Saturday, September 4, 2010

Notes on New York City

We spent four days last week in New York City and did a ton of walking. Here are some brief comments:
  • The Central Park Zoo is beautifully laid out, small and completely devoid of interesting (i.e., fierce) animals. As my children pointed out there were no lions, zebras, giraffes or hippos making Madagascar completely unrealistic. That said, there were penguins and a Snow Leopard. The latter was 'endangered' to which my son noted (caution Mac OS joke only ahead) that couldn't they just make copies. We also discovered that it is costly to run out of cash at that Zoo on a hot day as you need it to buy water!
  • FAO Schwartz remains the best toy store around. Nonetheless, my children tried hard to spend their allowances and failed completely on account of the high prices: $60 for a bunch of Ugly Dolls.
  • The Museum of Natural History has two themes running through it. It has a new planetarium and sphere structure designed to show you various ways in which you are small and insignificant and will have no impact on the Universe. It has the rest of the museum designed to show you how your impact on the environment matters and you'll destroy everything if you are not careful. I note, however, that on the art rather than science front the museums in New York manage to specialize. Go to MOMA for insignificance and the Met for impact.
  • The Statue of Liberty is much better up close and the ferry trip to Ellis Island is designed to replicate the cramped and unfavourable conditions immigrants to the US from Europe had to endure.
  • The Addams Family musical was not billed as kid friendly but it really is. If you go, take the whole family. There are some 'adult' jokes but it will go over the heads of the kids.
  • Ground Zero is a moving visit but it is hard to explain it to kids as there isn't much that is visual to show. A memorial is really needed.
  • There are no copies of Parentonomics on sale at the Borders closest to Wall Street. That does not bode well.