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Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

Externalised Memory

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Monday in Manhattan
Being trapped on a plane for seven hours or so gives me a great chance to catch up on my blogging. I am somewhere over the edge of Canada, on my way to the UK.

Which also means I'm some one week removed from the events I'm describing, so hopefully I don't get then too wrong :-)

This was my first full weekday in New York. Looking at the map, I realised the place I was staying was quite close to the Natural History museum. I'd been to the one in Washington, but you never know what you'll see in these places.

And as expected, there were loads of stuff animals, which I have no time for - I mean, it's bad enough they're dead, why mount the poor sods??? But again they had some collections of things one can't see in Oz, like lots of large dinosaur fossils. But they best sections, for me, was the (relatively) local stuff from Meso-America - roughly present day Mexico. They had lots and lots of interesting stone and cermic artefacts, some of them quite huge. Towering Inca deities and huge symbolic stones. And lots of interesting smaller relics, like little ceramic people and cats etc.

There was also a huge room full of totem poles and the like, from various native American tribes around New York. Again, things you can't see in Australia.

In the afternoon, I scooted across town to 42nd street, and power walked down to a pier on the Hudson - realising afterwards that there is in fact a bus which shuttles up east and west on 42nd street. I hadn't considered buses when I thought about getting around NY!

I hopped on a ferry run by the a mob called the Great Circle Line. They run a cruise which goes all the way around the whole of Manhattan Island. Which was surprisingly interesting. I was expecting something twee and touristy, but the guy doing the commentary was very well informed. He let slip later that he had been a college professor, but that his weekend job paid better as he put it!

Manhattan is an interesting, and quite large, island. The ferry pulled out from the pier - right next to an aircraft carrier - and we cruised south down the Hudson. There are some odd things on the Hudson river, like a three story high netted area which was apparently a golf driving range. We proceeded out into the waters near Ellis Island and then the statue of Liberty - this making twice I'd been near it on a boat in two days. And that was plenty close enough, didn't bother going to visit the island itself. Although I hear the museum on Ellis Island is worth seeing.

We swung around the bottom end of Manhattan, and into what they call the East River, which is, I was reliably informed by the tour guide, actually an estuary. We passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, and the nearby, and much less harped on about, Manhattan Bridge. Then we sailed north past the UN building - which I completely missed because I was eating a bagel from the cafe on the boat! And further north up to the top of Manhattan, where it gets near the Bronx. That part of the island isn't real exciting, but it was interesting to see just how big the island is. Up the top there, in the Bronx is Yankee Stadium, and next to it... Yankee Stadium. They built a new one which no one can afford the tickets to!

The, er, top left side of Manhattan (North west perhaps), the shoreline at least, is actually quite green. There looks to be a lot of parkland along there, down to the foreshore.

Finally, we went past an area of the Hudson that I sort of recognised. On my first day in NY I wandered down to it, and found some funky old machinery and a burnt out warehouse. Which I got to see again from the river side...

And then we docked, back next to the Intrepid aircraft carrier.

The tour guide said one of the questions he always gets asked is "where did the aircraft crash land on the Hudson?" He mentioned this right as we past the point where it happened - which was in fact quite close to where I was staying, parallel anyway (no, I take that back - I've just looked it up and it was closer to 48th street). Not on that, but the boat we were on was one of the first on the scene, and served as a triage station for the aircraft passengers - although as I recall no one was badly injured. I've spotted the boat in a couple of images, no good ones though - it is the boat with Circle Line written on the side in this picture.