Finally, the finale.

I had an appointment cancel for this morning (yes, I had an appointment scheduled for 8:30am on Saturday, it’s that busy), so I think I’ll finish posting the photos I took during my trip to NYC in…September? Was it that long ago??

Anyway, here are the final shots from my trip, taken from the top of the Rockefeller Center.

That bright red glow to the right is Times Square.

The Empire State building changes its light colors to commemorate or sponsor different events or groups. This night’s lights was for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of NYC.

You can see the lower observation deck here, with all the Plexiglas jumper barriers.

There are spotlights pointed up from the lower observation deck in a number of places, making it difficult to get good pictures from certain angles. Here, though, the spotlights let me include part of the Rockefeller Center in the shot.

On the top deck, there is a room with these flashing lights in the ceiling, and a security guard. That’s it. I felt like I had stepped into some sort of 80’s European discotheque.

The following morning, I woke up, packed up my bags, said goodbye to Krishna and took a taxi to the airport.

More NYC

Continuing where I left off with the last post, here are some more photos from my trip to New York City. Okay, it’s not exactly picking up where I left off. I’m missing a day of photos, they’re on a card I seem to have left at work. So I’ll have to go back a day in time on the next post.

These photos are from Friday, my last full day in the city. I spent the afternoon shopping with Matt and Krishna. Before heading out, I took some shots on the corner of 78th and 2nd Ave, where Krishna lives.

78th St, facing 2nd Ave.
Looking north up 2nd Ave.
I didn't eat here, but the metallic tiling is cool.

We took the subway downtown, and exited at the Municipal Building.

Looking up constantly hurts your neck.
Massive arch is massive!

There is also an old, above-ground subway station there.

Tiles tiles tiles tiles TILES
I wonder who gets to clean the grout and replace any missing tiles?

Shopping was uneventful, we strolled up Broadway and hit likely places to find what we were looking for. One thing I noticed: every block has a set of the same stores. H&M, OMG and Essential Clothing are repeated over and over. I guess for the lazy people who can’t be bothered to walk a block or two from where they happen to fall out of their cab?

Sidenote: I walked a whole lot in NYC. More than I’ve walked during several years of living in a 5 block town in Alaska, for sure. By Friday, I had developed a very large and painful blister on my right foot. I kept draining it, but Wednesday and Thursday it felt like a large marble under the ball of my foot. By Friday, it was like a large marble with spikes in it.

After we shopped ourselves out, Matt and Krishna went back to the apartment, and I headed for the Rockefeller Center. I wanted to get some shots of the city at night. I waited in line to buy a ticket for “The Top of the Rock” for about 45 minutes. Leaving the ticket counter, I happened right into an open elevator. I thought “that wasn’t so bad!” Then the elevator stopped after ascending one floor. The Center employee waiting for us said “Everyone please step out and follow the walkway to your left.” Clearly we were not at the Top of the Rock as everyone in the elevator expected we would be at the end of this ride, so these instructions were met with either stunned silence or a more audible “Buhhh…wha?” from the bolder passengers. No one moved. After a good 5 seconds, I realized the employee was not going to repeat herself, and I was apparently the only passenger still in command of both my mind and body, so I said “Let’s go” and stepped out of the elevator.

Of course, with the spiked marble blister on my foot, it was more of a lurch than a bold stride, as at this point in the day I was limping like a wounded giraffe.

We made our way around what I’m sure is a delightful interpretive installation on the history of the Rockefellers and their Center, but I ignored all that shit. I just wanted to get to the top of the damn building before my foot fell off.

At the end of the installation, we found not one but three lines on tiered platforms, in front of three giant screens. We were herded into the third line, closest to the front of the little theatre. The screens cheerfully informed us that Line 3 had 12 minutes to go, and wouldn’t you know, there were three 4 minute videos about Rockefeller and the Center to keep us company. I don’t remember anything from the videos, I was too busy trying to keep the Korean tourist group from pushing around me to the front of the line.

After our 12 minutes were up, we were instructed to go around the corner and…wait for it….GET IN ANOTHER LINE. This one put us on our final elevator, though, so my journey was coming to an end. Once on the elevator, all the lights went out and we found ourselves staring straight up through the clear ceiling into the elevator shaft while little LED lights denoted every passing floor.

