New York City – A wet and cloudy morning

Our first day in New York City began bright and early at Bryant Park. On our agenda that day were several iconic spots: Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, the Empire State Building and Central Park, to name just a few.

Bryant Park is a small oasis of green in the heart of the city. Behind the park is the back of the New York Public Library.

The rain of the the night before was evident and lovely.

But the wet didn’t stop anyone.

We moved on to the New York Public Library . . .

As in Washington, D.C., there are people who distribute free “Metro” papers – abbreviated versions of the regular paper, and just the right size for reading on the subway. Even though I’d just gotten off the subway, she insisted I take one to read “later.”

We turned the corner to see the iconic lions flanking the steps of the New York Public Library.

Unfortunately, it was not yet ten o’clock, so we were not able to go inside and see the beautiful interior. Next time!

More later… I have to get ready for work!

They say you can always spot the tourists in New York City

They are the ones always looking up.

And yes, this was the color of the sky. It was socked in on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Washington, D.C. – Parting Shots

Musicians from George Washington University playing for tuition money outside the Farragut West Metro station.

Model of  the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) aircraft carrier at the National Air and Space Museum.

The Capitol Dome (from the back)

Detail: Ulysses S. Grant Memorial


Lunch wagons

Detail of sculpture near National Mall

National Bank of Washington


Washington, D.C. – My favorite spot, so far

The National Gallery of Art (link) has two buildings and the Sculpture Garden. I only visited the West Building and barely scratched the surface.  An hour-and-a-half one afternoon (after the Air and Space Museum) and two hours on our last day in town – –  three-and-a-half hours total – –  just wasn’t enough.  (This does not include the National Portrait Gallery, which I have yet to set foot in.)

Just a few shots . . .

Yes, I am fascinated by this lady.

So many pieces just took my breath away, and yes, I’ll admit to getting choked up when seeing a “real-life” Monet for the first time.

And this self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh? I stood in front of it for the longest time and just stared. And yes, I cried. Beautiful.

Washington, D.C. – People II

This should be about the museums, and believe me, they are awesome, but I’ve been a people-watcher from a way back. After Sweetie went back to the hotel, I had more freedom to wander down whatever photographic road I wanted to.

A tender touch.

Reading in the sun. As you can see, the morning rain and clouds were gone.

Middle-school kids at the National Sculpture Garden fountain.

Joggers at the Capitol Building Reflecting Pool. It was windy that afternoon, hence, not very reflective. They look like Marines to me.

Sometimes I don’t just watch people. I talk to them. The three dogs were a natural “in” for me. I couldn’t’ resist going up to them for a quick pet and in doing so I found out these fellows had just jumped in their car that morning for a spur-of-the-moment trip. They asked me where 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was.

“You mean, the White House?”  ( I loved that they asked for it by the address)

“Yes,” they replied.

“Well,” I said, “That street over there is Pennsylvania Avenue, so you can follow that. Or, just walk the Mall until you get to the Washington Monument and then hang a right.”

I’d taken this couple’s photo in front of the National Gallery and ran into them again at the Reflecting Pool. This time I took the opportunity.

One of these days, when I go to D.C. I will have a complete and unobstructed view of the capitol dome. The first time there was scaffolding around the dome, last spring it was bulldozers and heavy equipment, and this time there was this massive tent.  I was still able to get some good shots – I just had to get closer.

Boy at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial at the Capitol Building Reflecting Pool.

If one waits for a monument to be completely free of people, one will wait a long time. Solution: make them part of the photograph. I think people make these sorts of shots more interesting anyway. They often provide color and perspective, and as I said, I like to shoot people.

Freshman Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D), from Illinois’ 17th district, posing with a group of her constituents on the steps of the Capitol. (No, I didn’t know off-hand who she was, but I’m good at research. Google is my friend.)

Day 2 started with breakfast, and then on the National Air and Space Museum. This was Sweetie’s favorite stop.

It was also the museum of choice for families and school kids on class trips.  There is much to do and see there. The first floor has a hands-on exhibit that explains and demonstrates the physics of flight in a way that school kids can understand (and me too!). The museum is full of aeronautical history.  I find the place fascinating but when I have to dodge marauding bands of 12 and 13-year-olds I can get a bit cranky.  I don’t mean to. I do remember being that age, and I am sure I behaved in exactly the same manner. It’s what they do. It’s part of growing up. It’s all good.

Still they are interesting to watch. Especially from above. It helps to take a step back.

Looks like teacher is having to have a chat.

Family time.

Washington, D.C. – Museums, Day One

Given the short amount of time we had, there was no way we were going to be able to see all the Smithsonian museums had to offer, but we wanted to at least try to visit each one. That was far too optimistic of us, and we’ll just have to go back!

On Monday, after visiting the MLK memorial, we began with the National Museum of American History. The docent gave us a good guide on the highlights, and we hit them all.  The museum was wonderful, but the lighting was very dark, so I got very few photos there.

Here’s one photo I was able to take: a portion of the Greensboro, NC Woolworth’s lunch counter.

From the American History Museum, we headed for the National Museum of Natural History.  Much to see there as well, but again, lighting was a challenge!

The area on human origins is really interesting!  From our earliest ancestors, to branches of our family tree that didn’t make it, to  Homo Sapiens, the exhibits discuss and demonstrate the connections between them all, and the evidence for evolution by natural selection.

 Here is a likeness of Neanderthal.  He wasn’t very tall.

We didn’t get to visit as much of this museum as we would have liked. By about 3:30 Sweetie had had enough (we’d been going since 8 am) and he headed back to the hotel. Ever the crazed photographer, I pressed on. But I needed some quiet away from all the middle school kids, so I headed into the Freer and Sackler Galleries.  This is the only photo I took there. Mostly I just enjoyed the art and the quiet and recharged my batteries.

National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art still to come.