NYC:Day 5 – Balance

SciCoder continues today, here’s a shot from my point of view. As you can see we’re working on building databases, which requires flowcharts. Demitri Muna is lecturing, and is also the workshop organizer.

A screen shot of the stuff i’ve been working with…in case anyone was interested. Anyone? No one? Not one person interested in my code? ………..moving right along

After the days learnding I decided to head down to Battery Park at the souther tip of Manhattan. Here you can see the statue of liberty and ellis island. There were also some performers practicing a play in the park. Also found an armed forces memorial and generally just a good view of the boating areas. Bonus that it doesn’t cost anything to see any of it.

I then walked around to see the Brooklyn Bridge. There it is in all its glory! Brooklyn is to the right, manhattan to the left.

Wall Street is down at the southern tip too. I took a quick walk through just to see where all the rich people work. Found this funky looking building, looks like the one from spiderman.

Seeing all I had wanted, I went back to Battery Park and watched the sun set over Jersey City across the Hudson river. I took a bunch of shots over an hour or so and condensed them here for you to see. NOTE: I believe the star that comes into view in the top left is Saturn, but I’m not completely sure. [edit]….I was wrong…it was Venus. Why the hell did I think Saturn?
I had some pizza down in the financial district then headed back to residence. I decided to go out for a beer and read a bit to close off the evening. Beer of choice today was a Sam Adams cherry wheat beer. Very tasty. Reading of choice: The Five Ages of the Universe….I highly recommend.
Conclusions: working all day=exploring all eve, sunsets rock,NY pizza is good, beer is better
(PS: jen – you should come visit me here in NYC)

NYC:Day 4 – Good Company

Day 4 has drawn to a close in NYC. SciCoder has provided many new tools for me. Python is a REALLY good language, but I’m not sure how to implement it into my research just yet. Currently I’m heavily dependent on IDL. I’ve also learned a lot about SVN repositories. I think this will really benefit me.
After the days lectures, a bunch of us participants headed to get some thai food. I had the ‘Druken Noodles.’ I was just telling my cousin (tina) that I hadn’t really sampled much of the good food in new york yet…I think I can take that back now.

Here’s a good shot of a bunch of us. Not everyone came (unfortunately), but this is a good a chunk.

Of course I got beer, and today I had a thai beer called Singha. Never had it before and it was great! When it comes to beer, my philosophy is to try as many different kinds as possible.

In keeping with that philosophy, we went to a Belgian bar across the street from the thai place and I had a Chimay Rouge and a Leffe Blonde. The belgians know how to brew, I know that for sure.
On our way home through Washington Square park I nabbed this shot of the mini-triumph. It was lit up quite nicely. Not a bad little park. I was there earlier in the week watching some music and dancing.
Conclusions: Python is great, SVN is amazing, astronomers are good company, need to visit the Scourmont Abbey
(PS: where for art thou jen?)

NYC:Day 3 – SciCoder begins

Now for the real reason I’m here: SciCoder. This is a workshop hosted by NYU to teach graduate students in astronomy better practices for computer programming. While we’re not computer scientists, astronomers often need to use high level programming to get the job done, so learning good programming can be advantageous.

There are roughly 30 participants from all over the world. This is us sitting in our first day of lecturing.
Had some awesome pad thai at lunch. There’s TONNES of places to eat round town, and mostly pretty cheap to.
The organizers had a reception in the evening. Wine and cheese….I’m not one to turn it away. We spent some time here getting to know each other better. There is an interesting array of people at SciCoder, lots of different backgrounds and research interests.
We went over to a nearby irish pub to have a beer to finish off the night. I can’t remember the name of mine but it was pretty tasty. Unfortunately I don’t have more pics, I spent most of the day learning the fine points of file subversion and object oriented programming. Both worth the time, but both (not surprisingly) non-photogenic.
Conclusions: i forgot about 9am lectures, programming is an art, astronomers are always fun to talk to, …..beer….nuff said

NYC:Day 2 – Putting foot to pavement

Today was spent seeing as much stuff as I could fit into one day. I’ve been dying to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) ever since I saw Thomas Crown Affair. I know that sounds weird, but I love the front of this building, not to mention all the wicked ass art inside.

Monet is one of my favorite painters of all time, and he had 2 or 3 galleries dedicated to him. This was my fav. Van Gogh was also there, and many many many many more. Too many paintings to see.
The American Museum of Natural History was next on my list and it was located directly across Central Park from the Met (both overlook the park). So I cut through the park, this was a cool bridge i walked under. It was SO hot, so sunny. It was a very good day for walking through the park.
The front of the museum was unremarkable due to construction, but this skeleton was awesome, located in the museum lobby. There were a lot of fossils in the museum, I had a lot of fun here.
The main reason I went to the museum of natural history was the space exhibit was celebrating the summer solstice with a few fun activities. The summer solstice is Mon June 21 @ approx 7:30am, meaning the day is the longest and the sun is highest in the sky. These telescopes were fitted out with solar filters and H-alpha filters so you could take a look at the sun with your own eyes! lots of fun.
The space exhibit had some cool scales that would tell you what you weigh on other worlds. On mars I’m a cool 46 pounds haha!
Next up was Rockefeller Center. This is the place where Radio City Music Hall and the NBC studios are. You can go up to the top of 30 Rock and check out the city scape. This is probably one of the best places to get a shot of central park.
Right around the corner from 30 Rock was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the oldest neo-gothic catholic church in america. This place was wicked cool, and there was service going on when i went in. It’s MASSIVE in there, could seat hundreds of people. By this time it was time to head home.
Conclusions: NYC has too many things to see (good thing), no beer=feet hurt more, rockefeller was the man
(PS: jen-would be better if you were here!)

NYC:Day 1 – A crash course on Manhattan

Day 1 is complete; I got a cool shot of the Toronto skyline from the Island airport (AKA Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport) before I left. Porter airlines is great, the waiting area has all you can drink free coffee!

I’m staying in Weinstein Hall, a residence of NYU. Apparently both Adam Sandlar and Rick Rubin (founded def jam records) were residents of Weinstein Hall. This room reminds me of first year.
I landed in Newark, NJ and got a bus to bring me to Grand Central Station. Very Impressive place. When I got here I had no idea what subways went where, and only a vague idea of where I was staying. I learned quick!

The first place I wanted to see was ground zero. Back in my mid-teenage years my family took a trip to NYC and we saw the WTC. We even stood on top of the two towers! I just can’t believe it’s not there anymore.
St. Paul’s Chapel is directly across the street from ground zero, and has been the home base of grieving/history/volunteer efforts over the last 9 years.
Also nearby is the a building with more 9/11 stuff, specifically, the new building project. This will consist of 4 new Towers, a transportation hub, and the official 9/11 memorial. Two square pools with waterfalls on all sides (draining in the centre) are being placed in the footprint of the original two towers. It’s going to pretty amazing….google it, I can’t wait for my future trip to see it in completion (expected 9/11/2011).

After a nap (I was bush-wacked), I took a trip to the infamous times square. There was SO many people there! I suppose it IS a saturday night. This place reminded me a lot of vegas. There was a step up area where you could go to get a good view (and good pics). The party here on new year’s eve must be nuts.
I finished the evening up with a cold pint of Red Rooster Ale at the Heartland Brewery and Chophouse located in times square.
Conclusions: NYC rocks, ground zero is interesting, the subway is really convenient, times square is amazing, beer heals all wounds.

(PS: jen-wishing you were here!)