From New York

bryantpark

New York 9-10 June 2014

We woke up to rain in New York , which I guess we would have expected earlier , apparently we have had unseasonably warm weather. Rick went for what he said was a short run , but says he got lost and exited Central Park on the west twice , so walked until he regained his bearings . The track round the Jackie Kennedy had nearly turned into a creek , from the look of his gear when he arrived back.   We donned umbrellas and went to visit  the Guggenheim Museum  just up the road . The Museum had  works form Van Gough, Picaso etc and special  display of modernistic Italian Paintings from the early 1900’s , from the “futuristic ” movement who were clearly in their earlier days felt fascism was a positive thing  . On our friend Shannon’s advice , later we  decided to go to the west side to go to Zabar’s Cafe . Because of the rain , we took the subway which involved going north first towards Harlem then coming back south on a train on the west side. When we went to exit the station we came across the NYPD and a big sign saying “random searches of backpacks and other large containers may take place , you don’t have to offer your bag for search” . Anyway I couldn’t find a link a way to the other line – the policeman informed  us to get back on the train and go one further station down . The train we caught downtown turned out to be an express that went past our intended destination  , which turned out to be a bonus as just outside the station was the best priced fresh food we had so far found in New York . After shopping there we walked back uptown the next 8 streets to Zabars. This was certainly the cheapest and best coffee so far in New York , and old style Deli with sawdust on the floor! We were very impressed  with the amount of food shops and fashion  etc  in this upper west side. The walk through the park to the apartment after the rain had stopped turned out to be quicker than the previous circuitous train journey. Cara turned up , after our home cooked dinner , and we again went shopping on the west side  so we walked back and forth through the park .

On our last full day in New York the rain had stopped but it was still relatively warm and humid. We took the subway down to union square and there ate our picnic lunch. After a brief walk we took the subway to canal st and walked through Chinatown and into little Italy and somehow back into Chinatown . There are lots of small fresh food stores  in Chinatown , mainly fruit and veg and seafood , along with those selling cheap trinkets. Little Italy seems to be a string of Italian restaurants with a few gelato sellers on the sidewalk . We had been informed ,by some Sydneysiders the previous day it was a tourist trap , which was confirmed by paying $5 for a small lemon gelato .Following this we took the subway to Bryant Park for afternoon tea . It’s a lovely park that was full of people taking a break. Lots of  mature trees and a central lawn and fountain with  heaps of seats and table and chairs, even a couple of  table tennis tables.We walked back to the apartment through Central Park. Tonight 5th Avenue was  closed to traffic between 80th and 110th streets   and all the museums were open for free. We went and had  a look but the queues were too long so we just went for a walk.

We are booked to go to Washington D.C.  tomorrow on Amtrak which is a 3 hour trip.

daughter and father love to dance

Days in New York

Have had a busy weekend. Lovely weather here in New York, perfect for tourist sightseeing! We took the subway to  Rockerfeller Centre and went to the top and did the tour.  Rockerfeller was the richest man in America in the late 1800’s from oil. The Simpsons character Mr Burns is based on Mr Rockerfeller! The centre is a a group of nearly a dozen  sky scrapers built in art deco style just after the great depression when the Rockerfellers lost 50% of their billions! There is a lot of art work  on the walls due to Mrs Rockerfeller!  Cara met after the tour , we had  lunch and Rick and Cara went to Madame Tassauds and I went shopping at Maceys and bought comfortable shoes to add to all the other comfortable shoes I already have! We decided to go see another show,  so went and lined up for tickets while  Cara  did some shopping. We caught the subway back to our apartment to have a quick shower and home cooked omelet for dinner  , then   straight back to Broadway for the 8 o’clock show.The  show was about the Cotton club which was a club in Harlem New York   from 1923 to 1940 which was a whites only club but featured all the best  negro musicians. The orchestra was excellent  and there was a lot of Jazz songs and tap dancing. We  then went to Swing 46, a bar for Swing dance. Cara and Rick hand a few dances and  I did a couple dances but was worried about my hernia repair falling to bits so sat out.

On Sunday we met Cara  at High Line which is  a  2km walkway and gardens where there used to be an elevated train.  The weather was perfect again so we wondered around Soho, Greenwich, and ended up  having a picnic  lunch at Washington Square garden which is  a lovely lush garden with lots of mature  trees like Central Park . There is  a large  fountain and arch in the middle, and lots of tables with shade. We were sitting on a longish table and this white and black guy came to sit next to us to play chess. There were lots of other people playing chess also. Anyway the white guy brought the chess set with pieces that were pink and black. The black guy was making fun of him and the white guy said ” last time I had white pieces and  you  accused me of  Chess racism” ! There are lots of lovely lush small parks all over Manhattan! There is only one free standing house in all of Manhattan and which belongs to  the Mayor. The parks are crowded with people  because they all live in apartments with no yards! After lunch Cara went to have a singing lesson and we wandered around and walked down to Battery point which has another lovely garden area. We took a sail on the Clipper City   – our third in the  harbor – the fee of which was covered by the New York Pass! It was 4:30 when we sailed off and there was a breeze of 10-15 knots at times. We sailed out past the  Statue of Liberty again which is absolutely a beautiful Copper green, and  had a spectacular view of the city sky line of  Brooklyn, Jersey City and Downtown Manhattan! Rick got to help pull up the  Mainsail! When we came  ashore there was still plenty of light so we wandered  into  Wall st where there is a gigantic Bull statue and some beautiful  modern  sky scrapers along with plenty of  gothic looking buildings. Being  Sunday there were just tourists clicking cameras around !

