Sunday, November 17, 2013

Places I Visited

Well… that was the end of the train journey, the end to roaming around the university and here I’m in Bangalore more than a month after the visit, enjoying a weekend at home, watching movies back to back on Romedy now (Romedy=Romantic+Comedy). I’m going to write more and if you wish to waste your next 10 minutes or so on the blog, please go ahead and read the posts. Else, go out and do something more fun. You might have arrived at this blog thinking this guy might have written some reviews on Windows 8.1 or new cameras, or photography tips. Sorry, they are not present at the moment. Blame him, yes, he hasn’t written on any of those topics. Smile

As the title reads, this one is about the places I visited in NYC, the next one will be about the people I met and hopefully you have already read the one dedicated to my Superpartner. When it comes to places, let me start with the museums first. I visited the Museum of Natural History (near the ‘Central Park’) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (on the 5th Avenue). Each of them took half a day which amounted to a complete weekend. There were more inside the city – The Guggenheim Museum (this too located on the 5th Ave), The Museum of Modern art (MoMA which is between 5th and 6th Ave), Museum of Sex (again on the 5th Ave and it was on my way to the office and I caught a few glimpses of a jeweled penis through the glass walls among many other funky pieces of art). These were all close to the place I was staying (2nd Ave) and very close to where I worked (5th Ave). If I happen to visit the city again (someday in future), I would definitely like to pay them a proper visit. I liked everything inside the MMA. If you appreciate Art and all its forms, this is a must-visit. If you are choosy about Art, there are other options too. The MNH was amazing, especially the Dinosaurs' section. The Planetarium there was good and the section where they had the man-made representation of animals living in their natural habitat was really (really!) beautiful. I think it would be a similar feeling if I were to watch them live someday.

Central Park has been the biggest park I have seen in my life so far. It was huge, clean and well-maintained. The only confusing thing was its layout or maybe I’m cartographically-challenged that even after going there thrice, I couldn’t guess the layout and came out on a wrong street and Ave as if by default Smile. It happened when I was there with my Superpartner too, we used all possible maps on our phones, analyzed them and yet walked in all possible wrong directions. The photographs that I’m sharing below are from our first visit there. He got super-excited after seeing the turtles and fish inside one of the lakes (too many lakes there, I’ve simply lost count). Apparently, he decided not to bring his 2nd zoom lens (he has only 2) but told me later ‘how clear the pictures would have looked had he used that lens’. One side of me felt sad that he couldn’t do as much as he could have. But on the other side, I was relieved that we could roam around the park without him spending a lot of time shooting pictures. We climbed up to a place inside the park which was a Chess zone; the chairs and desks were all stone-made there. We sat there for a while watching parents’ help their children learn chess moves. We clicked photos of each other too. This is what he says about human photography: ‘Who clicks humans, man?’ As I mentioned earlier, we got so lost that neither the maps inside the park nor the one on our phones helped. We definitely walked some good miles that day but fortunately were not too far from where we had wanted to be when we got out of the park. Also, we managed to reach the Penn station on time.

Turtles basking in the sun

A turtle floating among fish

Central Park

I realized that the city has many different avenues, each avenue leading to many different streets. For an example, if your office is 15 streets away and 5 Aves down, can you tell me how many possible routes are there to reach your office? I paid a visit to the most sought after Times Square area (as people say ‘the first place to see in NYC’). There was hustle-bustle everywhere. I had read about Empire State building in wikipedia, watched people going there in sit-coms and movies. I was watching ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ recently and Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet there for the first time (they see/hear each other many times before that). It was so touchy to watch it because I had stood in the very same place trying to click a good picture of the city, 86 floors above the ground. I had gone there at noon but this scene in the movie was from evening. The cars on the streets and buildings all looked like toys. I’ve clicked some decent photographs of the city from the building (or so I feel) and he has made some great panoramas from the videos I shot.

Panorama stitched from a video

Standing too many feet above the ground, I realized what it would be like being an Astronaut, getting to live in a place so far away from Mother Earth. I’ve met and interacted with people from different disciplines but not an Astronaut till date. At this juncture comes my kind request: Please watch the movie ‘Gravity’ if you have not seen it yet. Superpartner watched it after I nagged him too much. He did give his review but his initial statement was just ‘It is good’. I also went to the most coveted Apple Store, was astonished looking at the crowd there and the zeal with which the trainers and sales people worked. A picture from inside the store:

People in discussions

We went to the Wax Museum too (Madame Tussauds). I thought someone was posing for a photograph, so I started to wait and then he burst out laughing ‘You’ve come to the right place’. We had fun recollecting some of the names and shooting pictures. He scolded me a few times for wasting time staring at some of the idols/not adjusting the camera settings/not giving enough space to the passerby's/not guessing some important names/etc. Smile

With Albert Einstein

She is a wax idol

I went to the NY Public Library too and spent nearly half of my weekday there. The actual plan was to come out in a couple of hours. The Children’s section had books so neatly stacked, all hardcovers and colourful, wish I had access to such good ones when I was growing up. There were DVD’s too, so many of them and a large screen to watch those. If I had more time, I would have watched a fairy tale sitting there. The History, Literary, Comics’ section were just storehouses of information.

DVD Collection

I’m reminded of this quote by an anonymous writer here: “I don't want much from my life. All I want to do is, to sit there, alone, for hours and hours, reading all those books, I want to read, watching all those movies, I want to watch, pondering on all those paintings which are too indecipherable to comprehend, and spend those sleepless and aloof nights, just thinking about you and writing about you.”

I wish there were a profession which enabled us doing all this for a lifetime Smile. I went on a Ferry cruise near the end of my stay. It was my first time looking at the city from a boat. I sat on the top floor, right under the sky, wondering if this journey would continue forever.