New York, 10-Apr-2018

We spent the first part of the day at the American Museum of Natural History, and the afternoon doing a walking tour through Greenwich Village with Celeste.

Since we had nothing planned before we could get into the museum, we slept in a little bit before heading out. Going to the subway, I took a look at the Empire State Building and saw haze all up and down the building. We made a good choice to go the previous day.

American Museum of Natural History

Once we arrived at the American Museum of Natural History, the doors were open but several people were still waiting to get inside. Ah, the opening rush.

We got in through security, and there was chaos in the entrance hall. There were multiple places to purchase tickets, and the lines were all going into each other. Our situation was made more challenging since we had passes, but it wasn't clear where we could redeem them. We went to the self-service kiosk (only a few people in line there) but that didn't work. One person at an information desk said we should join the general admission line, so we did that. While there, we heard someone saying something about passes; we showed ours, and she let us into the line. We only had a few people in front of us, but soon we exchanged our passes for tickets.

Once inside, we started to try to figure out how we would attack the museum. We finally settled on seeing a show in the planetarium, looking around a bit in that hall, then we would look at the dinosaur halls after that. The problem was we didn't have planetarium tickets, and it would take a while if we went back to the admissions desks. We saw there was another entrance, so we went there, and only a couple people were waiting at that line. We were able to get tickets to the show about ten minutes later, so we rushed over to the entrance. Fortunately, the show wasn't filled, so we got good seats (although most all seats in a planetarium are pretty good).

The show, Dark Universe, was pretty general, but then went into a somewhat deep dive into matter, dark matter, and dark energy. There were several elementary school groups there, and many of the concepts would challenge high school students, let alone many adults who weren't used to science topics. If you tried to follow what narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson was explaining, you would get enough of the concepts to be able to follow along, so that was good.

After exiting the planetarium, we walked around the Scales of the Universe exhibit, which used the Hayden Sphere as a reference to show, for example, how large the planets would be if the sphere were the sun, or how large a water molecule would be if the Hayden Sphere were the size of a rhinovirus.

We then went into a quick, couple-minute show in the Hayden Big Band Theater, then walked down the Cosmic Pathway which represents events in the life of the universe since the Big Bang.

It was lunchtime, and we were very close to the cafeteria, so that was next on the agenda. After we were fed, it was time to take a look at some dinosaur fossils, following the self-guided Dino Tour provided by the museum. The tour didn't follow a certain path. In fact, items in the same room weren't grouped together.

My favorite piece of the tour was the Dinosaur Mummy, which is a fossilized imprint of a duck-billed dinosaur. You can easily see the texture of the skin. Also interesting was the Titanosaur, which has been in the museum for only a couple years. As the name suggests, it's very large, and to accentuate the size, it's displayed with the head poking out the doorway into the hall.

We were pretty much done but ended up wandering through several different areas, including some dioramas and Lucy, a hominid over 3 million years old. Those will have to wait until the next time we visit.

Relaxing afternoon

Marion and Lester had offered for us to use their laundry facilities, so we took advantage of that to do our first load of the trip. While we waited for things to wash, we got caught up with email, news, etc. Before too long, Celeste showed up and we all chatted a bit. Not long after that, our clothes seemed to have finished washing, but for some reason the washer didn't finish up, which kept the door locked. Lester said they've been having troubles with it, so he ended up setting it for another cycle and offered to put our clothes in the dryer while we were out.

Greenwich Village walking tour

We walked a few blocks to the beginning of a Greenwich Village walking tour which emphasized literary history in the Village. A couple notable stops were Louisa May Alcott's house where she finished Little Women and Patchin Place where e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, and O'Henry lived. We also walked by the neighborhood New York Public Library (a very nice building)

It was time for dinner, so we went to a pub for burgers. They were quite good, as were the sweet potato and curly fries that we shared around. After that, Celeste hopped onto the train going home, while we went back to the apartment. It was the golden hour, so I looked up and saw the Empire State Building was not only out of the haze but bathed in the afternoon light.