Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway, Alaska

Just got back from an Alaskan cruise through the Inside Passage; the weather was beautiful, there were glaciers, etc, but one of the highlights was the tourist trap of Skagway, a town of about 800 that had enough shops to host three cruise ships (about 2,500 people each) while we were there.

Hidden away from the main street was the week’s most interesting kitschy shop of all: The Sarah Palin Store. Though the former governor is primarily associated with Wasilla, Skagway was apparently her childhood Alaskan home.

And, Skagway is home – as the woman who works there put it – the world’s only Sarah Palin store:
The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

It’s part of a shopping plaza on Broadway, between 5th and 6th avenues:
Signage for The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

The amount of merchandise was astounding. Off of the top of my head, the Palin-branded merchandise included: t-shirts, tote-bags, Christmas ornaments, bumper stickers, books, paper dolls, commemorative coins, koozies, chocolate bars, mints, “Tea Party” tea, ulus, lipstick, calendars, and hockey trophies:

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

Sarah Palin Christmas Ornaments, from the Skagway Sarah Palin Store

Palin the Riveter t-shirt

Mugs, in The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

The Sarah Palin Store in Skagway Alaska

Treats from the Sarah Palin store

The woman working the counter said the store has been only open for two years, isn’t at all affiliated with Palin (though the owner knows her parents or something like that) and that Palin hasn’t yet visited. What a shame, I thought New York was a little awesome for having a Big Lebowski store, but this must be the only store based solely on a vice-presidential candidate.

More (non-Palin) photos of my Alaska cruise can be seen on my Flickr account.

New York Fireworks, Fourth of July, from the Top of the Rockefeller Center (with video, too)

I didn’t feel like grilling on the 4th since I leave on a long vacation the next morning, so I thought I’d stop by the Rockefeller Center to see if it was at all crowded for fireworks (I paid for a $75 membership so stopping by is free for me. Also, I have no friends with prime west side viewing decks). I got there ridiculously early, about 5pm, but it was so beautiful that I just sat on a bench and read, and even did a little laptop work (there’s now free wifi there).

Crazy blue skies above Rockefeller Center, July 4th

Crazy blue skies above Rockefeller Center, July 4th

It was surprisingly empty but at around 630ish, people with serious camera gear were staking their claim. So I went to the top deck and picked a spot to lay my camera on and listened to a few episodes of “This American Life” (waiting a few hours for ANYTHING is nothing compared to waiting 6 hours in the cold during my once-and-never-again New Years Eve in Times Square experience).

As the pics and video below should show, the sunset was far more beautiful than the fireworks, which were diminished by the Hudson River’s distance from the Rock, vertically and westwardly. You couldn’t hear any of the music. But one cool benefit to being above the city is that you get to see what seem to be the dozens of fireworks shows across New Jersey and Brooklyn, puny as they are in comparison.

The crowd at the Rockefeller Center, Fourth of July

Sunset over New York before the Fireworks on 4th of July

Sunset before New York's 4th of July

Fireworks in NYC. Red, white...ok, mostly red...

Manhattan skyline, all hazy after 4th of July Fireworks

My sloppy video:

I wouldn’t go again, the fireworks just seem too distant and beneath you, literally, to be as enjoyable at ground level. Still, I didn’t regret finally getting to see a sunset over New York from a skyscraper.