Saturday, August 6, 2016

Museum of Ice Cream Details

There's a lot of hype about the Museum of Ice Cream. I'll tell you all about it and let you judge for yourself.

First off, you have to have a ticket to get in - there is no standby line. All 30,000 tickets sold out in a few days, and then they extended it for another two weeks in September and they sold out in a matter of minutes.

Tickets are timestamped. You show up around your time and they put you in a group of 10 people. You move through the museum with this same group of 10 people. This was a brilliant idea because it never got crowded and it keeps the flow moving steadily.

The museum is broken into 7 rooms. You stay with your group and move in order. Once you go into one room you can't go back to the previous room. Since I didn't take many pics (just the YouTube video below), here are gifs from the video. :)

Entry Room

In the entry room, they explain what I just told you and they give you a spoon while you're standing under a ice-cream-sundae-fied deer. Then you stop by the front desk and they give you the ice cream of the week. Ours was Blue Marble from Brooklyn with Froot Loops on top.

Balloon Room (aka Cone Room)

Next up is the helium filled sugar balloon room. They are super cool but only last about 10 seconds before they stop floating. So get your boomerang instagram quick or you'll have to ask for multiples like I did.

They're fine giving you multiples. :)

This room also has a ton of ice cream cones on the wall and all the lights look like upside down cones with ice cream scoop lightbulbs. It's designed for instagram.

Scoop Room

Next we meet a museum employee that tells us three facts about ice cream and then he gives you a scoop. You scoop out some fake ice cream and pile it on a giant fake sundae.

Chocolate Chamber

The chocolate chamber is a dark room with cocoa beans on the floor so it smells like chocolate. A weird fountain on the far side makes you wonder if it were an afterthought. It is definitely not instagram-worthy. Four stands around the room offer up as many dove chocolates as you can fit in your pockets. ;)

Sprinkle Pool

Unquestionably, the highlight of the entire place is the Sprinkle Pool. The sprinkles are made of tiny plastic dots, so it's not messy. Although they get in everything - pockets, your shirt, your underwear. I found sprinkles in my house for a week. It was kind of awesome.

The sprinkle pool is also where you realize that the Museum of Ice Cream has a second purpose (the first being to inspire FOMO on Instagram). It's designed to be a date. In fact, if you read ahead, there's a Tinder Room.

Going without your spouse or significant other is awkward at times. But Josh (who's wife had to work) and I (my wife was out of town) owned it (as you'll see in the Tinder Room).

The pool is supposedly three feet deep, but I could only wiggle my feet down about 18 inches - I never touched the bottom, it just gets difficult to maneuver through that much plastic.

No diving. But burying is accepted. And everyone seems to love getting in on burying somebody. I don't know any of these people!

The icing on the sprinkle pool room cake is a shelf of candies along the wall that you can eat as much of as you'd like. :)

Miracle Berry Room

Sadly, you have to move on to the next room. But they give you ice cream there so it's ok.

As soon as you walk in, they give you a "Miracle Berry." It's a pill that's supposed to trick your tongue into thinking sour things are sweet. Apparently my tongue is too smart to be tricked.

Some people say it works. I am not one of those people.

As you can see behind me in the gif above, this room also has some ice cream art. This is really the extent of the "Museum" part of the Museum of Ice Cream. And, for that matter, the "Ice Cream" part too, except for the first room's sample.

Tinder Room

The final room is the "if-you-didn't-come-with-a-date-the-exit-is-right-in-front-of-you" room.

So sad sitting on an ice cream sandwich swing by yourself, huh? Well, forget that.

And there's a little gift stand off to the side that I didn't really look at. But they give you a free bottle of water on the way out! And that was exciting for me. :)

Check out the video of our experience here, including what we thought about it at the end:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Up Late on the High Line

We were super excited about tonight. The High Line, which we've been on plenty of times before, invited the City to come out and play after dark, in an event they called Up Late on the High Line.

Along with the ability to roam the park after normal closing hours, they invited artists to create various light and sound installations to entertain us. Sounds like an amazing event, right? You can see why we were excited to go. And so was everyone else.

We waddled along and saw a few cool things (check out the video below for the full experience), but around 10:45 it was already too packed and they were asking people to leave. We made it to about the Standard:

So we turned back and took a few long exposures on 14th Street just to kill some time...

And then we wandered along 14th Street to Black Tap for a burger (pretty good, not up to Shake Shack standard or anything, but good) and their famous shakes (again, pretty good, not quite up to the hype, but very photogenic).

Check out the full experience in the video here:

Thanks for reading/watching. :) Have a great day!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Secret Nature Sanctuary in Central Park

Today I checked another box off my bucket list. I explored the extremely rarely open (as in a few hours per year) Hallett Nature Sanctuary.

The Hallett Nature Sanctuary as seen from across the Pond.

So the history here is that in 1934, Robert Moses, the Parks Commissioner at the time, closed these 4 acres of Central Park to the public for use as a bird sanctuary. And it stayed closed to the public for 79 years. It's like the Forbidden City, but in Central Park.

Forbidden for us at least. The birds love it. Here's a robin's nest. It's still a bird-watcher's heaven.

Over the next several decades, Parks Department officials used the sanctuary as an experiment: what would happen to the parks if we didn't take care of them at all (just let them grow wild)?

A few invasive species got in, along with some invasive insects, so the Central Park Conservancy stepped in in 2001 to clean things up.

That's the sanctuary on the left, across the water, taken from the path that encircles the Pond (on the right).
But they still didn't let the general public in. Not until the Fall of 2013, when they allowed a few special guided tours. I was in Alaska and then Asia. Visiting the other Forbidden City.

In 2014 and 2015, they opened it up for a few hours per month, only in the summer months. Still with Park officials as tour guides. I was in Alaska again for work. :/

But this year, they opened it early (before the summer months), so I'm still in New York! So I worked late last night so I could take the afternoon off today. Having run every path in the Park multiple times, I have circled the Hallett Nature Sanctuary many, many times, always wanting to explore it.

Olmsted and Vaux designed this to be a promontory. This is the viewpoint from atop the lookout point.
It was wonderful. It was exactly what I thought it would be. Peaceful. I was so happy in there.

They only allow 20-30 people in at a time so the noise doesn't disturb the birds and butterfly population. So if you can get in (which right now is not a problem since they're not promoting it), you'll have it mostly to yourself. Especially because this year they're allowing you to explore on your own - no tour guide! There are friendly volunteers hanging around though, making sure you don't fall off the waterfall while checking out this view:

It's open for a few hours a day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday now, with slightly extended hours in the summer. Check out the Conservancy's page for specific times here:

Hallett Nature Sanctuary Open Hours

If you want to go, head to the Southeast part of the Park. Cross the Gapstow Bridge and follow the fence to the right. You'll see the entrance on your left.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Central Park Sunset

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have a conference call that goes until 6pm. So I usually can't go out and run until it's dark. But today I decided to see if I could take the call from the Park. It turned out to be a great decision.

I was still home when the meeting started. Based on the agenda, my part wasn't until the end. So I walked over to the Park and listened while the other presenters talked. I watched the geese and admired the hazy skyline.

By the time my turn came around, I was on the East side of the reservoir.

It was relatively quiet where I was, until a few helicopters flew overhead. I hadn't planned on that.

The meeting ended just as the sky was starting to glow.

Perfect timing. I ran up the track a little to put the clouds where I wanted them in relation to the El Dorado Towers.

I think I'll do this every week now.


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