A Travellerspoint blog

Universal Studios

sunny 15 °C

This will be a quick entry.
we spent the day at universal studios. We started off with a tour of the back lot and saw various studios and backlot sets, like the town square from Back to the Future / Ghost Whisperer, the street from Desperate housewives (Wisteria La) the Bates Motel, and the standard New York, Mexican and city scapes, the plane crash sight from a Speilberg movie (they used a real 737 (about to be scrapped).

The rest of the day was spent going on the rides - like the Mummy Returns - quite a fast inside rollercoaster, the simpsons, Jurassic Park (the water drop ride) a show on special effects and one on animals.

Universal Studios - LA 1 Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives)

Universal Studios - LA 1 Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives)

Universal Studios - LA 9

Universal Studios - LA 9

Universal Studios - LA 8

Universal Studios - LA 8

Universal Studios - LA 7

Universal Studios - LA 7

Universal Studios - LA 6

Universal Studios - LA 6

Universal Studios - LA 4

Universal Studios - LA 4

Universal Studios - LA 3

Universal Studios - LA 3

Universal Studios - LA 2

Universal Studios - LA 2

Posted by Markfr 20:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hollywood and LA

sunny 15 °C

Today was our first day in LA, so we booked an LA tour to get a feel for the city.
The tour started in Santa Monica and took us to the end of route 66 (which is just around the corner from where we're staying), and then onto the Santa Monica Pier (we got some great sunset shots from there yesterday.
Santa Monica Sunset 4

Santa Monica Sunset 4

From there we headed in to the Hollywood area (Belle Aire) and went around to see a few homes of the starts (Adam Sandler, Goldie Hawn, Keanu Reeves). The thing is most of them have large trees and fences and hedges around their property, so all you generally get to see is their gate. The driver said most of them don't like tour buses, except Adam Sandler, who'll wave or even get on the bus and say hi. The area looked and felt very rich. Miley Cyrus is building her house - I think the cost was $122 M !
Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

After that we headed down town to Rodeo Drive. This is an area where one shop owner (the son of the original owner who just inhereted everything at 19) drives a $2 M Bugatti (which was his fathers), and other shops where you can't get in unless you've made an appointment and I suspect passed an appropriate credit check. The area reeks of money and indulgence - but it's very pretty.
Rodeo Dr

Rodeo Dr

We went down part of Mulholland Dr, and then up to a lookout to see the Hollywood sign. You can't get within 5 miles of it any more.

Hollywood sign

Hollywood sign

From there we headed to down town LA and stopped near Hollywood Blvd, where the Hollywood walk of fame is and Grauman's Chinese Theatre is. In fact, they were setting up for an opening of Underworld 3.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

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The next stop was Universal Studios for lunch - there's an area there you can go without entering the park. It's just shops and restaurants.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios


P1195092

P1195092

Our final stop was the pueblo of Los Angeles. This is the site where the Spanish King sent people to found a city.

  • El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula—'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion' was founded twelve years after the first Spanish presidio, the Presidio of San Diego, and mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, were established in 1769.

Los Angeles is a very short name for the city of the Angeles.

Downtown LA

Downtown LA

After that it was back to Santa Monica for a walk around the area in the evening.

Posted by Markfr 20:48 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged hollywood Comments (0)

New York to LA (Santa Monica)

sunny 10 °C

Basically we spent the day travelling from New York to LA.
We were up early to catch our shuttle from Manhattan to JFK airport. The driver did well - he got us through heavy traffic and we arrived at the airport at 9.00 am for a 10.30 flight.

The flight from New York to LA was about 6 hours - so we arrived at about 4.30 (Eastern Seaboard Time) but at about 1.30 LA time.
BY the time we'd navigated the airport and arrived in Santa Monica - it was getting later in the day about 4.00 pm LA time.

