The sidewalks were somewhat cleared until about mid island, then they weren't plowed at all. But we made it to the tram.
I love taking the tram, the views are spectacular!
Once we stepped off the tram and onto the Manhattan streets the snow maddness began. But we weren't sure at this point what we were getting ourselves into.
Look at all these birds in the tree
We made it to the train and took it uptown to about 86th & Lex. Walking on the sidewalks was a bit tricky as they weren't really plowed. And cross the streen wasn't any better. Often times the group of people that were crossing just crossed in the middle of the intersection because there was at least area to walk there. We grabbed a bagel for breakfast and some Starbucks and proceeded over to the bus stop. We saw a bus leaving as we approached, but a little old lady needed help crossing the knee high snow row along the side of the road - so we stopped and helped her (forfeiting that bus ride). So we waited for the bus... and waited. We were right next to Duane Reade (which is like CVS or Walgreens) and I was frozen so I went in and I got an extra pair of socks and a hat.
Then we came out and waited some more for the bus. Oh I should mention a few feet up the road (to the right of that picture above) there was a double bus stuck and abandoned in the snow. I really wish I would have taken a picture of it. I didn't know how big of a deal it was at the time. After waiting some more a lady walking east said "there aren't any buses coming we're coming from the west and just saw 3 stuck and abandoned"... hmmm so we tried to hail a cab. We realized very quickly that wasn't going to happen so we decided to start walking west. The museum was just on the other side of the park, but we figured we're not getting anywhere anyway so might as well walk. Looking for cabs along the way.
No such luck in cabs, as we later learned many were claiming to be off duty so they could pick and choose where to go. We ended up walking all the way through central park to the museum. But we didn't walk through the park IN the park, no we walked along the 86th Street Transverse. Which was barely plowed itself. There was a group of people in front of us and a group behind us, so we were not alone. We later learned this is a MAJOR road through the park and you don't typically find people walking down the middle of it. There was the occasional car that went around us, but ultimately it was just us (and the other people). We crossed a precinct which is in the middle of the park, and they were all out uncovering their cop cars, and getting cars stuck. It was rather an adventurous experience. But we eventually made our way through the park and onto Central Park West!! The museum was about five blocks south of where we came out, but we weren't sure of this until looking at the map on our ipod and seeing where it was. As we were looking a nice man cleaning off his Lexus SUV helped to reassure us to walk south and we wouldn't miss it. It was amazing seeing all these Central Part West residents out cleaning their cars out, not sure where they planned to go.
Another funny side note. The only path from the sidewalk to the street that was cleared was a tiny path found in front of the covered building entrances. So often times we'd cross through there to the street to be able to cross a side street then cross back through an opening to return back to the sidewalk. Because the crosswalks of the side streets were not cleared at all and it was easiest just to walk down Central Park West to cross those streets.
We eventually made it to the American Museum of Natural History... where everyone else had decided to go that same day as well. LOL not really sure, but it was pretty crowded entering the museum. we were going to check our coats, but that line was really long as well, so we just decided to wear them and get on with seeing the museum.
Our first stop was the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth.
I love all the animal displays. Here's a giant whale in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
We saw lots of weird animals we'd never seen before
I had been to this museum back when I lived in NY, but it was fun to go through it after seeing the movie: Night at the Museum. We enjoyed the Mexico & Central America room since we had recently been to Chichen Itza and learned about the Mayan culture. This is their calendar:
And notice how it's round. Unlike some believe that they predicted the world to end in 2012... that's just when their calendar ended - and what happens when a circle ends? Well it starts right back over! Please excuse the southern accent, I've been listening to The Help audio book, lol. Anyway here was the little Chichen Itza model:
A natural history museum is never complete without the dinosaurs!!!
I'm a sucker for baby birds
We ended up walking the fourth floor backwards. But didn't realize this til we got to the middle and saw the arrows on the floor. Oh well. There was also a nice view over the park on the fourth floor:
And a visit to the Museum of Nat'l History wouldn't be complete without seeing the famous 'dum-dum' "me dum-dum want gum-gum" :-)
After the museum we met up with Patty and Yaya for dinner at PJ Clarks near Lincoln center. We hopped on the train right outside the AMNH and took it downtown to Columbus Circle then walked the few blocks up Broadway to Lincoln square. It was VERY VERY windy!
At dinner we were deciding on what to do the remainder of the evening. It was still fairly early, but the wind was so durn cold and the sidewalks weren't clear that we couldn't think of something warm... we eventually decided to hop in Patty's car and she was going to drive us out to Brooklyn to see the Christmas lights. ha..ha..ha... oh the adventure we were in for.
Leaving the island we could see the roads were not good (being in Manhattan we could see the roads were not good, lol) But Patty's little pilot sure made it's way of getting around. The snow was just insane. It was pretty amazing especially since living in Minnesota we are used to this and so is our state and everything gets cleared right away. But not in New York City ;-P
We first drove through Queens, initially in search of a starbucks, but every one we came upon was closed early - so we proceeded to Brooklyn.
We took the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) which Patty said is usually insane to drive one, but was very empty this night. It was even cleared to our surprise, well one lane was throughout. All the while as we're on our way, Yaya is in the backseat texting a friend who lives in Brooklyn with texts saying "you don't want to come here" "the roads haven't been cleared" "I would advise not coming".... nonsense, lol.
We get off on the expressway on 86th in Dyker Heights and the road was pretty clear to our surprise. We go down a bit and see the blocks where there are pretty lights. Except all the side roads haven't been touch with a plow. Patty decides to be adventures and takes a turn down one of the streets. Now you can't really tell from this picture, but the road really hasn't been plowed lately, we end up just driving through someone else's tracks.
Thank goodness for Patty's Honda Pilot boy that thing can go! Now these next few pictures are kinda hard to decipher... but the main point is that it was a MESS! the ride was so exciting I didn't even get pictures of the houses with lights. But we did see a few good ones. Okay these pictures show how cars were just abandoned in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET. It was absolutely insane, but totally fun to experience the chaos.
All the while we are just thinking, let's get back to 86th and it'll be good to go. We make it back to 86th a few blocks from where we turned off to find a mess. This area had not been cleared yet and our hopes of getting out of here were vanishing. There were cabs, buses, cars, all abandoned and this was the MAIN road!
Oh the car in front of us in this picture... Kyle, Yaya, and myself end up getting out and pushing it at one point. He didn't speak a lick of English, but he appeared grateful, lol. Oh and that bus to the right is in the middle of the road - NOT a parking spot. And it's abandoned
At one point we were playing chicken with a huge van that couldn't seem to get over a hump and then the middle European guy comes out to 'talk' to Patty, who 'talks' back and swerves over between their van and an abandoned taxi... Yaya was for sure we were going to crash, but Patty pulled us out of it safe and sound :-)
Ahhhh after we got back to a clear road. And back on the BQE, we headed over the Brooklyn Bridge and into the city to do a quick drive by of Times Square.
Look how high that snow pile is on the right
Then we made it home safe and sound (no luck of Starbucks), and that was the end of day four. :-)