Hey folks, I’d apologize for not blogging in so long, but then, I figure it’s mostly happening because I’m busy having all sorts of adventures and experiences out here. So… clearly my ‘droughts’ on here are a good thing, as they give me lots of incredible experiences to talk about =) On a related note, it’s always funny to me when I do put up a new post, because I have to go back through my budget excel sheet to figure out what exactly y’all have and haven’t heard about.
Anyway, as far as I can tell from here, the last thing up on the blog was about Shamrockfest and the National Cathedral. The next big thing after that was my Aikido test, which I’d been looking forward to for quite a while. The test happened on Friday night, and all of us 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Kyu students rocked it. The next day was the testing for the 4th-1st Kyu students, and I took a bunch of pictures which you can see here and here. (sorry– there are literally hundreds of photos and it would take forever to sort through them [again–already discarded a bunch] and insert into the post.) Following their test, we grabbed food at an Indian Restaurant close to the Dojo which was fantastic =)
That evening I got on photoshop and did a celebratory “gratuitous picture of myself- collage” which I’ll throw in so you can enjoy the eye candy 😉
After Aikido tests, the next week flew by in anticipation of my trip to New York, where I planned to meet up with Hailley and Courtney– my ‘trailblazing trio’ friends from the Lake District May Term last summer. I took work off on that Thursday and boarded the Megabus, headed to the Big Apple.
My first Megabus experience was pretty uneventful: basically it was like one of the band trips from highschool–long, uncomfortable, and a seat partner who was trying to fall asleep on my shoulder. That last part was a little awkward though, because I didn’t know the other person. Anyway, eventually I made it into the city where Courtney and Hailley met me right at the bus stop. We took a quick ride on the metro back to the hotel they’ve been staying at during the term, dropped off my bag, and then headed to a Thai restaurant for some delicious food.
Refreshed and energized, we decided to risk the slightly cloudy weather to check out the Brooklyn Bridge. The detour turned out to be totally worth it– many good pictures were taken, and walking the bridge was a pretty incredible experience.
After all the walking and subway-riding, we headed back to the hotel and took it easy for a few hours. That evening, I hit up a bar called “The Dead Poet” with Whitney– another friend from Coe. There we enjoyed literary-themed cocktails and met up with Whitney’s friend Jen Grinnells– a musician she met while serving on the Student Activities Committee at Coe. After a very long day of traveling and walking, I dropped off to sleep fairly quickly when we headed back to the hotel.
Friday the girls all had to work during the day, so I was sent off early with instructions to entertain myself. The weather was fantastic– a far cry from the gloomy forecast my iPod suggested was likely when I checked ahead back in D.C. I soaked in the sunshine as I headed towards Central Park– a short walk from the girls’ hotel– and spent a nice hour wandering through the park itself, snapping lots of photos as I went.
My next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where my Smithsonian Badge got my in for free, and I spent the next 5-6 hours. Seriously, there’s something about exploring a museum on your own that really gets me. I wandered through exhibit hall after exhibit hall, transported from Ancient Egypt to Medieval Europe to the Arabian Nights… and then the paintings. Sooo many amazing works of art, and I tried to document them all! Below are some of my favorite shots from my time there. (Sorry, really all of the photos from there are pretty good, so it was hard to cut many out haha.)
After my afternoon at the Met, I met up with my friend Emily, another Coe Alum, at the Strand Bookstore. She had visited Maryland a few weeks prior for a Quidditch Tournament, and it was great to see her again. We browsed around the shelves and picked up a few things, then got sucked back in with 45 cent paperbacks they had outside. As we walked away with bags loaded full of books and Strand merchandise, I agreed with Emily’s assessment of Strand as a “wonderful and dangerous” place. =)
We enjoyed some authentic NYC Ramen (very different from your average “broke college student ramen”) and met up with Hailley and Whitney back at the hotel. Then it was off to a restaurant called Bourbon Street for some drinks and late night appetizers. Worn out once again from a long day of sightseeing, picture-taking, and walking, I dropped off to sleep quickly upon our return to the hotel.
On Saturday Courtney, Allison, and I all grabbed brunch at a NYC diner, then Courtney and I headed off to explore the Highline. The Highline is an old above-ground railway track that was recently converted to a sort of pedestrian walkway. It offered an interesting perspective on the city, as well as, you guessed it, loads more interesting photographs. Here, as elsewhere throughout NYC, I was really struck by the diversity of people and cultures that populate the city. It’s a very different sort of “feel” from D.C., where things seem to be somewhat sadly split between “White-successful-businessperson” and “homeless” without a lot of in between.
After the Highline, we grabbed some delectable brownies (for sustenance) and headed to the Guggenheim Museum. Which… honestly, was a little disappointing. Perhaps I”m not artsy enough, but paintings that someone has done with their feet (obviously very abstract haha), a photograph of someone burning all their artwork, or most memorably a short film featuring a closeup of repeated towel-slapping on someone’s chest… yeah, those didn’t really do it for me. =) Regardless it was a good experience, and there were a few bright spots of really fantastic art works. Also the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum was pretty fantastic, and worked well with an installation exhibit that was showcased at the time.
Courtney and I left the Guggenheim and headed back to the Hotel, where I met up with Whitney and headed off to a play. We had “student rushed” tickets for a production of Much Ado About Nothing, and the performance was phenomenal. It was a little stressful trying to get to the theater– the subway train was super delayed, and then locating the place through all the visual assault of Times Square advertisements was a little tricky. Thankfully we made it just in time and had a couple minutes to get settled before the show began.
Afterwards, we grabbed some authentic NYC pizza (which I promptly devoured– lunch had been a brownie and a smoothie earlier in the day, and supper didn’t happen) and then headed back to the hotel for the night.
Sunday morning Courtney and I were up early again, indulging once again in a large brunch at an almost comically stereotypical NYC diner. After brunch, we headed towards the World Trade Center Memorial. Once again, many pictures were taken (after we got through the airport-style security) and we spent an hour or so wandering the site itself.
We then left the site and pushed our way past street vendors trying to sell us commemorative programs (“You listened to my story! I’ll give you a great deal!”) back to the subway, headed for the National Academy of Art– yet another museum on my ‘list’. There, my Smithsonian badge got us in for free once again, but no photos were allowed inside. Needless to say I was itching to grab shots of all the incredible artwork in the museum, but I somehow managed to make it through without breaking the rules (too much). One of the most interesting exhibits we saw there was a short film where the artist had recruited around 15 people (“Hey do you want to pose for an art project? I’ll pay you $50!”) and then blasted them with fire-hose strength streams of water (“Surprise!”). The film was slowed down, and it was pretty comical to watch the slo-mo reactions as these folks were pummeled with water from either side.
After the Academy it was getting close to my bus departure time, so we grabbed a last meal with the rest of the NYC kids at the Shake Shack. I had a delicious burger with a fried, cheese-stuffed portabello mushroom on top of the regular patty, and of course, one of their trademark milkshakes =) Then it was time for goodbyes and a (frantic) journey to reach the Megabus after the subway stopped 20 blocks from my intended destination. Luckily I made it, and ended up having a seat to myself for the long ride back to D.C. Needless to say, it was a phenomenal weekend, and I’ll definitely be back to NYC sometime =)