New York City - Part II

April 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

On our second day in NYC, Mom and I decided to do a little sightseeing in the morning and afternoon - because that night was reserved for the Billy Joel concert!  We made our way down 5th Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral, which just-so-happens to have a great view of the famous Atlas statue from the cathedral's front steps.  

Of rings and wheelsIt takes some major guts to cycle the busy streets of Manhattan - but thankfully, unlike San Francisco, it's a pretty flat ride.

Pictures just don't do justice to the gorgeous Gothic architecture of this stunning church.  The Pope was visiting the United States the following month, and was scheduled to give mass from St. Patrick's, which really turned up the heat on the ongoing cathedral renovation project.  The church was teeming with construction and restoration workers, like this man walking through the impressive knave.

Giving it the Midas touchA restoration worker walks by the main altar with its gilded canopy.

How DO you clean a cathedral of this size?  With Kleenex and a toothbrush, of course.  I marveled at the amount of detail work this woman had to contend with on the parapet - and from 6 feet in the air, too.

A little dab'll do yaCleaning the intricate carvings of the parapet is demanding work, requiring a skillful eye - and a scaffold!

Every view in this cathedral was impressive, like this one looking down one of the side aisles.  The symmetry is incredible, and gives the impression of stepping into an M.C. Escher picture.

The illusion of infinityOr a hall of mirrors...either way, the feeling of eternity is clearly conveyed in the architecture of St. Patrick's, which was no doubt a consideration in designing a place of worship.

If the intricate rose window at the entrance to the church (or back of the church, when you are inside) doesn't drop your jaw to the floor, the huge pipe organ placed in front of it certainly will.  Towards the end of our visit, we were treated to the haunting melody of live organ music.  Look down towards the bottom of the picture and you will see the organist - and get some scale for the size of this massive musical instrument.

Pretty pipesSymmetry, symmetry, beauty, and symmetry. The symmetrical balance in this cathedral is unbelievable - and for a shape lover like me, very soothing.

For a small offering, you can light a candle in the church.  My mom lit one candle each for me, my brother, and my sister.  I didn't catch her in the act, but I did see many other people lighting candles.  It makes you wonder for whom all of these candles were lit - so many hopes, dreams, and prayers in each tiny flame. Light in the darknessA man lights a candles at St. Patrick's cathedral.

After leaving St. Patrick's, Mom decided she wanted to try out a "curly hair" haircut.  Convenient for her, only 1 mile away was the flagship Devachan salon, where they ONLY cut curly hair.  We headed there and Mom got perhaps the most expensive haircut of her life - but also a great 2 hour experience at a Manhattan salon, where everyone looked like they had just come back from lunch break photo call.  Her stylist, below, was tres chic!

Curls just wanna have funMom and her stylist showing off their lovely curls at the Devachan Salon.

After the salon, we took the short walk to Central Park, heading to the Museum of Natural History.  On our way, we saw this beautiful building that looked like it had its own crop of curly locks gathered loosely around it.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel......let down your green locks! If you don't have a yard, why not frame your home in lush emerald vines?

The Museum of Natural History was insanely huge, and surpassed any expectation I could have ever had.  The sheer number of galleries was mind-blowing.  We only had 1 hour to visit on our whirlwind trip, so Mom and I opted to spend most of our time in the dinosaur section, since you can't really see a full-size T-Rex skeleton every day.

Move along buddy...This T-Rex skull is massive, with eye sockets as big as your head. And oh, just marvel at those rows of 4-inch-long teeth.

Prehistoric pedicureYou can't really get an idea about the enormous SIZE of these dinosaurs until someone stands next to them and is dwarfed by a toenail.

Flight at the museumThe Ben Stiller movie "Night at the Museum" was filmed here. I can see why - imagine walking through a dimly-lit gallery after hours and seeing this behemoth flying through the air!

That night we went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.  On a whim, I purchased first row seats in a newer section of the arena called the "Chase Bridges."  WOW.  There you are, suspended from the ceiling and cantilevered over the top third of the balcony section, with only a plate of plexiglass separating you from the stage below.  It was wild.  If I had it to do all over again...I would.  And I would sit in the same exact seat.

Garden of fansBilly Joel hasn't released new music since I was in diapers, but he can still sell out Madison Square Garden 7 times a year. New Yorkers love this guy!

I left my camera back in the room, but I did manage to get a few blurry shots of the Piano Man on my iPhone.  Kind of gives it an early 60's film quality that I don't entirely dislike.  Billy played a 2 1/2 hour set (!!!) and of course, saved "New York State of Mind" for one of his last songs.  And the crowd went NUTS.

Have piano, will travelWith a spin of the wheel, Billy Joel played to all sides of the audience. When he faced our direction, we got a head-on view. Again, awesome seats!

Wow, how do you top that??  With another day in NYC, of course.  To make the most of the NYC CityPASS we purchased, we spent the next day touring the Intrepid Air & Space Museum and took a 3 hour boat cruise around Manhattan Island.

Now, that is a BIG shipThe aircraft carrier Intrepid, home of the Intrepid Air & Space Museum. Even without the aircraft to bring scale, it still looks immense.

I loved getting to see the Staten Island Ferry.  It was such a cheery splash of orange coasting along on the blue water.

Bridging the gapThe Staten Island Ferry transports New Yorkers to New Jersey, and vice versa.

And really - is there anything like seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time?  

The most photographed lady in NYCWhat is it about Lady Liberty that brings happiness, awe, and reverence to tourists and New Yorkers alike? Freedom.

We got to see all sides of Manhattan - and its surrounding neighbors - on this boat cruise.  Although it was a little too long, it was a lot of fun.  Below is a view of Brooklyn Bridge with flag flying high, and One World Trade Center in the background.  

Landmark line-upOld and new landmarks blend together in the New York City skyline.

The next installment has some of my favorite images (and memories) from this trip: Central Park!  Broadway!  And the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

Cheers!

Jessica


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