Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

New York

Things I learned in the trip so far:

* When emerging from the Queens Midtown Tunnel, you really need to have decided which lane you want to be in ahead of time. Our resulting detour did not prove a problem.

* Chelsea is loud at night.

* Enter the Metropolitan Museum of Art through the parking garage. There's only a short line for admission, so you can sidestep the horde of people entering through the front.

* Do not drive to the Clearwater festival. Particularly do not plan to arrive only a half hour before the first concert. Parking, as recommended, at the train station was fine, actually, and the wait for the shuttle bus was longer than it should have taken. But we sat in the exit lane on US-9 for almost two hours--- the 15 minute trip to the park ended up taking two and a half hours.

Our first-night hotel had very small rooms (as expected, but the reviewers who said there wasn't room for their suitcase didn't match our experience.) But Tim got an exterior room and the street noise was quite large. We have made many jokes about the $350 honking fine, both how much nearby drivers are racking up (we need a private right of action!) and how much more expensive it is than, say, littering. Dinner at a local Sushi place (right next to the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace) was good.

We ate lunch at the Met and spent a few hours there. The special exhibit "Savage Beauty" (on Alexander McQueen) had a huge line and we were frankly not all that interested. I do regret missing the sculpture garden on the roof, though (which also had a line.)

Instead we visited their Pacific Islander, African, and South American collections, which were very interesting. A lot of the dating on the African exhibits was very vague, though--- the worst offender was "16th-19th century". I was amused by the depictions of Portuguese in one set of bronze plaques representing members (and visitors to) the Nigerian (?) royal court.

We also briefly visited the modernists and the photography exhibition--- the latter is somewhat poor. At my recommendation we also went to see the reconstructed Egyptian temple (including graffiti from 19th-century European visitors.) On the way out we stopped through the special exhibit on guitar-making which was disappointing: it was more like "New York guitar making, and its Italian roots." No Spanish or Mexican / South American work, no 12-string guitars or banjos. (The normal instrument collection, which was a repeat visit for me, is a bit dated as exhibits go but very interesting and diverse.)

I got to see both my brothers for dinner; Dan took me to a favorite restaurant where they knew him by name and recognized Matt as his brother on first sight (but not me.)

Today we planned a 10am departure to get there by 11am. We reached the exit for Croton-on-Hudson, which starts where US-9 and state 9A meet, and sat. And sat some more. It was probably the longest it has ever taken me to travel a half-mile by car. When we finally exited US 9, part of the problem appeared to be that the cross-traffic did not have a stop sign, and there was really nobody directing traffic. So people exiting the highway had to force their way into the stream of cars arriving from a different direction. (Matters were also not helped by people realizing that they needed to get in the exit lane too late, and attempting to merge in front of people who'd been waiting longer. It would have been less disruptive to just back up a second lane of the highway.)

So we were not predisposed to think highly of the music festival's logistics, and the rest of the day didn't really change that opinion. Moral: do not allow hippies to organize things. ;)

We did manage to arrive in time to hear about half of Dar Williams' set. Then we caught the beginning of Janice Ian before switching venues for Josh Ritter. His set was a lot of fun (the sign language interpreter was visibly flustered several times) and he played a new song for us.

Do you guys consider it a violation of concert etiquette to reserve a space for an entire set? There was a blanket in front of us that went unoccupied for nearly all of Josh Ritter, and it was a shady spot others would have appreciated having.

Lunch (and dinner) in the food court was better than I expected--- I got a very good turkey and egg wrap, and later a passable chicken tika masala.

We also heard Sarah Guthrie (and Johnny Irion) at the children's music venue, doing songs we knew from their album and could sing along with. Arlo Guthrie did a good set including the story about his wife being arrested that we heard at the last concert of his we attended. (In Eau Claire I think?) The "generations" concert with five or so parent-and-child performers was a lot of fun--- the Seegers and Guthries, and others who I didn't know as well.

I had joked on Twitter that I was probably going to be the yuppiest folkie there (with all the polo shirts I packed), but it turned out that I was beaten by somebody wearing a shirt from his wealth-management firm.
Tags: art, music, travel
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