Like the beginning of 1Q84, I immediately recognized the Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake on the radio. Ok, so in 1Q84 it was Leoš Janáček and I actually didn’t know what act of Swan Lake it was (turns out it was the great trumpet solo in Act 1 – No. 2 Valse), but I was impressed with myself nonetheless. Cultural reference to start the new year… check.
My musical spidey-sense went off while I was browsing the Strand bookstore. Despite the ridiculous amount of books contained within, I prefer the low key Strand kiosk on 60th and 5th avenue, but more on that later. If you ever read a book outside of school for fun, or if you are looking for your required reading, you’ll love either Strand location. The main store is a nice place to visit after you visit the new Museum of Mathematics or MoMath for short.
I really wanted to like the MoMath, but I was a bit disappointed. It’s still worth exploring though! The day that I went, there seemed to be quite a few exhibits undergoing “problem solving.” But all the kids were having a blast, so I think the target audience was well pleased. There are plenty of interactive exhibits ranging from a bicycle with square wheels and the “Enigma Cafe” which has all sorts of puzzles. However, I felt there was something missing. Although it could just be I’m not a kid and I’ve lost some of that wonderment (like how babies are amazed they have toes). That and there were too many kids hogging the minimum spanning tree game floor so I didn’t get to play 😦 I’m sure I would have a completely different feeling taking my own kids and watching them discover math in a fun, interesting way. Sometimes, it’s nice to be a kid.
Returning to my favorite corner, I scored a triple play at the Strand kiosk: Dance, Dance, Dance and South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami, and V. by Thomas Pynchon. The latter just announced a new novel, Bleeding Edge to be released in the Fall. Of course, how can one pass up Waffles & Dinges on that corner! Now if only there was a W&D cart outside the MoMath… Hyped up kids really love math from what I hear.