Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If you would wear this, I can't date you...

Not any man I'd date.

If you expect us to dress like this, then walk away slowly...

Are we going back to being Quakers?!

Your guess is as good as mine...

Random NYC thing

New York City Graffiti

NYC Grafitti

Finally!  Grafitti!

NYC Grafitti

Washington Square Arch

Washington Arch

Battery Park

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Battery Park

New York City - Bowling Green

Bowling Green Subway Station

Bowling Green Subway Station

Bowling Green Bull

Bowling Green Bull

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Battery Park Street Performers

"Sexy Black Guys in Spandex"

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A Turkey in New York City?

A Turkey in New York?!

A Turkey in New York?!

Battery Park

Lower Manhattan Public Art

Big and Weird.

Lower Manhattan Sculpture

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Lower Manhattan Sculpture

A clever cut out attack on a construction path...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Project 30: "What CAN you do Delgado?!"

Task 16/30: See a game at the soon to be destroyed Shea Stadium in Queens, New York
Complete: April 17, 2008

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

DC Nationals vs. NY Mets

Going to Shea was another thing I knew I had to do because I would never be able to do it again if I didn't go. Just like being a trooper to the Yankees game because I will always regret missing a game at Fenway when I was in Boston, I was going to see the Mets no matter what. Strange that both New York teams are getting new stadiums, but definitely a statement, and I can now say I've seen both of the old ones. After the Yankees game, it was pretty nice to have a buddy to go with me this time, and much better seats for seeing the Mets take on the Nationals than I had for my last game in the Bronx. Even if the matchup sucked equally, this time I enjoyed myself much more being able to cheer for at least one of the teams. Even the fans in that section were much more entertaining than the upper deck for the Yankees, and it was a packed in crowd as we cheered and groaned at the plays of the game. I really liked the stadium, and it was neat to see a bit different part of New York on the way there. It was again cold and we had a full trade show to work, but I felt lucky to get to go to this game on my second trip to New York in a month, so after 8 innings and a predicted DC victory, we caught the train back. When I got back, I kept refreshing, and 2 hours later the game ended in the 14th with a Mets victory by Delgado, the same guy our whole section clowned earlier in the game. While I was sad to have missed the exciting ending, I was also happy to have been warm in my hotel bed, and calling it MISSION COMPLETE.

See all my Shea Stadium pictures here.

Project 30: FREE Museums

Task 15/30: Get Cultured and Stuff in the District of Columbia.
Complete: April 11, 2008

After 3 days pounding the pavement in New York and Philly, I had seen quite a few museums before I even got to DC. The Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Sex and Madame Tussand's Wax Museum were all quite spectacular to take in. I saw so many famous things, and felt so excited when I would see something in person I had seen on a test or in a book. Even once in the MOMA, I saw a big mixed media piece I had seen at the University of Texas museum in Austin last May, so I was feeling pretty well traveled and learned. In Philly, I missed the art museum with the fabulous Frida Kahlo exhibit and Rocky steps, but I did make it to the National Constitution Center and saw samples from the baseball museum in Cooperstown, and was feeling anxious to get to the "big time" in DC to see what treasures awaited me.

Smithsonian Sculpture Garden

My first day in DC I took the tourmobile around Arlington and then sat for the whole mall tour to get my bearings. I ended up asking the tour guide how much the museums in DC cost, and was shocked to learn that they were free, after having plucked down $20 average for each hour I spent speed walking past exhibits in NYC. I'm quite the impatient museum goer, and I hate when people pack in, ignore personal space and other's around them, and generally don't spend much time contemplating things, I'm more about seeing volumes of things, so admission prices can quickly add up when hitting many in one day. The whole taxpayer dollars thing was handy in a city that had dozens of museums now at my easy access, and a whole day to see as many of them as I could on Friday. The museums close at 5:30, so by the end of Thursday with the tour and my hotel issues, I was only able to swing into the sculpture gardens, which were pretty interesting and surprisingly entertaining after viewing hundreds of paintings in days. I was becoming able to start to name the sculptors before even looking at the name plate, so was feeling pretty proud about my art education and went to bed in DC excited with how much learning I was doing. I knew Friday would be great.

