Experiments in Travel, NYC April 17

Old Apr 8th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Experiments in Travel, NYC April 17

Do you enjoy spending an hour or so getting to know fellow travelers in an informal outdoor setting? Do you like New York and like seeing its many sites in new and inventive ways? Do you enjoy wearing homemade aluminum foil deflector beanies?

If you answered yes to any of these, then I need your help with an experimentation in travel I am doing for a future publication. The gist of the experiment can be summed up like this: I want to have a group of people meet me at a predetermined location all wearing the same article of clothing as an identifier. We then will march through the Financial District, posing for a variety of pictures along the way, culminating in our take over of the Wall Street bull at the end of Broadway.

To answer some questions no doubt running through your head, I have put together a small Q&A sheet.

So what is the experiment? I want to see how many people I can get together, united by a common theme item (the aforementioned aluminum foil deflector beanie) and a common activity (in this case, the highlight of the afternoon will be the large group picture in front of the Wall Street bull). Thus, I need volunteers to join for on the crusade in the pursuit of nothing, only those people that enjoy good company on a Saturday afternoon with travelers of the same ilk.

And how do I, the fellow intrepid traveler, get involved? First, clear you schedule on the afternoon of Saturday April 17th. Second, construct an aluminum foil deflector beanie (if you are unsure how to do this, there is a great informative site at http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html. These will not only serve to unite the group but also to deflect any negative energy being sent out by the establishment. If you do not have the necessary materials at home, there will be aluminum foil provided on sight. Third, bring your sense of humor. The purpose of this experiment is to meet new people who enjoy looking at the Big Apple in new ways. Anyone can go to Wall Street and snap pictures, but not everyone can go with the objective of taking group pictures with your newfound aluminum clad travel pals.

Sounds like an absolute gas, where do I sign up? The group will convene at the southern most end of City Hall Park, at the spot where Broadway, Vesey St and Park Row all come together in front of the fountain that is there. For further reference, this spot is across the street from J&R Music World and the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. If you needed an address to plop into MapQuest 1 Vesey St, New York, NY will work. Confused? Turned Around? Look for the group with aluminum foil deflector beanies on their head!

Ok, I found the rendezvous point on a map, give me more details? On Saturday April 17th the ragtag rabble will meet at 1:00 pm, and begin our March down Broadway at 1:30pm. I do not expect us to march around for more than an hour. If you are running late, just head down Broadway looking for the group with aluminum reflector beanies on their heads!

This is all well and good, but what gives, why would anyone want to try and organize such a kooky thing? This is being done to conduct a travel experiment with the blessing (a term I use loosely) of Lonely Planet. What I mean by that is while Lonely Planet has given the thumbs up on the idea, they have not shelled out a penny for anything, only the vague promise that the write up and pictures will be in a book they are publishing at the beginning of 2005, so that should appease the publicity hounds out there. Perhaps most important is the chance to get together with fellow travelers for a pleasant stroll past some of the most historical, and symbolic, sights in Manhattan.

Afterwards, we will gather for drinks and such at one of the local taverns to toast of successful march on the bull, sans beanies though (unless of course you just enjoy wearing it, in which case far be it from me to stop you!).

As an added incentive (and if you have made it down this far then you must at least be REMOTELY interested) I will be giving away cash prizes for the most creative aluminum foil deflector beanies. Make the design your own, be creative! There will be a first, second and third place prize, offered out of my own pocket as a way to entice people downtown. Do not expect a whole lot here (something along the lines of $20, $15, $10 for the respective placings), after all this is all on me here.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to post up on this forum piece or drop me a line at tra[email protected]

See you on the 17th!
travelbear is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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So is this a Spencer Tunick project... will people be wearing more than just the beanies on their heads?
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Sorry to disappoint you hamlet, but there will be no nudity of any kind associated with this project. Further, participation in this project will not break any laws. I hope that clears up any lingering doubts anyone might have had.
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 08:26 PM
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boy..I wish this was being done in the morning rather than afternoon. I would have loved to participate...
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Old Apr 17th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Anxiously waiting to hear how the event went. I was going to take a 1-day motorcoach trip down today to join in, but overslept
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Old Apr 18th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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For those that came, THANKS! For those that were curious, thank you for the interest and for those that think I am a complete nut, here is the proof. I have attached a copy of my submission. Enjoy.

