Sunday, June 19, 2011

New York, New York

I spent a bit of time in NYC recently.  I've been back home for about a month and I think the experience has distilled enough for me to get the relevant bits recorded posterously in a few paragraphs.

NY, the city, is INCREDIBLY dense - so many people living in such a compact space.  It's quite incredible, and unless I didn't know any different, I wouldn't want to live my life that way - but it's a neat place to visit, and there's SO much to do!

I stayed in Brooklyn.  That was my first visit to that part of town as far as I can recall.  I didn't spend much time there though.  I found a very inexpensive room through a web site called  From my brief experience with that site, I would recommend it and I do plan to use it again.  I was able to travel down by coach with a group of fibre fans from Fredericton (isn't alliteration fun?), so though the trip was long, it was very economical and a good opportunity for me to get to know better some of these people with whom I share a common interest.

The things that are standing out in my brain at this point are two museums that I visited: the Brooklyn Museum, and "The Cloisters" (which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art).  I have an affinity for museums in general now, born of my experience having worked in them for about a decade.  I have an awareness of them in a way that I didn't before and I'm curious about them.  I visited the MoMA as well during this trip but as I'd visited once before, it didn't leave the same impact this time around as it did on my first visit two years ago.  Apart from the fact that it was too crowded for my taste, I had a bit of "been there, done that" experience. 

But it was my first visit to the Brooklyn Museum, which it  might be safe to call a "hidden gem" - even though it's huge!  I was particularly impressed that they offered some "behind the scenes" bits to the general visitor.  You could go into a climate controlled room with shelves and drawers full of items and conduct research on a computer by accession number if you felt so inclined.  I'd only ever seen this before in museum libraries and as an "insider" in the museum world.  Aside from that, it was eclectic enough to hold my interest and housed everything from art deco to historical furnishings and some "international" art forms - and while I was there I felt as though I had the place virtually to myself, which I think is a nice way to visit museums.  I highly recommend this "attraction" (I'm not a fan of the word but I have to mix it up a bit to keep you interested!).

At the very northern tip of Manhattan island is the other museum that I enjoyed so much on my visit.  I did not know about this place before I boarded the bus in Fredericton.  Either someone mentioned it or I read about it in one of my travel guides during the journey.  Oh WOW :) - so different from other museums I have visited.  I would rank it up there with the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, which has long been my favourite.  I chose to visit because I have a longstanding if casual interest in the medieval period of European history.  This place was a stunning example of some of the highlights from that period.  The most memorable item, for me, was a book that was hand written in calligraphy and featured the painted edges and borders that I had only read about in novels.  The whole place was a delight and if you have even a slight interest in that period, I would HIGHLY recommend a visit.

Among the other things I spent my time at were a number of hours in Times Square and on Broadway.  If you've never been to Times Square, it's the crazy, crowded bit you always see on TV.  It's completely over the top as far as consumerism goes but I don't think there are too many other places on the planet quite like it - Tokyo maybe, though I've never been - it's certainly unique in the North American context.  That's where I think I saw Mark Harmon (actor) and that's where I watched two Broadway productions: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (which was entirely outrageous but starred, among others, Canadian actor C. David Johnson whom I've also seen perform for TNB - and on TV of course!) and Mary Poppins (which was delightful in every way - and very family friendly!).

Oh, and thanks to my friend Trish, I had the opportunity to meet a really neat lady in Harlem as we visited her apartment for a few hours and learned about her current felting schemes.

That's likely enough info for now.  If something else from that trip starts nagging me to write it down then I'll share that too - later!

See you!


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