The American Museum of Natural History

This Summer was my first visit to New York and one of the things near everyone said I HAD to check out was the Museum of Natural History – a recommendation not without merit. I ended up spending hours upon hours checking out a rather impressive collection of varied and almost disturbingly lifelike exhibits (including the newly acquired and famous Titanosaurus and the legendary Blue Whale).

It was an exhausting and enriching experience trolling the halls of the Museum with my trusty SLR and while I was impressed with the state and volume of the AMNH’s collection, I was a little disappointed to see that some of their literature/signage was desperately in need of updating and/or fact-checking (I even tweeted one such image at them at the time but it seems they took no notice). I’m sure in the larger scheme of the cultural and educational service institutions like the AMNH discharge, such errors or oversights are negligible. At the same time however, I wondered how many of the kids running around that Museum that day, or indeed any other, would go home having learnt something somewhat ignorant, and mildly insensitive, through someone else’s goof. Still – not to make a mountain out of a mole hill – such minors slips aside, I left that day feeling richer for the experience.

If you’re going to go I’d chalk out at least 3-4 hours to really appreciate the collection they have. And it’ll be worth going online in advance and checking if any of the exhibits are closed (like the Butterfly House – which is seasonal and was sadly closed when I made my visit).

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New Sights, New Sounds, New York

This summer I finally broke my US-curse and made it to New York. That’s right, after many near-misses and false-starts I flew the 16-something hours to New York City, New York – the city so nice they named it twice!

I couldn’t even begin to describe the amazing time I had there. Suffice to say between meeting new people, catching up with old friends and family, taking in some “real New York” culture, it was a brilliant 10 days of couch-surfing and urban trekking.

Here’s one of many blog posts showing off some (out of the hundreds) of pics that I took while I made my way around the city that never sleeps.

And if you’re looking for some travel trips here are a few to help you out:

  1. THE UNLIMITED PASS: It’s great to walk around New York, but the City is quite big, and if you’re bouncing back and forth between the Boroughs like I was, you’ll do well to get the unlimited travel pass on a Metrocard – hop on and off the Subway and busses as much as you’d like for a whole week and take in the sights.
  2. THE LOCAL FARE: I always make it a point to try the local flavours. Two things that I took away and I’d recommend for sure – Bulleit Bourbon and Artichoke Pizza (oh man my mouth is watering just thinking of the latter!)
  3. ROOF TOP BARS AND BASEMENT COMEDY: Two things I thoroughly enjoyed, and I’d recommend you try out – a nice cocktail on one of many Roof-top Bars (there’s nothing quite like an amazing skyline view while sipping a Mojito) and of course a show at one of half a dozen comedy venues (the most well-known of which is probably The Comedy Cellar – we tried to get in but unfortunately were thwarted by the fact that Pete Holmes’ show ‘Crashing’ was shooting there that night – still, I did meet a legend of comedy – Artie Lange – muchos coolio!).
  4. STEAK: Oh my god New York is a place to get a good steak – and so many places to choose from how do I even begin! I’d have to say the most mind-blowing were certainly at Peter Luger (where they start you off with a giant slab of thick cut bacon – *drools like Homer Simpson*) and Tavern on the Green (where they have a Tomahawk Steak that’ll make you cry!)
  5. MUSEUMS AND SPECIAL SHOWS: Like any big city New York is absolutely flooded with Museums, many of which feature limited time shows that are usually worth the extra price of admission. I devoted a day each to the American Museum of Natural History (with some astoundingly life-like exhibits) and the Cloisters (where The Met was hosting a show called ‘Heavenly Bodies’ – combining the imagination of the modern fashion world with Medieval Catholic art and architecture – on till October 2018).
  6. WALK: Finally, you’ll see so much more of the City if you take the time to walk around. There were so many little sights and experiences I stumbled onto just because I decided I was going to pick a point and then just explore. If you have the time and the proclivity do so – It’s a pedestrian friendly City and one where sometimes you’ll see so much more when you don’t know where you’re going : )

PS – A special thanks to my friend Kate for letting me use pictures of her from our visit to the Heavenly Bodies Met exhibit at the Cloisters.