Activitays with Cricket.

Cricket and I tend to stay indoors and be little homebodies, so lately he has been insisting we get out of the house and do things. “Activitays”, he calls them. I send him emails of goings-on with titles like, “Possible activitay?” (or, if I’m sure he’ll be into it, “ACTIVITAY!”). So this past weekend, we made a day in the big city. In early afternoon we went to the Pompeii exhibit that’s on right now in Times Square. Even though it’s expensive ($25) and it’s got unnecessary cheesy special effects (Really? Do I need a constant rumbling soundtrack blasting out of speakers everywhere? Really? I get it. Volcano. Everyone died. Ominous. Oogy-boogy. I get it.), I recommend it. The thing I found most astonishing about the large quantity of artifacts was how similar they are to the things we have today. The anchors looked the same. They had loaded die for cheating and games. They had scales with weights for measuring and plumbing with valves. It’s amazing how advanced civilization was so early on. That was all in the pre-Vesuvius-erupting section. Then they let us into the post-Vesuvius erupting section, where all the casts of the bodies were. The most crisp and realistic-looking one was definitely the dog.

For anyone who doesn’t understand what we’re looking at, here’s what happened: Pompeii was blanketed in a thick layer of suffocating ash and toxic gases from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. This ash lay twelve feet thick over all the bodies of the deseased. Eventually, the ash hardened and the bodies decomposed, leaving body-shaped cavities in the now-hardened ash. These cast were all made of the negative space left behind, which apparently looked like this.

It was definitely worth going.

After that, Cricket and I headed over to the Highline. It’s been open for a while now, but I haven’t had a chance to walk it. The Highline was an elevated train track that had been sitting abandoned above the avenues on the west side of New York. Instead of tearing it down, they turned it into a park. Yay! Recycling in a positive way! It goes from 30th Street to 14th Street, and we walked the whole thing. Aside from having lovely plants all along the edge, there was also some art. At the base of the northern part was a small amusement park installation by Friends With You, and art group that I like a great deal.

Then, as you progress downtown, there’s a series of birdhouses which are, much to my dismay, kind of dumb. How did I come to this conclusion? Well, even though there was copious amounts of food and water and shelter, there was, in fact, no birds. Perhaps because it was mere inches from the walkway where thousands of people are traipsing by, I don’t know. I do know that if I was a bird and massive hoardes of giant loud monsters were thumping by on their giant feet all damn day, I wouldn’t set up residence there. I’m just sayin’.

Further down the Highline widens out and there’s an awesome piece of art there. There’s an overhang with a long strip of those small-paned windows that were so popular in industrial buildings back in the day. Now, according to the placard nearby, the artist went on an 11-hour boat trip on the Hudson and took a picture of the water every minute or so. I’m not sure if the artist took the dominant color or the color of the pixel in the center, but he did one of those two things and each pane of glass is assigned a color in the order they were taken, left to right, top to down, in rows. It’s so beautiful. Here’s a small piece of it.

Right across from the windows was a man selling homemade popsicles, and in front of him was a big block of ice. I said to Cricket, “I must have whatever that block of ice is associated with,” so when we got up to the front of the line, we just gesticulated towards the block, as if to say, “Please, do…whatever it is you do with that and give it to us, thank you.” The popsicle man then took a planing device with a cup at the end, like a diesel cheese grater, and he went skkkskskkhhsksshhh across the surface and filled the cup with shaved ice, and then he poured homemade rhubarb sweetened juice over the whole thing. Fabulous. If I ever have a fancypants backyard party, I will have a shaved-ice guy because it looks cool and it is delicious, which is a great pair.

Cricket and I purchased a Time Out magazine and looked through it, so hopefully there will be more exciting activitays to come.

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