After we'd settled in we went for a walk along the cliffs overlooking Santa Monica and then up to the pier.
We had a magnificent sunset to look at. A quick dinner (which was quite late for us (we're still on NY time)) and back to book a day tour of LA.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Sunset 1

Santa Monica Sunset 1

Santa Monica Sunset 2

Santa Monica Sunset 2

Santa Monica Sunset 3

Santa Monica Sunset 3

Santa Monica Sunset 4

Santa Monica Sunset 4

Santa Monica Sunset 5

Santa Monica Sunset 5

Santa Monica Sunset 6

Santa Monica Sunset 6

Posted by Markfr 20:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Spice Market

Last night in New York

overcast -2 °C

Ok - a very quick entry tonight.
We toured Liberty Island (no -we didn't go up the statue - we did that last time).
But we had a quick walk around it and the3n went on to Ellis Island.
Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Liberty

Liberty

Ellis Island is very interesting. The museum tells the stories about the immigrants who came to New York. It's much more interesting thaqn Liberty Island.
Ellis Island - Main Building

Ellis Island - Main Building

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

After that we visited the High Line - an elevated rail line that was to be dis-assembled, but was turned into an elevated park. It was hard to see things at night, but worth the visit.
By luck that took us right past the Spice Market - Another Jean-Gorge restaurant - so we booked and had dinner there - it's a lot like Red Spice Road in Melbourne - but much bigger.
It is a very good restaurant - and we were lucky to be able to try out the meals there.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island


Spice Market

Spice Market

Spice Market

Spice Market

We leave New York tonight - in some ways we didn't time this well - restaurant week and Broadway week (2 for 1) are just starting, so this could have been a great time to be here.
ah well - we fly out to LA tomorrow and will be staying in Santa Monica - in somewhat warmer weather.

Posted by Markfr 19:31 Archived in USA Tagged market island spice ellis Comments (0)

Lower Manhattan

overcast -3 °C

We stated the day off with a concert by the Harlem Gospel Choir at BB King's in Times Square. Today is Martin Luther King Day, so it's a bank holiday here in New York.
The Harlem Gospel Choir was full of energy and it was a great show.
Harlem Gospel Choir - BB KIng's

Harlem Gospel Choir - BB KIng's

Our next stop was Madison Square.
We walked around the park.
the Squirrels were very friendly.
they'd climb up on the fence to check us out (i.e see if we had food) and one jumped onto Sarah's coat for a quick visit.
Squirrel - Madison Square Park

Squirrel - Madison Square Park

Maddison Square

Maddison Square

From there we went down town to China town and Little Italy for a walk around. Thankfully it wasn't as cold as yesterday. The architecture in those areas is very 1900 - 1920's. There were some amazing art deco buildings (the large ones were banks originally). This is the arera where City Hall, the courts etc are all situated in New York.
Just after we exited the subway we were right in the middle of a police chase. Some guy had grabbed a bag from some where and he ran past us and the police followed. We think they lost him. So - a bit of excitement to get the day going.

Little China was quite busy and bustling. Lots of people, lots of shops etc. Thriving.
Little Italy was much quieter, but there were some lovely coffee shops and we stopped for sopme excellent Ghiradelli hot chocolate.

Little Italy - Manhattan

Little Italy - Manhattan

Little Italy

Little Italy

Merchants Museum - Manhattan

Merchants Museum - Manhattan

Little Italy

Little Italy

Entrance to Manhattan Bridge

Entrance to Manhattan Bridge

Little China

Little China

After that we headed uptown for a brief visit to Bloomingdales. For those from Melbourne, Bloomingdales makes David Jones look positively poor.

Anyway that was just a quick visit before dinner tonight. We were very lucky. One of the restautrants we'd thought about going to is JoJo's. Pretty expensive but very very good. We were lucky in that restaurant week started in New York tonight, so we booked a few days ago and were able to get a $35 3 course meal at an excellent New York restaurant. Mind you, the cocktails and wine added as much to the bill as the meal, but it was well worth it. Dinner was superb. One of the entrees was salmon with ginger - superb. Mains was chicken. Lovely. Dessert was almond ice cream with candied fruit. Gorgeous.

