March 5, 2005

I last visited New York City when I was 10 years old. Obviously, I barely remember anything from that trip except that it was hot and humid. And also that we used the cab once--to go to the airport. This was our first full day in New York City. I went to the city with a group from my masters program. Naturally, I take pictures almost any moment I can. I have a habit of taking pictures of people, because in all situations, it's the people that matter. Not quite the destination. It's about the journey.

8:47 am Suddenly around 8:!5 am, I wake up and I can't fall asleep. So I realize it's photolog day and I run out to Broadway in a frantic search for batteries for my dying digicam. I contemplate buying the charger because I stupidly left it at home. But the stores are CLOSED. I am not going to miss a photolog am I use a charge bar on this picture of Broadway.

9:59 am And so Justin is nice enough to lend me his digicam (Thanks!). Relief. And here the boyz (and weeklong roomies)get ready (when I have been ready for an hour...)

10:09 am We decide what to do for the day. And we're waiting in the lobby for some people to come down.

10:30 am Finally we head to the subway, which is right on the corner from the hotel. At west 32nd right in the middle of K-town in NYC!

10:31 am And it turns out that Hari has worked on the user interface of the NYC subway system. We get all excited and then we all plop $20 on a metrocard. The line that says "dip your card" for swiping a credit card makes me amused.

10:43 am Oh where is the subway? Fortunately, we don't experience a lag time, because this is NYC!

10:47 am We take the express accidentally, but we're still happy!

10:48 am People around us can tell that we're tourists considering the large group of 7 and all of us are whipping out our cameras.

11:19 am We get on the right train and finally end up at the Museum of Natural History stop.

11:20 am Pretty fishies in the subway station. Who knew that stations could have so much character?

11:32 am Our first exhibit in the museum--an exploration of the planets. And how much do you weigh on the moon?

11:38 am The moon crashes on me. Ok maybe not yet.

11:57 am We walk the Cosmic Pathway which details the 13 billion years of cosmic evolution. With each foot we take, we walk several million years.

12:07 pm The majestic Barosarus in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, the world's tallest freestanding mount of a dinosaur.

12:33 pm We skip some more halls. Carol is sad. :(

12:36 pm A typical scene in our journey of NYC: cellphone and walking.

12:39 pm We walk through Human Evolution and not to our surprise, we are made out of bones. Also I am made up of extreme silliness because I can't even give a normal pose for pictures.

12:40 pm Carol and the circulatory system

1:13 pm Then we leave to find lunch. Here, people just can't wait for my photosnapping behavior anymore. Wait for me!!!

1:58 pm Hari is disappointed in my eating skills. I try my best to finish up this FAT pizza slice at Ray's pizza, but I fail miserably. If I can't do this, how can I do a 6 lb burger???

2:21 pm And now we walk through Central Park. It's THAT bridge. I get excited again.

2:25 pm Unfortunately it's the winter so there's no romping on the lawns as the sign says, "The lawn is closed for the season foot traffic damages dormant turf. Allowing turf to rest after an active season will ensure a healthy lawn in the spring."

2:26 pm I see the Gates (an art installation) in the distance across the lake. Excited!!!

2:28 pm Rest and enjoy the scenery. Again, I am still the one not doing a normal pose.

2:37 pm And finally, we have reached a Gate.

2:39 pm Carol poses me around a pole.

2:41 pm A guy hands us all each a swatch of the Gates material. We all tuck our own into our pockets for safe-keeping.

2:43 pm And we continue walking...

2:57 pm Now at Strawberry Fields. Remembering John Lennon,

2:59 pm Shoe problem.

3:05 pm Fields a nearby t-shirt stop. Remember, if there's something that attracts people (with money) in NYC, there's a way to make money too.

3:18 pm Lisa and Carol head inside the Tavern on the Green for rest stop while I run excitedly around the building...

3:20 pm where Rick Moranis' character is torn apart by the ghostly cougars in Ghostbusters!

3:32 pm At Julliard's Lincoln Center...

3:34 pm Can we...stop...for...a

3:36 pm Suddenly, someone gets a brillant idea of picking people up.

4:13 pm At the Samsung Experience store at the new Time Warner Center. Many gadgets to play with. And also apparently a cell phone that you could use to call people...for free. For "security", Shannon deletes the number she just called.

4:48 pm And we stop at a Tastee Delite (Lisa's favorite) store where I go for my fruity flavors again--strawberry gelato and kiwi sorbet.

5:17 pm We get hassled by people who want us to buy comedy show tickets in Times Square.

5:18 pm The MTV studio in the distance. When I was younger, I really wanted to be here to stand in all the superficiality. Now it's an indication of how commercial-like Times Square has become. Also this was the point where the battery sort of died...

8:32 pm And awhile later after spending some time at the Gap and walking back 10 blocks to the hotel and resting and finally meeting up with Alex (he and I played phone tag all day) and his friend Kim...we get to Orchid Restaurant in Cheslea. Apparently Alex can't make a normal pose either.

8:33 pm Apparently neither can I. Light blinds Arthur.

8:49 pm Green light for a no go. I stupidly order lobster ravoli. Like all ravoli dishes I have ordered in the past, this was ridiculously too small. It was good nonetheless. I finish the dish in less than 5 minutes.

9:27 pm Almost all of us. Bigger version here. This restaurant had a great vibe, with a knowledgable server and also a musician that was trying to make a buck. Supposedly, the restaurant was going to be cleared out later for a VH1 party.

9:31 pm And then, the wall next to the table falls with a crash! The plants fall out and the soil spills on the floor. The person who knocks it over looks shocked...although the expression on his face matches his typical sad/happy expression. So maybe he wasn't shocked... As he leaves to go to his initial destination, gossip spreads around the table that he is kicked out of the restaurant...

9:32 pm Oh but, there he is! The one standing. Welcome back! The one with a sheepish smile. We all love you anyway!

11:02 pm After dinner, we head back to our hotel. Most of us had planned to go to a club, but unfortunately some of us didn't have the right clothes for the occasion. Considering that it is NYC, the dress code is strictly enforced. Shipra puts on a tie that is not hers.

11:48 pm Justin is wearing a jacket that is not his. Shipra is wearing a tie that is not hers! We wait in the lobby as we head out to Park.

12:17 am Half of the group changes their mind at the last minute and decide not to come. We get to park...and unfortunately, the Park has a strict formal dress code. We stand outside trying to figure out what to do...the guys back to the hotel and the girls head to APT.

1:39 am Only 4 of us now. We find ourselves at Air. Shannon works her magic and we get into the exclusive club after waiting for more than 45 minutes. We pay a $20 cover and a $3 coat check fee. I get tired of the scene and leave after 30 minutes.

3:17 pm I get back to the hotel and realize that I lost my key. So I call the rest of the gang...and it turns out they're at a bar. They come back eventually and we all get ready to sleep. After taking a shower, I come into the room to see this! All 3 boys have fallen asleep with the lights on and the TV blaring. I turn off the lights and yank the remote out from someone's hand. Good night!