Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Hello from the Windy City

December 29, 2007

It snowed pretty hard today for about 4 hours, but it was not too miserable outside. Spent most of the day in two hotels being interviewed by three universities. Things went well at two of them, and the third was a lesson in knowing thyself and in the interpretation of nonverbal communication.

Yesterday I ate breakfast at a fabulous place called Lou Mitchell’s. On the back of the menu it says, “Have a Lou Mitchell day!” What they mean is, “eat so much you will be feeling it all day long.” I obeyed, and didn’t eat again till about 7 p.m. I mean, they set the pace for you as you walk in the door, by handing you a donut hole with powdered sugar on it, from a wicker basket full of them. Can you say “GRUB”? For dinner, Italian Beef sandwich. Tonight for dinner, deep-dish cheese and sausage pizza.


Empire State Building video clip

August 4, 2007

This video was taken at the staging area around the 80th floor, just before they take you to the 86th floor observation deck. The “Tony” referred to on the sign is the New York cab driver personality on the ESB audio guide. Apparently Tony’s brand of gruff yet detailed commentary on the surrounding cityscape is as endearing as it is informative. (I talked to somebody who has heard it—I’m told he says things like “Howya dooin?” and “Take a looksee ova dare!”)

Also ESB-related is the second picture currently shown in my Flickr widget, to the right. This is the view as you approach the Lincoln Tunnel. That is one large building.

The Macy’s pipe organ

August 1, 2007

While in Philly I stopped at Macy’s for the 7 p.m. organ concert. The store has the largest working pipe organ in the world, with nearly 30,000 pipes. The organist didn’t play anything I recognized (no Bach, either!), except for a billowy rendition of “Danny Boy,” but it was a great experience to hear, all the same.

Video clips of the organ in action:

30-second clip of some large-sounding piece.

I would have also linked to a 2-minute clip of “Danny Boy” featuring a woman falling down with a *smack* at 0:44, but YouTube rejected the clip because it was “too long.” The file was 44 MB and 2 minutes long . . . that seems to meet their 100 MB / 10 minute restrictions. This has happened before and I don’t know why. Any clues?

NYC day 2

July 30, 2007

Bad weather day: after an amazing few hours with the dinosaur bones, North American birds, primates, meteorites, minerals, and crystals, we ended up walking 1.62 miles in heavy rain, sans umbrellas—from 79th Street at Central Park West to the Apple Store at the southeast corner of the park. Miserable. Thankfully, I had my All-Weather camera case with me (i.e., a plastic grocery bag).

Went to 5:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral. What a beautiful building, and such precise craftsmanship. Took a cab down to Strand Books, and before leaving, drove down to the WTC site.


July 29, 2007

First day in NYC:

  • Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
  • Cloisters Museum
  • Street vendor hot dog (best deal in the city)
  • Empire State Building, 102nd and 86th floor observation areas
  • Pizza (with longhorn horns mounted on the wall—I swear, I didn’t know going in)
  • Times Square

The only shop in Times Square I went in was Toys “R” Us. I’ll post some photos and you’ll get some sense, but it was so over the top you have to be there to fully understand it. THEY HAVE A FERRIS WHEEL.

Friday in Philly

July 28, 2007

Today I took a guided tour of the Masonic Temple.


Take a cheesy online tour here. (To be fair, it’s a very informative online tour, and the photos are actually pretty good, but nothing beats seeing it in person.)

Paradox at work

July 25, 2007

Eating lunch today at the Taco Shack I saw a TimeWarner high-speed internet commercial. It urged you to buy their product so that you could “share your individuality . . . with people just like you.”

Heading to New Jersey tomorrow morning for a long weekend of sightseeing and funhaving. Take it easy, yo, and I’ll see you next time.

Toronto’s as gay as it gets

June 21, 2007

No, really: that’s their new tourism campaign. I kid you not.

Article here.
I’d be pissed off if I were an American sailor. Apparently it’s okay to stereotype now, too? Pink makes my head hurt . . .

Museological assumption: The Cloisters

June 12, 2007

One of the places I’m considering seeing in New York is the Cloisters Museum, which houses medieval European art in buildings taken from five different French monasteries, cobbled together and joined by cloisters. Their web site comments on these covered, colonnaded walkways:

Just as cloisters provided sheltered access from one building to another within a monastery, here they act as passageways from gallery to gallery. They provide as inviting a place for rest, contemplation, and conversation as they did for their original monastic population.

Inviting for conversation amongst the “original monastic population”, that is, if their monastic order didn’t observe a vow of silence . . . but since they know which monasteries these buildings came from, I’m guessing that they know whether this was the case or not.

Share your travel wisdom

June 11, 2007

Curly’s going to the east coast for the first time later this summer. Philadelphia and NYC, namely, and I’d be glad to hear any recommendations you might have. No lodging tips are needed, as I’ll be staying with a friend. But if you know where the best Philly cheesesteaks are to be had, for example, do tell!

Thanks in advance!