Sunday, November 06, 2005

NYD2 - NY Marathon/Empire State Building

The New York Marathon is taking place today. We watched the runners (on TV) run right past our hotel, The Hilton in Manhattan (on the Upper West Side). It was neck and neck between the men right up until the finish line. Pretty exciting to watch.

(We saw the first, second, and third place men runners in our hotel afterwards. They were staying at the Hilton as well because of it's proximity to Central Park and the finish line. A bunch of the Marathon runners were partying it up in the hotel bar after the race. Uwe spoke to the winner, or at least tried to. He told Uwe he didn't speak any English.)
As Uwe and I watched the Marathon on TV, Astrid was playing in her crib that was provided by the hotel. We couldn't bring her bassinet but we did bring her sleepy sheep that makes soothing sounds to lull the baby to sleep.

One good thing about the crib was that it was deep enough that we could use it both as a crib and as a playpen. One bad thing was that Astrid would wiggle and flip over and push with her feet so that she'd frequently pin herself in a corner or be stuck in an uncomfortable position lying crisscross in the crib. But it was much safer than leaving her on the high bed where we had to keep a constant eye on her, and I wouldn't even think of having her crawl around on the floor.
Here we are in bed watching the Marathon on TV, waiting to see who wins, before we leave to get some breakfast.

I just noticed for the first time that the NY Marathon is sponsored by a financial company (ING) while the LA Marathon is sponsored by a car company (Honda sponsors the run, Acura sponsors the bike marathon). Is it just me or does this say a lot about the two cities?

It's surprising how Marathons really bring a city together. All of a sudden you get this burst of pride in your city and everyone feels a sense of community. At the LA Marathon of course they play the Randy Newman song, "I Love LA" and from how Uwe describes it, people from all neighborhoods come out to cheer the runners on (some providing drinks, food, music, etc.) and give their support.

Uwe has run in several marathons both in Germany and in Los Angeles. My participation includes driving Uwe to the starting point (it's always exciting to walk around and feel all the excitement in the air), tracking Uwe's progress on the computer (from the microchip on his shoelace), and picking him up after the race with flowers and a big hug. In 2006 when Uwe runs it with Astrid, in addition to dropping them off and picking them up, I will make a big sign with their names on it and attach balloons to it so they can see me cheering them on from the sidelines at the halfway point in Hollywood. I got this baby soft ducky jacket for Astrid for this trip. It's warm but not too warm and perfect for walking around NY city during the day. Enjoying the city. Look how many people are walking! No one walks in LA, unless of course a) you have no car, or b) you're trying to get a workout. Everything is just too spread out in LA to be able to walk around the city.My happy little ducky.We walked down to Central Park to watch the runners finish the race.Uwe being taller than me was able to hold the camera up over everyone's head and get this photo of the runners running towards the finish line.Here's my handsome husband. I'm sure seeing this makes Uwe that much more excited about running in the LA Marathon with Astrid. Uwe is a fast runner but obviously this time he won't be trying to break his record, since he'll be pushing Astrid in her stroller and will have to stop for diaper changes and a feeding. But he's determined to run it with Astrid and register her as a runner too, so that she can get a medal as well.Astrid's more interested in chewing on her fish teething toy.Our next stop was the Empire State Building. I've been to NY several times but each time I haven't gone up to the observatory because either I wasn't in the mood or because of bad weather (they close it when you can't see anything from the top).

Speaking of almost lost opportunities, in July of 2001, Uwe convinced me to go up in the twin towers at the World Trade Center. I never wanted to go because I always thought it was too touristy. But somehow he convinced me to go and we enjoyed the spectacular view from the top. I purchased a postcard for my parents where I drew an arrow and wrote "We're here" at the top of the tower. Then 2 months later on 9/11, the twin towers were destroyed by planes hijacked by terrorists. My dad immediately pulled out that postcard I had sent him. It made me realize how fortunate I was to go up that day and see what many people will never get to see now.

So today I decided that I would put an end to saying I'd go up "next time" because there may not be a next time. So today I took Astrid and we went up in the Empire State building to have a look see. This is how the building looks from below on the street.This is what you see when you walk into the lobby. It's on the wall behind the information desk and is huge.Here is a miniature replica of the Empire State Building. Looks impressive doesn't it?This however is the inside. They said they're "doing construction" but it looks more like it's falling apart.

It was a zoo inside with long lines and people trying to sell you stuff left and right (i.e., photographs, audio tour, visual simulation tour, combination tours). The air conditioning also wasn't working in several places which made it feel oppressive inside while we were waiting. I kept fanning Astrid with a brochure to keep her cool. She found the sensation of the wind on her face funny.Here we are outside on the 86th floor. It was really windy (which Astrid found funny) and cold. But we had a nice view.Here's our view of the Chrysler building.Another photo of us, this one from a different side of the building. This one shows you how windy it is.

A Chinese woman in line kept looking at Astrid and finally approached me to tell me that I had a happy baby and asked where we were from.

Me: We live in LA.
(No recognition.)
Me: Yes, Los Angeles in California
CW: Oh LA. That's next to Vancouver?
Me: Vancouver, Canada? No, LA is much further South and next to the Pacific Ocean.
(Still no recognition.)
Me: New York is on the east coast. LA is on the west coast.

I guess it's not such a small world after all. This is the first time I've ever met anyone who didn't know where LA is, or at least ever heard about LA.

Thinking about this Chinese woman and globalization in general, I remembered this funny video clip that Uwe showed me awhile back. It has two Chinese students lip synching the song, "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. It's pretty friggin hilarious. Almost funnier than the 2 lip synching students, is the guy sitting in the background at his computer playing a computer game completely oblivious to what's going on. It looks like it's filmed in a dorm room. Click on the link below to check it out.
Two Chinese studentsThey have this "King Kong" display as you exit the building with memorabilia from the movie. I like the big movie poster in the middle with King Kong standing on the Empire State Building holding an airplane like it's a toy.

Anyone planning on going to see the remake of the movie that's coming out with Naomi Watts playing the female lead character? I wonder if the price of admission to the Empire State Building will go up once the movie comes out in theaters.


Peter said...

I am very much looking forward to that King Kong remake! Peter Jackson has shown that he can create epic adventures (when he did the incredible, by bringing Lord of the Rings to the screen just perfectly) ... and the trailer so far looks great .... I just wonder where I can watch it on the big screen ... not dubbed in Italian :)

Karissa (mommy) said...

I'm always amazed at how much people walk in New York. North Dakota/Minnesota is similar to LA in the fact that you pretty much can't walk anywhere around here. Everything is waaay too spread out. There must be lots of skinny people in New York.

Cliff said...

Nothing can top the chinese version of "I want it that way."

It's cool you're having fun in NYC!