US Constitution

I got up early Friday to get my ticket to go inside the Washington Monument for the afternoon, having been told if you get up early to get a ticket to anything, that was it. I got mine for the end of the day and then booked it over to start off in the National Archives line. After waiting an hour and a half for it to open and once again making friends with everyone around me, again, as usual on my trip, I was the fast one through the queue and security, and made my way to the front of the pack to see the documents I had been marveling over my entire trip. I saw the pages of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution & Bill of Rights as well as many other "Charters of Freedom". It was pretty moving after all my contemplating of the writing of these pieces and how we got to where we were, but it was a quick trip, having only the small rotunda to view in the midst of so many children I wanted to scream, so I quickly made my way out.

Contemporary American Art

Next was on to the National Portrait Gallery & American Museum of Contemporary Art. In general, the portraits were less photographs and more oil paintings of generals, which was fairly boring, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the contemporary art. Usually I just laugh, but I saw some geniunely inventive things, and was fairly inspired to create Burning Man art after the exhbit. One of the neater things shown was a giant neon map with TV's behind it showing representative movies from each state. Kansas had Wizard of Oz playing, Alaska had a reel of whales, and Oklahoma had what else but Oklahoma the musical. Just very clever and well executed.

Grand Opening - Newseum DC

In retrospect, I think the Newseum was one of my favorite experiences of the trip. If we are checking off "I've never's" this was one to celebrate, joining the first people to ever view the exhibits in the Grand Opening of the museum dedicated to the history of journalism. This being a private museum, the normal $20 admission was waved for the first day to entice people to enter, and the front of the museum had a line down the block. Me, being aware of short cuts anywhere I could save steps, heard the guy send people to the door in the back without a line and made my way easily and carefree inside, joining the hoards packing in like sardines. It was definitely full inside, but also full of some of the most amazing things I've ever seen and I was so glad I gave up my crowd issues to join in the viewing. A self-declared "News Junkie", and now with a magnet that says the same, I marveled at the collections of the world's press. A wall showing every world newspaper the day after 9/11, another showing every news paper front page from the current day blew me away. It was so spectacular to see how the world shared their news, to celebrate how free we are here. I saw a giant piece of the Berlin Wall, pages of the newspaper that spoke of Prohibition, a car riddled with bullets showing the dangers of the job. It was beautiful, and I don't think I enjoyed it as fully as I should have with all the people and a full list of things to do, but looking back, I feel so lucky to have been there and seen so many of the things there. I will definitely make it a stop on my next visit.

Hope Diamond

While I have become much more of an outdoorsy girl over the years, the earth and it's happenings really aren't my thing. This is the girl that failed astronomy twice and oceanography once. How things work isn't really my care, I just want them to, and appreciate the people who study it so I don't have to. I likely would have completely skipped a place filled with dead butterflies and stuffed cheetahs had the tourmobile guy not noted that this delicate beauty was housed at the Natural History Museum. The Hope Diamond is so precious, that once, the Louvre traded the Mona Lisa to us for a short amount of time so that they could exhibit it. It is just as gorgeous in person as you would think, and it glistened and gleamed perfectly. But I spent less than 15 minutes of other time looking at Petrified Wood and the giant dead elephant, happy that the hundreds of people buzzing around me gave a reason for the place, and booked my way back into the heat.

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The Smithsonian Castle is the original Smithsonian museum, and home to the Smithson crypt. I enjoyed it, being able to see samples from every Smithsonian Museum in one swoop, but marveling in the pretty cartoonness of the castle itself most. The gardens in the back were divine, and I could have sat all day in the shadows appreciating all the flowers popping up in brilliant colors. You just don't see gardens like that on the west coast and I soaked in the rainbow shades like a sponge, but wasn't about standing in the heat very long and had to move on.

