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Thursday, July 10, 2008

NYMP: Day 3

Complete set of pics here.

The last day was planned to be another hectic day as we tried to jampack it with some highlights and lowlights. Sunday was well spent with the following pit stops:

GROUND ZERO – As much as the Americans are very vocal that “they will never forget”, the area is now being transformed into something else. The photos and some exhibit that used to line up the space where World Trade Center used to stand tall were nowhere to be found. We just had a peak on what’s being done in the excavation and proceeded to the next stop.

WALL STREET – From Trinity Church, Wall St. can easily be found which is just right across. The first building in the alley is the New York Stock Exchange where the world economy is being dictated. Again, the building is another Beaux art (close to Manila Post Office and the like). Near it is the Federal Hall where a giant George Washington monument is erected. That’s the spot where the first US President did his oath taking.

CENTRAL PARK – The huge park serves as Manhattan’s oxymoron to its tall buildings and dirty avenues. What you expect from a recreational center are here: boating in a lake, street performances, great lawn, jogging lanes, trees, fountains, long benches, performing arts, monuments, fresh air and everything green. Consider Central Park as the park of all parks. I can even spend a year’s Sundays here, relaxing in one corner to another (I don’t know about winter though). In between park walks, we also grabbed the chance to quickly visit the American Natural History Musuem. Remember "Night at the Museum"? There.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART – The building is adjacent to one part of Central Park, facing the upperclass neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Vistan and I entered the museum at 4pm (while Vianney and Waw had their own agenda) and we went directly to the Balcony Café at the section originally reserved for the American Wing. As planned, we will just meet up in front of the museum. I first visited the American Wing trying to catch some Edward Hoppers but I was disappointed with their temporary display. They’re mostly copycats of its European contemporaries (pre-Edward Hopper, I presumed). But maybe I was wrong and just pretentious (hahaha). In a real quick phase, I had the chance to pass through the Egyption collection, some Van Goghs and other popular pieces, the Greek sculptures and a very contemporary section of Giorgio Armani’s interpretations of superhero costumes. Too bad, Met had to close at 5:30pm (that was Sunday). That’s probably the shortest walkthrough I had in a museum.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING – And finally, saving the best for last, the Empire State Building. At 6:30pm, it was surprising to discover that no long queues were in sight. There was an announcement that there’s a 50-50 chance to be cloudy and the visibility could be poor. We just ignored the warning and proceeded to the booth (a ticket costs $19). The only thing that slowed us down was the elevator queue from the 80th floor to the 86th. By the way, at the building’s entrance, Rico, a former officemate in my first company met us. I was about to send him an SMS when he suddenly popped up out of nowhere. He brought with him two pairs of shoes for another friend who is now based in Australia. Anyway, truth to be told, the view from the deck is one for the books. It was the perfect time for photo session as the late afternoon sun provided a camera-friendly natural light. I wish I could have stayed longer to see Manhattan transform into Gotham City.

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