Archive for the ‘Times Square’ category

Ankling to the King Tut Exhibit

August 1, 2010

No pictures this time. Hey, I barely have any description as there was a prohibition on pictures and it was too dark to sneak one anyway. Plus, I didn’t have anything to write notes with.

I was wandering through Times Square and was offered a handout by a young lady. I declined it (politely – those people have a tough job and get either ignored or rejected most of the time), but then about two steps later I reversed and went back and got the pamphlet.

The pamplet indicated that the King Tut exhibit is in its last days. It’ll be a long, long time before it’s back. And it had a $5 off coupon on it. How could I resist?

I’ve heard bits and pieces about the exhibit, but no one has mentioned going to it. I’ve been thinking I ought to go and wondered why it seemed pretty low profile. I remember the last exhibit of it, back in the 70s(?), and it made all the magazines and all. I was nowhere near NYC or other cities on its tour at the time so never saw it.

The exhibit is on 44th Street between 7th Ave and 8th Ave. It’s hard to miss, but I guess I have missed it recently.

I went in and, being a cheap guy, I immediately asked how much it was (even before getting to the ticket counter – there was a long line). It turns out that the admission is $29.50 plus tax, plus a few doo-dads they throw at you. The first was a 3-D movie. No thanks. The second was an audio tour featuring the voice of Omar Sharif. Yeah, not a problem. The charge for that, $7. After my coupon, it was about $34 total.

When you go in, they have a 90 second intro film. Not bad, but I had to wait about four minutes for it to open up. It seems that they use the film to space out the traffic. Fine by me. After the film, a second set of doors is opened and you enter the exhibit rooms. There are about 4 or 6 of them (I wasn’t counting at the time).

The exhibit starts off very slowly and oddly. There are only about 130 items shown, and I think less than half of them come from the tomb. The others come from other tombs and excavations. Lots of stuff had only minor links to Tut; they were primarily about his father and some relatives.

You’re guided from room to room and Omar’s voice gives much better info on the exhibits than the written materials on the exhibits. However, there are only about 22 or so items he talks about. The rest of the exhibits seemed too small to merit any sort of lengthy discussion.

In about the second room, there’s a sarcophogas. For a moment, I thought it was the one that I’ve seen pictures of a million times…but it wasn’t it. Instead, it was of a relative and was just gold-gilded. Still, pretty cool, but nothing that was like what I was hoping to see. (I really should have done the research and known what I was going to be looking at.)

As I went from one room to the next, I got a couple of interesting feelings about the exhibit. First, the old scam that P.T. Barnum did of “This way to the Egress” kept coming to mind. At the hallway to the next room was always a sign saying “King Tut” and an arrow. ‘Come further in and see the real thing’ it seemed to say. The other feeling was much more positive as the quality of the exhibits kept going up. In about the second to the last room, I saw three items that basically made the visit worthwhile just by themselves. First was a gold box that was beautifully done. Really nicely detailed. Second, a ‘pectoral’ pendant for the chest of Tut. Wow. It had some nice shiny stones in it that really made it fantastic. I guess I like shiny stones more than gold at times.

Finally, there was the small sarcophagas that held Tut’s liver, about a foot long or so. The liver wasn’t in there, though. But the casket was just fantastic. There were some other pieces I also liked (the gold dagger that was in his linen cloths), but these three items were the best in the whole exhibit as far as I was concerned.

I also enjoyed the film of Howard Carter from the original opening of the tomb. It was running on a continuous loop of about 3 or 4 minutes duration.

The final room held what I guess is supposed to be the gemstone of the exhibit: a mummified body without the wrapping. The room was jammed with people and I wondered who it was. There was a film loop on Tut’s unwrapping and DNA testing. But an early sign at the beginning of the exhibit said that Tut’s body was still in Egypt. Who was it? Turns out, it was a replica of Tut.

I guess that bummed me out a little. I really don’t like the exhbitions of bodies (I refuse to go the The Body exhibit that has dozens of actual human bodies turned into plastic freak-like exhibits doing things that the person probably never did in their life like holding an American football in a Heisman-like pose), but it seems bizarre to show a replica at the same time that you are showing some good film of the actual body.

I sort of surprised myself though. I kept thinking about the P.T. Barnum line and when I saw the replica, it just seemed a relief that I could now see the Egress. I went through to the next room, turned in my audio device, and then had my senses assaulted by the required gift shop crud. I didn’t even slow down for it.

Was it worth it? Barely. At least for me. I later was talking with a neighbor and she said that her niece had come to NYC to see the exhibit and had been thrilled at the content. I’ll only say that you might want to check it out a little more before going to it. But, then again, the exhibit is almost over and who knows when it will come back again…

-H

2008 New York City Half-Marathon Part 2

July 28, 2008

In my last posting, I reviewed how I ended up watching the NYC half-marathon while in Times Square. I showed up just after the leaders had passed and started taking pictures at 7:48am. My coverage is somewhat limited by the fact that I took over 500 photos, but am only going to show about 32 of them.  (Last year’s posting had a total of two photos.  Of course, that was before I got my new camera.  My old camera could hold a total of, I believe, eight pictures.)

