Since I’m not a fan of driving in general, and parking in NYC is a nightmare, I follow the lead of college students and the car-less and travel there on the Megabus. It’s a quite a bit different than the bus in Mexico.
Unlike the Mexican bus, Megabus has a safety video. I’d like to tell you about it, but once I realized that my seat cushion wasn’t going to become a floatation device and that in the unlikely event of a sudden cabin depressurization oxygen masks were not going to drop from the ceiling, I stopped paying attention. So, if there are any instructions on what to do in the event that the 15’ tall bus tries to go under at 14’ tall overpass, I missed them.
As soon as the bus parks 85% of the passengers make a mad dash for the john and then get in line to order epicurean delights at the truck stop’s Subway. This is what passes for truck stop cuisine in 2015, Subway. Whatever happened to hot roast beef or turkey sandwiches, smothered in gravy, green beans that have been cooking since the start of the cook’s shift, a Jell-O salad, and honest-to-goodness homemade pie? Perhaps they’re at real truck stops. Or perhaps heart disease killed all the folks who ate those meals. That could have happened. Whatever the reason, at Truck Stop Lite the choice is Subway and every variety of salty snack known to man.
The people who work at Truck Stop Lite are nice, but it’s a dismal place to spend 30 minutes with a bunch of people whose idea of getting dressed up is “nice sweats”. When the bus pulled out of the truck stop I noticed that there was a Mexican food trailer parked across the street.
But eventually you get to NYC, though the last few blocks, from the end of the Lincoln Tunnel to the drop off point by Fashion Institute of Technology at 28th Street seem to take as long as the rest of the trip. The final stop couldn’t be more convenient for me since it’s just a few feet from the subway—as in the transit system. After a few minutes on the southbound Number 1 Train I’m where I need to go.
I also took the time to check out the Trinity Church cemetery, final resting spot of Alexander Hamilton, among others.
The Audience, starring Dame Helen Mirren, DBE as Queen Elizabeth II. The show imagines what happens when H.M. the Queen meets with her prime minister in their weekly audiences. The show covers the Queen’s entire reign, from her first P.M., Winston Churchill, through today's David Cameron. If you’re reasonably up on The Queen and British politics, it’s a great time. If you are looking for insights into what Princess Diana was really like or hoping for a cameo appearance by Austin Powers saying “Do I make you horny baby?” you probably should stay at home. I should probably be embarrassed about how much I know about the Royal family, so, yeah, I loved the show.
Screw magazine, really included “LIVE SEX”.
Yes, it did.
But for $4.99, the actual price of the show, I'm assuming that it wasn't top drawer live sex.
Interestingly enough, entrepreneurial working women in the theater offered patrons certain "value added packages" for as little as $5.00.
But I digress.
|Daniel Chester French did the sculpture groups outside the former U.S. Customs House.|
|A piece from "Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand".|
|An image from Activist New York, an exhibition about New York's long history as a center for social justice movements.|
After doing the Museum it was back downtown via the subway to meet CB at The Morgan Library.
|J.P. Morgan as photographed by Edward Steichen|
1. He had the biggest nose of any of the Robber Barons.
2. He said if you had to ask how much it cost to have a yacht, you couldn’t afford one.
3. He isn’t related to the former Gong Show panelist and singer of the novelty song, The Tennessee Birdwalk, Jaye P. Morgan.
|Understatement is the name of the game at The Morgan Library.|
|A portion of a plaster model of the library as designed by McKim.|
The exhibit Lincoln Speaks was the impetus for our visit. It’s a small exhibition of letters and speeches in Lincoln’s own hand. Lincoln didn’t have a Ted Sorensen, Peggy Noonan, or Christopher Buckley on speed dial to pen a few trenchant lines covering the topic du jour. So, he wrote his own material. The show isn’t large—but the letters are offered without printed translation, so it takes a while to read the 19th century handwriting There are a couple of artifacts too, such as a life mask and his pen and inkwell. The show’s great. By all means take the general tour of the library too. We tagged onto it for thirty minutes and it was fantastic.
|"Is that a Sumerian PEZ dispenser in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"|
After some lunch (Thai), we went back downtown for a 3:30 pm tour of the Woolworth Building.
Frank W. Woolworth put up the tallest building in the world both as advertisement and investment. The construction of the building was accompanied by an unprecedented PR campaign. When it was time to open the building, President Woodrow Wilson flicked a switch in Washington DC and turned all the Woolworth Building's lights on. As my friend Martha is wont to say, "You can’t buy that kind of publicity." Interestingly enough, the Woolworth Company only used a floor or two of the building, and the rest of it was rental space.
Enterprising architectural historians have received permission from the building’s management to offer tours of the building’s lobby. Since only the lobby is open, you don’t go upstairs to see the early 20th century version of a cube farm, F.W. Woolworth’s private office, or the view of Lower Manhattan from 700 feet up.
|Cass Gilbert, Architect of the Woolworth Building|
|Architect Cass Gilbert holds a model of the Woolworth Building.|
|Owner Frank W. Woolworth counts coins.|
There were thirty of us on the tour none of them looked like likely candidates for their own reality show unless perhaps it was about wearing corduroy and trying to keep an old Volvo on the road. Barbara did a great job dealing with the loud party music coming out of the rental spaces—she acted as if it happens every day and just ignored it. New Yorkers seem to have sang froid to spare.
The building is a construction site—it’s going condo—and the spaces we toured looked as if they could use a good cleaning, or at least to have the burned out light bulbs replaced. Presumably that will happen—it’s hard to sell an expensive condo when the remainder of the building is starting to look like the architectural equivalent of Miss Havisham.
|The Ear Inn, one of New York's classic dive bars.|