Once at the top, I still had to go up an escalator then another set of stairs before I could get around the giant plexiglass barriers that surround the edges of the building.

I arrived just in time for sunset. It had been unseasonably warm all week, culminating in temperatures in the upper 80’s that Friday. The humidity was visible as a fog around the city. The following photos use a technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) to capture what I saw better than a standard photo could.

So many buildings, so many people.
The Empire State Building dominates the skyline.

I waited around for twilight to fade so I could capture the city lights. But that’s another post for another time.

Times Square

I’ll be posting photos of last week’s trip to NYC thoughout the following week.

I spent most of last Wednesday hanging out in Times Square. I went to visit a former IU School of Journalism faculty member, Sandeep, at CUNY. After that, I spent several hours immersed in the press of people, stores, and lights that make up Times Square.

The entrance to Times Square.
There are quite a few interesting buildings in the area.
Based on the way people drive, I wouldn't ride a bike unless heavily armed.
There is a seemingly endless variation to the kinds of taxis now, including many hybrids.
The 3-story Toys-R-Us has a ferris wheel in it.
I purposefully overexposed this shot. With the sun reflecting off the glass buildings, it was the only way to get a decent exposure on the ground!
In Alaska, the overarching color-scheme is greens and browns. The colors of New York are a visual feast!
This is a walkway underneath a building.
This is under the marquee for...can you guess? ... McDonalds!

In a gallery

I made it to New York, after some adventures in flying. Fog had covered the Kenai Peninsula for about a week, and prevented any flights from leaving Homer. So I drove all the way to Anchorage on Saturday. And promptly had my flight canceled by fog in Anchorage. I was able to get out on Sunday though, and arrived in New York City Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, I went to the Union Gallery Annex to see Mary Kate and check out the art up for auction.

The outside of the Union Gallery Annex on Broadway
Mary Kate works hard
The gallery space is really large
Tyra and my photos are hanging close together
MK organized cleaning the gallery space and hanging all the art
Photos, paintings, sculptures, action figures, weavings...all sorts of art is up for auction

There was a panel discussion about contemporary Tibetan art on Tuesday

In the forest

While Tyra was visiting, we took a trip with The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies across Kachemak Bay to tour their field station in Peterson Bay. They have a house, a composting toilet complex and 4 yurts, where schools can bring classes for 3 to 5 day stays. There are a number of trails on the peninsula they occupy, as well as some spectacular tide pools.

Everything here in Homer is based on the tides. Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay have the second highest tides in the world, next to the Bay of Fundy in Canada. Depending on where the moon is, low and high tide can differ by 28′! The best low tides are in the negatives, where the ocean recedes further than it usually does. We get a -4′ or -5′ tide every month or so, and everyone goes clam-digging since so much land is exposed.

All of that just to say: our low tide for this particular excursion sucked. It was, at its lowest, a +3.5′. So we took a hike in the forest with our naturalist guide, Dan. I learned an incredible amount on the hike, like the 4 different types of fern (Fox, Lady, Oak, Wood), elderberry leaves stink a lot and why the spruce beetle killing off huge swaths of trees isn’t a bad thing.

Fiddleheads unravelling to become ferns
I've been hoping to see this carnivorous plant since I learned they grow here, but I've never been able to find it. Dan had us get down on our hands and knees and search the sphagnum moss to find them. They're tiny! Smaller than a dime!
Fungus, ferns and wood
Some sort of seed case that was hanging from a small tree
Some sort of flower (obviously I didn't retain as much as I was hoping)
Some...other sort of flower. I think I need a review, Dan.
A lichen has taken over this dead tree.
All the standing dead spruce had these huge fungi all over them
Tyra was really excited about them
I didn't know fungus could sweat
This lichen, apparently somewhat rare, is called Fairy Barf by some lichen enthusiasts
We learned that a tree's second line of defence, after its bark, is to ooze sap everywhere. This one was putting up a good fight.
This spruce grouse let us follow it down the trail to take pictures