If any of you follow my (excessive) Facebook photo postings, you probably noticed that we took a trip to New York City over the holidays. You may have also noticed that "we" was just me, Sam, and Ben. In case this is weird, allow me to explain.
Ben is mildly obsessed with the Night at the Museum movies. After a clever brainstorm by my resourceful husband, who is all about less toys for Christmas, we decided that Ben's "big gift" would be a solo trip to the American Museum of Natural History while we were in Baltimore visiting my parents. Perfect! (Provided that they were willing to watch our girls for us, of course.)
We got him two books so he'd have something to physically open (New York, New York & a Coloring Book about the AMNH). Sam generated a "ticket" to the museum, which we stuck inside one of the books.
When he opened them on Christmas morning, it took him a minute to understand the implications of the books and ticket.
So we planned to go to New York on the Monday after we got to Maryland (December 28th). We (Sam & I) were so flipping tired from our Christmas shenanigans (including our Christmas Eve trip to Sylvania-Warner Robins-Sylvania again) that it just didn't happen that day. We postponed it to Tuesday. When we checked the weather on Monday night, we noted that the windchill in NYC on that day was in the single digits. Call us wimps, but we live in Georgia. We don't even own clothes for that kind of weather. To our chagrin, we postponed it to Wednesday. The weather for that day was still in the low 30's, but it was sunny and less windy. It would do. The only potential issue we could predict was a bigger crowd, what with it being New Years Eve Eve and all.
I don't know why, but we always run late, so Wednesday morning, we didn't leave the house until nearly 8:00am. It's about 3 1/2 hours to NYC from my parent's house. We didn't eat breakfast because we thought we'd grab something on the way. We stopped at a service stop on the NJ turnpike for gas and food around 10:30. Burger King had already stopped serving breakfast, so Ben had a Whopper Jr and Sam and I shared some french fries (perhaps the ultimate breakfast of champions?). We parked in Harrison and took the Path into the city (it *only* took us 10 or so minutes to figure out the Metrocard). After one transfer, we ended up at 33rd Street. Since it was nearly noon by this point, we just decided go on up to the museum (despite having lots of closer things on the agenda). Looking at our printed subway map like the trio of tourists that we were, we finally figured out how to get there (and I'm not even going to say how many times we messed that up).
When we got off the subway at 81st street, the line for the museum (which is so cool it has its own subway station) was all the way up the ramp onto the street. I truly should have taken a picture to convey the gravity of this. I saw the sheer number of people and my stomach just dropped. We had come all the way to New York solely for the museum and I had doubts we were even going to get in before they closed at 5:45pm. Waiting in line was not an option. We took our spot. After a couple rounds of thumb wars, I took out my camera for the first picture of the day. I wanted to commemorate that which I guessed would be a theme for the day (and I was right). Here is Ben. I call this shot: Waiting in Line.
I'd be remissed if I didn't give props to the AMNH. The line was insanely long. The wait, however, was only about 25 minutes. I was shocked. (But again, I say this is where pessimism pays off. You know, the whole being-pleasantly-surprised thing.)
While I waited for Sam to purchase tickets in the lobby, I seized the opportunity to pump. This was my primary concern about being in a strange city for an extended period of time without Sarah and without a "home base" (like a car). I got in line (again) for the ladies restroom. Noting that there was a handicapped stall with an "Out of Order" sign on it, I asked the bathroom attendant if I could go in there since all I needed to do was pump. She got on her walkie-talkie with another bathroom attendant and found me a clean, albeit broken restroom stall in which to pump. After butting my way up in line amid nasty glances and choice phrases from unknowing line-waiters, I was set up in my stall. Done. (And thank you to the restroom attendants. They were fantastic! They were like bouncers in their own right, defending me as I pushed my way past everyone, "Be quiet! She needs to do something!") That wasn't so bad after all.
So I'd pumped, we had our tickets, and we were ready to find the big dinosaur skeleton (because really, I think that's the main reason we went there after all). I'm not sure if the people of New York hate cold worse than southerners or if it's because there must have been nine million people inside the AMNH alone, but it was stifling in there. As we squeezed our way inside, we stripped off our clothes, piling them inside and eventually on top of my once-small backpack. I think on a normal day (that is, any day besides New Years Eve Eve) we could have spent hours, days even, inside that museum. However, I regret to say that the influx of people, the temperature, and stomachs running on meager rations of Burger King food affected the length of our visit.
We did get to see the highlights from the movie though.
Of course, the T-Rex:
The "Dum Dum" statue, fuzzy because I'm inept at anything considered "art"...like taking pictures with a camera:
And another one with "Dum Dum"...the back story on the kids being that the mother of these three kids had tied up the statue for like 10 minutes, taking pictures with multiple different cameras. She already had several photos of her kids all alone. There wasn't a line. Some other kids just wanted to touch it, stand next to it, play with it, etc...and every time someone else's kid got near it, she flipped out. As a matter of principle, because she doesn't own the museum or the statue, and it's not nice to be rude, we let Ben go up there. (Is that very passive-aggressive of us?) You can see her irritated hand gesture and three kids in this picture next to Ben. Hehehe.
And one last museum picture, perhaps my fave of the whole day...posing by the Teddy Roosevelt monument out front. (Maybe irrelevant, but he's definitely in my Top 3 Favorite US Presidents.)
This concludes Part One...stay tuned for more. (I *know* you're on the edge of your seat!) And wow. That was still really long.