2012: New York

Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Bridge at Night

Oct. 19

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Last night I figured out how to get some sleep on the concrete bed. I took two extra pillows (one from my bed, one from Mike's) and put them under my back and butt like a pillow-mattress, and it helped quite a bit. Finally, a bit of a nap! So this morning I called housekeeping and asked for as many extra pillows as they would give me.

Today was going to be rainy and cold, so we were looking for indoor activities without too much outdoor walking. We started the day at Lincoln Center, where we registered for a guided tour. Our guide was an odd old bird whose humor was slightly off-kilter, but he knew a lot about the center and its history.

Unfortunately the tour was a bit of a bust. The opera was rehearsing in the main performance auditorium, and there was actually a performance -- at 11 a.m.! -- in the smaller auditorium, so we were limited to seeing the lobbies and listening to the guide talk. We did get to peer into a small window above the stage in the smaller facility, looking down on a young-people's orchestra performing.

Rainy Lincoln Center. Main lobby.

There wasn't much that was photogenic, either. All I ended up with were a couple of drab gray snaps of the rainy front, and a decent one of the main lobby.

It was only noon, so we decided to try the Metropolitan Museum of Art, just across Central Park. There's no easy way to get there via subway, and we didn't want to waste time; so we hailed a cab. A cab that sat still in traffic for most of our $10 fare. *Sigh*. Oh well.

The Met looked pretty busy from outside; obviously everyone else was trying to stay out of the rain today. After we fought our way inside the front doors, we looked to our left toward the bag-check windows, where I estimated at least half of Manhattan was lined up. We were going to need to check Mike's backpack before we could go in. *Sigh*.

I looked at Mike, Mike looked at me, I head-pointed toward the front door, and we were outta there. Some things just ain't worth the hassle. (Little did I know at the time that this experience would foreshadow our trip to the Louvre six months later.)

We decided to cut our losses and headed back to the hotel. We were looking for a taxi when we saw a bus pulling up to a stop just in front of us on Fifth Avenue; we sprinted for it like the tourists we are!

On the bus, I met a friendly woman who gave us some good advice for future sight-seeing. Our experience with locals has been mostly positive; more than once we've been poring over a map on a street corner, and someone will ask, "Need some help?" I think New Yorkers are very proud of their city and thus happy to share it.

My mattress-to-be!

After a pleasant conversation for a few minutes, we were able to get off the bus only a couple of blocks from our hotel. When we got back to the room, I was excited to find that my new mattress had been delivered! Good sleep tonight!

We hunkered down for the rest of a rainy afternoon. As I had hoped, the weather cleared as evening came on, and we could execute the rest of the day's plan -- a trip across the river to Brooklyn to see the night Manhattan skyline.

We caught the subway over to Brooklyn Heights at sunset, and took an evening walk down to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The view of Manhattan was spectacular; the rain had cleared the air but left just enough fog around the tops of the taller buildings to make it magical. My new Lumix proved how really good it is that night. We didn't have a tripod to keep it still for long exposures, but there were convenient concrete posts connecting the sections of pier fence, just perfect for setting down the camera to steady it.

In addition to the Manhattan skyline, we had a gorgeous view of the Brooklyn Bridge, and as a bonus the lighted tip of the Empire State Building was just barely visible under the span of the Manhattan Bridge next door.