Sightseeing in Manhattan the second: American Museum of Natural History

Hey there blog readers! :-)

And the sightseeing adventures in the Big Apple continue.

On a very grey and rainy Saturday we left the house just after lunch time to go to Manhattan. This time it was three of us: My sister Elisabeth (Lisa), Daniel and I.

The trip into the city was quite annoying, because we weren't the only ones that had the great idea of taking the bus and train into Manhattan, but 10,000 other people as well. Everything was so packed with crowds of people and the traffic was crazy! Maybe it was so full because nobody wanted to walk when there's rain plus it was Saturday.

Also when there's a rainy and gray day the other 10,000 think exactly the same as we thought: Museum Day. And there was a train chaos as well, as a lot of trains didn't work because of construction zones during the weekend.

But the nice thing was that at one of the subway platforms there was a great saxophone player and we had an awesome waiting-time-soundtrack. Daniel even danced a little bit. ;-)

Eventually we arrived at the subway stop "American Museum of Natural History" and I felt super excited because the tiled walls are full of animal pictures that seem to lead the way to the museum. It reminds me to the U-Bahn stop in Berlin "Zoological Garden" where there are animals tiles as well. I was happy to leave the darkness and to see daylight again.

Here you see a part of the building. You might have already seen the outside of it in the movie "Night at the Museum" (Here's a link to the trailer - a very funny and nice movie in my opinion). The American Museum of Natural History is one of the biggest natural history museums worldwide. It was founded in 1869, but moved to it's nowadays place at the Central Park in 1874.

Here you see Daniel and me and in the background the Theodore-Roosevelt-Memorial. Roosevelt was the 26th American President. He sits on a horse (him on this horse you also might know from the above mentioned movie). On his right stands a Native American Chief and on his left an African-American man. The sculpture is from James Earle Fraser and was finished in the 1939/40. I can only speculate what it is supposed to express. I searched the Internet but couldn't find a satisfying answer to that. But it's probably obvious that a white man on top of a horse and an African-American and a Native American standing beside him on a lower level isn't a meeting on the same eye height.

But now to the museum. As a start a quote from Wikipedia:

"... the museum complex comprises 27 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, in addition to a planetarium and a library. The museum collections contain over 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human cultural artifacts, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time, and occupies 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 square meters). The Museum has a full-time scientific staff of 225, sponsors over 120 special field expeditions each year, and averages about five million visits annually."

As soon as you enter through the revolving doors of the museum, you see those gigantic dinosaur skeletons.

Not too bad, isn't it?! ;-)

I have already seen such big dino skeletons in the Field Museum in Chicago and in the Natural History Museum in Berlin, but it was still very impressing for me! Another thing that doesn't seem to get old (although they are very old...haha...sorry that flat joke had to be lol).

A little anecdote on the side: If you know the TV show "Friends", then you might know that this is the museum where Ross used to work in the early seasons - because he's such a crazy dino fan. I know that because Netflix put "Friends" back on their list and I was watching the seasons again. ;-)

These two big skeletons you can see for free because they are in the big entrance hall. All the other exhibitions (general and special ones) you have to pay for. I added a pic from the prices - just in case you wanna plan a trip there in the future.

We had planned to be at the museum at 3:30pm, but with all the subway dilemma we just arrived at 4:30ish. This means just before 1 1/4 hours before the museum closes. That was disappointing, because we didn't want to pay the full entrance for such a short period of time. BUT in all this mess there was again a good thing, as at 4:45 the museum has free entrance for the last open hour! :-) Sadly we couldn't check out the mammal halls or the ocean hall, BUT the fossil halls and also quite a big part from the human origins and cultural halls. We used the hour in the best possible way.

The three of us with the T-Rex skeleton. It is really impossible to get a pic with no other people in it! I think natural history museums are THE museums that have more kid-visitors than grown ups. It was so crowded that I had to really pay attention to not stumble over a smaller person.

The next two pictures I took for my dad. He really is a turtle fan.

And now you see how big that turtle skeleton really is. Gigantic! And the turtle is even smiling for the pic! *cheese*

A mammoth skeleton.

At 5:45pm we were pretty directly asked to leave the museum. We crossed the street and walked into the Central Park. You already get the picture how the weather was and how sad all those trees looked like.

You see this box on the walkway? This is an instrument to measure noise. They are also often seen down at the subways. I didn't even know what that was before Daniel explained it to us (my smart hubby :-).

We walked southward the Central Park and arrived at Columbus Circle and went into a fancy shopping mall to take a break, warm up and have a coffee. But there was no chance for a coffee to stay (not one "to go"), because it was all so crowded and there weren't even benches to sit on. So we decided to look for a restaurant to have dinner there. We took the subway to Financial District and went to the Irish place that we've already knew. I'm sure you know how wonderful calming it is to have something you already know around you when you feel exhausted, cold and hungry.

And because I know that a lot of you love food pictures... Here you are! :-)

Lisa had a Shepherd's Pie.

 Daniel had Chicken Pot Pie.

And to drink the right beverage in an Irish restaurant he had some Guinness.

I had grilled pork chop, with apple sauce, mashed potatoes, spinach and carrots. That was very good, but to tell you the truth Lisa's Shepherd's Pie was the best of the three dishes! So tasty and flavorful - *yummy*.  Daniel was super excited when Lisa couldn't finish her dish and he could eat it all up. lol

After our stomachs were filled and we've warmed up again we decided to go to Ground Zero spontaneously as it was so close. But with pouring rain nothing that is actually as close as it seems (at least not with NYC water puddles on the "walk" ways). It was just shortly after 9pm and so the 9/11 Memorial was already closed and the policeman told us to come the next day. So this is the only picture I can show you from then. It's a steel beam construction zone and in the background the new One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) - quite hidden because of the rain and fog that night.

We decided to go back home and to come back during daylight to see everything better.

Today as I write this blog post it is Good Friday. We think about how Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross for us. A very sad memory, but through all the heaviness of his death our guilt and sin was paid forever and we are set free to have a real relationship with God!

Often all this is way too big and too deep that I can't grasp it with my usually quite occupied mind, but as I just told you about all the drama with us getting lost in the subway craziness and then still good things happening to us this might show you a glimpse of the good and holy in the bad and sad.

How much bigger is what Jesus did for us than anything that worries us?! He wants to come into our sadness and loneliness and show us the path to freedom. That's what I want and that's what I really need! To be free and to have peace - peace with God, with myself and with my neighbor. I wish you this peace, this special peace that just God can give you!

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:7

Much love, Kati

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