Orion's Photos: places - New_york - new_york - 2002
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My trip to the International Conference in Supercomputing-- ICS 2002
I flew out of Bloomington, IL (pictures 1-2), leaving just before
noon on Friday, June 21. Because of thunderstorms over Detroit,
we initially divirted to Flint, then sat on the runway for about
an hour until we could make the short hop to Detroit (pictures 5-19).
I thus ended up arriving in Detroit several hours late. My connecting
flight to La Guardia was long gone, and the airport was packed because of
the weather, so I switched to a soon-to-depart flight to Newark, NJ.
We left the clouds behind in Detroit; but came up on a thick haze over
New Jersey (it's not completely clear whether this is the usual state
of affairs). I was impressed by how completely opaque the sky below us
was-- though cloudless, the ground was invisible (pictures 22-33).
As we came in for our landing, the ground slowly became visible.
I happened to be sitting on the wrong side of the plane to catch
Manhattan as it went by, but got a few shots (pictures 49-58)
of the island at sunset by leaning out across the aisle.
I took a NJ Transit train to Penn Station, then fought my way through the
incredible crowds (it was now about 10pm) to the subway, which I took all
the way uptown to Columbia, and Carman Hall (picture 63, 92), which
served as my hotel for the journey. I roomed with Steven Saunders,
a heck of a nice guy from Texas A&M.
The Columbia campus is quite impressive--I have something of an obsession
with weathered stone, so took quite a few pictures of ancient buildings
(pictures 64-78). Morningside park faces downhill, to the east,
into Harlem (pictures 79-86). I wasn't quite brave enough to venture
down into the park, even in the light of day.
Saturday was taken up with a workshop, but I was able to wander around
Manhattan for all of Sunday. My first stop was the strikingly vertical
Cathedral of St. John, on 110th and Amsterdam (pictures 93-94), which
reminded me of a less black version of Cologne's giant central cathedral.
The next stop was the American Museum of Natural History (pictures
95-97), which I wasn't quite ready to visit. I thus turned into
the west side of Central Park at about 80th. Central Park is filled with
outcroppings of Manhattan schist, a weathered, mica-heavy rock
with an amazing undulating, sparkly appearance (pictures 98-102).
Not knowing exactly how long I had to walk across Central, I strode
briskly; I emerged just south of 82nd, going past the Metropolitan Museum
of Art (pictures 103-105). My true goal, however, was Guggenheim
(pictures 107-111), where I spent several fascinated hours. I was
most impressed with Rachel Whiteread's "Transient Spaces" exhibit, which
initially appears to be a meaningless yet collosal abstract sculpture
(supplemental pictures 112). I won't spoil the exhibit by giving away
the punchline, but it gave my perception of positive and negative space a
strong kick, which is exactly what great art is supposed to do.
After several hours in Guggenheim, I took the subway downtown to Grand
Central Station, near the Chrystler Building (pictures 113-120).
On the way to Times square, I passed by the New York Public Library,
with the trademark lions out front. I would have gone inside, but there
was a couple getting married on the front steps by the only(?) entrance.
Times Square (pictures 132-135) was too flashing and jarring for my
tastes, so I headed up to Central Park again. It was here that I
realized the rocks jutting up into the park were incredibly ancient-- I'm
quite sure the smooth, rounded surfaces (pictures 142-143) of the
(dozen-foot-high) rocks are from millenia of glacial action.
Some parts of Central Park were what I expected, like a well-packed
5-way baseball diamond (pictures 144-145). Other parts were unexpected,
like the freeway-class pedestrian overpasses (pictures 146-147).
In places, the smooth, easy combination of natural and artifical surfaces
were strongly reminiscient of Myst (pictures 156-159).
I didn't take any further pictures until Monday night, when we went on a
boat tour of the harbor. While waiting to board on the 42nd-street, New
Jersey-side pier, we checked out the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid
(pictures 162-173) that forms the body of the Air, Sea, and Space museum.
New York is an extremely visually impressive town, doubly so near sunset,
so I'll let these pictures speak for themselves. Notables on the trip
down the Hudson to near the Statue of Liberty included: a gigantic,
4-story driving range (pictures 184-186) facing out over the harbor; the
air intakes for the Holland tunnel (picture 187); and the former site of
the Twin Towers (pictures 195-197). We then turned north, heading up the
East River past: inflatable floating tennis courts (picture 216); the
Brooklyn Bridge (pictures 217-225); the Empire State Building (pictures
229-223); the Chrystler Building (pictures 234-237); and Trump Tower
(pictures 238-239). We then turned back south and headed straight for
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (pictures 262-294). I took quite
a few night shots, but virtually all of them turned out to be blurred
Tuesday was more conference, followed by an incredible dinner at
Becco Restaurant, on the north side of 46th St between 8th and 9th.
I gave a presentation on Wednesday, which went without a hitch.
On Thursday, after the obligatory New York taxi ride, I left for
Detroit from La Guardia. I still had a few dozen pictures left, so I
followed the cloud layers (pictures 309-324) as they passed on our way to
35,000 feet after leaving La Guardia. We passed several miles-high
thunderheads (pictures 332-335) on our way across the continent.
Detroit International is a fairly attractive airport, with a
dedicated tram (pictures 341-342) just to ferry people around inside a
single concourse. A psychadelic tunnel (pictures 345-346), with
neon-backlit frosted glass pulsating in color to soothing music,
connects the main concourse with several smaller ones.
We landed without incident (pictures 358-363) back at Bloomington.
All images taken by Orion Lawlor
and placed completely in the public domain.
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