Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All is Fare...In New York.

Oh, heyyyyyyyyy.
I'm alive.
I survived New York Fashion Week.
Well, barely.
In totally other news, though, after writing a piece about the subway system here in New York City while actually riding the subway ("Bright Spots in the Gray"), I recently visited the New York Transit Museum, located in a defunct subway station in downtown Brooklyn. They're currently running the exhibition Steel, Stone, and Backbone, which reveals the reality of undertaking such an incredibly overwhelming task such as the digging of a subway tunnel and constructing one of the world's most intricate transportation systems. It's pretty unbelievable.
 
My daily life, riding in a steel car millions of other passengers, was hammered and drilled by the hands of hardworking men, many immigrants, new to New York, who provided us with one of the most intricate . Despite the sheer genius of it all, it also maintains the ability to completely ruin my day, or at the very least, provide me with endless material to complain about and an earth-shattering headache. But, learning about its history...did help me to realize its magnitude and appreciate the whole transit system...even if only for a few hours before my train stopped for twenty minutes, underground, with no warning and no reasonable explanation.
That's life for you, right?
 

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"All is fare in love and Brooklyn"
Isn't that clever?

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Restored train cars from all decades, beginning with the early 1900s.   

    I weaved in and out of their numerous parked vintage train cars from all era, including wooden ones implemented in the late 1800s, to present day stainless steel cars, built by the three railroad companies, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the city-owned Independent Rapid Transit Railroad (IND). Entrance is only $7, and I embarked on a free guided tour on a Saturday. I walked there, actually, from my apartment in Williamsburg, and it took me about 50 minutes, door to door. I know, I know. Why are you walking? you ask. I like to see where I am going. Absorb it. So many times, we're underground here, zipping from one place to another. I don't often get to notice my surroundings or how exactly I find myself popping up in an entirely different area. Being transported beneath the ground provides a distorted understanding of time and space. That, and obviously, it feels good to walk around New York. Stretch out. Get moving. Oh, and while you're at this whole "reading thing," you absolutely must take a look at this New York Times article that explores the habits and quirks of subway riders. Who knew there was so much behind these behaviors that we engage in daily on autopilot?

Sunset in Clinton Hill Brooklyn, walking through brooklyn, best brooklyn neighborhoods
Sunset while walking back in solitude through Clinton Hill.

   And, continuing on the subject of trains, in particular (Segway, Segway!)...I also attended the Holiday Train Show up at the New York Botanical Garden  in the Bronx. I'm rapidly turning into a botanic garden groupie, after my hike (power walk!) to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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Even in the freezing temperatures, The New York Botanical Garden was magical as the evening descended upon us. I can't wait to return in the realllllllll spring time--None of this "March madness snow mess"-- to see the plants and gardens begin to bloom, stirring from their winter slumber to stretch and grow. That rebirth...that awakening...it's such a profound sight. It's the natural life cycle and witnessing it-well, it makes me much more aware of my mortality. To roam the Botanic Garden for hours in April, that's on my spring to-do list.
 

 So, this train show...it's not actually a big presentation of trains. The name is deceiving. The Holiday Train Show primary artist Paul Bussee and his team recreated icons and historical buildings, paying tribute to the streets of Manhattan, past and present. Yes, these streets that have been "making people feel brand new" for hundreds of years. Well, the artists constructed these New York "miniatures--many that are definitely not so mini-- with only materials found in nature. No, really. Seeds, leaves, twigs, berries, bark. The detail that goes into the bridges, stadiums, houses, buildings, etcetera is actually mind-blowing. Each one takes hours upon hours. See below. It's not quite as dorky as it may sound. Honest. Metro-North train replicas run through, in, and around all of the landmarks and streets throughout the massive display. The halls and rooms are expansive, and it's rather a cool sight to see, watching these trains speed through enormous replicas of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges overhead, then zip around the Museum of Natural History and back by a historic cottage from the 1600s.
 

One of my very favorite spots, and buildings in New York: The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

Looking up to my Brooklyn Bridge.

Top left: A residence on 23rd street, 1883, and a general store on Thomas street, 1875. The Metroploitan Museum of Art, 1895. Bottom left: Inside the conservatory, trains gliding through replicas of older residences. The Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall among other iconic landmarks.

The real miracle is this detailed Macy's recreation.

Gang's all here! Some of the most recognizable, iconic landmarks in all of the world...and all handmade with natural materials.
 
 
Wandering this city--well, I'm definitely not lost.
I'm surrounded by millions of moments just waiting for me.
 
Wherever you are,
See and Do--
It really is that simple.
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