Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 9: New York, Not Yet

Manhattan!

A lot of what’s visible here is Wall Street rather than all the most beloved Manhattan skyscrapers. In the wake of the 2008-2009 recession we nonetheless tried to draw inspiration from the view rather than glare at it in middle-class indignation.

When we decided to devote one day of our ostensible Philadelphia vacation to visiting the Statue of Liberty a reasonable distance away, we had no idea what to expect from the journey. We certainly didn’t envision it as a prequel to future vacations. And yet, there we were, and there it was.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #29: NYC Outtakes II

Chess & Checkers House!

Day Two: our endurance walk through Central Park included a rest stop at the Chess & Checkers House, moments before the clouds began sprinkling.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through the first six days of our second trip to New York City in twenty-eight episodes —- Sunday through Thursday, July 9-14,2016, our second time flying anywhere and my son’s first. Between the flights there and back again, we saw lots more New York we hadn’t seen our first time around when we drove out there from Indianapolis in 2011.

Here, in our penultimate chapter: a selection of outtakes from previous scenes — a couple skipped by dumb oversight; a few that captured isolated moments disconnected from the rest of the narrative; one or two alternate shots of cool objects and places; and a few left behind due to inadequate wow factor. We may be aging amateurs who don’t have thousands of unconditional superfans, but we do have light standards.

Right this way for more art, architecture, animals, and aircraft!

2016 NYC Trip Photos #28: The Last Manhattan Mealtimes

Junior's pastry!

Mini-pastry appetizer at Junior’s, one of the better experiences from the second half of our week.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

On our vacations the meals trend in the same direction throughout our week: at first tentative while we’re exploring new territory. After a day or two we’re emboldened enough to experiment with places more imaginative or just more expensive. After peaking midweek with the greatest meals of the year, our dinners then begin to descend in either quality or excitement level as we reach the far end of our budget and tap into our last reserves of energy just to finish out the trip. We try to keep finding gems among the dross, whether the results impress our friends back home or not.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #24: Mandatory Zoo Visit

peeking parrot!

Peeking parrot doing its best Laugh-In impression.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Zoos were a staple of our early road trips once my son began tagging along. Now that he’s college age, animal sightseeing isn’t the obligatory concession it once was, but if the option presents itself, we’re open to it.

During our vacation planning, Day Six was one of the first that I’d mapped out before all the rest for a few different reasons. As with our Day Five excursion to the Museum of the Moving Image, Day Six would take us out to Queens, but farther south than the Museum and consequently using a different subway. The Queens Zoo wasn’t a primary objective, but it was close enough to the other sightseeing temptations that I figured why not add it to the mix. No matter how young or old your kids are, animals are cool.

Right this way for EMERGENCY ZOO ANIMALS.

2016 NYC Trip Photos #23: Times Square for Old Times’ Sake

NY Gifts!

Manhattan nighttime even makes mere souvenir shopping look cooler.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

After our Wicked matinee and dinner, my wife and son were wiped out and done sightseeing for Day Five. I had a bit of energy left and one more errand I wanted to run. Anne was a little uneasy letting me go traipsing alone through the streets of New York City, but I promised I wouldn’t be out all night. My destination was an easy half-mile walk, and gave me an excuse for one last stroll through the electric scenery of Times Square.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #22: Back on Broadway

Wicked!

“I’m through accepting limits ’cause someone says they’re so / Some things I cannot change, but till I try, I’ll never know!”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

On our first Manhattan foray back in 2011, The Lion King was the first Broadway show we’d ever seen. I’m sure there’re locals and/or hardcore Broadway fans who consider it too populist a choice or whatever, but it was our unanimous decision that didn’t disappoint us in any way imaginable. For our next feature presentation, we once again took our family interests to heart and chose accordingly.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #21: Motion Picture Makings

The Mask!

Kids, be sure to ask your parents about that time Jim Carrey tried to make “ssssSMOKIN’!” a thing.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Our trip to The Museum of the Moving Image, from Times Square out to Astoria, was the longest subway ride we’d ever taken up to that point. I think we were in agreement it was worth the experience, particularly as we walked through their collection of movie memorabilia — actual masks, costumes, models, pre-production art, and writings from some of your favorite Hollywood spectacles. We were grateful not to see the word “replica” on any of their labels.

Right this way for movie stuff and film things!

2016 NYC Trip Photos #19: Ultimate Manhattan Mealtime

Grill!

