"When I first heard that Marge was joining the police academy, I thought it would be fun and zany, like that movie Spaceballs. But instead it was dark and disturbing. Like that movie -- Police Academy."
-- Homer Simpson

We all know that Han shot first

If you haven’t already seen this on the interweebs, check out the Geek and Gamer Girls video, an excellent parody of the extremely ridiculous California Gurls by Katy Perry. There are many references to our favourite elements of geek-dom, and the one in the Lara Croft outfit is Seth Green‘s wife.

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Leaving New York never easy

On our last day of sightseeing yesterday, we did a quick stop by Carnegie Hall, followed by visits to the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim Museum. Pictures are below:

Afterwards, we headed back to our apartment to drop off the souvenirs we’d gathered, and then finally had dinner at the Feast of San Gennaro, which has been running outside our windows all week.

We’re packing up this morning to head back to the Great White North (which is apparently going to be the Great Rainy North this evening). It’s been an unbelievable week here in New York…I’m sad to go, but at the same time I’m glad that I’ll get a chance to rest… :-)

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You say tomato…

I’m sure you’ve all heard that Stephen Colbert testified before Congress regarding migrant workers, but if you haven’t seen the clip – well you should! :) http://www.colbertrally.com/

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I want to be a part of it

Yesterday was our day to start seeing some of the big museums. We spent a couple of hours at the Met (and could have spent a couple of days), and then headed over to the Museum Of Modern Art (MOMA). On the way to MOMA, we had a bit of a treat…the streets were all blocked up for President Obama’s motorcade (I assume heading out from the UN).

Pictures of the museums and the motorcade, followed by some quick visits to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal are below:

Afterwards, we headed off to see an Off-Broadway production of Avenue Q. I always pictured “Off-Broadway” as being somewhat at a distance from Broadway…but we were only a block away from the Gershwin Theatre that we had been at the night before (which is considered a Broadway theatre). The difference actually seems to be the size of the theatres and the cost of the productions.

Anyway, one more day of sightseeing…this week has been a blur and a blast, but I am one tired tourist! :-)

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Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

We made it a bit of a slower day yesterday, mainly because our legs were so sore…oh yeah, and because we had tickets for a Broadway show in the evening!

We started off the day at the New York City Police Museum, learning about the history of the NYPD and in particular about all the changes that have been made since 9/11. Next, we went to the Seaport Museum, which is actually a 12-block area around Piers 16 & 17 (between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges). Pictures below are from these stops:

From there, we headed back towards our apartment, with a few stops on Canal St. for some shopping…but really this is where Kamelot would have been in heaven. For me, it was just an opportunity to pick up a few souvenirs for the folks back home.

After a short stop to rest up and change for the evening, we headed out for our dinner reservations…and managed to head the wrong direction on the subway (for the record, our first subway mishap of the week). This resulted in taking the N train across the Manhattan Bridge, with a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge, so we weren’t all that upset about it. We were a little late for our reservation, but they still had our table for us, so it all worked out. We had a fantastic meal at Plataforma Churrascaria, a Brazilian barbeque near Broadway.

We ended the evening seeing Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre, which was quite spectacular. I’ve seen it at the NAC in Ottawa, but somehow the Broadway version was just a little bigger… :-)

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Right through the very heart of it

On Tuesday, we started off by going back to Rockefeller Center and taking the NBC studio tour. I don’t have any pictures of that, as we’re not allowed to take pictures on the tour. It was interesting to see the studios (the Saturday Night Live studio is tiny!), but if you’ve watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or even 30 Rock, there wasn’t much new information about how television is made.

We then went to the Top of the Rock (the observation level of Rockefeller Center), followed by more bus tours. Those I have pictures of:

We ended the day with a visit to the World Trade Center site, but I don’t have any pictures of that…there really isn’t anything to see yet. The whole area is fenced off while they build the WTC Memorial Park. There’s a little preview site, where they have videos running talking about 9/11, and it really brings back all the emotions of that day. Standing there, you get the smallest sense of how this horrible thing we all saw happen on TV affected the people who live and work here.

