Walking Down Madison

New York Day 4 part 3

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral from 5th Avenue.

Our final afternoon in Manhattan, and the boys were desperate to go shopping. I felt like we’d already spent plenty of time shopping, i.e. more than none. We’d traipsed around Macy’s for what felt like about a week. It had some ancient looking wooden escalators, which briefly stirred my interest marginally above absolute zero, but apart from that was exactly the tedious, soulless experience I had expected (I can’t remember which day we did that, for some reason I didn’t take any photos). I’d sat impatiently waiting outside numerous shops full of over-priced sweat-shop-stitched branded sporting goods, now, inexplicably, apparently considered the height of fashion. I wasn’t keen for more of that, and, understandably, the boys weren’t keen on being shackled by my dolorous dead-weight company, or suffering the broad-sides of my rebarbative comments about their potential purchases.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral interior.

So we parted company. They set-off to worship in the temples of consumer culture, whilst TBH and I wandered up 5th Avenue – past exactly the sort of stores the boys were seeking – to have a gander at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was just around the corner from our hotel, and I’d been hoping to visit since we’d arrived. For some reason, TBH had convinced herself that it wasn’t a church, perhaps because a church looked so out of place, surrounded by much taller buildings, on the busy, commercial cradle of 5th.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral interior.
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St. Patrick’s Cathedral interior.

Whatever, it was well worth a look and I’m glad we’d found time. There were lots of other places we didn’t manage to fit in. The city’s art galleries would have been top of my list. TBH was particularly keen to go to the Guggenheim, and had wanted to go to the memorial at Ground Zero. I’m sure there’s a massive list of other things we ought to have done. But we’d packed a lot in, and we decided that, now that time was running out, what we really wanted to do was just have a wander around.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral interior.

From St. Patrick’s we strolled to St. Bart’s on Park Avenue.

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St. Bartholomew’s church – across Park Avenue.

Unfortunately, it’s only open to the public at certain times of day, and we’d missed the window. It’s a shame because the building had lots of interesting detail…

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St. Bartholomew’s church intricate carving.

Talking, of which, not for the first time, or the last time, I missed my camera, which I hadn’t brought because of the space it would have taken up in my luggage. Probably a poor decision. Lots of New York buildings seem to have some fabulous architectural features on their roofs – cupolas, domes, spires, gargoyles etc – which were often reasonably visible with the naked eye, but horribly distant from the wide-angle view of my phone’s camera.

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Park Avenue – The Helmsley Building, The Met Life Building and One Vanderbilt.
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The Helmsley Building.

We were heading for Grand Central Station – the striking Helmsley building, which straddles Park Avenue, was an unexpected bonus.

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Detail – entrance to Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station features in so many films that it seems familiar even to a first time visitor.

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Grand Central Station pano.

The huge domed ceiling is painted with images of stars and the constellations (my photo didn’t come out very well) which, to me at least, served to emphasis the station’s resemblance to a vast secular temple.

We exited the station onto Lexington Avenue, right opposite…

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Lexington Avenue – the Chrysler Building.

…the Chrysler Building. The only problem with the view from directly beneath it is that you can’t see the iconic roof, if roof is the right term.

TBH wasn’t content with the view from outside and decided that we should have a look inside. The concierges/security guys were polite but firm, telling us that we should leave, but TBH managed to prolong her visit by finding questions to ask them and engaging them in conversation.

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TBH outside the Chrysler Building.

We jumped onto the Metro, heading downtown as far as Union Square, with the intention of walking up Broadway back towards out hotel.

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Union Square.
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Union Square.
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Another tall building from Union Square.
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The Flatiron Building.
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Madison Square Park.
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Madison Square Park.
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Broadway – the Empire State Building.

Having met up with the boys again, we went back to the Tick-Tock Diner, since we’d all enjoyed it on our first visit. I was very unadventurous and had the Cobb Salad again.

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One last view of the ESB.

And that draws to a close the Manhattan chapter of our New York State trip. I’d enjoyed Manhattan, but our next destination was very much more my kind of place.