Treasures of American History

What do Seinfeld's Puffy Shirt and Lincoln's Hat have in common? They are both treasuires of American History, joining Archie Bunker's chair, a cheesehead, R2D2 and carrie bradshaw's computer in the part time exhibit in the Air & Space Museum while it's own home gets remodelled. I'm not really sure how these things are chosen, but I did appreciate seeing the things they had chosen and thinking they were important to someone. The ruby red slippers and kermit have their place, but I have to admit Jackie O's ball gown looked a little more fitted to Liberace. I also got to catch some of the Air and Space museum, but didn't spend much time since I had to get on to my tour of the Washington Monument and didn't want to be late. I'm not so much of a plane and space person, but I did enjoy seeing the missles we kill people with and the hatches that spacemen live in. I'm not sure how much more time I would have spent in there given the chance, but it was neat enough and I was glad to have gone in.

I didn't visit the National Art Gallery, I just didn't have time. I missed the American Indian Museum and next time I'll probably go to the Bureau of Engraving to see where money is made. I want to try and visit a Mint as well, since I had my camera in Philly and no where to stash it, so couldn't get in, but now really want to go. There is also the Spy Museum, which got mixed reviews and had a fee, so since I was rushed, figured I would fit it in another time. Since I saw so many other things in DC that I'll have to write about as well, seeing as much as I saw for museums was really pretty fulfilling, and I'm not disappointed with how much I fit in one short day.

National Cherry Blossom Parade, DC

I had thought I would maybe fit in more the next day, but after it rained on the National Cherry Blossom Parade, and coming down with a cold, I spent the rest of my DC time in bed. The parade was pretty neat though, and thanks to the kindness of strangers got to share in an umbrella as we giggled about how great our seats were. Miss America's mom was only a row down, and every performance was pointed straight at us, even the other side would have sucked. While we were at the end of the parade route, I managed to get the best bleacher seats possible in the grandstand, it was cool luck. I was so happy I spent the $15 to do that, and it made getting rained on at the beginning and end worth it. So even though it rained on my parade, it closed out a fun trip to DC, and so I didn't feel the need to pack in more and called it MISSION COMPLETE.

See all my DC Museum Pictures here.

Project 30: The House That Ruth Built

Task 14/30: Visit the soon to be destroyed Yankee Stadium, the Bronx, NY
Complete: April 7, 2008

I've been very exhausted travel girl, but it's time to catch up with updates on the Project and traveling. Now where were we...

Oh yes, Baseball...

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I got myself a solo ticket to the upper deck at Yankee Stadium, for their "oh so challenging" bout against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It wasn't the smoothest arrival. I had the subways pretty well down, but some rushing had me not paying so much attention to the fork in my line, and I was initially headed to Queens instead of the Bronx. After about 45 minutes of trying to get back the right direction, I was on the right train and getting off in the Bronx for a little bit of a late start to the game. I was in the boonies, and it was damn cold, but I was trying to force myself to enjoy it. Baseball isn't the highest on my favorite sports list, but I can appreciate history and this was a place that wasn't going to be there much longer.

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

I was not thrilled with being there alone either, it didn't make it much better to feel like a loser in the cheap seats. I had been having a pretty solo-rific time of playing in NYC, but I just don't think I'll do sports alone again. I was so cold, and I wasn't really into it, so I didn't stay in my seat long, but I did stay to see A-Rod bat.

Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

On my way out, I squatted a seat under the home plate overhang until the people came back with their ice cream. It was nice to see a different view of the field, but I wasn't about to go freeze again back in the upper decks. I was pleased with having visited this place, but was ready to be warm and prepare for the next leg of my trip to Philly, so we called this MISSION COMPLETE.

See All My Pictures Here.

52 Weeks: Week 23: Another Bed, Another City

52 Weeks: Week 23: Another City, Another Bed

52 Weeks: Week 22: Shea Stadium

52 Weeks: Week 22: Shea Stadium

52 Weeks: Week 21: Travelin' With Jesus

52 Weeks: Week 21: Traveling with Jesus

Monday, April 14, 2008

52 Weeks: Week 20: Liberty

52 Weeks: Week 20: Liberty.

52 Weeks: Week 19: NYC

52 Weeks: Week 19: New York City

Project 30: I'm a pretty girl Momma...

