Holiday 2009: NYC III – Lightning Strikes, Central Park Squirrels and Directional Assistance.

The Top of the Rock is the observatory at the top of the Rockefeller Center (Word is telling me that it should be “centre”, God Save the Queen) and after being up the Empire State the day before it wasn’t so much a different view we were looking for, but the look uptown at the park from the building, it being several block further north (20 or so, I think), means a real damn good look at the man made massive plain of grass and trees sculptured into perfection.

Entering the Rock we skipped past a massive long queue of Japanese tourists that we were lucky to get in front of as, unlike our trip up the Empire State, we had left it to late in the day and the queue was getting longer and longer the more time we were wasting outside. After a rather circle-jerk style video about how amazing the building and plaza is, and a video about something called a “Rockette” and Radio City, we entered the elevator. A rather cool glass ceiling and blue lights lit the path way up to the top of the building. The amazing part of this was the American tourists that had jumped into our elevator, with their exclaims of “awesome” and “sweet” punctuating the popping of my ears as the numbers increased to 69 or something. Maybe more.

At the top we were greeted not with an amazing view, but with the drilling sound of rain. Rain like none seen before. It was piercing and, even inside the observation deck, it felt wet. We had go outside and into the wind and rain we stepped, taking the rain in our stride being Scottish and also being outfitted with a Gortex jacket I was sorted. Nothing was going to stop me from going to the top. Until the lightning starting hitting buildings and causing the rumbling of thunder. Steve and I both dived for the floor, being the only other two things at the top of the building, apart from the puny look lightning rod and the broadcast antennas.

Back on the ground we took shelter from the rain inside the Museum of Modern Art which I was looking forward to immensely. Getting in for free appeased Steve after having to pay $15 each for the Metropolitan (when we could've blagged it for just one dollar) and we toured the mad cap sculptures and paintings for near on two hours. I was amazed as modern art is something that I really like - it challenges me more than the paintings and sculptures of old. I appreciate a Rembrandt or a Gogh, but a Pollock or a Raithko will make me think more about the peice because it is harder to grasp. For example, Warhol's famous Marylin Munroe portrait was there for all to see and it was as amazing as I expected it to be - as was the Campbell's Soup Cans peice. Steven enjoyed the MoMA more but was mystified at some of the installations. Like a flourescent tube at 45' angle.

Central Park had our attention twice. Being close the the Met we spent a short while sitting looking a pond with ducks and geese on it. A man approached us and proceeded to tell us that his Grandfather was "scotch" [sic]. The view of the tall builds, the squirrels immune to the traffic noise and the too perfect placement of tree reminded me somewhat of Sim City and the fervour I would place parks near buildings. Central park, however tranquil and nice it looks, lacked the essence of a real outdoor area.