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Walking Down Madison

No Sleep Till Brooklyn.

New York Day 4, part 2

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Brooklyn bridge looking towards Brooklyn.

Next on our itinerary: get the subway downtown and have a wander across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was something we’d identified before our trip as a free thing to do which looked worth a punt.

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Downtown Manhattan.

It was very, very hot by now. And lots of other people had the same idea as us.

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The East River and Governors Island.

Still, I loved the views, and the bridge itself.

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One Manhattan Square and Manhattan Bridge.
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The bridge was busy.
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Brooklyn Bridge pano 1.
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Brooklyn Bridge pano 2.
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Brooklyn Bridge.
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Brooklyn Bridge – the pedestrian walkway is above the traffic.
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East River, Governors Island, Statue of Liberty.
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Brooklyn Bridge pano 3.
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Brooklyn Bridge – looking back to Manhattan.

We read that this is a great place from which to view the sunset and I can see that would be pretty special, but it will have to wait for our next visit. Maybe.

When we reached Brooklyn, we spotted a large ice-cream parlour, and were tempted, but ended up settling for fruit smoothies (very refreshing) and diving back into the underground to head back to Manhattan for our final afternoon in the Big Apple.

No Sleep Till Brooklyn.

Rockafeller Skank.

New York Day 4 Part 1

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Check it out now. 30 Rockefeller Plaza

Since the Rockefeller Centre was just around the corner from our hotel, it would have been remiss of us not to have been up to the Top of the Rock to take in the view. Since it was another one of the options on the City Pass it was easy for us to do that. Friends had told us that the view from here was better than that from the Empire State Building. I think I disagree, although it’s a close run thing and the view over Central Park was great. This view also has the advantage of including the Empire State Building itself.

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Looking North over Central Park.

The Empire State Building has a number of exhibits about the history and building of the tower. By contrast, the Top of the Rock is a jump in the lift, see the view, come down again, experience. Which of those is preferable is probably down to taste. I liked the no-fuss approach at the Rockefeller, whereas TBH loved all of the hoo-ha at the ESB.

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Looking South – Empire State Building in the middle.
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Top of the Rock. The funk soul (dangerous) brothers.
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Rockefeller Plaza.
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Rockefeller Plaza.
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More Sculpture.
Rockafeller Skank.

Truth, Knowledge, Vision.

New York Day 3

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Small garden opposite our hotel.

Quiet and/or leafy places seem to be at a premium in Manhattan and we were very grateful for this little space opposite our hotel where we sometimes sat to eat a meal.

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Antique shop on 6th Avenue…

I was very taken with this shop, perhaps because even though it’s a five floor building, it’s dwarfed by the buildings either side, and even more so by the skyscraper behind.

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…with a towering skyscraper behind.

We were heading initially for Central Park for another, very hot, wander.

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More tall buildings from Central Park.
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Bethesda Fountain from Bethesda Terrace.
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Bethesda Fountain.
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Terrapins?
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Loeb Boathouse.
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The San Remo apartment building, seen across The Lake.
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The Belvedere Castle.
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The English Garden.

We were heading for The American Natural History Museum which is situated on the western boundary of the park.

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Museum of Natural History.

We had a timed entry, but even so it took quite a long while to get into the museum and then through the very crowded and noisy entrance hall.

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Huge dinosaur skeleton – Tyrannosaurus Rex?

This is another one of the attractions available via the City Pass. We discovered that because we were using the City Pass, entry to the extra exhibits, which would normally cost extra, was included for free, so we booked times for the Planetarium, a film on the birds of the Prairie Wetlands, and a temporary exhibit on sharks.

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Giant Sable Antelopes. I think.

The museum is enormous. We were there for many hours, but I suspect we barely scratched the surface.

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Hup, two, three, four, Keep it up, two three four.

I think I took photographs of almost all of the dioramas in the Hall of African Wildlife, but calmed down a little after that.

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African Wild Dogs.