Flight Deck

Manhattan Cruise,Intrepid,9/11,Art Museum

We still seem to be functioning on LA time . Tested the calf out with a short run in central park and it was still twinging but I seem to run OK
just don’t like going down stairs. After breakfast we headed out towards pier 83 ,from where the circle line cruises leave . So it was number 6 train from 77 to grand central then number 7 train to times followed by walking through the Port Authority Bus Terminal to 9th Ave then a walk down 42nd to the pier. We presented our New York passes and obtained 2 tickets for the round Manhattan cruise leaving at 12.30 . The Intrepid museum was right next door and was on our list of entry obtained with the pass. There was a huge line for the museum and with the passes we bypassed this straight down the express aisle to gain entry -take note Simon Harris. The aircraft carrier Intrepid , which served in World War 2 and right up through the Vietnam was rescued by a benefactor when it was going to the scrap heap and brought and converted into a museum . As soon as you enter you at the level of the Hangar Deck where all the aircraft are stored on a working carrier. This has been converted into an entry hall with information booth and all sorts of other educational stations. There a couple of aircraft within the area also – including the Skyhawk which was one of the first jet fighters and had the advantage that it didn’t have have its wings folded for storage like its heavier and wider prop driven predecessors. Up on the flight deck there is a display of aircraft both US and other nations .These include the British harrier jump jet , with it’s vertical take off capabilities most noted form the Falklands war.There was the F4 – the main fighter for the US in the Vietnam war and its Soviet(built in Poland) adversaries Mig 17 and the later Mig 21. There was an F14 Tomcat -of Topgun fame – sporting the Phoenix air to air missile – the first with its own built in radar . We went through the bridge area ,though the queue through there was rather slow. The Concord is displayed alongside and is dwarfed by the stern of the Intrepid . We were unable to get to the Space Shuttle or the submarine as we had to get back for our cruise.
The cruise goes right around the island of Manhattan and takes close to 3 hours. The tour guide was an ex-marine – now sporting shoulder length hair- who was present at the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 which killed more than 200 US serviceman- and did a great job of informing us of some of the geography and history . The cruise starts southward along the Hudson river where it is all relatively wide , then after going past the southern tip of Manhattan ,Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty heads north under the Brooklyn Bridge. Further north it takes the fork up the narrower Harlem river to pass between the north of Manhattan and the Bronx. You go under a couple of low bridges then finally through a swing-aside railway bridge back into the Hudson. The north part of Manhattan Island and the mainland on the other side have been preserved as national parks , so ther is a great contract with some original wilderness alongside all the skyscrapers .
After the cruise we walked up to Hell’s Kitchen which is on 9th ave north of 42nd. The whole area is line with restaurants of various cuisines on both sides . we decided on a Japanese place for a late lunch .
After lunch we took the subway down to the World Trade centre to view the 9/11 memorial. One of the real shocks is the number of rescue personnel killed in the aftermath. After taking the subway back to the apartment we went round the corner to the Metropolitan Museum of Art = well of course we have to get our money’s worth out of the New York Pass . There were a lot of works here dating back to the 13th century . It include quite a few Rembrandt’s . There was also a collection of musical instruments from ancient to present day including a large display of guitars.

Statue of liberty

Staten Island , Empire State Building

After a perfect sunny day yesterday we woke up to rain, but we got going anyway and got our New York Pass, that we bought online and it enables us to go to lots of New Yorks attractions without having to pay after the initial outlay of $180 each!  We took the subway down to Brooklyn bridge.Walked over it and took the subway back after a breif walk in that part of Brooklyn. The view from the bridge of skykine plus the islands nearby was great though bit cloudy with the rain settling down now. We met Chris Chesney and his wife Caroline at the Staten Island Ferry because we saw through Facebook that they were here on holiday here. Staten Island is quite nice with free standing dollshouse style pastel colored houses and has a relaxed atmosphere. We took a taxi from the terminal and went to historic Richmond Town. We took a walking tour and a lady showed us through the court house, school,  someone’s house and local general store. Was very interesting to see how every day tasks were done in the 1600 and 1700 and 1800’s when this part of America was settled by the Dutch and later British. It was 5 in the afternoon when I said to Rick that i’m ready for lunch  so my stomach is still on LA time.  We took the subway back to Maceys store which is a bit like Myers and used their free wifi then met up with Cara for dinner at the Heartland Brewery under the Empire State Building. I had fresh tuna and salad and Rick and Cara had steaks and mash and we shared the Key Lime Pie which is just like our lemon  merengue pies with lime and NewYork cheese cake which is baked cheese cake. After this Cara went back to her place as she needed do some work and Rick and I went to the Empire state Building to the lookout and we did the sky ride which s a simulated ride you would get if you were in a helicopter over New York or perhaps one of those drones!