Skip to main content

On My Own - NY - 27 MAY 08


For the first time in our NY trip it rained there, on the morning of 27th. But the weather forecast predicted a good day ahead, with mild showers here and there. That's one good thing in US. Weather forecasts are taken very seriously and a whole dedicated team tracking the weather works keep citizens informed 24/7 about weather forecasts. Though I am told that even in US, many times the weather forecasts go wrong. But, as weather is very unpredictable in many cities in the US, you always check the forecast of the day before planning your day. There are also, infact, two separate TV channels that just track and speak of weather, 24 hrs a day!
After a great breakfast at our usual corner - Vienamese Deli on Lexington Avenue - I headed for the United Nations. Now outside the UN building, although its mandatory to have all the member nation flags hoisted at all times outside the UN building, they weren't hoisted that morning, because it had rained earlier. Its only in rains that they don't put up the flags there. A Japanese tour guide took us - a group of around 10 people - through the building complex that's open to tourists. Several things are meant to be seen inside the building - a grand painting that's bifurcated in three parts, one that tells a story of stone age, 2nd part tells the story before World War II and the third part tells the story - thereafter, gifts from Thailand (an exact and one-of-its-kind superb replica of a boat that's used in boat races in Thailand) and China (a Chinese railway model made of Ivory before the material was banned). UN Security Council Hall has been out of bounds from tourists after 9-11, but I went inside United Council of Economic & Social commitment and UN General Assembly Hall.
After the tour completed, I quickly walked upto the spectacular Grand Central Station and took a subway to Fulton Street station where I wanted to go to the South Street Port to check out the exhibition called 'Bodies...The Exhibition'. NY subway is the best way to explore NY city; the next best way is to walk around. It's not as clean as the one in Washington D.C. and probably also not as safe during after-hours, but it's an intricate network that makes it possible for you to any nook and corner of the city, from no matter where you, right across and underneath the river, up to Brooklyn and even New Jersey. Unlike in India, you buy the tickets yourself from the ticket vending machines - they accept credit cards too. Your ticket comes out in the form of a card (like a credit card, etc) that you swipe it in a slot (like in a quick swoosh-like motion) next to the gate through which you pass and one that opens only after you have swiped in your card (valid cards, only) successfully. Even our Calcutta and New Delhi metros have the same system. No ticket-less travellers this way. Our Bombay Suburban system should also switch to this system to check all ticketless travellers. Remember, in the NY subway (NYorkers call it Subway, Washingtonites call theirs, Metro) you've got to swipe your card (ticket) in a particular way. I just couldn't do it and it was a bit embarrassing to swipe and then (hoping the gates to open) bang right into the gates because they just won't open as I didn't swipe it "correctly". But there's nothing like the NY metro network. It's efficient, it's quick, it's cheap and it's a great way to move about in a crowded city.
'Bodies...' was by far the best exhibition I have ever seen. Using live and real samples of cadavers and many such body parts to intricately rebuild the complex network of nerves, tissues, muscles and bones and entire bodies as they would look from the inside - without skin - Bodies...seeks to explain how each and every part of our body functions and what happens and how, if if we do not take care of them. They have preserved real human bodies and organs for the exhibition. For instance, they had preserved liver specimens, one from a healthy person and one chain smoker, to highlight what becomes of our liver if we smoke. I am not much of a museumy-kinda person, but Bodies...was one exhibition that I would strongly recommend. It's the best exhibition I have ever been to.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US-64 DRAWS TO A CLOSE; WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Pay Credit Card Bills Through ATMs

Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a new credit card by HDFC Bank. It's another thing that HDFC Bank promised me a gold card with a higher spending limit, but then threatened to give me a silver card. When I strongly protested to their ways, they issued me a gold card, but with a much-lower-than-promised spending limit. I think the credit card companies ought to be made more accountable through stricter laws that are widely publicised (I recently read an RBI advertisement in the paper that if a credit card company rejects your application for a credit card, it has to give the reasons in writing; I never knew that!!!) and ought to made to pay for promising one thing, but delivering something totally different. SBI Cards too chased me for a month last year and promised to give me a platinum card with a high spending limit. What I finally got was a much-watered down Gold Card with …

Teachers at Hindi Vidya Bhavan

Being a huge fan of the late Behram Contrator, the founding editor of Afternoon, I have read many of his legendary column, 'Round & About'. In one of them, he makes a poignant irony: that although teachers are our torch-bearers throughout our school and college days, give us education and make us capable of facing and surviving in this world, they would always remain in that one place, while their students would go places in thier lives. Like a teacher would still be at the bus-stop waiting for the bus, all throughout thier lives, while the child will grow in status and stuture and pass by in car. I found that to be very true, so I look back - the least I can do, and appreciate the teachers who have taught me and have a hand to make me who I am today. And while I am at it, let me also tell you about some of them who, unfortunately, I did not like.

I did my schooling (SSC)from Hindi Vidya Bhavan (HVB), Marine Drive, Mumbai. I passed out my school in 1992, so this post will …