Friday, January 04, 2008

The Biggest Apple

Frank Sinatra's song suggests that if one can make it in New York, one "can make it anywhere."
(I feel that way about living in San Manuel for two years.)

You can never see everything there is to see in New York on a single visit, but we tried. Starting at the Museum of Modern Art where I scoped out the work of a fellow Schenley High School graduate.
From there we went to St. Thomas' to hear a performance of the Britten Ceremony of Carols and Messiaen La Nativité du Seigneur, both of which were wonderful (we don't go to anything that's not good). The craziest thing was that we had to get there a half hour in advance to hear this (free) concert. That means there are some 800 people in metropolitan New York City who are interested in hearing a performance of these two semi-obscure pieces. Madness!

The next day we mostly wandered downtown, seeing one thing or another (including the J&R electronics store, which rivals the Electronics District in Tokyo for tech overload. From there I went with my dad and brother to the NBC studio tour which was worth it, even if they made it seem that NBC were the only network of any importance in the history of television. (Though, to be fair, if you asked me to name mega-hit TV shows, the ones that would come to mind are ones like Seinfeld and Friends, which were NBC projects, and I would be hard pressed to name many coming out of CBS or ABC.)

And of course there was a gift shop at the end, and while I didn't buy any of their overpriced merchandise, I did take a picture with some sample items from my new favorite NBC show.


The next day I did a tour of Central Park on my own and then met the fam at FAO Schwartz, home of the Big Piano. (It remains unclear to me whether this is simply a commentary on how large the piano is, or whether it's the Big Piano, named after the 1988 Tom Hanks comedy.) In any case, the two saleswomen/musicians/dancers seen here performed a brief "recital" which was a lot of fun. (Only $250,000 to have one custom installed in your home!)
From there we went to the American Museum of Natural History, which, I was surprised and pleased to learn, is in large part a memorial to Theodore Roosevelt. TR's great achievements are commemorated in murals in the main entry hall (his Nobel Prize-worthy peace negotiations in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and supervising the construction of the Panama Canal), and also awesome is the impressive similarity of the entry hall to Rome's Pantheon--someone smart was definitely working on that project. (The exhibits themselves are, of course, also marvelous.)

I was about to write that the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh could hold its own with respect to the dinosaur collection, but was outgunned on the murals, but than I remembered that good old Andrew Carnegie is painted in as the black knight of industry at the Oakland museum. And there's another room which is like an inverted (atrial) Parthenon. Pretty good for a little town like the 'Burgh, I think.

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