Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Well, I'm back from a long weekend in NJ. My son had a good time at Yankee Stadium (even though he only made it through five innings) and loved taking the ferry, bus, subway and cab there and back.

If you've ever been to NYC, you know that one of its charms is that you see things there that you don't see anywhere else. And it didn't disappoint this time either. While waiting for the ferry in Weehawken, we saw a huge seaplane (about the size of a 737) land in the Hudson River. It came in really low which gave us the disturbing view of a large plane backed by the skyline but eventually touched down in the river. I don't know if it was an emergency landing or planned but we did see a barge towing the plane later. For my son, it was just frosting on a huge cake of NYC entertainment.

The oddest part of the weekend was our visit to Northlandz: Home of the Great American Railway in Flemington, NJ. We've all seen large model train layouts but this thing is ridiculous. It's the equivalent of Richard Dreyfus' pile of mashed potatoes in Close Encounters. Someone started building this thing and didn't stop until it had well passed the obsessive stage. Here are some statistics on the thing:

Highest Mountain 30 feet(6,000 scale feet)
Longest Bridge 40 feet
Number of Bridges 300-400
Number of Trains 100+
Feet of Track 50,000(8 miles)
Atlas Super-Flex track
Buildings 4,000+
Wood Enough wood to build 42 large houses
Enough wood to build 42 large houses 52,000 square feet
Lichen Trees 500,000+

The path that you follow to view the entire exhibit is a mile long and goes up and down three stories. Even with my son basically speed walking and running through the museum, it took us an hour and 20 miuntes to get through it.

It was interesting for about twenty minutes but then it became repetitive and then it just became bizarre as you start to wonder what the hell happened in this person's life that drove them to build something like this. It's so far beyond anything normal or healthy that it begins to creep you out. Oh, did I mention that part of the way through the exhibit you enter a large room that has been made into a small theater where the owner plays one of his three pipe organs for you? Did I also mention the doll display towards the end where they have a large Pee Wee Herman doll sitting at a table with some Asian dolls drinking tea? Trust me, it's a freaky place that belongs in Weird NJ.

But my son thought it was cool.

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