RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2008

Transportation in New York City

Okay, so this post is about the amazing transportation network in New York City. It truly is a “modern marvel” and puts Utah’s TRAX and bus system to shame (sorry UTA). The extensive underground infrastructure is totally incredible and somewhat overwhelming when you first start to use it. On two of the days on our trip to New York, Robin and I each bought a $7.50 unlimited one-day Subway pass, which pays for itself after four rides. With the help of good signage and maps, we were able to get to where we wanted to go fairly quickly and easily. At first we didn’t understand the difference between the “local” track (which stops at every stop) and the “express” track (which skips several stops to get travelers to their more distant destinations more quickly). So we ended up going sixty blocks past our destination (which was the American Museum of Natural History), only to get on another “express” train that took us right back where we started from. When we finally caught the right train, it only took us a few minutes to get to the museum, but we had ended up wasting 30 minutes or so on the wrong trains. We didn’t make that mistake again.

Anyway, the New York Subway is an amazing system. Just check out the map of Manhattan below and you can see the amazing labyrinth of underground tunnels that it encompasses. It is truly the city’s circulatory system. Of course, the streets above are filled with buses, yellow cabs and regular cars, but without the Subway system, the city would not be able to function. Not only did I find the massive infrastructure project jaw-dropping (Subway entrances on every corner, ticket vending machines, trains, tracks, tunnels, oh my!), but I also was fascinated by the masses of humanity that pass through that system every day. It is an incredibly diverse group of people of all races and walks of life, from street musicians to business men to homeless people. The English language was almost the exception since so many people of various backgrounds live and work in New York City. It was a true “melting pot” (although I think the PC thing to say now is a “mixed salad” since the idea is not to create a homogeneous society, but one in which each person adds to the overall flavor, without losing his or her own cultural identity.) Again, I don’t think I’d want to live there, but what a fascinating place to visit.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2008 in Trips

 

Pictures from the Big Apple

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Atop the Empire State Building.

Atop the Empire State Building.

Robin in Times Square

Robin in Times Square

Andrew at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Andrew at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Robin with waxy Al Roker and Matt Lauer at Madame Tussaud's

Robin with waxy Al Roker and Matt Lauer at Madame Tussaud's

Andrew at Rockefeller Center

Andrew at Rockefeller Center

Robin at American Museum of Natural History

Robin at American Museum of Natural History

Andrew at Statue of Liberty

Andrew at Statue of Liberty

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2008 in Trips

 

Whew!!! What a trip!

Yesterday was my 34th birthday and the day we returned from our trip to New York City. And what a trip it was! In true Andrew Lambert fashion, I made the most of it while trying to spend as little as possible. The entire trip cost us just over $2,000 and included deals like Priceline hotels in New Jersey, frequently flyer miles for one of our airfares, the City Pass which lets you in to all kinds of cool places, and breakfast and lunch on the run, eating food from street vendors. (My wife is a saint for putting up with all of that.) Here’s a quick summary of what we did over the past five days!

Downtown Loop Bus Tour (Manhattan, Financial District)
Bodies – The Exhibit
NBC Studio Tour
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Museum of Modern Art
Times Square / Planet Hollywood
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
Marry Poppins The Musical on Broadway
New York Skyride
Empire State Building Observation Deck
Uptown Loop Tour (Bronx, Harlem)
Guggenheim Museum
Central Park / Belvedere Castle
American Museum of Natural History
Night Tour to Brooklyn
Rockefeller Center Tour
Radio City Music Hall Tour
World Trade Center Site
Battery Park
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Central Park Mall with Fountain
Columbus Circle
Lincoln Center
Manhattan LDS Temple

And if that weren’t enough, yesterday, I got bumped off my flight home and so I had six hours to kill before the next flight. Robin got on the plane in the morning, and I got on a train back to New York to spend a few more hours. While there I bought an all-day Subway pass and I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, visited a farmer’s market in Union Square (14th Street), checked out Grand Central Station and then rented a bike for an hour and explored Central Park. Amazing! My flight home was in first class and so I watched a couple of movies, slept and was treated like a king! There’s a birthday to remember. Now it’s time to get back to reality!

