Archive for the 'New York' Category

New York City – Free Travel 7B: Sony Wonder Lab

Friday, May 14th, 2010

We expect the innovative and best to arrive first in a thriving, on the cutting-edge metropolis, like New York City. And this city does not disappoint on that score. New York provides amazing places to visit and things to see and learn. Sony Wonder Technology Lab deserves another article, so here’s Part 2!

Be sure to arrive early; last entrance is 30 minutes before closing. In this innovative museum which showcases our present and future world, one of the next hands-on areas is GameBuilder allowing visitors to create their own computer racing game by selecting and altering different components. This helps learn about computerized game design, spatial relationships, audio and video. Select track shape and manipulate the terrain to create mountains and valleys. After making these selections, choose the style and color of your vehicle and play the game you’ve just created!

Visitors can also explore the process of making music in Wonder Of Music. Choose from four different musical instruments representing keyboard, string, woodwind-brass and percussion. After choosing an instrument, visitors are welcomed by a Sony BMG Music artist on video. The artist explains the different instruments and the function each has in creating music. The visitor is to join his band and perform with him in front of a ‘virtual’ audience. This experience includes a variety of musical styles and enables visitors to discover how many instruments, playing in unison, can create a musical composition.

Moviemaker teaches visitors about a few key concepts of motion picture production and digital editing. This helps visitors understand the interpretive and emotional impact of sound and music in a movie. Through experimenting with sounds and images, you will create a movie trailer — by choosing from a series of short video clips and putting them into a sequence and by adding background sounds and sound effects. You judge how each sound selection changes the tone and feeling of the scene. Finally, you will add musical score and title the piece, and then watch your completed trailer “premiere” on screen.

Shadow Garden and Sand Interactive is a multi-sensory interactive experience, created by artists Zachary Booth Simpson and Ken Demarest. It showcases how art and technology come together in a digital world. Projected onto the translucent wall opposite the Wonder of Imagination plasmas, this interactive video installation features cascading colored “sand” which reacts to shadows cast by visitors as they move in front of the projection. As visitors begin to move, the sand accumulates on their shadows, and as they move away, the sand falls in different patterns, yet again.

And, there is also a robust, high definition (HD) television production studio which allows visitors to explore the various roles associated with television production. Working as a team, visitors can become directors, cameramen, reporters, hosts, technical directors or field producers all helping to create an HD broadcast story with an environmental theme.

There are more areas we haven’t described, but if you become involved with the ones we have included, you’ll have a new understanding of the technology which surrounds you every day, and which may have already become too invasive in our lives, if we let it. Now, you may be more aware about becoming the Director of your own life. That would be the most important lesson to learn here, I think. Put this one on your New York trip planner.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Ave. @ 56th St, New York
General info: 212-833-8100
Hours: Tues- Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm – 5:00pm, closed Mondays and Major Holidays

New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

New York City – Free Travel 7A: Sony Wonder Lab

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

On the south-east border of Central Park, on Madison Avenue at 56th Street, near Chanel, Bergdorf Goodman, Takashimaya and Escada, stands Sony’s Wonder Technology Lab (SWTL). It’s a place to start to understand our technological world with hands-on activities, and it’s FREE. You’ll mostly see hordes of kids, but there’s no reason that adults can’t learn and enjoy the experience there, too. Be a quintessential New Yorker — i.e. lose your inhibitions!

From the moment that your kids Log In to their SWTL experience by typing their first name, then choosing their favorite color and music genre; taking their picture next; and then recording their voice to create a Digital Profile (used to personalize the exhibit experiences that follow), they’ll be fascinated. Once they’ve set-up their profile, they watch as their digital information is transmitted into the Lab through a dynamic lighting effect.

In an adjacent area is a large world map which simulates Internet traffic and connections, tracing the many pathways taken by an e-mail, photos, music downloads and other data as it travels digitally from one location to another. This gives all visitors a sense of how the Internet connects them to the broader global community.

To learn how many of these digital devices work, the inner workings of three electronic objects appear to be floating in the air: a Sony Ericsson cell phone; a PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) and a Cyber-shot® digital camera. When a visitor moves across to touch a device, it dissolves into a 3D x-ray image that peels open (through animation to show the internal layers). Short labels identify some of the key internal components and briefly explain what they do.

At another station, learn how real-world information is digitized, processed, transmitted and received. Capture a pattern, using a brush equipped with a scanner inside; learn about Red, Green and Blue (RGB); and see how tiny pixel blocks of color make up every digital picture. Their Log In photo can be enhanced here, using a set of digital tools and a variety of accessories.

Nearby, visitors enter an area about nano-scale. Using an earth to green pea sizing analogy, an engaging video indicates just how small nano is, before enabling visitors to explore current and future applications of nanotechnology in: medicine, transportation, the environment and fashion.

Using haptic technology, see what being a robotic-guided surgeon is like. Visitors can actually feel what it is like to perform open heart surgery, as you really experience the physical sensations associated with various surgical instruments and procedures.

