Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

Allison and Duncan

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum 1/20/2013

Of all the museums to visit when suffering from a horrible hangover, the Intrepid may qualify as the least enjoyable. First, we get shoved into a cold war submarine. And there are children on the tour. Then we have to contemplate a world in which Duncan is in charge of a nuclear arsenal.


Shall we play a game? How about Global Thermonuclear War?

Allison puts on a good face, but inside she’s dying little by little….


The thumbs-up belie a deep desire to curl up in a ball on one of those bunks.

For your edification, here’s an oversimplified diagram of thrust. Ha ha.IMG_1200 He said thrust.

Then we went to eat chicken wings and drink beer and watch football and everything was all right with the world.
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum     3 stars


National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design


It was closing in 15 minutes, but Allison snuck in, telling the docent about her project. He seemed appalled rather than admiring or envious. Inside, a lovely museum with an exhibit on John Cage (the artist) who is the same person as John Cage (the musician). If you were to imagine John Cage music on large strips of butcher paper, then you would be imaging correctly. Upstairs, a gallery decorated in the old-school way—dozens of paintings hung inches apart from floor to ceiling. Just when Allison’s eyes were glazing over…. Could it be? Yes, she recognizes the wispy oils, the elementary composition, the adolescent male torsos… a Walter Stuempfig!  Was he blackmailing someone at the Academy too?

And an interesting collection of self-portraits by female artists.


National Academy of Design                                        3 stars

Fire Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and (No) Lesbian Art



Scary picture of Allison and Duncan ready to fight fires.

What do three New Yorkers do on a rainy Saturday? Visit the New York City Fire Museum, where the thunder of a thousand toddlers at play in the gym above was the musical accompaniment (double metaphor alert) to this two-story paean to New York’s bravest. Of special interest were the intricately engineered wooden horse-drawn fire trucks with their buckets. Of less interest were the ceremonial swords and shields through the ages. Trivia alert: The eagle that holds the shield/badge on a ceremonial fireman’s helmet is called a “front holder.”


Even scarier picture of Allison and Duncan ready to fight fires


Why is there always taxidermy, and is there anything freakier than taxidermy? This dog was beloved, then stuffed.









Actually, it does get more awkward than the Museum of Sex with two opposite sex heterosexual friends: the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art with said friends and his girlfriend. Lots of erections in the form of paintings, photos and collages, leading to a stimulating discussion on the porous (non-existent?) borders between social commentary, erotica and porn. Nary a lesbian in sight.

New York City Fire Museum                                    3 stars

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art     3 stars

How do you get to the Rose Museum at Carnegie Hall?


The Rose Museum

Allison wandered, lonely, alone, into the Rose Museum where the security guard seemed surprised to see her. Upstairs at Carnegie Hall: old ticket stubs and programs from what was once a speaking venue as well as a concert and recital hall. Winston Churchill spoke between the wars, and here is the confirmation letter his office sent to prove it. Also seen: video displays of performances past and documents from the fight to save the building. All in all, worth the price of admission (free).

Rose Museum                                                            3 stars

Merchant House Museum, Museum of the American Gangster


Allison had wanted to go to the Merchant House Museum since she moved to New York in 1999. She had been prevented by pure laziness, but was finally moved to action by Duncan and Katherine. Duncan, being from the Continent, was unmoved by the house’s history, but all agreed that it would be an excellent place to live in a prime location. We were also disappointed that there wasn’t fake food in the kitchen, and thought the horsehair chaise needed to be recovered.

Museum of the Day award goes to the Museum of the American Gangster for its completely disorganized exhibitions of facsimilies of newspapers, an ignorant docent who went to the George Bush School of Truthiness (apparently the flappers and molls gave birth to the children of the summer of love?) and an interminable tour of the 20 by 20 foot space. It was capped off by a visit to the speakeasy contained in the theater next door, which looked like the back room of the theater next door. Here’s what we learned. The guy who built it liked bombs, Brazilian women and cats. And boobs. Now that’s knowledge you can use.

Merchant House Museum: 3 stars

Museum of the American Gangster: 3 stars.

American Finance, Fraunces Tavern and Skyscraper Museums


In the beginning someone created museums (the Romans?) and they were without form and void, and darkness was upon the displays. And then the curatorial spirit moved out over the galleries, and said, “let museums be interesting!”  Unfortunately, today’s institutions were deaf to the cry.

Duncan, Katherine and Allison met up at the Museum of Finance. The most interesting part was… there was no interesting part. This was the most boring museum we had ever been to, bar none. And that’s saying something because we have been to the Museum of the American Gangster and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Here’s a picture of Allison and Katherine in front of a display of live cattle (noticeably mislabeling that which is obviously not live cattle, the inclusion of which would have improved the exhibit).


Allison and Katherine and Live Cattle

Nearby was the Fraunces Tavern Museum, owned by the Sons of the Revolution, (providing a downtown counterpoint to the Colonial Dames of America), who would not have let the likes of us (a Jew, an Asian and a Tory) into its hallowed halls would it not be for the fact that it needs funds to maintain the historic Delancey Mansion.


Fake Food

Interesting artifacts included: a large Turtle Soup tureen, a piece described as ‘wood’ that was removed from the preceding structure during restoration/renovation, and several pictures of Washington that were clearly intended to make him look much better than he ever did in real life. And some of his teeth, which, contrary to popular belief, were not wooden. And a lock of his hair. And our favorite, fake food in the restored dining room.

The docent referred to nearby buildings (the museum is a block from Wall Street) as “phallic symbols of capitalism” not once, but twice, which meant we had to skip the Dingle whiskey bar, much to Duncan’s disappointment, and head to the Skyscraper Museum, or the Museum of Phallic Symbols of Capitalism.

The Skyscraper Museum is only one story. Let that irony sink in. There are lots of models of international skyscrapers and charts showing their relative height. Here is Allison, taller than whatever’s at the end of West 37th Street.


Allison on 37th Street


Museum of American Finance                        3 stars

Fraunces Tavern Museum                              3 stars

The Skyscraper Museum                               3 stars