NYC 4-D Puzzle and Sammy, Master of All He Surveys

George’s father died two years ago this month. He was a good man, and nice, and whenever George and I went to visit his parents, his father and I would inevitably end up working a puzzle together. It was a gentle, charming way to bond with his family and I keep those memories close. It was sweet. After he passed away, and because I was a puzzle-buddy, George’s mother gave me his father’s New York cityscape puzzle to complete. It’s 4-D because it also looks at New York through the lens of time. The base, a standard cardboard puzzle cutout, shows New York in the 1700s, huge expanses of farms in what’s now midtown, the already-emerging alphabet city on the east side. The base is far and away the most difficult part of the puzzle, with a lot of incredibly similar-looking pieces and not a whole lot of distinctive features to work from. But eh, I got it done. I regret now that I don’t have any pictures of that layer. Hindsight is 20/20.

The second layer of the puzzle brings you into the modern NYC layout. It’s made from thick foam with heavy paper overlay, and has pre-punched squares to accommodate various NYC landmark buildings. Buildings are color-coded to indicate the era in which they were constructed, so you can see the spread of vertical development over the course of 200 years. Plus, it’s super-cool. And it’s done.

To you historians and nit-pickers who claim that this puzzleis not entirely accurate…I understand, I get your point. But it’s also a puzzle, a toy meant to spark interest, not something meant to be sourced for a dissertation. Get over it.

So. New York City in 4-D.

Be real, people. The first thing you’ve got to see in New York is the Statue of Liberty, amirite?


Hey, whassup, you tired, poor, huddled masses?

Then we go up around Battery Park and check out the gateway to the Financial District.


Personally, I dig the lineup of bridges in the background.

Have a look straight down Broadway.

Give it my regards, will you? And remember me to Herald Square.

Give it my regards, will you? And remember me to Herald Square.

Get an aerial view. (Uh…seems that a building got a little wibbly-wobbly….whoops!)


Go home, Chrysler Building! You’re drunk!

And check out Manhattan from the other side.

Surprise! Not all of Manhattan is pure skyscraper.

Surprise! Not all of Manhattan is pure skyscraper.

While I was doing this, Sammy–who is without question the boss of this house–jumped onto his loveseat to acquaint himself with all goings-on. Sorry to break it to you, New York, but Sammy is the master over all he surveys.

All shall love him and despair.

All shall love him and despair.

 He is an imperious task-master, but not tyrannical. There are worse gigs, so long as you keep him in a steady supply of thyroid boosting cat food pellets. You’ll get used to it.  🙂

So there we have it! This was a lot of fun, and sweet and poignant for me to complete. And it’s good to let the world know Sammy is bent on world domination, one puzzle-city at a time.

Travel Theme: Bright

Ailsa’s travel theme this week over at Where’s My Backpack is “bright”.  Wow.  So, so many interpretations.  Candles?  Christmas?  Sunshine?  Groovy colors?  All valid and awesome examples.  But for me…there is little that gives my heart more of a thrill, that gives me a rush of excitement, than the bright lights of a marquee.  In my head, there is a constant loop of Ziegfeld Follies/Broadway Melody playing.  Right next to the Music for TV Dinners…I want to hire a band that will follow me around and play this as my theme music.

So here are some marquees from my various travels, lighting up the night.

First stop: World’s Most Famous Arena!

A few years ago, my birthday weekend began with a punk show at the roller derby and ended with a hockey game.  It was my very own birthday bloodsport extravaganza, and I loved it like a house on fire.  It was a Rangers game and–what feels like 10,000 years ago–when I was married, my ex- and I had Rangers season tickets.  So going to the Garden was strangely like going back to a house you used to live in.  Not that I wasn’t welcome, mind you.

Oh, how it beckons, it beckons, it calls to me.

It just wasn’t my house anymore.

And for the record, the Rangers won that game.  For me, I think.  🙂  So thanks, guys.

Next stop: Cleveland!

We’d never been to Cleveland.  At least, I’d never been to Cleveland except to drive sort of past it on my travels out west, and I’m pretty sure George had never been there before.  So what do you do with a place you’ve never been?  Why…visit it, of course!

We left right after I got off work and since it’s about a five hour drive from home for us–and of course, we had to stop for some chow along the way–we didn’t roll into town until well into the night.  It was probably something like 10:00 by the time we could feast our eyes on the Cleveland skyline.  So we’re following the directions we have, driving down unfamiliar, and pretty empty, streets.  It was late, the traffic in the city was pretty much non-existent and then…


Surprise!  We turned into the traffic as the theater was letting out.  It was great, actually.  People were in their fancy clothes, laughing and smiling and they rehashed whatever it was they just saw.  Rolling into this vibrant scene gave me a really good feeling about the city, and we ended up having a wonderful time.  Yes, while we were in town we splurged and had a spendy dinner at celebrity chef Michael Symon’s Lola; get the beef cheek pierogies with horseradish creme fraiche, as they are lick-the-plate-in-public good.  Though it was admittedly difficult to tear ourselves away from the tequileria right across the street to make our reservations.

And last but not least: Home Sweet Home

Here in the ‘burg, also occasionally called “Nirvana on the Susquehanna”, we have a gorgeous little art deco movie theater.  The Campus Theatre, listed as part of the Lewisburg Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1941 and has recently been lovingly and painstakingly restored.  One of the first things to get replaced, long before the entirety of the restoration, was the marquee.  It’s bright,all right.  It’s plenty eye-catching.  And best of all, it’s advertising a show that night given by my friend Andy’s band, so it’s extra rockingly awesome for me.

Good times, close to home.

You can tell by the lights in the trees that this took place somewhere around Christmastime.  I really do live in Norman Rockwell central.  When I wonder how that happened, I can’t help but think…really, who cares?  I’ve got to stop over-thinking stuff.

See you around the ‘burg!  For more interpretations of “bright”, visit Ailsa.

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