In the (SWTL) Animation Studio, tourists can choose one of three tracks to explore: Tricks of the Trade, Create a Character or Design a Computer Generated (CG) World. Tricks of the Trade teaches about basic animation principles and techniques. Create a Character enables you to control a character’s look, movement and facial expressions, in response to a storyline. And Design a CG World lets you model and place objects in a scene while experimenting with color, light and atmospherics (fog, rain, snow, etc.) to use elements to create mood and enhance storytelling.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab
550 Madison Ave. @ 56th St, New York General info: 212-833-8100
Hours: Tues- Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm – 5:00pm, closed Mondays and Major Holidays
Last entrance is 30 minutes before closing.

The future has arrived and this is a fun way to learn about it; this is cutting-edge New York City.

New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

New York City – Free Travel 6: Modern Art

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

New York’s museums are famous the world over. And, for those who love Modern Art, America captures their attention. As a visitor to New York City, be sure to spend hours over several days at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The museum is free on Fridays between 4pm – 8pm.

As the French Impressionists were in the vanguard away from traditional, realistic art, you will find their work at MoMA, too. Please note that some of the famous art is always out on loan to other museums. If there is something you specifically want to see, ask the museum ahead of time if it will be on display. For the moment, Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory and Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night were not on view in part of 2009.

Van Gogh’s companion piece to Starry Night, The Olive Trees, St. Remy, June-July, 1889, is also on display. Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, Theo, make it clear that he created this particular intense vista of the southern French landscape as a daylight partner to the visionary nocturne of his more famous canvas.

He felt that both pictures showed, in complementary ways, the principles he shared with his fellow painter Paul Gauguin. Both intensified the freedom of the artist to go beyond “the photographic and silly perfection of some painters” and intensify the viewer’s experience of color and linear rhythms.

From an initial gift of only eight prints and one drawing, the Museum of Modern Art’s collection has grown to 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects. New York – Museum of Modern Art

MoMA guide is a series of interactive kiosks which offer visitors information on events, exhibitions, the collection, and navigating the Museum. You can also listen to MoMA Audio, with 4 programs available on one portable audio player. Using MoMAWiFi, you can listen on your own wireless device, if you desire.

And hearing impaired visitors should check about the special options that are available for them; MoMA Audio is T-Coil compatible and transcripts of all audio programs are available upon request. In fact, the museum is very well set up to take care of all special needs people. M.O.M.A. disability access

Online, there are lots of great ideas about how to come to the museum with babies and young children, so check that out at: M.O.M.A. for families

Included there: Visit the Education and Family Information Desk on the second floor of the Museum (near Cafe 2), where volunteers can give you tips on what not to miss at the Museum as well as new Family Activity Guides and suggestions for looking at art together. Listen to MoMA Audio: Modern Kids, which is an audio tour specially designed for families with young children. It’s available inside the Museum on the first and sixth floors.

Use M.O.M.A. restaurants to learn about the 3 very different, well-regarded dining options at the Museum, from award winning Alsatian cuisine, to Tuscan Italian to gelato and espresso and pastries. This tries to be a well organized and outward-reaching museum.

Museum of Modern Art, New York City hosts free admission Fridays, 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
11 West 53 Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, NY (212) 708-9400
Museum Hours: Sat – Mon, Wed, Th 10:30am – 5:30pm, Friday: 10:30am – 8pm, Tuesday – closed.
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Xmas.

New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

New York City – Free Travel 5: Fashion

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

New York City has always been a fashion mecca, and you can see the industry, past and present, by enjoying these fashion venues. Add them to your NY trip planner. They are uniquely New York!

Now, especially if you watch the reality show “Runway!”, you can see places that are on the map for Tim Gunn, Vogue editors, New York designers and models like Heidi Klum.

In the Grammercy Park-Flatiron area, just north-east of Chelsea, head over to the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.). Their impressive museum is FREE!

Find it at: Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, just south of midtown Manhattan. It’s open T-F Noon-8pm, Sat.10am-5pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays.
By subway: 1, 9, C, E, F, V, N, or R.
By bus: M10. Penn Station is close by at 31st Street for the Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak.

The museum’s permanent collections includes 50,000 garments and accessories, dating from the 1700s to the present. Its particular strength is in contemporary women’s fashion, both couture and ready-to-wear women’s clothing. Major fashion designers like Azzedine Alaïa, Balenciaga, Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Dior, Halston, Charles James, Norell, Paul Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent and Vivienne Westwood are represented.

Among the 15,000 accessories, there are at least 4,000 pairs of shoes, including examples by Manolo Blahnik, Ferragamo, Perugia, Herbert Levine and Roger Vivier.

There are also 30,000 textiles, dating from the 5th century to the present, including work by artists and designers such as William Morris, Salvador Dali, Raoul Dufy, and Junichi Arai. The holdings illustrate a broad variety of textile techniques and traditions from all around the world.

