Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"I'll have to ask you to leave the museum."

So the blog has been up for over a year now, and pretty soon I'm going to hit 100 posts. The masses have been clamoring for more of my delicious writing. That's right, clamor, my little peebles!

"Masses" actually just refers to the BF and BA of AAAS, who have been waiting patiently since Sunday for my post on the New York Transit Museum. They aren't exactly massive, but they do have mass. It's SCIENCE!

The New York Transit Museum has a couple of things going for it. 1) It's close. I can walk there from my apartment. 2) It's only $5 for adults. And 3) It's in an actual subway station, the old two-level Court Street Station.

My favorite part was the series of old subway cars with the original advertisements they have in the lower level. You can walk through them and everything! I liked this 1932--sorry, 1927--car here because I could really feel the psychic energy of all the people that had ridden it before me: the men in their hats, the women those great big skirts, the stink they probably all made in the summertime underneath all that cloth.

And yeah, I spun myself around those poles like a little kid. Swung on the straps in some of the other cars, too. I can't help it, I love interactive museums.

So when BS came over and informed our group that we had to leave the museum "because the cops are here," the first words out of my mouth were, "I'm sorry, I won't do it again!"

I'd like this to be a story about how the cops kicked me out of the museum. It's not. I don't know why the cops arrived and told everyone to leave the museum. If I was going to list New York's tourist attractions most likely to attract trouble, the Transit Museum wouldn't crack the top 10. Hell, nothing in Brooklyn would, except maybe the Brooklyn Bridge, and that starts in Manhattan.

Here's a better story, relating to the car with all the psychic vibes: Mum and I once took a tour of Iolani Palace in Honolulu. Iolani Palace, for those who don't know, was the royal residence of the last two Hawaiian monarchs, King Kalakaua, who built it, and his successor and sister, Queen Liliuokalani. Now it's a museum and the exterior of the police station in "Hawaii 5-O."

When the Americans overthrew the monarchy, they placed the Queen under house arrest in Iolani Palace. On the tour, you go in to the room where she spent ten months as a prisoner of the Provisional Government, writing her memoirs and composing songs (fun fact: Queen Liliuokalani wrote "Aloha Oe," though not during this period). The room contains a nine panel quilt the Queen made during her imprisonment.

I mention all of this so that you'll get an idea of how emotionally draining this tour can be. You stand in the room where the last ruler of a free Hawaii watched her kingdom fall apart around her. The guilt she felt over her inability to stop the annexation of Hawaii by the United States is intense, and you can feel it in the same way you can feel all those old subway riders in the preserved cars.

Well, I say "you." I should really say, "my mother." Sometimes parents embarrass you by bringing out naked baby pictures or talking about your tits in mixed company. Other times, they embarrass you by having a complete emotional meltdown on a busy sidewalk in Honolulu. Mum wept quietly for the second half of the palace tour, and then openly for several city blocks after we left. I've been terrified to take her any place historical ever since.

And in case anyone wonders why I don't generally choose to spend my leisure time in museums, now you know.

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.