Jean Georges (Jo Jo's) restaurant New York

Jean Georges (Jo Jo's) restaurant New York

Posted by Markfr 19:47 Archived in USA Comments (0)

St John the Divine and Greenwich Village

overcast -6 °C

Ok - just for a different tack - we had a slightly different day today.
We started with a service at St John the Divine's on Amsterdam and 112 - just up from where we're staying.

St John the Divine

St John the Divine

St John the Divine - Peace Fountain

St John the Divine - Peace Fountain

St John the Divine - exterior

St John the Divine - exterior


Some background information on the Cathederal (from Wikipedia)

  • It's the fourth largest Christian church in the world. The inside covers 121,000 sq ft (11,200 m2), spanning a length of 183.2 meters (601 ft) and height 70.7 meters (232 ft). The inside height of the nave is 37.8 meters (124 feet). The cathedral is nicknamed St. John the Unfinished. It was designed in 1888 and construction began in 1892.

This is probably one of the few, if only, modern Cathedrals which may take a century or two to build, like many medieval cathedrals did.

We last visited the Cathedral in the early 1990's, and I wasn't aware that it had been closed from 2001 to 2008.
It's a massive Cathedral - quite daunting, with amazing acoustics.
St John the Divine - interior

St John the Divine - interior

St John the Divine

St John the Divine

Our next stop was a walk through Greenwich village for a couple of hours. The feel and architecture was very different to mid town and upper Manhattan. There were an amazing number of tiny coffee shops and restaurants. Some were so small they were just a doorway. No signs or any other indication. You really had to know they were there.
Greenwich Village 2

Greenwich Village 2

Greenwich Village 1

Greenwich Village 1

Let me add at this point the weather was cold!! The temperature was around 24 deg F, and if the wind was blowing (and it does on most streets) then it was even colder./ So walking around outside for any length of time was hard work!

from there we headed back to the Rockefeller centre to take an NBC studio tour. That was quite interesting; we visited 3 sets - Dr OZ, and the Saturday Night live studio. It's really interesting to see how small some of these sets are - compared to what you see on the TV. Evidently, tickets for Saturday night live are so sought after that something like 60, 000 people subscribe in August each year for the 1,500 double tickets available for the following yea. NBC uses a pool system to allocate these tickets each year.
NBC Logo

NBC Logo

Posted by Markfr 18:20 Archived in USA Tagged the st john divine Comments (0)

911 Memorial & then the Rockefeller Centre

overcast -2 °C

Ok -a quick entry tonight.
we started with a visit to the 911 Memorial. The pools of remembrance are quite interesting - and it was quite solemn in the memorial. But it was freezing there - there were icicles on some of the light fittings.
The pools are very simple - with Bronze plaques surrounding them with the names of the people who dies - including those on the various aeroplanes.
911 Memorial - Iccles

911 Memorial - Iccles


911 - Memorial North Pool

911 - Memorial North Pool

911 Memorial - North Pool

911 Memorial - North Pool

911 Memorial

911 Memorial

Our next stop was the Rockefeller centre. The observation deck was interesting - a slightly different view of Manhattan from the Empire State building - and again freezing up there - in fact it was snowing slightly on the observation deck.

We followed this up with a tour of the Rockefeller Centre - which includes 5 towers - and that was far more interesting. Rockefeller's wife who founded the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) was instrumental in selecting the art for most of the building and centre, so as well as being a masterpiece of Art deco construction (and it's very impressive) it has some marvellous pieces of art that were created for the building.
Surprisingly, the tour, with it's focus on the art, was far more interesting than the observation deck.

Rockefeller Centre

Rockefeller Centre

Rockefeller Centre - Channel Garden

Rockefeller Centre - Channel Garden


Rockefeller Centre - View from Observation Deck

Rockefeller Centre - View from Observation Deck


Rockefeller Centre - Ice Skating Rink

Rockefeller Centre - Ice Skating Rink

Rockefeller Centre - Channel Garden

Rockefeller Centre - Channel Garden

Rockefeller Centre - Atlas

Rockefeller Centre - Atlas

Rockefeller Centre - Observation deck

Rockefeller Centre - Observation deck

Posted by Markfr 20:24 Archived in USA Tagged memorial centre rockefeller 911 Comments (0)

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