Task 13/30: See a show on Broadway in New York City.
Complete: April 5, 2008

Gyspy on Broadway

Gyspy on Broadway

Gypsy. I can name this musical in 2 notes. If I could be reborn a Broadway star, my dream role would be this and it's title is a word I use to describe myself and my upbringing. Every strong female in the history of Broadway has played her, and I have just seen the best. Patti Lapone, Broadway's angel, has been cast in the role that was made for her. (I did not know who she was previous, but I assure you, I know her now.) Starring as Mama Rose in Broadway's millionth revival of my personal all time favorite musical, she brought down the house, and that is no exaggeration. This project is about "I've never's" and in all of my theater attendance, a show has not been delayed simply by the applause from the star's entrance on stage, or for a standing ovation after the highlight number. She was the first catalyst for these moments in my life, and didn't miss a beat or break character for a second to acknowledge our praise. She was the star of the show, and of a project night so worthy, I can't be thankful enough.

Highlighting the end of a very full first day touristing in New York City, I took my seat in the Mezzanine at the modest St. James Theater next to an amazing theater couple who had driven in from Pennsylvania and seen every musical since 1966. I was assured before the show, I was in for a treat. Only one week after opening, this was the hot ticket to score, with rave reviews saying that this woman has outdone even her own best performances and the legacies of those previous to her in this role. (I actually lucked out, because I got my discount tickets before opening, before reviews, so already a score ahead.) She was amazing. Just amazing. The whole show was amazing. In fact, I don't think it could have been better. I was wow'd beyond what I could have even expected. I knew every note of that damn show, I've danced it a trillion times in front my mirror listening to the soundtrack growing up, training myself to chew out all the words of the most passionate anthems all in one breath, so I knew how she had to strain, how perfect she hit those notes. I've seen a dozen recordings of every actress from Tyne Daly to Bette Midler on screen, so I knew how the characters could be played, how it could vary the story. She nailed it. They nailed it. I loved it and stood and clapped and bravo'd and called for more. I wanted to see it again and again.

Mary Poppins on Broadway

Mary Poppins on Broadway Times Square

The next night I had a ticket to Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, I was less excited about it, since I hadn't read the reviews prior to buying my tickets, and it wasn't shining off the pages, but I at least had orchestra seats for this show. Even the theater guy from the night before said that "he" was good, and that the staging was cool, but it wasn't a blockbuster. I was really going since I wanted to see a Disney show and a) couldn't get discount tickets to Lion King or Beauty and the Beast and b) wasn't going to see the Little Mermaid. Also, as a bonus, the night before I had asked the gentleman what his favorite THEATER on Broadway was, and he said the New Amsterdam, where Mary Poppins was being held. The old Ford Theater, it was richly decorated and much more intense than the tiny St. James so it was a bonus. I'm a sucker for venues.

I definitely see why people wouldn't have liked this show, it doesn't follow the same exact plot as the Disney version, and is more based of the stories that the Disney version was based on. Mary Poppins in this show is much more of a conceited little bitch. She actually humorously mocks the "Practically Perfect" nature of herself amazingly. I personally enjoyed this version of the story and the characters maybe a bit more. And if I was going for staging, I still saw something pretty spectacular. The way they set up the house, lifting and raising the attic, having him dancing upside down and flying her completely over the audience up to the catwalk. Even the costumes and the songs that weren't anything like what you would expect kept you entertained. I mean, theater has to be really bad for me to not like it, and while it wasn't my most favorite show, they did a really good job of keeping me entertained, as well as the massive audience of children with me, which is no easy adventure for 2 hours.

With not just one, but two Broadway shows in one weekend under my belt, I'd say this is very much MISSION COMPLETE!

I am now an addict, and I can't wait to go back. Plane ticket, plus theater ticket, plus hostel for 2 nights is easily a $500 turnaround weekend I see myself doing as a spoiling thing at some point and would definitely stay in a hostel again to get another chance to see Broadway on Broadway...CryBaby is there now after all...