Day 3: the New York Public Library, walking with dinosaurs and celebrity-spotting in Central Park.

Grand Central, 42nd Street Entrance. Hercules, Minerva and Mercury pediment by Jules-Félix Coutan, with the MetLife Building behind.

Starbucks: “you’re not even trying” edition.

The New York Public Library

(…stop 2 on the unofficial Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour we’d begun the day before.)

The exhibition which was running until just a few days ago: Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism.

I always knew Susan Boyle was up to no good.

Keen-eyed girls and gays will also recognise this as the site of Carrie’s aborted wedding in the first Sex and the City movie.

“A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.”

~ John Milton, Areopagitica

You have no power over me (power over me, power over me)

This window perfectly frames the Empire State Building in the distance which – according to the tour guide I listened on in – was a complete accident.

Ceiling mural in the Rose Main Reading Room.

There was a sign indicating that one couldn’t take photographs within this room. However, it didn’t technically forbid you from taking photographs of the room through the windows on the door…

John Targaryen: Mother of Geese

Selfie game so strong she changed race and sex.

Central Park! And our first celebrity sighting of the trip: Sarah Jessica Parker in the very same hat that Carrie was going to get married in.

The Naumberg Bandshell…

..and BaT site #3.

Son, I need a friend.

Bethesda Terrace. It was exceptionally freezing in the park compared to the rest of the city, probably owing to the open refrigerator effect from the The Lake (proper noun).

Terrace Drive

We re-watched Angels in America the week before we left as a refresher course.

“This is my favourite place in New York City. No, in the whole universe. The parts of it I have seen. On a day like today. A sunny winter’s day, warm and cold at once. The sky’s a little hazy, so the sunlight has a physical presence, a character. In autumn, those trees across the lake are yellow, and the sun strikes those most brilliantly. Against the blue of the sky, that sad fall blue, those trees are more light than vegetation.

This angel. She’s my favorite angel. I like them best when they’re statuary. They commemorate death but they suggest a world without dying. They are made of the heaviest things on earth, stone and iron, they weigh tons but they’re winged, they are engines and instruments of flight. This is the angel Bethesda.”

If you haven’t already seen it, I could talk endlessly about how powerful and beautiful a work Angels in America is – but the most compelling argument of all can be summed up in two words: Meryl Streep.

Squirrel with an identity crisis.

Mysterious purple foliage.

The American Museum of Natural History

(…which, nerd alert, is another landmark I wanted to see because of Parasite Eve.)

Dark Universe was one of the four special shows available to visitors, alongside the Butterfly Conservatory, The Power of Poison and – our personal choice – Mysteries of the Unseen World: an astounding 3D movie that takes you beyond human perception.

Barosaurus vs. Allosaurus in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda.

My love of dinosaurs if fairly well-documented, but John was also obsessed with them as a child.

I just don’t understand how anyone can look at this and not be absolutely awestruck that these creatures actually walked the earth.

Fun fact about our friend in the background there: for years, the museum’s Apatosaurus had the wrong skull. To this day, only one Apatosaurus has ever been found with its skull attached, but a cast of a skull found lying close to an Apatosaurus skeleton now sits on top of this gigantic fossil’s neck.

Nessie!

The Leatherface of T. rexes.

Whilst composed almost entirely of real fossil bones, this specimen is actually a composite of two T. rex skeletons discovered in Montana in 1902 and 1908 by the legendary dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown.

Clever girl…

Lobster and/or facehugger.

The Ocean Life Hall looked amazing but was – somewhat frustratingly – closed so that they could prep for a function (this despite there being an hour left ‘til closing time).

In honour of Project Runway‘s Christopher Palu. “Blood Orange, she’s so pretentious. Shut up, it’s fucking red. ‘Blood Orange.'”

That night, we went out with Steph and Tom to see Dallas Buyers Club, this being the very same week that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto had won their Oscars. Things got off to a fantastic start when we were told that the cinema had simultaneously run out of hot dogs, diet coke and pretzels, and that their self-service ticket machines didn’t accept overseas credit cards. The evening was nothing if not informative however, since this was also the day I discovered that a “large” soda in America is a giant bucket of diabetes larger than my head.

Afterwards: drinks and this stupidly delicious molten chocolate cake. Also, the line of the evening when John was discussing the time his mum saw him doing a post-mortem:

John: It must be so weird seeing your first-born child elbow deep in a person.
Tom: Better than seeing a person elbow-deep in your first-born child.

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