New York, 16-Apr-2018

Back to a museum, this time the Museum of Modern Art. After that, Melody and I divided and conquered; her to explore more at MoMA and go to a film with Celeste, me to Yankee Stadium and walking a bit around Penn Station.

We were awakened in the morning by a big clap of thunder, indicating that the big rain which was expected for the day did arrive. We had rearranged our schedule so that we would be mostly indoors for Monday, postponing MoMA from the week before.

It was raining heavily the whole time we were eating breakfast and afterward, so we hung around in the room until the micro-forecast showed the rain was going to let up a bit. By the time we did leave the hostel, the rain was relatively light.

We went into the subway, and while the ground didn't look very wet, there was water running between the rails. Not as bad as the 145th Street station, which had flooded to the point that water was flowing down the stairs and standing on the ground. That explained why the floor inside the train was utterly soaked.

Museum of Modern Art

We once again arrived at a museum around opening time, so it was no surprise that things were very crazy. The coat check was especially busy, with everyone checking their wet coats and umbrellas. Fortunately, our passes allowed us to wait in a very short line to exchange for tickets, and we got through security quickly.

There wasn't much of a line for audio guides, but we got the last two at that particular kiosk. They had run out of headphones (they had one to hand out and a bunch more that someone was working on untangling) so instead, they gave us disposable earbuds. With that, we were ready for looking around the Museum of Modern Art.

Planning out our visit was a bit more complicated. I was going to head out after lunch, so we started with the tour on the audio guide for people who have only an hour. We didn't see the Warhol on the second floor, so we proceeded to the third floor to take a look at the helicopter hanging there. We couldn't get right next to it since a new exhibition was being installed in that wing blocking off access to the skywalk. They also didn't want photos taken in that direction, so we figured we would try other floors.

Up to the fifth floor where the most popular pieces are shown. By far the most popular piece was Van Gogh's Starry Night. The floor also has rooms dedicated to work of Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, and Monet.

We still had some extra time, so we adjusted the plan to eat lunch a bit early, then explore the sculpture garden before I left. Down to the second floor café where there were only a few people waiting in line. We went back and forth, trying to decide what to order. Once we did, we found a table and quickly went through our sandwich and salad.

On the way down to the ground floor, we took a back staircase and saw an interesting-looking mobile. Ends up that Lobster Trap and Fish Tail was by Alexander Calder, whose large pieces we saw at Storm King (and his piece at the Olympic Sculpture Park).

We got to the sculpture park, but it was closed, apparently for renovation. They have a copy of Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman. There's a copy in Red Square at the University of Washington, so while we could only see it through other pieces and foliage, it was a familiar sight.

Melody went back upstairs while I headed for the subway.

Yankee Stadium

I try to take a look at baseball stadiums when they're nearby, which is why I went up to the Bronx to Yankee Stadium. I had considered going to a game but opted instead for a tour where I'd be able to look at Monument Park and the museum with far fewer people milling around.

There were some transit notices for possible delays, so I allowed a bit of extra time to take the trip. Ends up everything was smooth sailing, so I took the opportunity to walk around the outside of the stadium. I also went across the street to the site of the old stadium, which gave me a pretty good overall view.

When the tour time arrived, I went through the gate to where my group was gathering. Ends up it was me and four people from Japan. The tour guide was a Nisei, and apologies for his Japanese (he described it as Japanglish), but to my ear, he must have been trying to be humble, since he did quite well and had no trouble understanding at least the gist of what the other guests' questions were. Then again, I kind of caught the gist of what he was saying in Japanese, but it helped that I had a good idea of what he was trying to say, so that helped.

Our first stop was one of the luxury suites. It's high above home plate, so you get a good view of the field. The tarps apparently had been removed from the infield not long before the tour started. It looked like the base path was well-protected from the downpours.

Next was walking around to the opposite side of the stadium to Monument Park, where players, coaches, and other dignitaries are memorialized. The most prominent plaque was for George Steinbrenner III, and I also spotted the plaque for Bob Sheppard, the former public address announcer at Yankee Stadium.

On the way back to the museum, we stopped by the Judge's Chambers, which fans don robes and sit in what looks like a jury box, cheering for Aaron Judge.

We arrived at the Yankees Museum and looked around at various artifacts. In addition to the World Series trophies and rings, there are bats, jerseys, caps, etc. which represent various historic achievements, from a bat used by Babe Ruth during the season he hit 60 home runs to the jersey Andy Pettite used for his last game. In the center of the space is a low wall which contains balls signed by as many Yankees as the curators could get. The top of the wall is arced to match the final pitch thrown by Don Larson to Yogi Berra in Larson's perfect game during the 1956 World Series. On either end are statues of Larson and Berra as they were positioned during that pitch.

Penn Station

I had quite a bit of time before dinner, so I headed down towards Penn Station. While we had one stop to go at the 42nd Street Station, the train had to wait due to signal problems from the morning's deluge. After a while, the conductor announced that people should probably look for alternate routes. I started walking down to the south end through an underground mall and ended up only a few blocks away from Penn Station. Things were crazy there, though, since the fire department had responded with three trucks to a building nearby. As I passed and was walking away from the incident, at least three more trucks were on the way.

I made it to Penn Station and went down to the concourse to grab a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Energy restored, I walked the block to B&H Photo, which is huge. There are a couple large floors, and a system of conveyor belts moves items between storage and the retail floor. The belts are along the ceiling of the first floor, and there are stations in various locations on the second floor where the containers pop up for salespeople to remove the items.

Still having some time, I went back to MoMA to walk around the fifth floor a bit more, then I went to a café to sit for a while. Since I was one person at a table that could seat two, someone asked if he could sit next to me, and I said sure. After a while, he left, and a woman came and sat down without a word, plopping her bags on the table. After she left, another woman asked if she could sit there. Saying yes again, she put her map and camera on the table, then went to order something. I must have looked trustworthy.

Movie, dinner

While I was going to Yankee Stadium, Melody looked around MoMA some more, then walked down to the library. She had some time before the movie so did her own café stop. She and Celeste met at MoMA to watch Street of Shame, about prostitutes in a post-war Japanese brothel. It was directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, who also did Ugetsu.

We all met up after the movie and had Indian food for dinner. We then went across the street to the Momofuku Milk Bar for dessert, a very trendy place to get sweets.

Once again it was time to call it a night, so we did.