The planetarium was great; perhaps a little too relaxing. Snore, me? No – that was someone else you heard.

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Black Rhinoceros.

The film was fascinating. I hadn’t previously even heard of the Prairie Pothole wetlands.

The shark exhibition had some comfortable benches.

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A stag at bay – in the North American Hall.

It was one of those modern exhibitions where the content is films and models and information boards, but there aren’t any actual exhibits.

Elsewhere, the museum was absolutely brimming-over with interesting stuff. For example, there were rooms upon rooms of artefacts from Indigenous American cultures, from across both continents.

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Native American Garb.

It was amazing, if somewhat overwhelming. When I visit the British Museum, which, admittedly, I haven’t done for a very long time, I tend to wander about until I wash up somewhere which sparks my interest that day, then I have a really thorough look at that section. Then I leave.

But I suppose we weren’t sure when we might be back in the AMNH, if ever, so we greedily crammed in as much as we could. Even so, we must have missed huge swathes. I believe there’s a dinosaur hall, which we didn’t get to. We did tour an exhibition of macro photographs of endangered insects (obviously right up my street), but we didn’t find time for the nearby display about the Big Bang.

I took a lot of photographs, but have been for selective for this post. However, I do feel compelled to include this picture of Indonesian shadow-puppets…

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Shadow-puppets.

So that I can mention the fact that TBH and I once holidayed in Indonesia…

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Bhudda and TBH.

It was twenty years ago. Here’s TBH, at Borobudur, touching Buddha’s thumb, which reputedly brings good luck. We were treated to a shadow-puppet play whilst we were there, a part of the Mahabharata. It was good, so much so that TBH wanted a memento and decided to take some photos. It was dark in the room, so she switched on her flash, and then greeted the images with consternation when each showed….. the inevitable blank screen. Meanwhile, I was struggling to suppress a fit of giggles, not wanting to spoil the show for the other tourists present.

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Masks.

There were so many fascinating things to see from myriad cultures from around the world, that I decided to confine my photos to representations of faces.

I felt some sympathy with these two characters…

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Grumpy.
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Grumpier.

At the time, this fella put me in mind of Davros, leader of the Daleks. Now it makes me think of the short Bertolt Brecht poem, the Mask of Evil..

On my wall hangs a Japanese carving, 
The mask of an evil demon, decorated with gold lacquer. 
Sympathetically I observe 
The swollen veins of the forehead, indicating 
What a strain it is to be evil.

Later, the rest of the family went to the theatre to watch a production of the Musical version of Harry Potter. I'm much too grumpy for musicals. Or Harry Potter. With hindsight, I should have sought out the Blue Note or Birdland or something else more to my tastes. But I was well into Jonathon Franzen's 'Freedom' and was more than happy to have the hotel room to myself to relax with my book.
Truth, Knowledge, Vision.

Feeling Groovy

Or: New York Day 2, part 1.

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America’s Favorite (sic) Boat Ride.

Our second morning, clear, bright and very hot. We’d walked through Hell’s Kitchen to get to Pier 83 on the Hudson River for the Circle Line cruise. This was another of the attractions available through our City Pass. I don’t think the boat in the picture is the one we travelled on, but it’s certainly very similar. We’d been told to arrive promptly for 10 o’clock, or risk missing the boat, but once on board, having elected to sit on the open top deck, found ourselves with a substantial wait whilst fully exposed to the hot sun. We’d also managed to leave the hotel with out any sun block, but fortunately a French couple in the seats in front of us let us have some of theirs, otherwise this might have been a much less happy experience.

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Manhattan Skyscrapers – with the Empire State Building in the distance.

The cruise goes down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty, then ‘up’ the East River (you can’t go ‘up’ the East River, because it’s not a river, but a stretch of saltwater connecting Upper New York Bay to Long Island Sound), then through the Harlem River (another tidal straight, also partly a ship canal) back to the Hudson. It’s a fair old trip, taking, I think, about two and a half hours.

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While everybody else was admiring the Manhattan skyline, I liked the look of this barge. I think that’s Hoboken behind.

