Monday, April 4, 2011

Family takes on New York City

Sunday started with someone's need to purchase a Nintendo 3DS.  Since Chad and Kevin didn't stand in lines at midnight the next choice was to make it an experience and purchase the unit at the Nintendo World Store.  Chad called and they opened early for the day due to the release of the new game system.  We headed back to the subway and across to Rockefeller Center, effortlessly now that we were pros finding our way out of the underground.  There were just a handful of people in the store and plenty of 3DSs to go around.  Upstairs was a Nintendo museum with all the old game systems.  Downstairs was Zack's favorite section, the Pokemon area.  He had his picture taken with Pikachu, then picked out some Pokemon action figures to purchase.

After Chad ran the purchases back to the hotel, we headed to the Museum of the City of New York.  Since we went to many Smithsonian museums in D.C. last year we figured the kids would not enjoy overdoing the museums again this year.  None of the boys were interested in the art museums either.  The New York Museum had some interesting content but unfortunately a large part of the museum was under renovation and closed. There was a good movie to watch and some home furnishings and stained glass from some of the New York mansions.

We had tickets for a tour at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in the afternoon.  In order to get to the museum by public transportation we would need to transfer from subway to a crosstown bus.  We took the subway to the Times Square station and emerged into a different world.

At the last museum and on our walk around Central Park to get to the subway there were not huge crowds of people, in fact only scattered groups.  But walking into Times Square was a blast of neon and people, street vendors, lots of police.  We found our bus stop on 42nd Street and stood in awe while we waited.  Normal businesses like, Walgreens, Subway, McDonalds were supersized in neon lights.  There was a Mini Cooper car, full size on a billboard.  Definitely a different New York experience.

The Intrepid was hard to miss once we got to the end of the bus ride.  It dwarfed a cruise ship parked at a nearby pier.  Once inside we traded our etickets for lanyards in different colors representing different jobs on board the ship.  It was fun to compare our choices.  This ship has a very interesting and varied past.  Everything about our tour was excellent and I would highly recommend one of the guided tours.  We had a small group of 9 people in our tour and were able to go "behind the scenes" in several areas of the boat.

We took a plane elevator from the main floor to the top deck, where there is a large collection of foreign and American planes and helicopters.  We went inside the roped off areas for up close and hands on looks at the machines.  Zack sat in the front seat of a Coast Guard helicopter.

We were able to touch an A-12 Blackbird but not allowed to go past the landing gear, supposedly by CIA orders.

We were allowed into the restoration tent where the staff was working on two units.  The one plane is being put together with pieces they find on ebay.

After our tour and bus trip back to Lexington Avenue, we picked up meat and cheese at a deli to make sandwiches on some leftover bagels from breakfast.  Again, the food was good, but service at the deli was almost non-existent.  After supper we checked out the rooftop at sunset and after dark.