Last July Mr. Envoy and I headed into Manhattan for our first time ever. I tried to plan cheap activities seeing as we were still recovering from a very pricey cross-country road trip with two cars, but NYC has so much to offer it can get really overwhelming to say the least. But I decided that we should hop on a train into Manhattan and head uptown to Central Park. Parks are free and there’s loads to do in that area, including tons of fabulous museums.
Mr. Envoy and I headed to our local train station for the Long Island Railroad, bought our tickets and hopped on a train. I hadn’t been on a train since the time I went to Chicago to pick out my new harp and Mr. Envoy hadn’t been on one in over a year so it was neat. I mean, I know it’s regular, normal, boring transportation out here that people are constantly complaining about, but even though there are passenger trains in California we don’t use them as frequently as they’re used out here. Pretty much you either have a car or you deal with the bus, which by the way takes freaking ages to get you anywhere because everything in California is so spread out.
Oh yes, much exciting, such fun.
With our train underway I excitedly looked out my window to see more of this new place we had moved all the way across the country to live in. It’s pretty but very… flat. If you’re from out here that may not mean much, but coming from somewhere where every place you look you are almost guaranteed to see some sort of hill or mountain it was very odd.
There mostly wasn’t much to see along the train tracks other than a ton of buildings with grafitti on them, but we did see a beautiful cathedral in Rockville Centre.
The train station by our apartment is pretty far away from Penn Station because we live in western Suffolk county. Depending on the time of day the train can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes to get you into Manhattan. But considering the alternative is well… driving? Yeah, I’m good with a longer train ride :P
As we got closer to Manhattan I could finally start seeing the skyline from our train. It was very exciting to have my first glimpse of one of the greatest city’s in the world – or at least that’s how it’s advertised. Either way I was both excited and nervous to be in the Big Apple for the first time.
It didn’t take long for our view to disappear and be replaced with nothing but darkness as our train went underground to take us beneath the East River and into Penn Station. I know I’ve said it before, but all of this really was quite exciting for this southern Californian that was so very far from home.
We arrived in Penn Station not entirely sure of where to go once we got off the train, so instead of looking lost and out of place we followed everyone else up the stairs from our platform and into Penn Station.
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I know it’s “just a train station” but for one, it’s a massive underground train station and for two, it’s a massive underground train station beneath Manhattan! I know I’m weird but c’mon, that’s kinda cool. Just sayin’.
I figured that Mr. Envoy and I could start at the American Museum of Natural History, so I plugged it into Google Maps on my handy dandy cell phone. And because technology is awesome it told me which subway we needed to take, so we picked up a Metro Card so we could pay for our subway fare, tracked down the correct train and off we went.
I was pretty certain that subways were going to be frightening because NYC is “scary” and “intimidating” and “insert synonyms of scary and intimidating here”, but if I can be perfectly honest with you… it wasn’t. I think the scariest part of the whole ride uptown was the lack of cell phone service! Since I knew what stop we needed I just kept an eye out for it, and before I knew it we were at the American Museum of Natural History.
After getting off the subway we headed outside to the front of the museum to look around. Across the street we saw Central Park West, and next to us we saw the statue of Robin Williams, I mean uh… Theodore Roosevelt.
When you walk through the doors of the museum you enter a room called the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, which is a memorial to the late President who was a great friend of the museum. After seeing A Night at the Museum, which by the way is my only experience with the museum I’d had before actually seeing it in person, I fully expected to see Rexy when I first walked through the front doors. Sadly, Rexy was not waiting for me within the hall, although there is still a dinosaur exhibit in the center of the room. Instead of Rexy, the dinosaur exhibit features a Barosaurus rearing up to protect its offspring from an attacking Allosaurus. As awesome as it would have been for the two dinosaurs to be made of their actual bones, they were built with replica bones that were cast from real fossils. Had they used the real thing, it would have been too heavy to position them in the manner that they are.
The hall also features quotes from President Roosevelt, four of them actually. There is one quote on each wall of the rotunda, each with a different heading: Manhood, The State, Youth, and Nature. While we were waiting in line for our tickets I snagged a couple pictures of them.
We originally were planning on using my student discount on my ticket and getting Mr. Envoy a free ticket for active duty military, but then we saw the exhibitions that they had. Naturally the free ticket he could get didn’t include any exhibitions, but the very nice lady behind the counter gave him a student discount as well so we added on one exhibit – Dark Universe.
The Dark Universe exhibit is in the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater and is a film narrated by renowned Astrophysist, Neil deGrasse Tyson. It talks about important discoveries that have led us to where we are today with our knowledge of space and how the universe was created. The exhibit opened November 2, 2013 and is still around so if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it!
Mr. Envoy and I really enjoyed the Dark Universe exhibit, and it led to a lot of thought provoking conversation as we browsed the gift shop filled with lots of awesome space-y things. I ended up getting a killer galaxy hair wrap because it was purple and cute and hey, I’m pretty sure that the tenth doctor would totally approve.
After we had finished with the Dark Universe exhibit, we headed off to the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs on the 4th floor. We looked around there for a bit, but I could tell that Mr. Envoy was getting bored. Apparently dinosaur bones aren’t really his thing. Either that or he was really hungry. Or both? Yeah, probably both.
It was lunch time anyway, so we pulled out the map of the museum looking for a place inside the mueseum to get a bite to eat. There were a few cafes with pre-packaged and terribly overpriced sandwiches, but we didn’t feel like dropping a small fortune on lunch so we thought we’d try the food court and save some money.
Worst. Decision. Ever.
Our lunch in the food court was seriously one of the worst lunches I had ever had. There were kids running rampant and screaming and yelling and the food was gross and bland… aka perfect for children. Minus the gross part I guess.
We decided it was time to hit the road after our terrible lunch because we were both sort of cranky at this point. Thanks lunch!
But Central Park was right across the street, so that’s where we headed. I’ll cover our adventure in Central Park in my next post, so stay tuned!
If you want more information about the American Natural History Museum, check out these links:
Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a lovely day :)
<3 and harp strings,