Sunday, November 24, 2013

Urban Wilderness Adventuring - Part II

So the Book of Mormon - our first-ever Broadway play - did not disappoint.  We got ourselves in the celebratory mood by loudly declaring to the ticket takers, the ushers, and random other play-goers that were unfortunate enough to be near us that WE ARE FROM UTAH! which we figured would give us a bit of credibility, or at least crack ourselves up.

The scene that greeted us upon entering was worthy:

with the angel Moroni overseeing all, and then of course the play was great with incredible singing, dancing, and acting.  To be fair, while they made an awful lot of fun of the church and it was pretty bawdy, I think that liberal-minded LDS-ers who don't take themselves too seriously would get a big kick out of it (the premise is that a golden boy and a pudgy misfit are "companions" on their mission to Uganda, where they try to convert people that are otherwise dealing with AIDs, famine, poverty, despotic military leaders, etc, and the trials and tribulations of such).  But I could be wrong; it might be really offensive!

No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to Central Park, which we decided to hit it mid-morning on a beautiful fall Saturday to get the full effect. We were not disappointed; there were throngs of people running, riding, dundering, etc. including a slew of folks running a 60km Ultra marathon on a 4 mile paved loop.
Steppin' out with aplomb

Only in NYC is there a traffic light for trails crossing car-less roads! 
You can see the number on his leg; he was plodding out the 36 mile race.....glad my interest in ultra running doesn't extend this far.....
We also made the gratuitous pilgramage to the MOMA, which had its moments; there was a fair bit of esoteric art and a little bit of actual design, which I definitely liked a bit more; the practical side of me sees design as really art applied to utility, which is more appealing, but clearly "art" resonates with other folks.
A bunch of lines.....scintillating!  
A riveting display of.....luggage?  
This was actually really cool:  an crush-proof table for schools in earthquake-prone areas; it will withstand incredible forces.   
This bowl was created by solar power sintering sand ala a 3D printer in the Sahara desert.  
In the meantime, it's worth mentioning food. Any major city has an abundance of great food, but given the diversity of NYC's population and iconic foods we expected a lot, and were not disappointed.  If there wasn't an interesting ethnic place nearby there were killer bagels:

what's NYC without lox and cream cheese on a pumpernickle bagel at Zuckerman's?  
and you're never more than a stone's throw from a middle-eastern food cart, and there were tons of cool little esoteric grocery stores (and a few Whole Foods), and of Plenty o' pizza.  I had no idea that so many guys named Ray started their own pizza place!   I felt like I needed to be a dual-stomached ruminant to fully appreciate the food.

And despite the relative lack of "real" exercise, our walk walk walking gave us not only a pretty good appetite, but was also a bit hard; we were pretty stiff getting out of bed after 3 days of serious midtown walking!  It gave me new respect for serious urban peds.

Another highlight was our second-ever Broadway play:  Kinky Boots. We'd seen the movie (about a shoe factory in England facing closure and the young owner  - who just inherited it from his dead father - meeting a flamboyant drag queen who complained about "her" lack of ability to find killer knee-high boots in a size 12 that would stand up to 200 pounds of burning love in them, so the shoe factory takes advantage of the new business opportunity) and loved it, and of course the play was ever-so-much-moreso with yet-again astounding singing (the movie was not a musical; the play's score was done by the 80's icon Cyndi Lauper), and acting.  And again, we were treated to the brilliant house seats thanks to John.

Each night we'd stumble out into the street pretty late, walk a block, grab a Citibike - that are equipped with flashing lights - roll east towards the river, and spin back home on a great bike path.  Cheaper than a taxi and almost certainly faster in the all-hours traffic, those bikes seemed to us to be a godsend.

Any visit to NYC now also needs to include a stop at Ground Zero.  We went through the small but poignant museum that tells a lot of the tales of survivors, and really brings home the magnitude of loss on 9/11.
the 375 firefighters who died
Where the twin towers stood are now too huge fountains, with water dropping down one tier and then plunging off into a second abyss.

with the names of all the victims around the perimeter:

The first of the "replacement towers is now completed

All in all a grand, short adventure.  After 3.5 days we were ready to come home and we likely won't do it again for at least a while or two, but an absolutely worthy  -if a bit unlikely - adventure.  Here are some additional random pics.
Selling cookies for the Philippine typhoon victims
As indicated by the crass humor of Book of Mormon, pretty much everyone loves immature stuff like (almost!?!) touching the Wall Street Bull's balls
a cool sculpture, a tough ride
the infamous Zucotti Park plague posted during the Occupy Wall St movement that specifically bans sleeping bags, tents, etc
There were lots of good shoe stores too.  "I'm a footwear industry professional!  Really, I am!" I think they thought I was from.....Utah, or something...... 
On times square I got to hang out with the Smurfs a little....
But who was I kidding; I'd rather hang with the Naked Cowgirls!
thanks again to Bec and John for the great hospitality!

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