lhskarka: (Default)
(Post delayed due to LJ weirdness)

On the second full day of our trip, the teenager and I spent almost no time in NYC at all.

Instead, we headed in to Grand Central and caught the Metro-North train for a two-hour trip to New Haven, Connecticut and Yale.

New Haven is a Hellish Hole. It was probably a full-blown Hell Hole in the 80s, but it seems to be pulling back from that a bit. Still not very pretty, although we were assured during the Yale info session that the local economy is recovering, and our children would be perfectly safe. They're also mad for Dunkin' Donuts in New Haven. It was almost as crazy as the Tim Horton's that are all over Canada. We saw at least ten DD shops, including 2 in the train station, and the station is not big.

Yale, on the other hand, looks like Hogwarts would if it had a full campus of buildings. Which I suppose isn't really all that surprising, since they're based on much the same idea. Info-session-guy even made sorting hat jokes when he told us about Yale's system of residential colleges.

The teenager had a very nice pre-admissions interview with one of their student admissions officers, who told her that she is exactly the kind of student that they are looking for at Yale. Then during the info session, when he was listing off the criteria they look for in applying students, she was such an exact match for all of them that I half-expected the speaker to hold up her photo and say "Here's exactly what we're looking for in a Yale student."

I think that I was more excited by the visit then the teenager was, and with NYU to compare it to on the surface, I can see why. Yale is old, and old money, and it has this sort of shabby - we don't have to try - vibe about it. NYU on the other hand, is shiny and 'new' and in the middle of Manhattan, which means there's energy up to your eyeballs. And the things that I find exciting about Yale; 1) That if she's accepted we don't have to pay for any of it, 2) In the field she's interested in, the teenager can pretty much walk out of Yale and into a career without breaking stride, and 3) They coddle the hell out of their students, aren't the most glamorous considerations when looking at colleges.

Application season should be fun. :)

After the tour, the required stop for the purchase of a YALE shirt (for luck), and a longish walk back to the train station, we finally headed back to New York for the night. It only took three hours on the way back, punctuated by periodic phone calls from [livejournal.com profile] gmskarka:
"Where are you?"
"Connecticut."
"Still?"
"It's a local train."
lhskarka: (Default)
The weather was gorgeous. 75 and sunny with a nice breeze all day. It's nice when thunderstorms actually sweep heat and humidity away, instead of just making it muggier and more oppressive. I suppose being right on top of an ocean helps with that.

We got up and were out the door by eight with [livejournal.com profile] gryphonrose showing us the way to the 7-train stop. It was still prime commuter time, so the train was packed. But I didn't care. I have really missed the subway despite its problems, and even when we lived there there were times I could have used a car, but in general access to public transportation rocks! A lot. [livejournal.com profile] gryphonrose headed off to work, and we parted company with [livejournal.com profile] gmskarka at Grand Central as he went to kick ass and take names at his writing conference, leaving the teenager and myself to head downtown to the Village for her NYU tour.

We got there about 30 minutes early for the information session, so we hung out in Washington Square Park enjoying the did-I-mention-gorgeous weather for a while. The teenager was very interested in important historical aspects of the area, such as whether or not the arch on the north side was the same one where Harry dropped Sally off in the movie. You know, important things like that.

Stuff that the teenager found exciting about the actual university include the fact that NYU has a really amazing study abroad program, with affiliate campuses in ten different cities around the world, including Berlin, Shanghai, and Paris. So their students don't have to worry about transfer credits. And they offer the possibility for internships with organizations like the United Nations. And they guarantee campus housing in Manhattan for all students as long as they get all their paperwork in on time. And one of the freshman dorms, right across the street from the park, has a Starbucks in it. In the realm of less exciting news, they have a yearly average of 35,000 applicants for 4,200 class slots, and there is no such thing as full-ride tuition. Which isn't an easy prospect to face when you're talking about $50,000 a year for four years. Hello outside scholarships!

We finished off the visit with a trip to the bookstore for her NYU "good-luck t-shirt", and had street dogs and pretzels for lunch back in Washington Square, surrounded by film students, rehearsing dancers, and pigeons. Lots of pigeons.

After lunch, we took it fairly easy. I made a fruitless attempt to visit my favorite sewing notions store Greenberg & Hammer, since they were in the middle of moving locations and weren't open at either end of the move. Sigh. Then we spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering through the Natural History Museum, enjoying the renovated Ocean Life wing (which now includes a lot of text on ocean preservation, with the very apologist theme of - "Our founders didn't understand what they were doing when they tore up ecosystems to bring you these cool exhibits. Sorry!"), looking at dinosaur bones, and watching a great many parents giving their kids impromptu "Night at the Museum" based tours, ("Yes little Jimmy, that's the T-Rex from the movie"). Then we finished up the day with a yummy Indian food dinner with [livejournal.com profile] gmskarka before heading back to Queens for the night.

Moral of the story: I need better walking shoes. My feet hurt a lot after all that. I am so out of practice at being a mobile New Yorker.

Next Up: Our intrepid heroes visit Yale.
lhskarka: (Default)
I woke up at six to work on two skirts that I wanted to wear on the trip and managed to finish both before ten a.m. Nothing fancy, just a basic black rayon-blend knee length one with a bit of a swing to it and an ankle-length circle skirt in a dark blue night-sky print. But considering how little I sew these days, I felt pretty good about finishing anything, much less two highly useful (and pretty) wardrobe items. :)

After that, I was off with the teenager to run last minute errands (drop off her gifts from Germany to friends and water my mother's house plants) and get back in time to double check that we had packed everything, take [livejournal.com profile] gmskarka to the bank, and have lunch before [livejournal.com profile] radcliffe arrived to take us to the airport. We arrived in plenty of time for our 3:30 flight, only to find that it had been bumped back to 4pm, then 4:30, then 'we don't know when we'll take off' due to weather conditions in NYC. Ooo, rain, scarey! We finally took off just before five, and our pilot managed to get us there only half-an-hour behind schedule.

While in the midst of the flight, I realized that it was the first time I had been on a plane since August 2001. No freak outs about flying, just a bit sad to realize it was the first chance I have had to travel since then. I really don't want to go another six years until my next real vacation.

La Guardia is just as I remembered it, which means that we maintained our record of never having a flight run on time, either landing or taking off. It's a great airport for location, but the fact that it has only two runways means that nothing ever goes to schedule, and when it rains, even less so. Thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] gryphonrose and [livejournal.com profile] jendaby, who kindly offered us their hospitality for our stay in the city, live a short drive away from the airport, so accomodating our delayed flight time presented little extra trouble. [livejournal.com profile] gryphonrose picked us up so we didn't have to bother with a cab, and we spent the evening chatting, eating REAL pizza and watching the Doctor Who episode of the Weakest Link. Mmmm, pizza, how I've missed you.

A and J, you have a lovely home, BTW. Thanks again for inviting us to stay with you. :)

Next Up: Visiting NYU with the teenager.

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February 2016

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