Friday, March 21, 2014

Days 2163-4 NYC

Back in January, Ruth and I didn't go to NYC, thanks to a huge snowstorm. This past Monday, we had yet another snowstorm in our very long winter, and it looked a bit worrisome, but we did finally make it back up!

We were being put up, quite kindly, by my friend James. So the first order of business was to stop by his office (the offices of OkCupid look... pretty much exactly what I imagined they'd look like, actually), and get his keys, so we could stop by and drop our stuff at his apartment.

JAMES: What are you and your dad going to do today?
RUTH: Um, we're going to go to New York City.

Logistics taken care of, we were off! It was a bit drizzly and grey, so we decided to hit the American Museum of Natural History first. We started off with the planetarium show, which was always one of my favorite things as a kid visiting. Ruth was a bit scared by the parts set in "deep space," but she liked watching the satellites and the simulation of the Jupiter atmosphere probe.

We spent some time in the planetary science area, and then, of course, DINOSAURS. Ruth's favorites were the mummified coleophysis (showing some preserved skin) and a primitive reptile with a wide, kite-shaped head and whose name I can't track down right now. Unfortunately, I'm a big kid myself around dinosaurs, so wasn't focused on taking pictures!

After that, we just kind of explored the halls. Ruth especially liked the Hall of Marine Life (navigated to using a French map, since they were all out of English) and the giant model blue whale. We were there until Ruth was starting to get hungry, so we headed to Chinatown. We had dinner at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, and... we may have ordered too much food.

See... I hadn't eaten since 6AM, and it all sounded good (and it was good!), and five year olds LIE about whether they will in fact eat lots of deep-fried spare ribs if you order what turns out to be approximately one hundred pounds of them. Anyway, the food was pretty good, and it didn't stop Ruth from having room for dessert at a bakery up the street.

Because it was late and cold and drizzly, we didn't really see much of Chinatown. But Ruth was fascinated by the display of figurines in the window of a Taoist temple. I asked her about the pose, and she said she was looking tough to protect them.

The next morning, we had breakfast with James at Murray's. Ruth lived up to her reputation of loving lox.

ME: Ruth, tongue in your mouth. Don't act like a dog, please.

James and I had five minutes of relatively adult conversation, and he had an excited conversation with Ruth about gummy worms (apparently you can make them glow in the dark if you make them with tonic water).

Then, off uptown again!

We started at the Ancient Playground, where Ruth played for about two contented hours.

I managed to drag her away with promises of the ancient Egyptian art in the Met. I messed up - I'd bought a reduced-price "skip the line" ticket through Groupon, but stupidly left it in my book in the apartment, and the Met has a killer strategy for getting you to pay full price when you have to do it again: old ladies. It is really hard to look an old lady in the eye and tell her that you're not going to pay the full recommended admission even though you can. So... well. Don't judge me for my lack of negotiation skills.

We started at the Tomb of Perneb.

MELISSA: Most serious kid in the world in this picture, huh?
ME: She said she wanted to look like a spirit of the dead.

Then, off to the Temple of Dendur! It really is quite impressive.

We ran around it for a bit, and then Ruth wanted to see Chinese art.

By then, we'd been there for actually about an hour and a half, and Ruth was flagging. So, fortunately, Alice's Tea Cup was able to move up our reservation. Ruth loooooved it. She ate clotted cream with a spoon, spread chocolate mousse on one of my cookies, guzzled an over-the-top "Christmas Brew" of pineapples, oranges, peppermint, cinnamon, etc. etc. and who knows what, and generally had a grand time and we told stories together about a version of Alice in Wonderland where she turned into a bee, a jungle princess who had to move to the savannah and then end a magical drought that a wizard created, a little girl who saved her fairy friend from giant flowers, and a dad who saved his daughter from captivity in the blue jay kingdom.


By then, we were both pretty exhausted. We stopped by the apartment, grabbed our stuff, and dropped off the keys with Mr. James (and thanked him profusely, again - Ruth wanted to be the one to hand him his keys, which definitely meant she liked him). Then a moderately-paced dash to our bus home (NYC peeps - what the heck is up with those buses you have to pay for before you board? Is it just to make the process more annoying?).

My tired trooper managed to hang on long enough to get on the bus. And watch part of a movie. And play a bunch of Cut the Rope. And have a story. Then she fell asleep and I binged on Welcome to Night Vale and RISK! until we got home to Melissa, her good news, and collapse.

I didn't get to see any of my grown-up NYC friends really (almost not even James) but I had a blast, and maybe soon we'll be keeping a more "adult who has a job" schedule. Ruth wants to do it again.

Actually, Ruth wants me to get a job in New York so that the whole family can move there.

If you're interested, there are some more photos from the trip here.