We had a very informative commentary from a native New Yorker and radio host, whose name escapes me. It was highly enjoyable, not least because it was full of the sort of Manhattan (or American?) hyperbole which labels this America’s Favorite (sic) Boat Ride. Really, aren’t there probably a number of contenders for that title? Anyway, everything was biggest, fastest, shiniest, tastiest etc, which I found very amusing. Except, of course, that Manhattan doesn’t have the tallest skyscrapers any more, which I think must really rankle.

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Jersey City skyscrapers.
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Ellis Island.
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Statue of Liberty.
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Statue of Liberty and looking back to downtown Manhattan.
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The famous Staten Island Ferry.
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Downtown Manhattan. The tallest building here is the One World Trade Centre – New York’s tallest.

We were asked to stay in our seats so as not to spoil anyone else’s view. Most people managed that simple task, but the two ‘gents’ in the photo above stood up for pretty much the entire trip. I assume they paid extra for their tickets. Or they could just be selfish w*****s. Or, I suppose, possibly both.

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More tall buildings. And ships, and stuff.
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Brooklyn Bridge.

We went under a lot of bridges. I took pictures of most of them; possibly all of them, but I shall restrain myself here. Apart from anything else, it was quite hard to get a decent view of some of the lower bridges over the Harlem River.

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Manhattan Bridge.
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Williamsburg Bridge, with the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in the distance.
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Tall buildings, including the Empire State Building.
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More skyscrapers.

I didn’t think I was particularly a fan of skyscrapers, but I have to confess I loved the views from the Hudson and East Rivers. The wonky joined towers in the photo above (just to the right of the Empire State Building) are the American Copper Buildings. Luxury apartment blocks apparently. I wouldn’t want to live there, luxury or otherwise, but I think they look fantastic.

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United Nations offices.

The green United Nations Building is pretty striking. The immensely tall tower behind the Chrysler Building is One Vanderbilt, New York’s fourth tallest. It’s also seen on the right of the previous photo.

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The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Also known as the 59th Street Bridge.

Growing up we had a handful of records in the house which I graduated to from my treasured Disney albums; Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, The Everly’s. Pat Boone’s versions of ‘Stagger Lee’ and ‘Running Bear’ both made a big impression. But my favourites were Simon and Garfunkel, and in particular the 59th Street Bridge Song, so I was very excited to pass beneath this bridge, even though I couldn’t really connect the song and the structure.

Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t you got no rhymes for me?
Doo-ait-n-doo-doo, feeling groovy
Ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy

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59th Street Bridge again.

The cable cars are the only way to access Roosevelt Island in the East River. TBH was very keen to make that journey, but it was one of the many things we never quite got around to.

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I have no idea what this building is, I just liked the look of it.
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The same applies to these two.
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Henry Hudson Bridge.

Now, whilst I really enjoyed this trip, in the interests of full disclosure, I have to confess that the Harlem River section was, well, a bit tedious. And extremely hot. The Hudson had a sea breeze, but now we were enclosed and it was seriously warm. We did pass Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, but I found myself unmoved by that experience.

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Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades.

Fortunately, back on the Hudson, we got the breeze back and a view of the New Jersey Palisades.

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Squinting selfie.

I don’t often take selfies. You can see why. For some reason, on this boat trip, I broke my usual habit and took several. Believe it or not, this is the best of a bad bunch. The effort of taking a photo and smiling at the same time was too much for me. I’m squinting or otherwise pulling a face in all of them. In most of them I have my glasses on the top of my head. At least B looks almost happy.

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George Washington Bridge.

We twice queued for hours in traffic jams to cross this bridge in our rental car, but it does look handsome from the river.

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Hoboken? pano.
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Another Manhattan view.

I was very struck by the triangular building here; or properly, I suppose, tetrahedral building. It’s Via 57 West, apparently.

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Almost back. The cruise ship is Carnival Magic.
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The USS Intrepid, former aircraft carrier and now an air and space museum.

Great trip. What to do next?

