Monday, January 5, 2009

Museum of the Moving Image

New York was fantastic, much fun had by all and the only real complaining from son K was not about all the walking we did, but about food: "Ugh, Indian food? No American kid eats Indian food, you just think they do!" (The rest of the meal was spent pointing out other kids in the restaurant. BTW, we had some of the very best Chinese food ever, at Pearl's [9732 7th Ave. near 48th, in the theater district] - wow! You'd never notice it, a friend tipped us to it. Fantastic dumplings in sesame sauce. Ahhh. I beg the owners: come to Maine, get rich.)

Anyway, we did have a wonderful day at the Natural History Museum, and got there by strolling through a quiet
Central Park early-ish in the morning, and came out of the museum to find it gently snowing. That was nice! But I'd say the highlight for K did end up being the Museum of the Moving Image, which is as much fun for parents as it is for kids. It's a quick subway ride to Astoria/Queens and a two-block walk to the museum, which is undergoing massive renovation and expansion. It will truly be a destination when it's finished.

We did the animation workshop, which was fun, and K really enjoyed the old-school video arcade. There are entertaining and informative displays and hands-on exhibits tracing the history of the moving image, and a small theater where we unfortunately missed an hourly showing of The Red Balloon. (Why did we see this in school as kids, but it no longer seems to be a curriculum item?) There are also stations where you can sit with headphones and watch/listen to directors and actors discussing their experiences on film sets like Raiders of the Lost Ark, or All About Eve, and displays of items such as animatronic pieces from films like The Exorcist and Star Wars, costumes worn by actors like Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Robin Williams, and marketing tie-in items for shows like Star Trek and the Simpsons. There was a fascinating display showing how special effects folks designed and used computer software to re-create an early 1930's New York City for Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong.

It was great fun, and as usual (just ask husband D), I'm going to give the museum some feedback/criticism via email, now that I've thought about it: there are video monitors at children's eye level with scenes from Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist and Wolfen. Why not put these monitors at adult eye level or higher, and let the Star Wars and other innocuous clips remain at the 4-foot level? I saw numerous parents caught off-guard, ushering their kids along hoping to avoid those monitors. Some were not successful.

I lost my charger for my camera, so had to resort to a disposable this trip... I'll post a few shots later here from our visit.

This museum is well worth the small effort it takes to get there, so put it on your to-do list! It's also a pittance to get in. Make a generous donation.

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