Contrary to the forecast, the day dawned bright and clear, so after breakfast we set off for Central Park, the Guggenheim and The Met. On the way we saw a pet store, so detoured in to see if they had hamsters. Not only did they have hamsters, but they also had a Chinchilla! The man working in that section very kindly let me hold the Chinchilla which was adorably soft.
Not intending to go in, we walked past the Guggenheim Museum to admire the architecture and noticed a queue of people waiting for it to open. I remarked idly to Rod that I assumed that the Museums and Galleries opened daily & wouldn’t it be annoying if the Met wasn’t open today. In reply he flicked through the guide book and discovered that the Met is NOT open on Mondays…erk! So much for the city that never sleeps! Fortunately, on the opposite side of the Park is the Museum of Natural History, so it became plan B.
After a false start or two, we managed to get properly into Central Park and walked down to Castle Belvedere, and into the Ramble. It is green & leafy and very peaceful [away from the jogging tracks…]. Squirrels, sparrows, robins and blackbirds scamper and flutter around; we were lucky enough to spot a Black Crowned Night Heron and a pair of beautiful Blue Jays, as well as turtles in the lake. The visitor’s centre also closes on Monday, so we couldn’t get a park map…
The Natural History Museum is huge, so we didn’t manage to see it all, but we managed a big chunk! We had tickets for the Planetarium, so had 15 minutes to fill, so looked at the North American Mammal dioramas, before watching the presentation. Nick was keen to see the minerals, meteorites and gems, so we headed there, via a wing devoted to early hominids and ancient tools and art. There were so many famous displays there; Lucy, Turkana Boy, Neanderthal Skeletons, Australopithecus, the Venus of Willendorf. I could have spent the day in there! The minerals and gems were similarly overwhelming. Initially we oohed & aahed over every crystal and stone, but after a while we were mineralled out, so headed to the Hall of Ocean Life with its life sized model of a whale and the Hall of Biodiversity. Next were the Halls of Dinosaur skeletons and they were just fantastic, with everything from Archaeopteryx, to Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Now, off to Times Square. This was quite surreal, having seen it so many times on TV. It looks even brighter and busier in person. Chris was absolutely loved it and hardly knew which way to look. He was thrilled when Minnie & Micky Mouse came and shook his hand! We delivered Michael Sprott’s regards to Broadway as requested.
Getting pretty weary now, we set off down 42nd Street to see the Chrysler Building. As we passed by a pretty little park, we realised that we could see the Empire State Building, so to Nick’s relief, didn’t need another detour! The Chrysler building is another sight that it is hard to believe is real, but there it was, gleaming silver with its fantastic gargoyles.
Grand Central Station is just nearby, so we caught the subway from there [after admiring its Victorian extravagance]. Our apartment was only a stop and a short walk home, so it was time to take our shoes off and flop down…till tomorrow.