?You look like the Tin Man,? crackles the crazy old lady bearing a toothless grin. Admittedly, my appearance is comical to most, placing an aluminum deflector beanie on my head as I wait to meet my as-of-yet unidentified group, but all in the name of experimental travel. At least this is what I tell myself before I begin to believe that I too should be chasing the pigeons into the fountain.

Other than the peculiar toothless old woman, who apparently was above placing tin foil on her own head to participate in my experiment, no one even seemed to give a passing glance. Such is life in New York City, where on a given day you can meet three people each claiming to be a member of the Holy Trinity having a beer in Hell?s Kitchen. Yet this zaniness also makes the Big Apple the perfect laboratory to perfect my experiment in travel: assembling a group of strangers via electronic mediums to meet wearing the same article of clothing. After all, in Gotham City you are somebody else?s freak at any given moment, at least in this way we can be that freak as a group!

For today?s mission, I would have strangers domed in tin-foil rendezvous with me at City Hall. Once assembled the group would then proceed down Broadway to The City?s famous monument to capitalism: the Wall Street Bull. Predictably, this casting call was meet with much trepidation. Reactions on the larger Internet travel boards were all unified in one thought; this was some kind of scheme. Comments ranged from the ubiquitous this is passé to the I must be up to something illegal, as the Web-based travel group wondered if I was the second coming of Spencer Tunick.

To their dismay though, no laws were to be broken, no animals were harmed; all we needed was a brave lot with an affinity for tin-foil headgear. In a city of eight million inhabitants, I am here to tell you there are exactly three people with just such an affliction: me, who is now ready for a prolonged stay at an asylum and two random females who had nothing better to do on a beautiful April day.

Once the group was amassed, or as it turned out the trio (from here on out to be referred to as G-O-D, JC and the Spook)and pleasantries exchanged off we went on our quest. The saunter was filled with journey and life story exchanges and as it turns out a unifying experience. I suppose this is the natural progression of walking down the main drag with aluminum foil on your head.

After 15 minutes our target was in sight and thronged in an amalgamation of camera-touting out-of-towners, ice cream salesmen and gray market dealers hawking fake Rolexes and pirated DVDs: we were in fact in the middle of capitalism?s liar. But one of the New York native ladies who had joined me had no time for the nonsense of tourism that had befallen our Bull and immediately proclaimed she would have her picture taken next and that we needed volunteers!

Not surprisingly given the well documented history of the mob mentality, once the multitude saw how much fun the three aluminum foil wearing whackos were having, others suddenly had no trouble posing with foil on their head for a picture. And like the city itself, our final group was made up of a German ex-pat that now calls the United States home, a lost tourist who?s next stop was to inquire about purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge and three children who between them spoke three different words of English. If there were any questions about our laboratory, I believe they have now all been answered: New York is definitely the world?s salad bowl.

?How will you accept the signals from our alien overlords?? Queries a fanny-pack wearing onlooker as we doffed our aluminum caps for the concluding photograph. Perhaps with my aluminum deflector beanie I?ll finally be able to think independent of alien transmission. Yes, I can remember it all as if it were a dream, you were there, and you?
travelbear is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2004, 08:26 PM
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I love it!

Hate I missed the group travelbear! I just constructed a new foil deflector beanie. You just never know when you need to deflect alien mind control brainwaves.

I have managed to insert the mind control deflectors in my shoes but with strappy sandals, that sometimes proves difficult.

I salute your group. Mmmrrrrffphoot! Hphoot, hphoot, hphoooooiee! Wiii!
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