What I haven’t mentioned is that I was looking for a co-worker (and occasional commentor to this blog – “Jim”). Hey Jim! I didn’t see ya.

But it was crowded. Here’s some of the crowd about 31 minutes into my watching.

They just kept coming and coming. Lots and lots of ’em. The picture below shows a slight break in the grouping at the 38 minute-in mark (I point it out because the woman runner is waving to some friends to my left. Different ones this time, I believe. But I’m amazed at how many people did see friends in that crowd (and the crowd watching spotting them).

They kept ’em coming. Another personality-type showed with this group at the 42 minute point. She’s not saying hello: she’s posing for my picture. Thanks.

And at 46 minutes in, they were still coming. I don’t know where Jim was, but if he was anywhere in the 10 to 15 minutes before and after this grouping, I would have never spotted him.

At the 52 minute point, some of the more odd personalities started to show. This wasn’t a particularly odd person (as far as I know), but he recognized the people to my right and as part of his “hello”, he threw a sponge at them. That was certainly in good humor, but the sponge was dry and only flew about two feet. The people to my left were a little puzzled by the action.

Another not-really-odd personality. Probably a very fine person. He was the only disabled (or at least obviously disabled) person I saw in the race. This is 53 minutes in.

Okay, no excuses on the next guy (at 56 minutes in). He was either very bored from the beginning, made a bet with friends that he could bounce a ball the entire way, or is just an odd exhibitionist. But he bounced that basketball just fine.

At 66 minutes in, the crowding was lessening considerably. I had seen the people across from me with the sign (another way to find friends/family). Run Leens Run.

Another person with something to prove: juggling while running at 69 minutes into my viewing. Five ball juggling from what I could see. Really well done. I was impressed.

Another impressive case, but a bit mystifying. This guy was running while carrying a cane. That’s something, but the lycra-clad leg was also interesting. I don’t understand it at all. But, he was running and that’s what counts.

A few yards to my left was a medical station. At the 75-minutes-in mark, this next woman came up and she was the weariest looking person I saw all morning. The picture below surprised me a bit because it doesn’t begin to capture her state at the time (although she looks like a person that its hard to take a bad picture of), but as she passed me one of the station workers called out to her in concern asking if she was okay, even before she reached the station. She seems to have just asked for water, got a bottle from them, and kept on going. Good for her. I hope she finished.

At the 76 minute mark, I took the following two pictures in quick succession. You can see the sparseness of the runners and of the crowd. I was sharing the block with one other non-aid-station viewer. Here’s looking south to the aid station.

And here’s looking north to the on-coming runner traffic. Which is a long ways away.

At 87 minutes in, the event started to break up. Here was the escort of staff buses. You may be able to tell that I had already started walking down from my previous spot.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that there was music playing in the distance the whole time. It was apparently a live group and they had a huge teleprompter. I doubt they were trying to get the runners to sing along, but maybe the watching crowd. This was 89 minutes after I started watching.

And, finally, the very last runner I saw. I’m sure there were others further back (I saw some figures in the distance but can’t say for sure whether they were runners). This is 90 minutes into my viewing.

Good for her. She’s another person that I really hope was able to finish.

-H

2008 New York City Half-Marathon Part 1

July 27, 2008

Just about a year ago, I did one of my first posts that became mildly popular. It was for the 2007 NYC Half-Marathon and I think it may have been the first item that someone used Google to find my posting. At the time, I had very few readers (and still do, but a few more than then) and was pleased that someone was starting to find my stuff.

So, when I heard that the Half-Marathon was on again, I knew I had to go. Who knows, maybe one of those early Googlers was still a reader.

But, I nearly blew it. I had planned to get there maybe 8:30 or so. Early Sunday morning, I was flipping channels and found out that the race actually began right about 7am and the runners were already headed toward Times Square (where I planned to watch). Yow.

So, I made my way very quickly over to Times Square and got there just after the front runners had passed. But I was there for the women front-runners. They passed by me about 1 minute after I got to my spot. (I got there at about 7:48am.)

For this coverage, there’s a lot of stuff but the item that I found of most interest wasn’t really the runners themselves, but the ebb and flow of the race. So, to show how it happened, I’ll be putting in the relative time that had elapsed since I arrived. You can note the size of the crowds and the runners.

This is five minutes after I arrived.

And now, 8 minutes after I showed up.

This next runner was all pumped up and trying to pump up the crowd, 11 minutes after I started watching. The running group was still pretty sparse at that point.

Twelve minutes in (about 8am), I got a picture of a two-fer. Most of the runners were wearing headphones (okay, a large number of them) and were looking for friends/family. How they spotted people is a bit of a mystery. I presume that lots of times the earpieces were for phones and they were talking with their friends and hearing where to look.

Of all the people I took pictures of; this guy I got twice. His exuberance was terrific and he was making pretty good time despite his antics. 13 minutes in.