After that, we made our way back to our neighbourhood and found a nice little Vietnamese restaurant with fantastic food…a great way to end the day!

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First we take Manhattan

OK, 12-hour stretches of wandering around New York are definitely taking their toll on my feet…we might need to slow things down a bit if I’m going to last all week… :-)

Yesterday, we took a boat over to Ellis Island and had a look around. It was amazing to think of the 12 million people who came through that facility in the years that it was actively used as an immigration processing center. After that, we took another bus tour. Looks like we won’t be able to see the United Nations building on this trip…the security is pretty high for the UN General Assembly, so all tours are cancelled. Also, there are protestors galore out there, so I’m not too keen on getting anywhere close to that mess.

Here are some pictures of Ellis Island, various sights from the bus tour, and then Central Park:

Afterwards, we made our way to the Empire State Building, making sure to get to the top after dark to get some spectacular views of the city:

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These vagabond shoes

Well, the first real day of the vacation (i.e. the one not spent getting here) was a lot of fun. We did three major things yesterday, shown in the three galleries below.

First off, we took a brunch cruise around Manhattan, also running by Ellis and Liberty Islands.

Next, we stopped by the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Finally, we took a bus tour through parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn (one of three tours we’re planning). It got dark during this tour, so not quite as many pictures.

Today, we’ve got more bus tours planned, and we’re probably going to try and get up the Empire State Building tonight. So I should have more cool pictures tomorrow! :-)

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No place that I’d rather be

So I’m in Manhattan this morning. My mother and I have been talking about coming to New York for a proper sightseeing visit for a while, and we decided this year to go for it. We’ve been to New York a couple of times before, but they were very impromptu visits of only a day or two. This time, we’re staying for a whole week to get a proper feel for the Big Apple.

We drove down from the Great White North yesterday (which is actually starting to become a little multi-coloured, with the leaves beginning their fall display). It was a bit of a long drive, but we got through it fine. Going across the border, I experienced my most thorough examination yet, although it still only entailed a few minutes of questions (I’ve never had the full-bore experience of a border inquisition, for which I may thank some sort of deity). The US border guy asked many questions, often repeating the same questions in different forms to see if he could trip us up in a lie. One sticking point was that I was born in Philadelphia, which made him assume I was a US citizen living in Canada. I had to explain that I only spent my first three weeks of life in the good ‘ole US of A before I made the informed decision of leaving for colder pastures… :-)

Crossing into Manhattan was a bit of an ordeal…the path given to us by the all-powerful Google Maps was to go through the Holland Tunnel, and the line-up to get in was something to see. Of course, we were arriving at around 9:30 on a Saturday night, which I’m told is a popular time to be trying to get into Manhattan…at any rate, we eventually made it, but not after I was cursing many people who were using various tactics to skip ahead in line. Curiously, the Holland Tunnel only has two lanes, but there were fully nine lanes of cars leading up to the entrance…it’s almost like they wanted to design in some guaranteed traffic jams.

Rather than booking a hotel in Manhattan for the week, we’ve rented a two-bedroom apartment…it ends up being cheaper than trying to find a couple of hotel rooms (much cheaper, actually), and we have the benefit of a full kitchen while we’re here. Of course, what we didn’t know about is that the Mulberry Street apartment we’ve rented in Little Italy is right over what is now the Feast of San Gennaro, which will be going on during our entire trip. The feast itself is something to see, but it’s also quite crowded and noisy when you’re trying to get home (there are flashing neon lights literally right outside our bedroom windows). Parking during the Feast is also somewhat challenging, but we’ve found a lot and we’re probably just going to leave the car there for the week. They close down the hullabaloo by about 1am, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s definitely going to add a twist to our comings and goings this week.

To start off the week, I’ve taken a few pictures of our apartment…I’m sure there’ll be many more pics to come! :-)

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