Day 1 – Rabbit, white, 6’ 3.5” tall

27 July 2012

ICE train arriving in Limburg Süd

The adventure started smoothly, though the night after the nice recital was short. Fortunately my plane was going to depart at 10:20 am such that I (being a night-owl) could use a convenient not-too-early ICE high-speed train to Frankfurt Airport. The train was on time and shortly before it arrived I captured another one which did not stop in Limburg Süd passing the station at full speed of about 300 km/h!

Almost maximum speed (300 km/h)

Morning temperatures were moderate in the lower 20s (°C) but the weather in general was a good preparation for the similarly hot but even more humid New York summertime climate.

Futuristic architecture of ‘The Squaire’

At the airport’s railway station I took a few pictures of the futuristic architecture of ‘The Squaire’ which has been built around the existing glass dome aloft the station.

Airbus A380

It was my first flight with world’s largest passenger airliner – the double-decked Airbus A380 with a capacity of more than 800 passengers. And it was (almost) booked out! To my surprise (and convenience) it is a little more spacious than other aircrafts; in particular the window seats have more room to the side facing the wall. And as usual, I booked a window seat – being lucky to get the last one in the last row on the northern side (which is better to take landscape photos).

Developing early convection over Holland

Ac cas over southern Westphalia

The sky was partly cloudy with a lot of signals of beginning convection expected to develop later on the day – but that was to be left behind. The boundary layer was very hazy – I apologize for the diffuse images.

Old city of Soest (Westphalia, Germany)

Through a cloud window I captured the nice city of Soest which has a completely preserved medieval wall around the nearly circular old city. I remember one of my first school excursions in 6thgrade (1982) when we spent one week in Soest.

Tomato juice

Usually, my first drink on board is tomato juice (don’t ask why – it’s the only case I drink this kind of juice at all). (Invisible) North Sea coast, northern England, Isle of man, Ireland and then …  many hours (boring) Atlantic Ocean. Time to read an interesting article about Germany from a US perspective in the ‘Handelsblatt’. “Chicken or pasta?” – “Chicken!”

TBBT Episode 1×10 ‘The Loobenfeld Decay’

On the on-board entertainment programme a variety of films and TV series episodes. Among the latter ‘The Loobenfeld Decay’ from TBBT – Lufthansa made a good choice! 🙂

Fleur de Lys, Newfoundland (Canada)

RHIC, Brookhaven, Long Island (New York, USA)

Then ‘land in sight’: Newfoundland with occasional streets as first indications of civilisation. St. Lawrence Stream, Boston Area, Long Island (I spotted Brookhaven National Lab with Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) … and on time around 12:30: welcome to the never-sleeping city reaching to the clouds and open 7/24 – or to be more precise: welcome to its Airport John F. Kennedy about 20 km east of Manhattan. The unboarding went faster than I expected from the sheer mass of passengers. But my happiness turned very soon into a proof of patience since we already had to line up in the hallway to the immigration since there, downstairs was not enough space. While waiting so long I noticed an impressive panorama drawing in the arrival hall. Later I learned about it’s amazing creator Stephen Wiltshire. Check out this documentary about the drawing!

New World Trade Center towers (1 and 4) under construction

Three hours later I was finally sitting in a cab giving me the ride to my destination: Gramercy Park Hotel. Traffic was heavy but not as time-consuming as the immigration. Skyline was impressive and I tried to capture the new WTC. The hotel was fine: friendly atmosphere, nice room and helpful assistance when I had technical trouble – first the elevator didn’t want to read my keycard and then I messed up the PIN of the safe. As I love parks and gardens (such as my favourite Schwetzingen Castle Garden – check out this gallery), I enjoyed the privilege of having access to one of the few private parks in New York City.

Hungry squirrel at Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park, NYC

Gramercy Park is a beautiful oasis in the urban desert between 3rd and Park Avenue and pigeons, various birds and squirrels seem to enjoy it, too (and be sure I was not following Tom Lehrer and Georg Kreisler who suggest what fun it is to poison them). With such a tight time schedule enforced by the immigration delay, there was not much time for anything that you could call sight-seeing.

Empire State Building viewed from 5th Avenue

But there was also a mission to fulfil: taking photos of the marble decoration in the lobby of the Empire State Building which is in walking distance. I was overwhelmed – not so much by this giant landmark itself from the outside but rather by the fact, that the tall hallways in the ground floor are almost entirely plated with so-called Lahn Marble from my home region in Germany!

Lahn Marble in the Lobby of Empire State Building

I have never seen such an impressive collection of this familiar stone. What a variety of patterns and colours! I wished I had enough time to make a systematic survey but time was running. Thus, I tried to capture representative samples – which I promised to a highly respected member of the Lahn Marble Association at home in Villmar.

‘Harvey’ at Studio 54 (Roundabout Theater Company)

Rushing back I tested the subway system which I would need later to get to Studio 54 Theater. Everything went fine and I picked up my pre-ordered ticket for a seat in the front row of the balcony. The play was terrific and Jim Parsons as well as Jessica Hecht and Charles Kimbrough were just brilliant. Jim got an extra applause when he appeared first on the scene and I guess there were some TBBT fans in the audience – I noticed a child wearing a ‘Bazinga’ T-shirt 🙂 Also the scenic design placed on three revolving stage platforms was excellent and allowed fast switches between Elwood’s home and the sanatorium without curtain breaks.

Back at the hotel I walked a bit around in the neighbourhood. On 3rd Avenue I found a bagel shop offering a green juice mix called ‘Hulk’ – it tasted great but unfortunately gave me no superpower 😉 Back at the hotel I found an important E-Mail by the screening’s organizer that the location was changed (due to technical difficulties) to the Harmony Gold Preview House on Sunset Boulevard. The address looked promising and reminded me my favourite ‘Art House’ cinema during my doctorate years, the Harmonie in Freiburg.

Go to Day 2

Day 3

2 Responses to “Day 1 – Rabbit, white, 6’ 3.5” tall”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Fleurdelys is my home town. Interesting pic.

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