Of course, if you’re an airplane it’s easy to make good time. Still 13 minutes in.

The 13-minutes-in group was starting to become more numerous and flagrant about asking for the crowd to cheer.

By 15 minutes in, the runners had reached the point of being a general crowd of them.

And at 17 minutes in they were still trying to get us to cheer. Successfully, too.

By 21 minutes in, the calls for cheers seemed to have died down a bit; but the crowd was even bigger.

And by 22 minutes in, some of the runners were more obviously doing run-walk combinations.

Here, 26 minutes into my attendance; another earphone wearer had spotted friends. Actually, some people to the left of me greeted two or three of the runners by name. They may not have been the same people to my left, but I think they were.

And by 28 minutes in (that’s about 8:17am), some were still trying to get the crowd cheering. Hey, it worked for me and I did cheer a lot for a very long time during the event.

And at 28 minutes in, here’s another guy who spotted/was spotted by the people to my left.

More in my next post.

-H

A Post of Three Delis

May 16, 2008

If you wander down Seventh Avenue, starting around 57th Street, you will eventually run into three delis: Carnegie’s, The Stage, and Roxy’s.

You will also see about 40 other places calling themselves “delis”, and a few are no doubt very good; but they aren’t in this company.

First, it’s Carnegie’s. I’ve eaten there once and was overwhelmed by the sandwich. Really, really good. And there’s always a line. In the picture below, the van blocks the view of maybe five to eight people waiting to get in. Once in, the accommodations are pretty bad, but the food is wonderful.

Next, it’s the Stage Deli. I haven’t eaten there, but it always appears about as jammed as Carnegie’s. I saw this sign on the window and knew I’d have to post it as my picture.

Finally, Roxy’s. A purest will note that it is actually on Broadway, but it is where 7th Avenue and Broadway come together. That’s Times Square for those of you who didn’t make the connection.

Roxy’s has a pretty fair amount of seating despite being dwarfed by its neighbors and the neighbor’s signs. I’ve eaten there about four times and the sandwiches are great.

There are lots of other terrific delis in NYC. But these are the three I ran into that day.

And I didn’t eat at any of them.

-H

Dale and Thomas Popcorn in Times Square

January 19, 2008

I can’t remember what the show was, but last Friday I was flipping the channels and ran across a show extolling “Dale & Thomas Popcorn” and how it was made and why it was so good and so on.

And I remembered something about a popcorn place in Times Square.  At the end of the program, I went and googled it and found they were the same place.  Or, at least the Times Square Dale and Thomas store was one of the company’s franchises or outlets.

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I had to try it.

It’s on 48th Street and Broadway.  A very busy corner.

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So, on Saturday I went to check it out.  The place is small and very, very clean.  It was also empty of customers, save for Famous Ankles himself.  I can’t imagine that’s a surprise.  It was a cold day and popcorn isn’t really a cold weather kind of food (at least in my estimation).

The popcorn is gourmet quality and they love to tout their flavors.  You can check the link above for their various flavors (and they do have a big variety).

There were two flavors that I was interested in:  white cheddar and black peppercorn popcorn and the chocolate drizzle.

I’m pleased to say that they do give free samples.  I tried the peppercorn first.  That was really, really good.  I then tried the chocolate drizzle; also very good.  And then it was time to make a choice and all I could think of was that I didn’t want to wander the cold streets with a bag of popcorn…so…I bought a sealed bag of “peanut butter & white chocolate drizzlecorn”.  At my leisure, I took it home and ate it later while watching the tube.

Too decadent for my taste.  Really good, but too much for me.  I’m not tempted to buy it again but that’s because I’m a cheap man and at $5.42 for 3.75 ounce bag (a smaller bag than you might expect from popcorn as the chocolate and all has some weight to it), I can resist the temptation.

But I think the peppercorn is calling my name…

-H

Search and Rescue Dog Statue

January 14, 2008

I was walking on 50th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues (just above Times Square) and spotted this little statue off to the side.  It’s actually rather nondescript for such a loud-colored dog.

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It’s a tribute to search and rescue dogs that was set up by the AKC (American Kennel Club) and Lehman Brothers.  It’s formal name is Bone-A-Fido Patriot and it was made by Gus Ramos.  The plaque reads “DOGNY  America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs”.

A closer view:

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-H

Times Square Christmas Crowds

December 26, 2007

Just a quick post-Christmas post on Christmas crowds.  (How’s that for a little double-talk?)

I was at Times Square over the weekend just to check out how the crowds were looking.  At first, I thought it was a lot lighter than normal, but I was soon set straight on that. 

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It was jammed.  Not as crowded as I’ve ever seen it, but busy enough.

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Probably the only thing that surprised me was that the cops had successfully chased off the street vendors.  Usually, they thrive in the crowds, but they wouldn’t have fit here.

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The vendors were around, of course.  They just weren’t on Broadway.  Go five feet off of Times Square and you’d run into them.

-H