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New York: Part 3 - Cooper Hewitt, Central Park and the Natural History Museum


Museums and Central Park

The snow has finally stopped and the sun is out, the weather is actually perfect but there are still thick layers of snow around some areas of the city.

We decide to make the most of our last full day in New York by visiting Central Park and a few more museums.

The first stop is the Cooper Hewitt along Museum Mile right by Central Park. We walk most of the way there so venture into Central Park for a quick peek.

The place is still covered in snow, and there is even the occasional person attempting to cross country ski. Also out in large numbers are Upper East Siders leaving their fancy apartments with equally fancy (and cute) dogs. I was quite surprised to see so many dogs being walked on snow - paw things must be cold!

At the Cooper Hewitt were several exhibitions of interest, but my favourite has the be the Bob Greenberg exhibition featuring a special section dedicated to one of my favourite designers, Dieter Rams. There is actually a documentary about his work coming out soon, made by Gary Hustwit, who also created the Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized documentaries that I thoroughly enjoy.

Continuing our journey into museums, we crossed Central Park to get to the American Natural History Museum. I just want to see the dinosaurs.

Inside the museum we see that they have several shows available, including a planetarium show on 'Dark Universe' narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Little did I know that he is actually the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space inside the American Natural History Museum.

The planetarium show was very well done, with fantastic visual effects and a soothing voice - almost too soothing as I found myself almost nodding off several times not for lack of interest but out of tiredness.

The dinosaur section of the museum was expansive, and took up what seemed like an entire floor. They had fossils of dinosaurs of all sizes and species, it was quite interesting to see the different scales. I was particularly amused by some of the species that were enormous, but with tiny tiny arms.

We finished the day with Italian food from Isle of Capri on Lexington.

The service was rather confusing, as no one greeted us when we entered, we had to find someone to seat us, and then we waited 20 minutes until I got too hangry and went to find someone for a menu.

The food itself was pretty good but not the best Italian I've had, although full marks for quantity - there was enough pasta there to feed 4 people. There was also a lot of complimentary bread and bread sticks, as well as small biscuits for dessert. 6/10



Top of the Rock and Pizza

We didn't have a lot planned for our final day in New York as we wanted to get to the airport early in case traffic was bad. Our best option was to walk to Rockefeller Plaza and get a view of the whole city. The plaza itself is quite interesting, with an ice skating rink in front.

We went inside to buy tickets, and got rather lost so had to ask for directions. Turns out you have to go to the lower level, where there are several shops (including a Ben and Jerry's) and the ticketing office and entrance are there.

Tickets were a ridiculous price, at $55NZD per person - I could think of a lot better things to do with that money, but when in New York, you gotta do what you gotta do.

We had to go through a security search and bag scan, and then waited in line for about 30 minutes to get an elevator up.

The view from the top was not that great in my opinion - many of the buildings were under construction, and it wasn't really worth the price. A bit disappointing really. The sun was quite harsh as well which made it really hard to see or get a good shot.

We couldn't leave New York without getting some pizza so we popped down to Harry's Italian Pizza Parlor in the basement of 30 Rock for a slice of pizza each. I was pretty hungry by then to be honest so it tasted alright, but the base was quite yeasty and the filling very greasy. I still prefer wood fire pizzas from Pizza Pomodoro in Wellington to be honest... 7/10



Our New York trip was a lot of fun, but I would like to come back for another visit sometime. There were so many places that we didn't even have time to visit - the High Line, Greenwich Village, Brooklyn.

I have mixed feelings about being delayed and forced to spend an extra 2 days in New York. On one hand it was nice to have a bit more time to explore and take it easy. On the other hand I can't help but feel like the time would have been better spent in Iceland chasing Auroras.

That leads nicely onto the next part of our journey... Iceland! Stay tuned for more on the beauty and wonders of the Arctic!

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