Saturday, January 28, 2012

Field Trip: New York City (Again)

Last weekend we took a 4-day trip to New York City to visit my sister and N.'s sister, each of whom moved there in late 2011.  This was N.'s second visit to the city (I wrote about the first here).  It was cold and snowy and fun!

Although we arrived in the city by plane instead of by train as we did last time, there was still a significant train theme to our visit.  We went to Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens, which is beautifully redesigned public space dominated by old gantries that once moved freight between trains and barges on the East River. 

Of course we rode the subway all over and N. tracked our routes carefully. 

And we went to the New York Transit Museum!  N. loved all the old elevated and subway cars, especially the wooden ones.
Another theme of the weekend was, of course, architecture and old buildings.  We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where N. wanted to see the Egyptian mummies and the Temple of Dendur, which we'd examined carefully last trip as well.  He also wanted to see the Greek and Roman galleries this visit, and he was especially taken with this monumental column from the Temple of Artemis.  He also spent some time viewing a Roman bedroom with architectural frescoes, the painted amphorae and bowls, and the marble sculptures of men and women from 100 B.C-100 A.D.  At one point N. glimpsed the old arches from the original Victorian Gothic building that is at the core of the museum (though mostly obscured by the neoclassical facade and various additions) and was immensely excited.  He vastly prefers the Victorian Gothic style (despite the fact that the original building was almost immediately out of style after it was built)!

[Photo by Graham Haber]
We visited the The Morgan Library, designed by Charles McKim in 1906 in the gilded robber-baron style N. admires.  He loved the library's multi-tiered bookshelves and balconies (a guard showed N. where to peek through a crack in a pivoting shelf to see the hidden spiral staircases leading to the balconies) and he was interested in the books and manuscripts on display.  He also really loved the new Renzo Piano-designed addition to the Morgan complex, and spent a lot of time looking at the model of the complex and the photos showing Piano's design process and the construction of the addition.

We took an exhilarating walk on the High Line in the snow and enjoyed the elevated perspective it offers on an array of interesting buildings. 
 And we rode the A train north and took a lovely snowy walk through Fort Tryon Park to The Cloisters.  N. enjoyed seeing all the fragments of 12th-century buildings on display, especially all the plant motifs as in this column, which are much less common in the later Gothic buildings he's familiar with.  We all swooned over the unicorn tapestries.

It was a rich trip! 


Mom and Kiddo said...

You saw so many of my favorite places! Also, this was the only time it has snowed this winter, so good timing.

As N. becomes familiar with the NYC subway, he might be interested to learn about the "lost subways" in the system. Here's a link to the story and an interactive map. Kiddo loves to study and compare this map to the ones he has.

Adrienne Pilon ("A") said...

I am taking notes as we plan to hit NYC this summer, with one son interested (sometimes) in architecture. A question: how do you balance homeschooling with adult agendas? Are you schooling all the time? I am trying to strike a balance between what the current generation of parents does, with what my parents generation did---which was not to center everything around the kids. How do you go about the planning?

Fanny Harville said...

M&K: N. is going to love that map!

Adrienne: When we travel on trips like this or last spring's trip to England, we make sure to do a few things that the adults want to do, whether or not N. does. But overall the agenda is skewed more toward N's interests that you might do. I hear what you are saying about today's generation of parents, but I also feel like the time we have together when N. wants to travel or do stuff with us generally is precious and short; I don't assume he'll travel with us when he grows up. And luckily his interests are also interesting to us, and often vice-versa (if he was really into something I hate, like Star Wars, you would not see me constructing a travel agenda around it). When we plan to go to the symphony, for example, and offer him a babysitter, he wants to come with us to the concert.

Are we schooling all the time? Kinda, yes. But we enjoy it. And it helps that Tim had a full and productive career before homeschooling with N., which I think helps offset any feelings about one's own adult life being neglected...

Emily said...

I miss you! Come back now please. It was such a fun visit.

Anonymous said...

looks like it was a wonderful trip!