Feeling Groovy

Across 110th Street

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Strolling down 5th.

So, our first full day in New York – time to get out and about and see what’s what. By the time I took the photo above, just down the block from our hotel, we’d already eaten breakfast at a small but very busy sandwich bar called Toasties.

Heading back from there, we came across these very large, unusual sculptures…

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Paparazzi Dogman and Rabbitwoman.

Seated next to a water feature you could walk through…

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Just off 6th.

We were heading down 5th Avenue looking for East 34th Street, but on route we stopped off at the New York Central Library…

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New York Central Library

Downstairs there was a small museum, accessed by booking only. We hadn’t booked, so I had the slightly surreal experience of being helped, by the man on the door, to book online, before he scanned the resulting QR code and let us in. Anyway, it was well worth a visit, because among other things it had the original toys immortalised by A.A.Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.

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Cristopher Robin’s immortalised toys.
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A fancy ceiling.
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Insect art.

You’ll notice that there are no pictures featuring books – the public lending library was across 5th Avenue. The Central Library did have reading rooms with specific collections of books, but they weren’t open to the public.

This was where we had been heading…

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Can you guess what it is?
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This might give you a clue.

The Empire State building is a full on tourist attraction. First you have to queue to have a family portrait taken, so that later you could buy photographs of yourself green-screened onto various views. This turned out to be a common theme just about everywhere we went in Manhattan. Little S took great delight in vying with the sales-people to discreetly take snaps on his phone of our portraits when they were trying to entice us to shell out our hard-earned on their pictures.

King Kong was one of many attractions on the lower floors. He was animated, so that, whilst TBH was posing, his face went through a huge range of expressions, which was quite amusing.

I enjoyed the time-lapse footage of the tower in construction. Astonishingly, it was built in 410 days and finished ahead of schedule.

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Here we all are smiling near the top. Well, except B who is too cool to be impressed.
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B – still not impressed.

We got views from the 82nd and 86th floors, if I remember right. We could have paid extra to go up to the 102nd floor, but were quite content with the view as it was.

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Looking downtown.

The bit of green in the foreground is Madison Square Garden, with the Flatiron building just beyond. The Hudson River is on the right and you can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The sky-scrapers on the left are in Brooklyn and those on the right are in Jersey City.

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The Chrysler Building. And others. And the East River.

The views are pretty amazing and I took a lot of photos, but they all essentially show lots of tall buildings, so I’ll limit myself to three here.

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More tall buildings.
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Interior splendour.

Back on the streets the rest of the family got excited about…

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Shopping.
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Bryant Park.

With the obvious exception of Central Park, green spaces are at a premium in midtown. This is Bryant Park just behind the Central Library. We were looking for a relatively small building which we had spotted from the Empire State Building and had all taken a fancy to. From ground level we couldn’t agree which building we had been admiring.

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110th and Broadway Station.

We’d bought a week’s pass on the Metro and used it a lot. It could be confusing at times, but was generally very convenient.

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110th street – a prompt for a song.

I often felt that everywhere we visited had a song associated with it. I got particularly excited about 110th Street, although if I’d remembered more than just the chorus of the Bobby Womack classic I might have been less keen to visit. Apparently, 110th street was traditionally the boundary of Harlem, and the song is about surviving in the ghetto. Today it seemed very leafy and unthreatening.

The station is at the northwest corner of Central Park. We walked diagonally across the park to catch the Metro again on East 60th Street, which given how hot it was, was quite a hike.

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir panorama.
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Posing in front of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
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The Lake.
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Bow Bridge.
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A big squirrel.
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The Bard.

The Mall has statues of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns – why no American writers?

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Posing again.

Eating out in New York was expensive. Actually, eating in in New York was expensive. Well, everything in New York was expensive. But, we found a fairly reasonable place called the Tick Tock Diner and I discovered the delights of a Cobb Salad. Very tasty.

One way to save money as a tourist in Manhattan is to invest in a City Pass. It gives you entrance to a number of attractions and whilst it isn’t cheap, it does save a lot compared to buying individual tickets. We thought it was good value. As a bonus, a City Pass entitles you to a second, night time, ascent of the Empire State building.

