An Excellent Day at The New American Wing of the Met and JKO Reservoir

Last Saturday wound up being one of those days that just turned out right.  We got a late start because we both slept in, but once we got out the door we were rolling.  We started our day off with a visit to Udon West, a great Japanese noodle shop on St. Mark’s Place (8th St) by Astor Place.  If you haven’t been there, it’s worth the trip.  Seriously.

Gallery 700 - The Charles Engelhard Court - New American Wing
Gallery 700 – The Charles Engelhard Court – The New American Wing

Just before leaving the house, I’d decided on a whim that we should drop by the Met.  We hadn’t been in months and we’d kept talking about going back to see more of the galleries.  I kept it a secret from my wife.  I just told her we were going out to have a little fun.  She didn’t realize where we were going until we turned the corner at 86th street and the museum was in front of us.

Portraits from The American Wing
Portraits from The American Wing

She was a little hesitant to go in because she wanted to enjoy the sun, but once we were through the door she said she wanted to see “The New American Wing” of the museum.  At first I was thinking, “meh…”, because really, how many Americans do you know that want to spend a few hours looking at American art?  I tend to get excited about seeing art from other parts of the world, but for her, America is another part of the world and I was a little curious, so off we went.

George Washington crossing the Delaware River
George Washington crossing the Delaware River.
Panorama of a panorama painting of Versaille Palace
I took a panorama of this panorama so you can pan around the panorama. Seriously, it’s a panorama painting of Versaille. The room it’s in is pretty big.

We detoured a bit through some European galleries because the American galleries are in the back right corner, but once we got there, I was pleasantly surprised.  Some of the paintings looked oddly disproportionate considering the relative skill of European painters at the time, but a couple of the paintings and sculptures really caught my attention.

Man sketching a sculpture
Man sketching a sculpture.
Woman contemplating a cross
Woman contemplating a cross. My wife said the cross could just as easily be a cell phone. Once she said that, I couldn’t un-see it.
The Ameya, by Robert Blum (1893)
The Ameya, by Robert Blum (1893)
A Tiffany Studios work desk from the early 1900s
A Tiffany Studios work desk from the early 1900s
Not sure, but incredibly disturbing
Not sure, but incredibly disturbing.
Roof structure transplanted into the museum
This entire roof structure was transplanted from its original location to the museum. Many rooms or portions of houses and buildings have been relocated to the museum.

We wore ourselves out walking around in the museum but before heading back downtown I wanted to take my wife up to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, just north of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The view was great and we resolved to make trips there to jog in the near future.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park

When we got back to the East Village, we capped our night off with dinner at Thai Terminal, which also has great food.

We meant to spend the day shopping and doing chores, but I’m glad we decided to kick that all to the curb and just have a good time for a change.

Full photo set from our trip to The New American Wing

More photos of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

No More Ant Colony At The Central Park Zoo

59th Street-Facing Entrance to the Central Park Zoo
59th Street-Facing Entrance to the Central Park Zoo

Yesterday my wife and I went to the Central Park Zoo.  Going to the zoo is something of a tradition for me.  Whenever I used to come to New York City to visit family, I’d always make it a point to go see the Central Park Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History.  I have photos of me as a little kid and then again as a teenager in front of the blue whale in the AMNH.  I also have a fond memory of the giant ant farm in the Central Park Zoo.  It inspired me to get a smaller version and keep it on my desk at home.

Ants in the Philippines, stealing cat food.
Ants in the Philippines, stealing cat food.

While living in Asia with my wife, I learned to hate ants.  They got into everything and there was no way to kill them all or keep them out.  They even did night time raids on the pet’s food bowls, carrying whole pieces of cat food up the wall and out of the house through the ceiling.  Still, that didn’t stop me from wanting to share the excitement of a giant ant farm, and the memory of me being there as a kid, with my wife when we went to the zoo yesterday.

One of the chambers in the Central Park Zoo ant habitat.  All that's left are a few corpses.
One of the chambers in the Central Park Zoo ant habitat. All that’s left are a few corpses.

Unfortunately, we were disappointed.  All that was left of the amazing, huge colony were a few dead ants.  I spoke to one of the people that works there and she said the colony’s queen had died and they were having trouble replacing her.  She said it had something to do with the government making importation of a new queen difficult.  She also said they no longer had an “ant person” and would need to hire someone.

The nasty hissing cockroaches that are living in the ant farm, since all the ants are gone.
The nasty hissing cockroaches that are living in the ant farm, since all the ants are gone.

The habitat isn’t completely abandoned.  While peering this way and that, looking for ants, I realized I was staring at a bunch of hissing cockroaches.  Disgusting things.  I hope whatever issues the zoo is having get worked out soon, because I’d much rather see the ants.  I wish I’d had an opportunity to get some good photos of that colony before it died out.

The trip to the zoo wasn’t all disappointment.  I’ll post more tomorrow.

A Central Park Wedding

While walking through Central Park today on the path that parallels 59th Street, we ran into a wedding ceremony by the Duck Pond.  Even though it’s winter and also the middle of the week, there was a surprising number of people in the park today.

As this wedding ceremony concluded and the bride and groom kissed, a few people that were watching from over the park wall, on the 59th Street sidewalk, cheered and whistled, which is why the bride looks so amused in the last photo.

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