Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New York City: Day 1

So, we returned from the maritimes and spent a few days in Toronto. Then, last Thursday I flew to New York with my Mom. Coincidentally, one of my mother's friends was on the same flight. We stayed in Queen's in an affordable hotel that was not as close to the subway as claimed, but otherwise fine. We got to our hotel (for the amazing price of $13... which would leave you at the end of the runway at Pearson, but apparently gets you to an actual hotel from LaGuardia), checked in and then headed out in search of a Post Office. After receiving multiple, vague and conflicting advice (one man tried valiently to find it on his Blackberry), I said we should just get on the subway and explore Manhattan, where we could window shop while looking for a post office. But first, we passed the missing parrot sign:

Missing Grey Parrot, Queens
Mom headed instinctively to Rockerfeller Plaza where I took the requisite tourist photos. One thing I appreciate about my Mom is that she had annotated her map of Manhattan with the position of every Anthropologie (and a few other shops which we don't agree upon, but nonetheless). The Anthro off Rockerfeller Plaza is huge and included an art installation.

Anthro paper flowers'much love me' plates
Millions of People CAN be wrong

The shopgirl was able to direct us to the nearest Post Office, which, of course, was closed. But, it did have a sign in the window with the address of a Post Office which would be open late. So, we continued our walk.


I successfully mailed my packages for an unbelievably low price.* In another coincidence, next to the Post Office was one of the restaurants recommended by my mother's friend, while we waited at Pearson.

This synagogue was really beautiful, and I liked that you can see the Chrysler Building in the distance.

synagogue and Empire State in distance
She who must be obeyed

My mother was far too amused by "Eleanor's Building" with the "She Who Must Be Obeyed" sign.

NY roofAi Weiwei's Zodiac Animals

I spotted these sculptures as we approached the Park and said, "I want to go look at the animal heads." I was glad I did. These were "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" (bronze, 2010, each weighing ~800 lbs., inspired by the "fabled fountain clock of Yuanming Yuan, an 18th century imperial retreat outside Beijing") by (the still detained) Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. One sign read "Free Wei Wei". The sculptures were quite spectacular.

Ai Weiwei's Sculptures with sign

Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Animals
Ai Weiwei's Rat, Ox and Tiger
Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Animals
Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Animals
Ai Weiwei's Rooster, Dog and PigAi Weiwei's Zodiac Animals
Ai Weiwei's Rabbit and Dragon
Ai Weiwei's Ox and Tiger
Ai Weiwei's Monkey, Rooster, Dog

sculpture by parkman, dressed as Statue of LibertyCentral Park
central park entrancetile horses by central park

We got back on the subway to return to our hotel for the night. I liked how this subway map was annotated ('Dystopia', 'Human Alter', 'The Money Tree', 'Slave Factory', 'MOB','4 Hours Sleep', etc.).

Annotated subway map (dystopia)
Annotated subway map (human alter)
Annotated subway map (slave factory)
subway penguins

EDIT: Apparently it's privatized, though it has a deficit. *The USPS must be massively subsidized. The US is almost as large as Canada, and because of Alaska and Hawaii it is more spread out, and yet I could mail packages for about a fifth of what it would cost at home. So strange, it seems to me, that it's okay to have a socialized postal service, but socialized medicare leads to violent debate. Interestingly, every Canadian to whom I mention the incredible cheapness of the USPS has instantly made the same observation. Though I would love to have an affordable, non-dysfunctional postal service, I'd rather have universal medicare.


Marissa Buschow said...

Haha, I also note every Anthropologie in every city I go to. They're all so much fun!

minouette said...

We've only had them in Canada for a short while, but I always made a point of visiting when in the US. When they opened a shop near Mom and I took her to see it. Clearly I have converted her affecively! ;)