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The Empire State Building.
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Looking downtown again.

Again, the views were stunning. Sadly, my phone seemed to be overwhelmed by the lights and the many, many pictures I took haven’t come out very satisfactorily. Still, quite an experience.

Across 110th Street

The Mawson Garden

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TBH under the rose pergola.

On the Sunday of the Art Trail weekend, TBH and I were keen to visit ‘The Mawson Garden’. It’s far from being the only Mawson garden around. There’s at least one more garden in the village which was designed by Lancaster landscape architect Thomas Mawson, and lots more elsewhere, including some overseas. But in the village this walled garden, within the grounds of a large house called Grey Walls, seems to have become known as ‘The Mawson Garden’, so I’ll go with that. As part of the trail it was open, with art on display, although the principle attraction for us, and, I suspect, for many other visitors, was to see the garden itself.

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We walked there via our Sunday route through Fleagarth Wood and around Jenny Brown’s Point.

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Warton Crag and the Bowland Skyline across Carnforth Salt Marsh.
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Common Mallow.

Here’s an image of Grey Walls, from an old postcard, which I found on t’interweb.

Grey Walls.

The house was also designed by Mawson and was apparently finished in about 1925. It looks very different now, since the substantial grounds are now heavily wooded and there are no views of the Bay or the local hills anymore. Actually, the house was renamed Ridgeway when it was bought by Joe Foster co-founder of Reebok, but still seems to be locally know as Grey Walls.

Since access to the garden is only via the grounds of Grey Walls, we had to wait for a guide to lead us to the entrance. (The guide was R, one of our neighbours). Whilst we waited, we chatted to friends from the village about how long it was since we had previously visited. All I knew was that I didn’t know. TBH was spot on with 8 years.

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Former Summer House, now a home.

I thought I’d been again since, but I can’t find any reference to such a visit on the blog, so perhaps not. Things have certainly changed a great deal since that first visit.

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The pergola again.

I suspect that restoring the garden must be a huge labour of love. It’s really impressive, and I don’t think my photos do it justice.

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A Dogwood apparently.

The first time we came, there was a great deal of discussion about this tree. It was suggested that it was a Judas Tree or a Strawberry Tree. Our friend’s daughter, who was home from Massachusetts, was confident that it’s a Dogwood, which are common in Massachusetts gardens apparently.

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A small sample of some of the art on display in the garden…

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A very enjoyable visit. I hope we get to have another look before 2030!

The Mawson Garden

Odds and Ends

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Shorn.

Whilst my weekend Dad’s-taxi-driving duties have diminished, during the week I’ve been busier than ever. My ‘little and often’ routine and my spring and summer evening hill-walks have both been casualties of the change, but I haven’t minded, what with all the great weekend outings I’ve managed to fit in. I have still occasionally squeezed in some short walks here and there. This post rounds up a few photos from some of those wanders during June and July.

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Fox and cubs.

Fox and cubs is a naturalised plant, originally from North America. I was able to photograph it in its home range this summer (of which, more to come!).

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Tree Bumblebee on Snowberry flower.

I know that I’ve mentioned before my phone’s newfound ability to take sharp close-up photos. Here’s another example. On a fairly cold day, a thicket of Snowberry was swarming with Tree Bumblebees, but several of the bees were clinging to flowers, apparently motionless and marooned, probably exhausted by the low temperature.

Snowberry is another non-native, naturalised plant. I had it in a hedge in a previous garden. Although the flowers are hardly showy, I admired the handsome white berries which give it its name, and was happy to have it in my garden. Until, that is, it sent suckers underneath the flagged path it edged and tried to takeover the rest of the garden, from which point I ended up fighting a running battle with it.

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Dark skies.

