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Weekend in NYC

Having asked for your help trying to figure out what the four of us should do in NYC this past weekend, here are some highlights of what we ended up doing. Keep in mind our multiple restrictions: two shabbos-keepers, four vegetarians, one crutch-assisted walker, one whiny adult…

On Saturday we got up late and went to the Museum of Modern Art’s Pixar exhibit. (We’d bought tickets ahead of time online, but there wasn’t much of a line.) Somewhat disappointing. The wide-wide-wide screen movie they put together for the exhibit was mesmerizing and makes you wish Pixar gave itself permission to do a non-commercial film. The rest consisted mainly of items to please fans, although some of the items by themselves were beautiful, clever, or intricate in their design. Surprisingly little on the how-to, which was ok with me, Still, I was hoping to see more of Pixar-as-art…whatever that means.

We also spent some time on the fifth floor of the MoMA, which is hard to beat. (By the way, the MoMA is poorly designed for wheelchair access, at least in the special exhibit space.)

We went up the Empire State Building. Ten on a Sunday morning turns out to be a good time to go: No lines. The building is still very tall. (I plan on posting some photos soon to prove that point.)

The Darwin exhibit at the Museum of Natural History was good but a little disappointing, focusing more on eye candy than on telling us how he got to his idea. It covered big influences, such as the revolution in geology, Darwin’s observation of artificial selection, and Malthus’ writings, way too briefly. It was more about Darwin as an isolated genius.

We also went to the planetarium and saw a by-the-numbers show that starts with our night sky (spectacular) and then zooms out to the farthest edges, narrated by Tom Hanks presumably because Morgan Freeman was unavailable. It sounds better than it is: Our 15-year-old son came out of it feeling that he hadn’t learned much. Me too. The ramp around the planetarium provides a walkable timeline of the universe that’s pretty interesting, and the floor around it a gives helpful comparisons … “If the planetarium were Jupiter, this bubble would be the size of Google’s market cap”… that type of thing.

We had a great dinner at the Udipi Palace, one of five Indian kosher vegetarian restaurants within a block. How weird is that? The food was delicious and the waiter (owner?) was very helpful. And, for NY, pretty cheap.

We also spent a lot of time wandering around. The weather was eerily good for January, and the wandering was fantastic.


1. The plug converters (US to Europe) range in price from $20 to $4 in the frequent electronics rip-off stores in NY.

2. Random overheard comment made by a middle-aged man to his companions as they entered the observatory of the Empire State Building: “This building is going to be really tall by the time I get done with it.” Say wha’??

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5 Responses to “Weekend in NYC”

  1. “This building is going to be really tall by the time I get done with it.” Say wha’??

    I suspect that the gentleman in question was sharing his intention to engage, at a future date, in the popular pastime known as “yarnin'”. (“Tall? You’re asking me if the Empire State Building is tall? I’ll tell you how tall it is…”

  2. “This building is going to be really tall by the time I get done with it.” Say wha’??”

    Reminds me of what I once heard in a soccer stadium (translated from Swedish): “That ball was long, (silence) but thin.”
    You could post yours at

  3. Is that Tom Hanks show at the Planetarium the one that ends with “since no one’s ever passed through a black hole, we’re free to imagine what’s on the other side”?

    We went when they first renovated the space, and we asked for our money back after being subjected to that piece of anti-scientific garbage.

    Sad. The Plaentarium used to be about, you know, education.

  4. Yup, Adam. It’s the same wing that in the Big Bang exhibit has Maya Angelou readung a script that says scientists “imagine” there was a Big Bang that did thus and so. Took me by surprise.

  5. David, sorry you didn’t enjoy the Planetarium. My kids loved it, but then they’re all younger than 15.

    Adam, I could understand you asking for your money back if they tried to tell you what’s on the other side of a black hole without actually knowing what’s on the other side of a black hole. I think it’s okay to say we are free to imagine … until we know for sure, if we ever find out. The thing my children liked about the show is that all said they got a feeling for how vast space really is which I think is the point of the show.

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