Monday, April 13, 2015

New York - A City of Many Curiosities

News Sand
 News stands. They are everywhere and seem to be busy all the time. I used to see these in old movies and wondered if they are still around and yes, they are....everywhere in the city.
 Architecture. Look up and you will find many classical buildings. A lost art at a time when the designer really thought about the building and its place in the city. Too bad many of these stately buildings are being razed to make way for ever taller condos..
Parking Manhattan style
 Parking. Certainly at a premium and that means finding ingenious ways to stuff as many cars as possible in the least amount of space. Wonder how long it would take to get my car if it was parked at the top.
 The Oculus. At first I thought, what the heck is it? A bird, a statue, a jumble of metal? No, it's a train station and I'll bet it costs a pretty penny to build.
Trendy cafe
 Cafes. They are everywhere. We wanted to sit down and have a coffee and a Danish in this pastry shop. You couldn't just sit down and have a casual coffee, they ushered you into a part of the shop that I am sure costs twice as much going in, getting a coffee and a Danish and leaving. $20 for two cups of coffee and two danish....come on!
Interesting people
 People. There are interesting characters everywhere in the city. They are there to entertain and of course if you wish you could give them a little stipend for performing. There are people everywhere. For example, in Times Square you would literally be shoulder on the sidewalks at any time of the day. And I thought Toronto was crowded!
The Orb
 Art. This was in Battery Park. It looked like somebody bombed it. Well, later checking revealed that this was once the Orb that graced the WTC square circa 2001.
Barnes and Noble
 Bookstores. The Barnes and Noble we found on about 79th and Broadway is the biggest I have ever seen and large enough to grace a reading room. I suppose you could sit down and listen to well known authors flog their new books. Where else could you do this?
AlJazeera News Agency
 News. Here is the New York office of AlJazeera. Not sure I expected to see it's presence in America. Times have changed!
The Empire State Building from Manhattan Centre
 Skyscrapers. Why does this building look like it was just built? It is amazing to me that it was built 85 years ago and it is as elegant today as it was then. A true marvel of New York. And a sight worthig seeing.
Wine, anyone?
 Food and Wine We had a wonderful dinner at the Lincoln Restauranti (yes there is an "i" at the end of the word)., If you want a wine display, this is it. The food was terrific.
A great way to get around - the subway
 The subway. You cannot get lost in New York. Impossible! Just ask anyone for directions. Be prepared for something a little different. You will get precise directions given very politely by a New Yorker but before you know it, they are gone. They don't care where you are from but don't mind helping you out if you are a little lost.
Bumper Bully
Cars Why would you need a Bumper Bully? When you back into or out of a parking space bumping the car ahead or behind you is inevitable. The parking spots are really that tight.

Anyway a fascinating city and just a few of the things that I noticed on our Easter weekend to the Big Apple.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New York City - My Take On The Big Apple

Hotel Bellclaire
A market just around the corner on Broadway
We stayed at the Hotel Belleclaire near 77th Street and Broadway during our Easter weekend getaway.  It is a cozy boutique style hotel with smallish but comfortable rooms. It is well situated near a subway station and a great jumping off point to just about anywhere in the city. 

If you preferred not to venture into the downtown area you could shop to your hearts content in the immediate area as well as take walks in Central Park, just three blocks from where we stayed in this Upper West Side hotel.

Main lobby of the Empire State Building
 One of my personal favorite stops was the Empire State Building. Waiting time was less than 20 minutes and the trip to the 80, then the 86th floor was no more than a few minutes. A great way to see grand vistas of the city. The rain that day did not dampen our spirits but made for so-so photography.

Apparently the new World Trade Center will have an observation area on the 102th floor but I don't think anything will touch the awe of the stately skyscraper from the 1930s.

Closer view of the Statue
I suppose every tourist has to see the Statue of Liberty but honestly having been to Liberty Island once, I have no desire to return.

Unless you can get into the statue itself, all you can do is wander around the pedestal.The fact there is no interpretation center for the casual visitor to the island blows me away.

Sure there is a museum in the pedestal but it takes a six months wait to get inside.

I think I captured the beauty of the statue on this fine spring day.
Statue of Liberty

Top view of the World Trade Center
 I tried not to get all the standard shots of New York and think this variety of shots illustrates our stay.
Wall Street area
 I have to say that the 9/11 Museum was worth the three hour wait time. It is spell-binding and truly captures the event on that tragic day in just the right way. The photo below shows a set of steps from the original WTC building that were preserved for time immemorial.
9/11 Museum
 New York has a large variety of restaurants with no shortage of places to eat at anytime of the day or night. The Chipolte is an example of the many chains but the food is good and the price is right.
Good eats at a decent price

The Dakota
 We were literally five minutes from the Dakota the famed spot where singer John Lennon was killed.
 An iconic view of the downtown area showing the new World Trade Center taken from Liberty Island

 A church curiously sandwiched between two skyscrapers. I wonder what happened here.
Times Square at about 11pm
 Times Square does not disappointed. It is a real experience day or night. Of course at night it is lit up in a spectacular fashion..
Another shot of Times Square
 It is in Times Square that you can meet 20,000 of your friends at just about any time of the day.
Interesting fact about Tesla
 Nikola Tesla no doubt Inspired the luxury Tesla automobile.
Performing in a subway station
 Lots of performers in the subway stations. This fellow was very good. I left him some money.
Scary parking rates. Exotic car; $1000 a month to park it.
 My guess is that having a car in New York is a luxury. Parking would be problematic.
 We walked through Wall Street and visited Tiffany's. Finally another short of the recently completed World Trade Center. All in all a great time. The weather was very good and springlike but for one day of drizzle. Worth another trip. Hell yes! But we would see it differently next time. We never did go on the carriage ride in Central park for example.
World Trade Centre