If you’ve ever gone to Benihana but resented those showy chefs as superfluous middlemen in your tableside cooking experience, have we got a restaurant for you.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Visiting two museums along Manhattan’s Museum Mile seemed insufficient, but we’d already seen the Metropolitan Museum of Art on our 2011 trip, and we were running out of time. We had restaurant reservations at the end of Day Four that would prove to be the best meal we’ve ever had in New York City, possibly a contender for Top 5 Meals of All Time.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #18: 20th Century Art Faire

Kandinsky!

My wife and I split up at the Guggenheim and walked the galleries at our own respective paces. Among the works we each photographed, one of the very few to end up in both our photo sets was Kandinsky’s “Black Lines”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we gave you an inside look at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum, renowned repository of assorted arts by myriad masters, with a focus on the early Modernists. That entry was the first in a long, long time to elicit a reader response on the ol’ MCC Request Line. Juliette Kings, a fellow WordPress blogger over at Vampire Maman writes:

Wonderful. More please.

Short, sweet, and entirely possible. Consider it done! Presented here are twelve of the many paintings we saw on our whirlwind tour of the Guggenheim’s geometrically dazzling facility. The Guggenheim’s complete collection is also viewable online via their official site, their official app for interactive use while you’re there in person, or through the numerous art aficionados who’ve shared these famous works on Pinterest and elsewhere. Enjoy!

Right this way for eleven more noteworthy works for your own independent art study!

2016 NYC Trip Photos #17: Art Museum as Art Itself

Guggenheim!

The Guggenheim’s original design concept was “inverted ziggurat”. As a Midwesterner I look at it and think “fat tornado”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Two blocks south of the Cooper Hewitt, New York’s famed “Museum Mile” continues with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, one of the most distinctive-looking cultural centers around. Credit goes to architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who passed away six months before his last groundbreaking creation opened its doors in 1959. You’re supposed to look at the works of early Modernist masters when you enter, but the building itself is fascinating to the point of distraction.

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2016 NYC Photos #16: The Museum of Intelligent Designs

Vitruvian Flik!

Do we have enough fans of either da Vinci or A Bug’s Life to appreciate Vitruvian Flik? Here’s hoping.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

After our tour of the USS Intrepid and its aircraft and spacecraft collections, our next ambitious stops were a bit farther away, up into the mannered nether reaches of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I’d pegged a couple of Museum Mile mainstays whose current exhibits might be in our aesthetic wheelhouses. Getting anywhere near them was half the battle.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #14: War Wings III

F11F-1 Tiger!

This F11F-1 Tiger served from 1961 to 1963 as one of the Blue Angels. Now it’s retired and sunning itself in New York City.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

On our two trips last year, I found myself in the presence of two different aircraft collections: one at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, which keeps several full-size wartime plans suspended in midair inside a multi-million-dollar building; the other, at the unrelated National Museum of WWII Aviation in Colorado Springs, which is relatively newer and dreams of funding that same square footage someday.

We found the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum doesn’t have quite as large a fleet as those two, but the worthy assortment on its upper deck, lacking the specialized scope of those other two museums, includes vehicles from other wars and eras, not just World War II.

Side note while you’re scrolling through the photo gallery: film fans may recognize the Intrepid from its big scene in I Am Legend, in which our hero Will Smith hangs around the upper deck by himself and whacks golf balls toward Manhattan for fun. I guess that’s one way to pass the time after the apocalypse.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #13: The Intrepid Walk at Dawn

USS Intrepid!

Love, exciting and new! Come aboard — we’re expecting you!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

We saw our first battleship on our 2008 road trip to Virginia Beach, which included a side stop in Norfolk to tour the USS Wisconsin. That story hasn’t yet been represented here on Midlife Crisis Crossover, but the short version is that it was huge, our veteran tour guide was a nice gentleman, the day was sweltering, and we hardly got to see inside. Our 2015 road trip through Alabama to New Orleans allowed for a digression in Mobile, home of the USS Alabama, which allowed us access to more areas of the ship while offering zero protection from the South’s summer heat. Frankly I have no idea how our soldiers can stand to serve on these things without roasting to medium well within minutes, but God bless ’em all for being better, sturdier people than me.

When most folks think of New York City, “battleship” isn’t usually among the first 500 words that come to mind. For us that changed when we learned the eastern shore of the Hudson River is the home of the USS Intrepid, docked on the western border of Hell’s Kitchen, several blocks from our hotel. It was convenient, it was showy, and it had a few special exhibits that dovetailed with our geek interests. So that’s why it was our first attraction on the morning of Day Four, and why this entry was nearly titled “Battleship III”.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #12: Manhattan Mealtimes II

Cake boss cakes!

