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The Gates in one day with two 13 year olds - Mini trip report

The Gates in one day with two 13 year olds - Mini trip report

Old Feb 27th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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The Gates in one day with two 13 year olds - Mini trip report

Everyone was helpful with tips on taking a quick trip to NYC (in the snow) to see The Gates, so here is a quick trip report-

Our group ended up only consisting of four (husband, myself, 13 yr old daughter & friend) as my 15 year old and friend had a commitment on Saturday. We were originally scheduled to travel on Friday but because of the snow, we delayed a day.

Good decision! It was easy to leave our house in RI (without shoveling) by 7:00 AM and get to New Haven for an 8:57 AM train. (We packed bagels, fruit, juice & coffee for the car so no need to stop for breakfast - good for avoiding the Dunkin Donuts in the train station} The train was full and I heard many other passengers talk of going to see The Gates.

We chose to get off at 125th street in Harlem and then take the subway to 68th street. Let me mention that my daughter's friend had never been to NYC nor had she ever ridden a train or traveled in a cab or taken a subway! So, by 11:00 AM she had already been on the train and subway!

We walked right to the park and found ourselves with lots of other people. The park was really crowded. We crisscrossed over paths and bridges and slowly worked our way south. The paths were mostly cleared but several of the bridges were quite icy. We witnessed 3 falls crossing one bridge. One was a poor young girl carrying an enormous basket filled with homemade cookies wrapped with ribbons. She must have been delivering them to a restaurant. They looked like they could have been "favors" for some event. They spilled all over and we helped her pick herself and her cookies up. She was so sweet she gave us all a cookie!

We stopped for a ride at the Carosel and took a peek into the Boathouse which was too crowded for a stop. We watched a few "street musicians" (which was also a first for our friend) and spoke to a volunteer for the gates for awhile. We did ask for a fabric sample and she cheerfully handed them over to each of us. But I did notice that unless asked these were not being advertised. We were happy to find some were still left since in only two days The Gates would be gone.

So, how did we like it? It was certainly a huge undertaking and inspiring if only for the length of time to make it a reality and the work it took to construct the project. The contrast of the orange and the white snow was striking. The paths of gates accentuated the natural landscape of the park which was interesting. When blowing winds billowed the fabric it created a pretty effect. I guess I expected pretty much what we saw. I did not realize the fabric was textured until seeing them up close though.

The installation was only one dimensional - it was visual. I compare this to a "landscape art" installation in Providence, RI called Water Fire. Here, over the last few years the rivers in downtown Providence are alight with over 100 brazziers of flames.



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Old Feb 27th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Oops, I hit the post key before I was finished!!!!

The Water Fire is a multi sensory experience. The bonfires are beautiful curving along the shape of the rivers but you also smell the wood burning and listen to moving classical, opera and world music. It also attracts great numbers of people to the walkways on the river and has brought a new vibrance to the city. Check it out at www.waterfire.org.

Back to NYC.
We finished up in a little over an hour in the park. The girls were getting a little tired by now. Since my daughter's friend was so awed by all of NYC we decided to do whatever they wanted to do. Oh well, no nice lunch on the upper west side for me.

We stopped in at the Plaza to visit Eloise. We walked across the street to FAO Schwartz. We had not been since the reopening. I do miss the clock and the "welcome to our world" song but the new layout does open things up a lot more. The girls had a great time in the store. We were present for a dance number of the huge piano keys (remember Tom Hanks in Big) and the girls even tried. They also got a kick out of the new doll area that is set up as a hospital nursery. A fully costumed doctor and nurse and available to help you "adopt" a baby. These dolls do in fact feel like a real baby. All for only $80. I guess they can compete with the American Girl dolls.

We walked down 5th Ave and window shopped. We stopped in for a bit at St. Patrick's Cathedral and took a stroll through Saks. Then we walked over to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the skating. My daughter had to take her friend to American Girl. They might be a bit old to play with their dolls any longer but they did love to watch the dolls getting their hair done at the salon and taking a peek at the cafe where dolls sit right at the tables alongside the girls.

It was after 2:00 and we were hungry. My daughter convinced me that she had to take her friend to Ellen's Stardust Diner (my daughter Ellen's favorite place). So we hailed a cab as we wanted to make sure her friend rode in a cab and quickly made it to Times Square. There was no line and we were quickly seated. Ellen's is a 50s themed diner where the wait staff sing and work at the same time. It wasn't quite as lively this time, perhaps because we were between the lunch & dinner hours. Usually the waiters and waitresses are non stop singing and dancing. Also, the screen that plays I Love Lucy scenes was broken. But, the girls were still happy. The food was as expected, decent but nothing great. It remains my daughter's favorite NYC restaurant.

We then walked around Times Sq, stopping in the Hershey store and some souvenir shops. Our friend found a snowglobe and keychains for each of her siblings. We walked over to Toys R Us to show her the ferris wheel. The line there was over 25 minutes so we passed on a ride.

By now it after 5:00 and we had planned on taking the 6:00 train back to New Haven so we walked back to Grand Central. You forget how striking it is the first time you enter the building! We went down to the foodcourt and picked out a few treats to be enjoyed on the train later. We usually will grab some food (pizza, sandwhiches - but always good) when we leave NYC but we were still so full from our late lunch. We made it to our train 15 minutes early which was good because it was SO full when we left. Many people had to stand.

It was great fun to watch my daughter be a "NYC tour guide" for her friend. It was also great fun to watch someone experience the city for the first time.

It was a long day because we arrived back home in RI at 10:00 PM but it was worth it. Our goal was to view a "once in a lifetime" art installation and we did. I've saved some articles on Christo and The Gates and stapled my swatch to it. We'll keep it in our travel journals.

We never have enough time in NYC. We didn't get to cover any new ground this trip but it does make us want to come back soon. We often plan trips to the city with my Mom who lives in CT and my daughter and I decided we should do a three generation of women(Grandma, Mom & daughter)overnighter during the April vacation.

I guess this trip report wasn't so short after all! The Gates will be gone soon and we were glad we planned a trip to see them.

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Old Feb 27th, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Karin, thanks for the report. Sounds like you all had a very busy day!
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Old Feb 27th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Karin, thanks for the great report. You sure packed a lot into one day. I'm glad everything worked out and you go to go after all. Your daughter and her friend will carry their experience into their adult lives. Good for you!
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Old Feb 27th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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So glad you got to go - and it sounds like postponing the trip until Saturday was the way to go. What was at the Plaza as far as Eloise? I plan on stopping in with my niece in April before they close for renovations etc., but I honesty don't know what's there as far as Eloise-related stuff. Your daughter's friend really experienced some new things all in one day didn't she?
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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 04:42 AM
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Margie,
The plaza has a portrait of Eloise. It hangs in the hallway to the left of the Palm Court.

I don't know how old your niece is but she should watch the Eloise movie. She will then recognize many of the movie scenes of the Plaza. It's an adorable movie. The little girl playing Eloise is perfect! My girls are teens and still loved it. They were big Eloise fans from the books.

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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Thanks Karin, I wasn't sure what was there, I will take her in to see the hotel and the portrait. My niece has read the books and has watched the videos and I can't wait to see her face when she sees the places from her books in person!
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