Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Big Apple

My colleagues at work don't understand it, but I enjoy going to New York City for a few days every year or two. I wouldn't want to live there - no offense, New Yorkers, but I can't take the constant noise and ever-present crowds for long - but a few days allow me to visit or re-visit some of the wonderful things the city has to offer without being so long that I go screaming mad.

The subway system, for all its faults, is absolutely amazing. I did see my first rat on the platform - no, a real rat, not just the human kind, or those big plastic inflatable ones that union protesters use (saw two of them on the streets) - but the system moves a remarkable number of people very efficiently.

Subway car

The subway also demonstrates how polite New Yorkers often are. Everyone understands that, without a little cooperation about seats and getting into crowded trains, the system wouldn't really work. People move quickly, will cut you off without a second thought, and will trample you if you get in the way, but they're less self-important about it than in Washington.

One stop was the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I  had never been there before. The place was remarkably empty - the crowds at the Met show that it's not because New Yorkers don't like art, so maybe it's because tourists don't get to Brooklyn?

Brooklyn Museum of Art  front
The impressive facade is marred by the silly modern glass canopy over the entrance.

Brooklyn Museum of Art  courtyard

The museum has a big Egyptian exhibit, with artifacts dating back to the earliest dynasties through Roman times. I like Medieval religious art...

Brooklyn Museum of Art  fresco

…and everyone likes Tiffany windows, right?

Brooklyn Museum of Art  Tiffany

The following day - Labor Day - Eastern Parkway was choked by the annual West Indian American Day Parade and Carnival. I learned on the news Monday night that it was a good year for the parade: only two people knifed to death, in contrast to violence in earlier years. (Mayor Bloomberg thought that was great. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!)

Getting back to Manhattan from Brooklyn involved a little walking - across the Brooklyn Bridge:

Brooklyn Bridge 1

A great many people had the same idea, including some suicidal types - tourists, I'm guessing - who decided that the bicycle lanes were uncrowded, and thus a great spot to walk. One can see why: the views are fabulous:

Brooklyn Bridge 3
Note the nearly-complete Freedom Tower to the right of the picture

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