Sweet, sweet New York City cakes by way of New Jersey. As Seen on TV!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Day Three in Manhattan brought us more interesting adventures in the fabulous field of food — twice in Times Square, twice in Chinatown. One was a recommendation, but the rest were discoveries on the go, this time with no flawed assistance from Google Maps.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #11: Time Yet Again for Times Square

Duffy Square!

The red stairs of Duffy Square: where all the cool vacationers come to sit down and appear in the backgrounds of everyone else’s photos.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Returning to Times Square was inevitable, and not just because our hotel was a few blocks away. All those colossal neon ad campaigns attract tourists like we’re wingless moths, but instead of electrocuting us, they hope to implant latent signals that will one day activate on a time delay and zap our mental processing centers till we agree to empty our wallets and purses in the general direction of the products, goods, or services that previously loomed above us and dominate our vacation slideshows.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #10: Waiting for Colbert

Late Show Marquee!

It’s not the same as his old Comedy Central gig, but it’ll do.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For our second trip to Manhattan we decided to do something we’d never done before: attend the live taping of a late-night talk show. Tradition holds that such shows may air in the wee hours of bedtime, but they’re recorded before a live studio audience that day’s afternoon. Sadly for our chosen week, most hosts were either on hiatus or already sold out by the time I thought to look them up. I found a few TV shows that we could have attended, but none of us three had any remote interest in either Maury Povich or The View. Fortunately there was one man who’s airing new episodes this week, who had tickets available, and who wasn’t the complete opposite of us.

That man was Stephen Colbert. That show was The Late Show With Stephen Colbert starring Stephen Colbert. These are the results of that time we showed up to watch Stephen Colbert record the July 11th episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert starring Stephen Colbert.

At the end of our extra-length Day Three, I typed up the preceding entry into the wee hours of that night as quickly as I could while our Colbert experience was fresh in mind. For background noise I had our hotel TV turned on while the episode aired. Listening to a series of performances we’d just watched in person added a surreal edge to my exhausted state of mind.

Right this way for links to our episode, and photos of what else we did!

2016 NYC Trip Photos #9: It’s Chinatown! Again! Yes, AGAIN.

Chinatown Starbucks!

Starbucks: insinuating corporate coffee into any environment or culture since 1971.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

After getting our American history fix at Federal Hall, we descended a convenient subway entrance across the street from the front doors and took the J train a few blocks north to familiar Canal Street, where we loitered not once but twice at my son’s insistence on our 2011 trip. In the five years since, he just couldn’t let Chinatown go. We even felt compelled to check out Boston’s narrower version on our 2013 road trip. Curiously, we’ve been to Chicago several times but never seen theirs. The last time we asked someone about it, all we got was a disapproving look.

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2016 NYC Photos #8: Washington Clocked In Here

Federal Hall!

Some places in New York, everyone knows on sight. Some places have to get in your face with their significance.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

We had an appointment scheduled on late into Day Three, but found ourselves with a few hours at our disposal in the first half. Our sightseeing kicked off with an extra-strength serving of American history, just the way my wife likes it.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #7: Manhattan Mealtimes

Halal Carts!

Our Day Two lunchtime architect panicked at the idea of being on camera, but graciously invited us to photograph his workspace where the magic happens.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Upon our return to Manhattan we hoped for interesting adventures in the fabulous field of food. Results varied more than we expected as we did our best to accommodate all tastes and hopes within our little trio — sometimes venturing into businesses unknown, occasionally settling for familiar logos for the sake of party unity. We learned that independent ownership is no guarantee of a successful meal, nor is corporate franchising presumptive of automatic culinary failure.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #6: Central Park Statue Stalking

Sherman Statue!

General Sherman prepares to depart Manhattan and rampage all over those Confederate flag sites we saw on our 2015 road trip to the South.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

And in our last chapter:

On our 2011 vacation we saw maybe 5% of the total square footage of Central Park, if that. We saw a feature or two, but were so drained by the time we got there that the oppressive summer heat burned away the last of our energy reserves along with any drive for exploration. After we finished with St. Paul’s Chapel, we decided another, longer tour through Central Park was in order. All told, our Central Park walk took us from Grand Army Plaza at 59th and 5th to just behind the Met at 81st Street.

A few Central Park art fixtures were at the top of Anne’s must-see checklist. We encountered more than twice as many statues as we expected before we reached the two she was looking for at the end of our trail.

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