Thursday, February 02, 2017

NYC Trip

I was granted the opportunity to visit NYC last month due to an exhibit Museum of the Bible (MOTB) is working on (one of many) for their opening in Fall 2017. As I've gotten to know MOTB and their people throughout this last year, I've been impressed with their commitment to truth-seeking work. This current project will be an exhibit in the museum featuring science and the Bible, and specifically related to me, what scientists have to say about it. I was nervous and thankful for the opportunity to be interviewed about science and the Bible.
This is my "I'm-so-excited-I'm-in-NYC" look.
It was a short trip: I flew in Monday afternoon and flew out Wednesday around noon, but I made the most of my time.
It was raining when I arrived and didn't stop until the morning I left.
I ubered for the first time and took in all the sights as I drove from LaGuardia Airport to downtown Brooklyn. I could tell when we had entered Manhattan (upscale buildings). I was in awe of the bridges. Being a girl from the south, raised in south Texas, and adopted Oklahoma as home, being around so much water still surprises me. We don't see a large volume of water unless we drive to Lake Texoma or to the Texan coastline. While I enjoyed seeing all the water, the bridges amazed me. The Manhattan Bridge was the first big one I saw, and then I got to drive across the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember thinking, It's amazing what people can build.

I'm sure I looked like a tourist the entire time I was in NYC. 
I couldn't play it cool. It was impossible for me to NOT look up at all the tall buildings.


My hotel room was unexpectantly large, and the hotel itself was very nice. I got to work out in the gym, and would have swam in the indoor pool, but I had forgotten my swimsuit.

Downtown Brooklyn had a nice vibe to it. I walked around both nights I was there exploring the area.  I felt safe among the busy streets. I saw police patrolling every so often all around the area. It was diverse so it was fun to see different people rushing around after work and hearing different accents and languages.

  There was a yummy Mexican restaurant next-door that had Day of the Dead-themed decor. It was a fun place to eat.

Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to figure out the best way to use my short time in NYC. My interview wasn't until Tuesday afternoon so I decided to visit The Guggenheim Museum because it seemed like a good fit for about two hours.


It was one of the best decisions I made while I was in NYC. 
The building architecture alone was worth seeing.


I might have geeked out a bit inside this awesome building.

Being a nerdy chemist who likes math and molecules, I never thought of myself as someone who would visit art museums.  I know very little about art, if anything. I never "got" modern art. As a result, I didn't think that art museums were "my thing." Ah, but then I visited Amsterdam this past July.

I discovered I really liked Kandinsky.

I spent time at two art museums in Amsterdam: Rijks Museum and Van Gogh Museum. Thankfully, I have smart, cultured friends who booked the tickets along with headsets for the group of us that visited. I realized then that if I can listen or read a little about the paintings, I appreciate it a lot more. Imagine that - a little education enhances an experience! Visiting those museums and enjoying learning a little bit about art also reminded me of 3rd grade.

I got to see four Picasso paintings. My favorite is Woman Ironing. She looks so tired - it's haunting.

It might be hard to believe, but I was a bit nerdy in third grade. Since I grew up in Texas, UIL ruled all activities, and I had the nerdy fun opportunity to participate in Picture Memory. I had to memorize something like fifty paintings: their names, artists, and maybe the year or nationality of the painter. While I can't remember all the details, the paintings I studied as a third-grader stayed with me. I saw a couple of the ones I had memorized so long ago in Amsterdam this past summer. Seeing them in real life was a bit surreal. And that same feeling happened at the Guggenheim. 

I teared up a bit when I saw the actual Manet I remembered studying as a child.

And while this Monet wasn't the one I memorized, I recognized his work and was satisfied that I guessed the artist correctly.

 As I enjoyed the art around me, listening to the app describe art things I knew nothing about, I thought of L Child. He's the child that likes to draw and paint the most. He's begun painting canvases, and regularly draws in his sketch book. All I could think about was how I was pretty sure L Child would appreciate the different styles within the modern art world. I also thought, I really need to take him to an art museum soon.

 Agnes Martin was the artist on display. I got to listen about grid lines, color, and texture. 
The pieces look different depending how close you are standing. 
These three were my favorite: Loving Love, Gratitude, Blessings.

Today I was reading about aesthetics in art and science (part of my research), and I thought about:

1. How even three years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoy modern art - either in a museum or reading about the artists' process. It's interesting how things change. 

2. The book I was reading referenced both Kandinsky and the Guggenheim. For once, I didn't have to google an unfamiliar artist or building.

After the museum, I crossed the street and took in the view from Central Park. Then headed back to the hotel to get ready for my interview for the museum.

I got picked up by a car and taken to a warehouse district for the my interview. I have to say I was wondering if I was in the right spot for the interview. Scenes from Law and Order flashed through my mind as I walked up to the warehouse.


Things I learned in a Brooklyn warehouse:
1. Filming in the area is done in this part of Brooklyn because it's the quietest spot in NYC. We still had to stop every once in awhile for an ambulance or an airplane.
2. The film team was a great group of professionals. They're good with people - visiting with me before the interview to put me at ease. Nicely reminding me to not fidget with my hands. Encouraging me when we had to cut and start over.
3. I'm also pretty sure the whole team were millennials - all younger than me. The young vibe was inspiring and gave me an example of when millennials rock. The team was efficient, and I was done within an hour.

It was such a neat experience seeing the filming process. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Afterwards, I found a hole-in-the-wall Chinese food restaurant with the best dumplings I've ever had.



The next morning I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and hike over to the 9/11 Memorial.


I thoroughly enjoyed walking the bridge. 
There was a walkway above traffic with lots of pedestrians and cyclists.

Seeing the marvel up close was fascinating as well as reading how they built it.


The sunshine arrived as I walked across the bridge making the trek just about perfect.



Seeing all the locks then this sign made me laugh.

I'm pretty sure I couldn't stop smiling on the Brooklyn Bridge.

I got into Manhattan, but not having a sense of direction and and my GPS app not working, I didn't make it to the memorial. I walked quite a bit into Manhattan, but I finally had to call Uber to get back to the hotel so I could get to the airport in time.


Even though I was disappointed that I didn't make it to the memorial, I enjoyed seeing the tall buildings, busy streets, and beautiful little parks.

It was funny to think about how I walked the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday morning but was home that evening in Oklahoma. 

Goodbye New York!

I'm very thankful for the trips I've gotten to take in the last couple years: experiencing some cultures, meeting people, and seeing beautiful things. 
But it's always nice to get back home. Especially on days I get to hug my loved ones before bedtime.