that so many lives were lost on that day.
Now, moving onto happier times, I caught the subway to Wall st, and the New York Stock Exchange. Wow. An impressive building, that's for sure, but little else. You can't go inside, and there's very little to be seen on the outside - none of which alludes to the world-changing financial shenanigans that happen in there every day.
I turned around to see another impressive building. One that I had seen many times before, but not on TV... It was Federal Hall. This building was where George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States of America.
Fair enough, it's famous and all that, but that still didn't explain why I knew the building so well, and why I had such a compelling urge to swing the right analogue stick in a circular motion...
Then, it came back to me in visions. Samurai Swords, Exoskeletons, Missiles, Girly-Man-Prancy-Boys and overly long, convoluted and bizarre codec conversations... If this doesn't make any sense at all to you, you're in the majority of the population who haven't seen the ending of "Metal Gear Sold 2: Sons of Liberty".
For me though, being the gaming geek that I am, this realization was an awesome moment of fanboyish glee... Being in the scene from a videogame is undeniably cool... I almost expected to see Vamp standing near a taxi in the distance... (if you don't get any of the previous few paragraphs, don't worry... Most people won't)
After finishing my nerdy moment, I headed uptown to the East Village district. My goal was to find my wonderful girlfriend Emma a hat, or at least something nice to bring back from New York for her. After exiting the subway, the first thing I was confronted with was a Kmart store. Now being an employee of "The Big K" in Australia, this made me die a little on the inside. Nevertheless, I had a look inside, an it was pretty much the same as the Aussie Kmarts, except everything was slightly cheaper due to the exchange rate. I bailed after about two minutes of being in the store.
I then had a browse around the independent stores of the East Village. They were very eclectic, stocking ranges of clothes and jewelry all the way from designer labels, to op shop treasure troves, to vintage everything.
I managed to track down a great hat shop for Emma. Finding the right size and style hat was another matter all together though. The shop clerks helped me make some decisions on purchases, so hopefully I made the right one...
My next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Massive doesn't even come close to describing it. It was equally as massive as the Museum of Natural History, if not larger. It wasn't so much an art gallery as I was expecting, moreso a collection of various artifacts from the different cultures of the world. I mean, there were still paintings, but they were somewhat less prominent than the other things on display.
I managed to only look through three wings before the museum closed on me:
Firstly, The Egyptian wing, which contained mummified remains of Egyptian dignitaries from Tutankhamen's rule, as well sarcophaguses, tools, statues, and even a temple that had been transported from Egypt!
Next, I had a look through the American wing. It contained beautiful paintings, ornaments and sculptures, as well as entire period-based "rooms", that depicted how Americans once lived.
Finally, I had a quick look through the Japanese art wing. Various traditional paintings and sculptures from the Far East adorned the walls, as well as a Zen Garden. Zen Gardens rock. I want one. A full sized one. In my living room.
Then, the museum shut on me. I'll need to go back sometime soon, as I didn't even get to explore the Roman or European wings.
From there, I took another walk across central park. It was just as awesome as it was yesterday. The handiest thing to have on you through central park is a compass. The roads constantly interweave, so following them can get you lost pretty quickly. But having a compass at least gives you a general direction to head in.
I headed back to the room, and got ready to go out for the night. Peta and I were going to see a show at the Dangerfields comedy club.
The show was great. The range of comedians we saw did vary in quality (one guy was incredibly un-funny, but thankfully he was the odd one out), but on the whole their comedy was excellent. Next time I come to New York, I will re-visit the club for sure, even if the guy who runs the place is a grumpy old bastard.
And now it's 2AM, and I'm in the lobby, finishing this blog. Bed time methinks.
Tomorrow: More New York stuff!