Toasting the American Museum of Natural History

It’s snowing again in New York City. And, for our first winter here, we haven’t been going inside much. Our outdoor activities have kept us busy, but we certainly miss the theaters, the dining, the activities, and the life and energy that New York City provides.

The COVID-19 numbers have been too high for us to feel comfortable at museums, restaurants, shopping centers, and cultural centers. Hospitals have been too close to being full. All city services have been working max efforts to keep COVID under control, snow off the streets and pavements, and the city in functioning order. It hasn’t been easy for them. The last thing we wanted to do, was to burden the already taxed and depleted frontline workers and funds from New York.

However, spring is approaching, and with it, some hope. The positive case numbers have been falling dramatically. Vaccines are distributed as quickly as the city can get them. And the weather, although snowing again today, is trending upward. We’re starting to feel more comfortable again… It’s not perfect, but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, we braved a museum – double masked and double distanced. At limited capacity, the museums are offering locals a chance to really get to know the NYC cultural offerings without the hoards of tourists and crowds. That part has made moving to the city during COVID slightly more bearable. We get to be local tourists with a fraction of the normal crowds.

MANHOOD

A Man’s usefulness depends upon his living up to his ideals insofar as he can. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune make for a finer, nobler type of manhood. Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life.

Theodore Roosevelt

A Museum in Three Parts….

Aside from seeing Night at the Museum several times, I didn’t know a lot about the American Museum of Natural History. And, wow… what little I knew was way off! I thought it was relatively small…a couple of big exhibits (like the T-Rex) and then a lot of models showing different points of civilization (you know, like Owen Wilson’s character in the movie). What I did NOT expect was a four story multi-sectional museum. It was extremely overwhelming! We spent three hours walking through everything at a quick pace to just quickly “see it all.” We will certainly want to go back to dive into the different areas to truly grasp everything that is being presented. We walked past a wall of hundreds of photos with paragraphs underneath each one. I would’ve loved to read them all, but there was simply no time during this first visit!

Part 1: The Earth and the Planets

The museum dives into the history of the planet, how meteorites have shaped and altered the earth, and our place in the universe. There is a planetarium that is currently closed, due to COVID-19, but will reopen hopefully later this year. Learning about how science is changing the path of future meteors to prevent damage and about the creation of our current craters was fascinating!

Part 2: The Animals!

NATURE

There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.

Theodore Roosevelt

Okay…so, dinosaurs were big. We knew that. I had never truly perceived how big. Photos and movies don’t truly offer the perspective I needed to be able to quantify it in my mind.

I had to see the build-out in-person. And, wow! I can’t imagine creatures that size living on land.

Seeing the animals of the past and the animals we currently share this planet with offered perspective as to how much humans and natural occurrences have altered the earth. There’s less space for animal populations, therefore animals have to adapt and become smaller. They need to be able to survive on less. Meanwhile, humans keep growing and expanding. It’s fascinating to see how everything has shifted so dramatically over a million years.

Part 3: Human Civilization

YOUTH

I want to see you game boys. I want to see you brave and manly and I also want to see you gentle and tender. Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the ears and keep your feet on the ground. Courage, hard work, self mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to a successful life. Character in the long run is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.

Theodore Roosevelt

The animals and dinosaurs are what bring people to the museum…And, they are “Insta” worthy, no doubt! However, what kept me interested was the anthropology and sociological studies of ancient man. It’s not a linear progression, but rather broken into regions – Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, Europe, North America, South America. What amazed both Noah and me was the similarities between the early groups. How did people, separated by so much, come up with similar tools, similar hierarchies, similar religions, customs, music, art and dance?

When we are so polarized, it’s good to take a moment to see our history – dating back to the very beginning. We may be separated and divided by a lot, but our similarities and binding agents are far stronger in our roots and in our blood than our differences.

I could quite literally spend a day exploring each region and reading about all of the cultural findings, customs, and lifestyles. I was also captivated by the work of Margaret Mead, one of my heroes, who has a whole section dedicated to her and her work.

And Then, There’s Teddy….

THE STATE

Ours is a government of liberty by through and under the law. A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great or a democracy. Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords. In popular government, results worth having can only be achieved by men who combine worthy ideals with practical good sense. If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness.

Theodore Roosevelt

Who doesn’t remember the lovable Robin William’s playing Theodore Roosevelt in Night at the Museum? Roosevelt’s statue graces the front stairwell facing Central Park West – free for all to see! The museum is dedicated to our 26th president, a natural history enthusiast and conservationist. You will find his quotes on all four corners of the main lobby, as well as scattered throughout the museum. The quotes are meaningful, poignant, and potentially more true today than when they were originally written. The four corners, like the four corners of this blog, are dedicated to “Youth,” “Manhood,” “The State,” and “Nature.”

Have you been, or do you plan to go to the American Museum of Natural History? Let us know all about it! We can’t wait to share your experiences, too!

Other NYC Ideas!

Check out our previous posts for other NYC neighborhoods to check-out!

More coming each week!

And…it’s 2021…So, here’s my reminder. 

Should I Come to New York in 2021?

If you are living outside the Northeast, the answer is still, sadly, no. For more on this, check out our other posts on 3 Months of New York CityRiding the Second WaveWandering and Wondering in NYC, and New York: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber. The government is doing its best to make sure it stays below a certain percentage. Because, with so many people living in such a close proximity, pandemics are especially lethal here. 

***UPDATE*** Since November 4th, the mandatory 14-day quarantine has ended! New York has moved to a test-based travel restriction. You have to show a negative COVID-19 test result from the past 72 hours upon arrival, then, three days after arrival (and quarantine), you have to receive another test here. If it’s negative, you’re good to go. If it’s positive, you must continue to quarantine. So, this means shorter quarantines (yay!), but two tests… Stay home if you can…If you can’t, you’ve been warned!

Wait this one out…New York will still be here when the dust settles.

As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!

Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.

Cheers,

Noah and Majhon

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