Sunday, January 10, 2010

New York

On my way back to England I spend a long weekend in New York with my old friend Alex. I've been to NY quite a few times now but Times Square is always pretty impressive/overwhelming. This year they build a new glowing red staircase in the middle of the whole square. I've visited Alex a few times in NY and seems like we always catch a movie around Times Square, this time it was "Youth in Revolt."

The great thing about New York is that there is basically an inexhaustible list of things to see so even when you've been before there are new things. I'd wanted to see the Bronx Zoo for a while, and despite the frigid weather that kept a few animals inside we made it up there. I've been to many zoos, and this one compared well, with very nice old buildings and a good collection of animals.
The nerd highlight of the trip (which of course is the overall highlight as well) was the NY Hall of Science, a hands on science museum for kids. We didn't get to see nearly all of it but this was one of the best museums of this type I've been to. Two exhibits in particular were perfect for me. They had one on sports science, where we got to see how fast we could throw, test our balance on a fake surf board, and test our reaction time in a fake drag racing car. Then they had an exhibit on network theory, which blew me away because this is a pretty new research area and one where I've published, and they came up with some really fun exhibits. Above is a large display of Conway's Game of Life, one of computer science's best public facing demos. Quite a fun visit.

The least nerdy part of the trip was our tour of (new) Yankee Stadium, which was Alex's gift to her roommate Lydia. Here they are in the dugout. I got yelled at for trying to pick up the dugout phone and call for a reliever. It was a neat tour, we got to see the locker rooms and dugouts and a few other places you always see on TV but never get to go. They also had heaps of historical Yankees stuff, and believe it or not, some Yankees merchandise for sale.

I also made it to Princeton on Sunday afternoon to visit Jess, and we watched the unbelievable Packers-Cardinals playoff game. All in all a great trip that broke up my San Francisco-London journey and avoided an overnight flight. Thanks to my great hosts in NY.

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