Note: This post was an overview. Stay tuned for upcoming posts this week including my thoughts on my favorite attractions, the transit system, food reviews, overall culture analysis (urban, diversity) and pictures!!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2008 in Trips

 

Start Spreadin’ the News…30 Pounds Down!

I am pleased to announce that as of this morning, I weigh 167 pounds, which is 30 pounds less than my 197 pounds five months ago in May! Now, I know some of that is water weight, and I am keenly aware of how easily it comes back on, but I’m enjoying the moment. I haven’t weighed this little since 1996. I feel great and just have to make sure to stay on top of it. (I have lost these same 30 pounds four times now…)

Anyway, the next few days are going to be rough in terms of weight maintenance. Robin and I are going to the Big Apple. Yep, “start spreading the news…we’re leaving today for old New York!” We leave tonight and will have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to explore the capital of the world. We’re so excited. We return home on Monday morning, October 20, which also happens to be my birthday. We are going to see “Mary Poppins” on Broadway tomorrow night and plan to visit tons of museums, take tours and check out the landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. The kids are staying with our parents and will have a great time there. (We’ll miss them, especially baby James since it’s our first time away from him, but we will also enjoy the break.) I plan to eat reasonably and do a lot of walking so as not to gain weight back. Wish me luck!

By the way, tickets to the musical “Savior of the World” went on sale yesterday. I believe there are still some tickets available. As a reminder, I am in the cast that performs Wednesday and Friday nights and the Saturday matinee. I’d love to have everyone see it. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling 570-0080.

I’m off for another day at work and then five days of much-needed play!!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 15, 2008 in Health

 

Friends of Scouting

It’s that time of year again… when we get to go out and ask people in our neighborhood to make a donation to the Boy Scouts of America as part of the “Friends of Scouting” drive. I have headed up this effort several times in the past, and this year I got to do it again. Yipee! Just what I love doing, going door to door and putting people on the spot by asking them for money. I typically get three responses: 1.) “Sure, I’d be happy to make a donation to the BSA.” 2.) “No thank you.” 3.) “Is the money for our troop or for the general BSA budget? If it’s for BSA administrative costs, I won’t donate.” Well, it is for BSA administrative costs. It helps maintain scout camps and scout shops. And it also helps pay for salaries of professional scouters, which turns many people off. Some suggest that since the BSA is primarily a volunteer organization, there shouldn’t be anyone who earns a salary. Of course, that is impractical. A large organization like BSA needs to have full-time administrative support in order to function. I’ve heard criticism that some of the top scout executives make a LOT of money, but I think that by in large, their salaries are modest. The Friends of Scouting fundraising drive is an essential part of our council’s annual budget and since I believe in the benefits of scouting, I am willing to coordinate the fundraising efforts and make a donation myself. Still, it’s not really something I look forward to each year. Thankfully, we’re pretty much done now. I just have a few more people that I need to collect from and then I’ll be turning in the money on Thursday.

I sometimes struggle with all of the resources that we put into scouting: awards and patches, camps and workshops, training and more training. But the LDS Church is a strong supporter of the program and so I try to be as supportive as I can. I have to admit that earning patches and beads doesn’t really motivate me and I’m not sure it really motivates the boys. They’re more interested in iPods, texting and My Space, not to mention sports and other extracurricular activities. Hopefully scouting can provide an alternative to all of the vices of the modern teenager’s life. And while I’m not really that big into the “nerdier” side of scouting (awards/patches for everything under the sun, crafts, silly songs and goofy skits), I do love the outdoor activities and the practical skills that the boys learn about first aid, survival and conservation. The scouting program also focuses on building character and cementing strong values, including love of God, country, community and family. In addition, powerful spiritual lessons can be taught while sitting in a canoe on a quiet lake, while hiking a difficult trail or while sitting around a campfire late at night. Those lessons are often more memorable and meaningful than anything that can be taught in the church classroom.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2008 in Random Thoughts