New York City Day 2: Star Struck

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Ordinarily on a trip I would want to get up earlier than normal to catch my favorite light, but I was having none of it this morning. I apparently slept through sirens, garbage trucks and slamming hotel doors while dreaming about ice cream and woke up to the mid-morning sun spilling around the curtains. Since most of the mornings on this trip will all start inordinately early, I was happy to have the rest. 

Once I was finally up and moving (Dad had, of course, been up for hours working out) we headed down to the subway to figure out how to get to the race tomorrow. It was interesting to see how the cleanliness and decor of the stations changed depending on where we stopped, but no matter where we were, the vestiges of the original design were what intrigued me most. Well, those and the overheard one-sided phone conversations such as this: "When you see a cat and a dog run away from a raccoon, you run right after the dog! That thing was scary - it had a gun!" 

I may change my tune tomorrow, but this looks like the perfect race to travel for! We had an enjoyable run through Riverside Park by the Hudson where the race will take place. I could sure get used to running in city parks like this - interesting views and rolling scenery without the cacophony of the sidewalks. 

The best possible post-run pre-race food, as it is well known, is a lox bagel so we scarfed one down in a local cafe before shivering our way back to the hotel to change and begin our museum tour. Dad had had a lox bagel yesterday that left something to be desired, but this one was the real deal with the perfect amount of cucumbers, onions and cream cheese, just the right amount of toasting on the bagel, and the perfect cut of salmon. Once back to the hotel, I did a quick lift in the hotel weight room but spent most of the time taking pictures of the gorgeous tile wall. Quite obviously, this room was not originally a workout space. 

Though we could have taken the subway easily, we instead opted to walk the Museum Mile down 5th Avenue (aka $$$) ogling the multi-million dollar apartments with beautiful marble facades and gold-gilded doors. These older buildings don't have quite the same flashy ornateness as the later Art Deco edifices, but they more than make up for it with their stoic classiness. I'm currently tired from walking, but the afternoon stroll was totally worth it. 

We grabbed a quick bite of thin crust - the right kind - pizza before joining the other thousands of people rushing to the Museum of Modern Art for Friday free day. Funny enough, I almost skipped this one because I visited to MoMA before ten years ago and remember being bored. Now I'm just wondering what was wrong with me! Along with throngs of tourists taking selfies in front of famous works, we explored the Post-Impressionist and Futurist galleries first. I enjoy watching people's interactions within museums almost as much as the works themselves and spent the first few minutes watching people flit around from painting to drawing to sculpture taking a quick snap and moving on to the next room. The only place people really spent much time was Starry Night, Dad's favorite piece. I was taken aback that although in books the painting looks black with blue and yellow, it is in fact a rather medium shade of green. 

The most exciting part of the museum for me by far was getting to finally see some famous photography. In the 1960's wing there were plenty of sculptures and movies - this is when art started to really get weird - but I only had eyes for the photographs. One of my favorites, one of the most technically beautiful images I have ever seen, was Shomei Tomatsu's Sandwich Men; a simple scene in itself (though it creates an intriguing vignette) that is a gloriously high contrast silver gelatin print.

Gordon Parks' prints documenting local rallies during the Civil Rights Movement were equally evocative as they now connect the present with the unfortunately not-so-distant past.

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Clockwise from top left: Harlem Rally, Black Muslim Rally, Black Muslim Rally

But best of all was getting to see Henri Cartier-Bresson's street work in person. I'm not one to fangirl and to a degree I think that HCB is overrated, in as much as most every street photographer cites him as their favorite. These were also not my favorite of his photos though they undoubtedly depict important moments in history. Regardless, having based my senior research paper in part on his work, getting to inspect his prints in person envisioning his thought process behind how he cropped a scene, where he had to stand to get the capture and what kind of story he was trying to tell  all in places I've been myself almost felt like an alternate reality.

At this point, we'd used the last of our functioning brain cells for the day so we headed out, rushed through the madness that is Times Square, grabbed some more pizza, and came back to the hotel to rest up for the race tomorrow. Tomorrow may just be my favorite day of the trip not only because of the race, but because its dessert day! 

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Clockwise starting from top: Demonstration for de Gaulle on Champs-Elisees, Student Demonstration, Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Making Barricade

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Clockwise from top left: Window Reflection, La Sorbonne, Meeting Chez Renault, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Boulevard Saint Michel, Demolition of Barricades

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