IF YOU NEED COLOR IN YOUR LIFE, New York is a great place to consider. My short tour of Lower Manhattan is bustling with tourists from near and far, all here to capture a bit of New York’s color and bring it back. Battery Park is at the southernmost tip of Manhattan with views looking out to Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty. I decided to leave the statue for another day because of the crowds of people lining up for the ferry. A few memorials are located in the park, including ones from the World War and from September 11th.
A change of atmosphere is nearby at Bowling Green, a tiny triangular park which is also the oldest park in Manhattan. The charging bull, a symbol of the New York Stock Exchange is here amidst all the tall financial buildings. Just blocks away is the US Customs House which is now the National Museum of the American Indian. The building has four big female statues outside, representing Asia, America, Africa and Europe (I wonder why they left Australia out?). The admission to the museum is free and the rotunda inside has old portraits of the famous explorers. I find the colors used by the Indians similar to those of the Taiwan Aborigines. Maybe we are all related after all, because there is no other explanation and I don’t think they have piracy and internet back then.
Lots of street performers (most of them are REALLY good) can be found in New York. Just in one short day, I saw Statue of Liberty mimes asking people to take pictures with them, and a group of acrobats performing in the park, and a singer with a guitar who came into our subway train to sing. I guess it is hard to succeed in performing arts and hence they are all taking it to the streets, in anticipation of rising to fame someday.
WONDERED HOW MOVIES ARE MADE? Many of us know a thing or two about film making, but the American Museum of Moving Image takes the educational experience to another level. Located in Queens, just beside the Kaufman-Astoria studios, which is the largest outside Los Angeles, gives free admission every Friday evening. I have to admit that I was here for the free admission, but it is worth your 10 bucks for the tickets (better to come on Friday though). There are life sized puppets and costumes from famous films such as Chicago and Star Trek. I tried the hands-on experience of editing the soundtrack of ‘The Mask’, dubbing ‘Babe’ with my not so cute voice and pretended to be Bruce Lee in the magic mirror.
Just a few subway stops up north is Astoria, which is New York’s own Greek neighbourhood. The few blocks surrounding Ditmars Boulevard is known as ‘Little Athens’ and although I have never been to Greece before, it is not hard to notice that everyone speaks Greek and they really love their white and blue buildings a lot.
IT IS FANTASTIC HOW THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY TAKES CARE OF THE STUDENTS. Some of the Broadway shows for instance, gives out limited number of discount tickets at the orchestra level for students with ID. The student rush seats are typically at the front, and so the view is partly blocked. I tried my luck and was lucky to get a ticket of Cirque Dreams for only $26.50. The show has a jungle fantasy theme, accompanied by mystical upbeat music. Being a Cirque du Soleil production, I anticipated amazing stunts but this was way beyond my expectations. I mean, Hairspray was fun and joyful but this, this is more like distorted and breathtaking at the same time. When the four contortion girls came out, I was ‘yike’d all the way. Do they have rubber bones or what? Plenty of dangerous stunts to make your jaw drop, colorful costumes good enough to make kids sit still for a whole two hours. My eyeballs were near popping out while the unbelievable stunts coming one after another. All I can say is that they did a very good job, wow, wow, wow and wow!
NEW YORK’S DIVERSE COMMUNITY AND VIBRANT LIFESTYLE makes it unique and lovable. This is such a place that the colors are so bright, the color blind starts to see rainbows.