Just 2 weeks ago, Google’s “research blog” announced some interesting results from a program they had created to visualize what happens inside a neural network. When I say “interesting results”, I mean it gives scientists, artists, and even ordinary stiffs like me a possible peek into how a neural network — and maybe the human brain — internally processes data (like images and even sounds). And when you peel back the covers, so to speak, you can end up with results that look quite like what people see on psychedelics.
We really wore ourselves out yesterday, but I deliberately booked our return flight for late in the day so we could leisurely make our way back out to Newark Airport without rushing and going crazy. It took us quite awhile to pack all our stuff plus all the souvenirs and gifts we bought into our already-full carryons, but somehow we managed. And we still had one more thing to buy!
One trait I’m glad Steven has inherited from us is the almost magnetic pull towards war surplus stores. I’m obviously not into war or anything, but I’ve always been fascinated by the strange stuff to be found in these places, and so has Susan. So I was pleasantly surprised when sometime over the weekend, Steven mentioned hearing about some legendary surplus store on 42nd street that he’d like to go to.
Yesterday (Friday) capped two days of walking all over Manhattan, so today I decided to rest a bit, getting up late and visiting Flushing Meadow Park, where I spent many hours in the Sixties just enjoying nature and the occasional concert, and many more hours training for bicycle races in the Seventies.
In our last thrilling episode, we had just hiked three long crosstown blocks over to 59th and Lexington Avenue to catch the southbound local down to Astor Place. This gave Steven the chance to experience NYC rush hour in all its subterranean glory.
When we finally arrived, I took the time to check out the subway station I had been to zillions of times. They’ve changed a lot of the signs and even the look of the street entrance, but luckily they left a few things the same. Only Cooper Union’s historic building is left, though, since the others weren’t historical landmarks.
After pounding the pavement all day yesterday, what better thing than doing it all over again? Today was the day I figured was perfect for showing Steven around midtown Manhattan, but for the first time this trip so far, we had no appointments in the morning. So we took a bit of a respite and checked out some of the amazing Asian restaurants around Flushing. One of my superpowers is finding great places to eat, and just across the street from our hotel was this amazing place called Nan Xiang that specialized in soup dumplings (Xiao Long Bao). Now this is what I call an awesome breakfast!
After our adventures in the Bronx and Flushing, we were really looking forward to getting together with my cousin Lenny and his family for dinner. Remember, this all happened the same day, and boy, were we hungry!
Driving to Lenny’s also let me take Steven on the fabled Long Island Expressway, where I still remembered specific bumps and pavement mismatches from over 40 years ago. When you ride a motorcycle, you learn every last one!
After our whirlwind tour of the Bronx, we headed over to the Cloisters to meet Steven’s friend Shoshanna (a web developer whose husband is studying to be a rabbi), but some communications got snarfed and they were closing early, so we took some pictures inside and outside the building and met her at the subway stop. Then I drove her to her building in Washington Heights and we all talked about this and that until it was time to head back to Flushing.