My NYC Adventure

I had been looking forward to visiting New York City for a long time. I had been to the city once before--in eighth grade with the French exchange students. The entire trip was in French, so I hardly understood a thing, and we visited some very basic places like the U.N. and the Empire State Building. I remember that we had tickets to the Easter show at Radio City Music Hall, but we were so late, we only saw the last ten minutes of the show. The trip was a bust. So when Dan's Movable Type conference was in NYC, I jumped at the chance to tag along!

We had a pretty easy time getting into the city considering we drove instead of taking the train. I was pleasantly surprised. We finally got to the hotel, parked the car, and I sent Dan off to the conference, which we were a little late for. I got into our room and decided what to do with my day. Being the geek that I am, I chose to see the American Museum of Natural History. I figured that I'll be taking my Praxis II exam soon so maybe I can be refreshed on some information.

The museum didn't look too far away on the map... a couple of inches maybe. I used to walk in Minneapolis when I did my undergradate degree at North Central, so I strapped on my hiking boots and I was off. I should mention that at this time, I was having tremendous problems with my feet and hadn't seen the podiatrist yet. So, I only made it about 15 blocks, maybe a 1/5 of the way there before I broke down and decided to take the subway.

Now for someone who hasn't taken the subway in NYC before, it was quite an experience. They really need instruction signs for idiot tourists like me. I saw the globe things and went down the stairs. I bought a ticket in a kiosk and entered the standing area. I didn't know that you had to be on a certain side of the street! I figured out that the side I was on was going south, and I wanted to go north. So, I left and asked the attendent for directions and a refund. He wouldn't give me a refund, so I took it as a loss. So, up the stairs I went, crossed a street, and went downstairs. Flustered, I entered the gate, and then realized that I was on that south side again when I saw the same lady waiting on a bench. I wanted to scream! How could I be this stupid? So, I asked the nice lady what to do, and she was very helpful. I got on the north side and caught a train.

Now the train experience itself was quite unusual. All I could think of was the scene in the old Willy Wonka movie when they enter the tunnel in the high-speed boat and there's that image with the snake slithering across the lady's face. I always hated that part of the movie as a child. As I felt the train race between stations and swaying on the track, I just tried to keep my breakfast down. When I got to my stop, I was surprised that there was a ticket counter for the museum right there off the platform. I huge group of young kids followed me. Ugh. I lost them fast enough though.

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There were a lot of neat things to see at the museum, and it's big so I was pretty tired once I got to the top floors. I will say that there was a question on my Praxis test about the carbon cycle, and I tried my best to visualize the fantastic display the museum had... I can't remember if it helped or not. I did spend a lot of time on the bottom floor looking at the Earth and astronomy exhibits.

The first floor has an awesome biodiveristy display. There were students of all ages just standing there looking at it in amazement. It really is quite spectacular, and you could spend a lot of time trying to examine every specimen. There is also a section of the floor that houses the collections of gems, minerals, and meteorites. They were quite cool to see.

The second floor houses exhibits on Asia, the Americas, and Africa. The third floor showed the Pacific regions, Native Americans, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Lastly, the fourth floor (which I whizzed through because my feet were killing me) has dinosaurs and mammals. Pages on some of these exhibits can be found here.

I eventually met up with Dan and we had some time to ourselves. We ended up walking down to Times Square, and I'm reminded how much Dan hates the city and how much I could get used to it. We ended up being unadventurous and eating dinner at TGI Fridays, and then we had to visit Toys R Us. It was neat with a ferris wheel inside, Lego figures, and Barbie's house, but we were a bit disappointed in it. We saw Spiderman outside on the corner signing autographs. I should have gotten a picture with him- my preschoolers would have loved it.

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The next day, Dan ran off to the conference and I packed up. I decided to spend my day at the Bronx Zoo. First of all, it was free, though I made a donation anyway because they have to feed all those animals! Plus, people always say how great it is, so I wanted to check it out for myself. I was surprised that even with the cold (there was still snow on the ground) there were a lot of exhibits open.

There are a lot of exhibits at the zoo, but because of my love for monkeys, I spent a lot of time in Jungleworld, the Monkey House, and the Gorilla exhibit. I also liked the Tiger exhibit. I caught one of the enrichment shows and I got an up-close look at a beautiful tiger. The trainers gave it treats as they demonstrated how the tiger is trained to sit in certain positions so the vet can examine it.

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I met up with Dan and started our long journey home. I had a great time, but it was time to get back to home and work. Dan had a great time at his conference too. Maybe I'll get back there again someday to check out some more stuff!

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