There’s something irresistible about sunshine backed by threatening dark skies. This photo, and the three which follow, are from the last weekend in June. The annual Art Trail, which had to be cancelled two years ago, and delayed last year, was back to its usual weekend. TBH and I had already seen the exhibition in the Gaskell Hall of the work of the Silverdale Art Group, which was brilliant, as ever, and had visited a few other venues. Then we drove to Storth to take a look at the exhibitions there.

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Whitbarrow across the Kent Estuary.

The weather looked a bit brighter across the Kent Estuary, but to the east…

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Heversham Head, Sizergh Fell and Kentmere Fells across the Kent Estuary.

…still very murky. By the time we’d toured the Village Hall and looked at some amazing abstract paintings, by an artist whose name, unfortunately, I can’t remember, things had actually, properly brightened up…

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Heversham Head, Sizergh Fell and Kentmere Fells across the Kent Estuary.
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Garden Roe Deer.
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Williamson Park folly.

After what seemed like a very short break, B’s rugby training recommenced. One evening it was shifted from Kirkby to Williamson’s park in Lancaster, where the players did lots of steep hill-sprints. It looked like extremely hard work.

I took a book to sit in this little folly. Much more relaxing.

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Ashton Memorial.
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Ashton Memorial.
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Across Morecambe to the Lakes.

These last two photos are from a very sunny lunch-time escape from work, when the weather had turned really hot.

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Millenium Bridge over the Lune.
Odds and Ends

Whitchurch

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A sunny Sunday at the start of April. The Colts were playing a cup semi-final against Whitchurch in Shropshire. That’s a fair old drive from Kirkby Lonsdale.

Before the match I had time for a brief stroll around the town.

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I thought the place looked pretty picturesque and was quite surprised how quiet it was. Most places were shut, it’s obviously off the tourist routes.

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I wouldn’t mind coming back for another, more leisurely, look.

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I don’t seem to have taken any photos of the rugby, but the boys won. Roll on the final!

(In honesty, it’s already happened, but will have to wait here on the blog!)

Whitchurch

Lune Bridges

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Forest of Bowland across Quicksand Pool

We’ve reached October in the world of my blog now. I’ll soon be caught up!(?)

The photos here are from a day with two walks. In the morning, it was the usual wander around Jenny Brown’s Point. It looks like the weather was good, so I’m surprised that I hardly took any photos.

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A feast of fungi?

Later, B was kick-boxing, I think his first time back after an extended lay-off following his knee surgery and a long course of physio to deal with pain and stiffness after the opp and the muscle imbalances which probably gave rise to the problem to begin with.

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River Lune

Whilst he was sparring, I had a wander along the Lune. This…

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Lune West Bridge

…is the newish bridge built to facilitate the new junction 34 on the M6. I was surprised, when the bridge was built, both by the huge size of the prefabricated metal spans and by the fact that they were already rusted, assuming that is rust?

This is the older M6 bridge…

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Lune Bridge.

…built with parallel spans of concrete. There’s a fair bit of graffiti on those supporting walls above the arches. Whenever I see graffiti in inaccessible places like that I wonder about who gets up there to do it? And how? And why?

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Just a little way upriver from the motorway, some houses in Halton have fabulous looking gardens sloping gently down to the river. I was particularly taken by this fetching boathouse…

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…which looks like it might be a family home too.

Finally, the following photo, taken on the Friday evening after these two walks, is the only one I took during the Lancaster Music Festival.

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The Balkanics at The White Cross.

I should have taken more, it was a fantastic event. By this point I’d already seen, and heard, a couple of other acts, having stayed in Lancaster after work. A met me in the White Cross, and we met X-Ray somewhere after that. Later in the evening, the Herefordshire Hoofers arrived to catch the Uptown Monotones at the Storey Institute (my highlight of the weekend). We caught lots of other acts the following day. After being confined to barracks for so long, it was great to get back to socialising and seeing bands and having a few beers. Having said that, a week later I had Covid. None of the rest of our party did, however, so it’s equally possible that I caught it at work. I’ll never know. What I do know is that the dates for this year’s festival are the 13th to the 16th of October and that I shall be in attendance once again. Any takers?

Lune Bridges