hacker emblem
jaegerfesting
Search | Tags | Photos | Flights | Gas Mileage | Log in

Between the lions

Started: 2013-06-19 20:15:53

Submitted: 2013-06-19 21:32:37

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator and his preschooler visit Roosevelt Island, the New York Public Library, the American Museum of Natural History, Strawberry Fields, and Curry Hill

My second day in Manhattan with Calvin was Sunday, 26 May. Josh headed out on his own, leaving Bethany to take Calvin and I through the city.

Our first tourist stop for the day was the Roosevelt Island Tram, a few blocks from Bethany's apartment. It ran just north of the Queensboro Bridge and provided a commanding view of the bridge, the East River, and the eastern edge of Midtown. Calvin was not quite sure why we were bothering with the tram when he really wanted to ride on the subway; he insisted on wearing his subway t-shirt a second day in a row so he could wear it while actually riding on the subway. He did enjoy the tram, and once we reached Roosevelt Island he ran down the path next to the river until I suggested we turn around and find the subway.

Calvin and Midtown Manhattan
Calvin and Midtown Manhattan
Calvin runs along the East River
Calvin runs along the East River

We took the tram back to Manhattan and caught a downtown 4/5/6 train along Lexington Avenue to Grand Central Terminal. We looked at the platforms serving commuter and interurban service running to Connecticut, at the wide open concourse, and ended up in the transit museum annex and gift shop. Bethany hoped to find a larger version of the shirt he was wearing (which she bought for him at that very store) but none were available, so she bought Calvin a noisy toy train instead.

We left Grand Central Terminal and walked a few blocks west to the main branch of the New York Public Library in Bryant Park. Calvin was not at all pleased to see the iconic lion statues in front of the library and refused to pose for a picture in front, disappointing his mother. The library itself seemed to be closed for the holiday weekend, but the plaza in front of the library was pleasantly full of people. Calvin ate a snack while I looked around the facade.

Calvin hides behind the New York Public Library lions
Calvin hides behind the New York Public Library lions
Jaeger with the New York Public Library lion
Jaeger with the New York Public Library lion

We went around the corner to Chipotle, where we picked up lunch and went across the street to eat lunch in Bryant Park. After lunch we caught an uptown express D train that took us up the west side of Central Park but -- being an express train -- took us straight past the stop we wanted all the way into Harlem at 125th Street. Once the train finally stopped, we got out and transferred to the downtown local platform, past a pair of police officers guarding the subway taking tactical assault positions on opposite sides of the corridor, exposing as little area to the hypothetical attackers as possible. We caught the local D train back to the American Museum of Natural History at 81st Street. Calvin was feeling restless, so we took him to the fantastic Diana Ross Playground in Central Park. The playground featured a large multi-level wooden climbing structure over sand, and Calvin immediately wanted to take his shoes and socks off and run around. I tried briefly to dissuade him from this idea but soon gave in, and let him play barefoot. A middle-aged woman sitting near Bethany and I on the benches circling the play area commented that this was where the rats played at night. I didn't particularly care; I was not one of the helicopter GenX parents hovering over their children. At one point I noticed Calvin climbing up a rope ladder on the far side of the playground next to a five-year-old girl whose mother was hovering immediately behind her, ready to catch her at any moment should she falter.

We headed back to the American Museum of Natural History, where Bethany got us free admission thanks to her employer. We headed up to the fourth floor and looked around the dinosaur fossils. Calvin wasn't quite sure what to make of the displays; he wanted to traverse the exhibit at his own erratic pace, and confused triceratops with T-Rex. (Fortunately, the exhibit featured both.) Once we'd made our way through the fossils, we went down to the ocean exhibit on one of the lower floors with a giant, life-sized model of a whale hanging from the ceiling. We looked around at the dioramas of various ocean life until the museum closed at 17:00.

Calvin and Aunt Bethany look at a fossil in the American Museum of Natural History
Calvin and Aunt Bethany look at a fossil in the American Museum of Natural History
Calvin and Aunt Bethany look at dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History
Calvin and Aunt Bethany look at dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History

I decided that I could use a snack, so we found a coffee shop behind the museum for chai and baked goods. Properly fortified, we headed out into Central Park. Bethany carried Calvin in the Beco carrier, while I carried the other essentials for the modern preschooler in my backpack. We walked down the west side of Central Park, past the Dakota Building (where John Lennon was shot shortly after I was born), and found Strawberry Fields, where tourists took pictures in front of the Imagine mosaic while acoustic-guitar-toting locals held a Beatles sing-along.

Calvin and Aunt Bethany at Strawberry Fields
Calvin and Aunt Bethany at Strawberry Fields

We headed east, across the park, and stopped at the fountain at the lake, before emerging on the east side of the park on Fifth Avenue. Bethany decided we wanted to take a taxi back to her apartment to pick up Josh. Before she could hail a cab, Calvin (still riding in the carrier) stuck up his hand and hailed a cab all on his own.

Calvin hails a taxi on 5th Ave
Calvin hails a taxi on 5th Ave

We found Josh back at the apartment, then caught a cab to the midtown neighborhood Bethany referred to as "curry hill", which was packed with Indian restaurants. We found one serving South Indian food and ordered a bunch of dosas. Calvin was not especially interested in his idli and plain dosa, but I thought mine was great. (They served the dosas with coconut chutney, which doesn't seem to be especially common in the Indian restaurants I've visited in the United States.)

By the time we finished supper and made it back to the apartment, it was well after 20:00 local time, and I finally gave up on the idea of getting Calvin to bed at his nominal bedtime translated into local time. It took him a little while to wind down for bed, but he eventually got to sleep as we plotted our adventure for the next day.

For more photos, see Photos on 2013-05-26.
Bitscape, age 26, is a highly sought white hat hacker and an agent of
social subversion. An avid fan of salsa, developer-centric web design,
and cheesy pop music, Bitscape co-creates a world of love and
acceptance by sharing his vision. He enjoys helping low-tech firms
define their offline strategy, and he's advised many anonymous
unknowns, including the homeless on Pearl Street, escaped mental
patients, and hookers on East Colfax. As an aspiring web bum, he
applies his knowledge to a community venture, the Content Collective.
Bitscape resides in Westminster, Colorado, but may soon be moving into
a van down by the river. For speaking arrangements, don't bother
calling. Your bits will be lost in the noise.
- Bitscape's Lounge splash screen, October 2002