New York City

The next morning it was time to head to the next destination:  New York City.  The other guy who ended up visiting Boston at the same time as me was also planning to head to NYC and so I ended up giving him a ride.  The first excitement of the day was nearly having my van towed because of local rules for street cleaning in Cambridge.  Yikes!  We headed out at nine in the morning with plans to stop in New Haven on the way so that I could check out Yale.  We arrived two hours later and Yale also had a beautiful campus and great facilities.  They didn’t offer a tour though which was too bad, but there was someone there who was able to answer my questions.  We also quickly stopped in on the building across the street which is the Yale University Art Gallery, designed by architect Louis Kahn.

After grabbing lunch we began the second half of our journey to New York City.  The directions and roadways got more and more confusing and so it was very helpful having someone in the passenger seat!  The traffic conditions were good and we arrived smoothly to Manhattan and found the parking garage I had looked up in advance.  It was certainly strange to leave my keys with a valet, but many garages in NYC are small and have lifts that stack parked cars one above the other.  Crazy!  Because I wasn’t going to meet my next contact until closer to the evening, I walked with my Boston friend up to Time Square and hung out for a few hours and had beers with some friends of his.  Soon it was time for me to leave and find the apartment of the friend that I would be staying with for the next two nights.  I took the subway so that I didn’t have to walk too far again with my heavy bag, and didn’t have any trouble finding her.  She is an awesome girl who is the friend of a fellow intern that I met in Uganda.  One of her housemates joined us and we went out to a restaurant in Alphabet City that made excellent southern food, and then had a chill evening at home just chatting and relaxing.

The following day was similar to the second day in Boston.  I went out on a day trip to discover Manhattan and visit Columbia University’s graduate school of architecture.  I started there on the Northwest side of Manhattan, and spend the morning wandering down through Central Park.  I stopped at the Guggenheim Museum (Frank Lloyd Wright), the Whitney Museum of American Art (Marcel Breuer), and the new Apple Store (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson).  After walking the entire length of central park, I finally got on the subway to check out the far lower West Side neighborhood of Chelsea and the newly developed High Line (Field Operations/Diller Scofidio + Renfro)  The High Line was probably my favourite site of the day.  It is a one mile stretch of what used to be a raised rail line, that has been redeveloped into an urban park.  It offered new and surprising views of the surrounding city, was full of activity, and has a very coherent and beautifully thought-out design.  I also checked out the Chelsea market which is an enclosed urban food court, shopping mall, office building, and television production facility that was formally the National Biscuit Company factory complex (where Oreo cookies were born).  I got on the subway one more time and arrived at the financial district where I got a view of the One World Trade Center (David Childs/Daniel Libeskind) under construction, but was disappointed to discover that I needed a ticket obtained in advance to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (Michael Arad/Peter Walker/Davis Brody Bond).  Until next time then.  I then headed to Battery park on the southern most tip of Manhatten, and saw the Statue of Liberty in the distance backed by the nearly setting sun.  By this point I was absolutely exhausted (my knee is still bothering me) and headed back to the apartment.  That night I cooked dinner for my hosts and some additional friends that they invited over.  We spent another fun evening at the apartment.

Because I didn’t need to leave New York right away in the morning, I set out to see yet a few more sites (or shall I say buildings) before I went to pick up my van.  I went to see the new Cooper Union building (Morphosis), the University Center (under construction) at the Parsons New School of Design, and lastly the New Museum of Contemporary Art (SANAA/Gensler).  Finally at noon I picked up the van and headed out of the city Princeton and then Philadelphia-bound.

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