The millinery collection contains more than 3,000 hats by such famous milliners such as Caroline Reboux, Lilly Daché, Halston and Philip Treacy, and there are also many examples from top fashion designers like Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Jacques Fath.

The extensive handbag collection includes fine examples by luxury houses: Hermès and Gucci. Roberta di Camerino, Judith Leiber and Bonnie Cashin for Coach are also shown. Other showcase items are: fans, gloves, belts, hosiery and costume jewelry.

A small archive of fashion photography contains works by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Hermann Landshoff, and John Rawlings. Louise-Dahl Wolfe (1895-1989) produced 86 cover images and thousands of interior shots for Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and John Rawlings (1921-1970), had over 200 Vogue and Glamour magazine covers created during his three-decade affiliation with Conde Nast.

If its time for lunch, head over to famed Empire Diner at 210 10th Avenue at 22nd Street, in Chelsea. It’s modeled like a gleaming, black-and-white Art Deco train car and is open 24/7. NY prices tho’!

Combine the visit to FIT Museum with shopping The MarketNYC. Their bazaar at Bleecker and Mulberry Street occurs every weekend. Young designers use a school gym to sell clothes and accessories, plus some vintage creations, for lots less than what you’d spend at surrounding Nolita boutiques. TheMarketNYC

You can continue your budget-but-high-end-fashion cruising at picky consignment chain INA (fashion editors regularly drop off last season’s goods). A women’s location is on Prince Street; men, walk a block east on Prince, then ½ a block north on Mott.

Reunite both sexes back on Mulberry Street and if you want another food option, then head 4 blocks south to Little Italy. For just over three dollars you’ll get one of the best cannolis this side of the Atlantic, at Ferrara or head to Patsy’s (Frank Sinatra’s favorite) is at 236 W. 56th Street Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, New York City All in all, what a great NY day!

New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

New York City – Free Travel 4: StoryCorps Oral History Booth

Monday, May 10th, 2010

New York City is a microcosm of the whole world. So many people — so many stories to tell. A visitor adds to the wonderful mix, and if you are an American, then consider adding some of your family’s oral history to the national archive of stories and experiences. You can do so by using StoryCorps. Eventually, all stories will be at the Library of Congress, and be online, some day.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving the vast, colorful array of experiences and life stories of Americans – native born and immigrant. You will need to reserve the booth in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan to tell your story and record it. You can reserve at: 1-800-850-4406, toll-free.

Participants tell their story, usually through an interview with a family member or loved one, but you can also be prepared to tell your own story, too. Contributors will receive a free CD of their recording, while another copy is kept at the Library of Congress. Each CD adds to StoryCorps’ real, growing portrait of American life – past and present.

The StoryBooth is in the Tribeca neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, at Foley Square, on Centre Street (between Worth and Duane Strees), (1 block east of Broadway) Manhattan, NY 10007
Use the subway: 4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall; R, W to City Hall; A, C to Chambers St.; 2, 3 to Park Pl.; E to World Trade Center.

You can also subscribe to podcasts or read stories on StoryCorps blog.

Also, check out their mobile stations’ trips. Maybe they will be headed close to your hometown so more of your family can get involved in sharing a more complete family history.

When you visit New York City, you can leave this treasure for the future. That will make your New York experience even more meaningful, as New York City was America’s first capital, so it’s appropriate to show how you and your family are able to live in your own American way.

Foley Square is also one end of the trail leading to the hauntingly beautiful African Burial Ground Memorial, nearby at 290 Broadway. It’s a powerful reminder of who built New York City, in colonial America.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory:
The origins of ice cream are both mythical and abstract, including legends attributing the invention of ice cream to the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty, and the Indians have had it since ancient times, too.

So, when you are done at StoryCorps, head off to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (CICF) for an unusual treat, and this is a great choice if you have kids tagging along. Get lunch at Hsin Wong for som bow fan, where you get 3 dishes over rice. 72 Bayard St, NYC, 212-925-6526. Then go across the street for the Chinese ice-cream!

CICF is family-run and stands today as one of Chinatown’s oldest businesses. It started in 1978, and has served authentic home made ice cream, with quality ingredients and traditional Chinese recipes since then.

Apart from regular flavors, unusual ones include: Coconut, Chocolate Pandan, Durian, Ginger, Green Tea, Lychee, Mango, Pandan, Red Bean (Dessert Bean), Taro, Zen Butter. Sorbets: Longan, Lychee and Mango-Papaya. See: New York City – chinatown ice cream factory.

Open: Sun-Sat: 11:00am – 10pm or 11pm (depending on weather) (212) 608-4170
Location: 65 Bayard Street, Manhattan Chinatown (south of Canal Street; Mott and Bayard). Canal Street Subway: J, M, Z trains.

The Chinese Museum is close by. If you are interested, ask for directions at CICF. So is the Children’s Museum of Art at 182 Lafayette. Enjoy your historical, ethnic New York day!

New York City Archive

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review