A Travellerspoint blog

Central Park (South), Guggenheim and South Manhattan

overcast 0 °C

A quick entry tonight.
The weather in New York has been getting bitterly cold - today it was absolutely icy. We felt like we were being turned into frozen popsicles.

We started off with a walk through the south section of central park. We thought it was best to do it before it rained. We specifically wanted to see the famous Bethesda Fountain.
Central Park - Bethesda Fountain

Central Park - Bethesda Fountain

Central Park - Alice in Wonderland

Central Park - Alice in Wonderland

Our next stop was the famous New York Guggenheim. The major attraction was Maurizio Cattalan's supposedly last piece - 'All'. This piece of art is actually all his previous pieces of art strung up from the centre of the Guggenheim and suspended. The Guggenheim, with it's circular spiral design, is the perfect place to display such a piece. As you walk around the Guggenheim, you see this piece from various angles.
Guggenheim 4

Guggenheim 4

Guggenheim 3

Guggenheim 3

Guggenheim 2

Guggenheim 2

Guggenheim

Guggenheim

We finished the day off with a walk through Soho. The area has a very different feel to other parts of New Yrk we've been in. Lots of botique stores and quite distinctive architecture. We stopped at a restaurant (Balthazar's) for a drink. It was reasonably up market and quite busy.
Balthazar's Restaurant

Balthazar's Restaurant


From Soho we and on to the famous Katz's Deli in the lower East side for dinner.
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Posted by Markfr 20:05 Archived in USA Tagged guggenheim Comments (0)

The Met

The NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

rain 5 °C

We spent the day at the Met.
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Just to set the scene - here's some info from the wikipedia article on the met:

  • permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments;
  • As of 2007, the Met measures almost 1⁄4-mile (400 m) long and occupies more than 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2);
  • Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments.

Touring the Met was quite an experience. What can I say about it - spending just a day at the met is a combination of inspiring, frustrating and tiring.

  • Inspiring - there are some fantastic pieces of art - there are works by probably every well known artist - Monet, Turner, Constable, Rodin, Van Gough, Egyptian and Roman antiquities (in amazing condition), burial temples partially rebuilt in the museum, rooms from French hotels dating back to the 1700's, amazing Islamic art, and so on and so on.
  • Frustrating - there are so many wonderful things to see that to appreciate them you need a lot more than one day. There were some sections (like European Art) that you could spend more than a day in - particularly if you wanted to just sit and look at some of the pieces of art.
  • Tiring - try walking around a building (with stone floors) about 200,000 m2 in a day - it's exhausting.

That being said - I was completely blown away by the met.
If I lived in New York - I'd buy a membership and visit just bits of it every few weeks.

The Met 1

The Met 1

The Met 2

The Met 2

The Met 3

The Met 3

The Met 4

The Met 4

The Met 5

The Met 5

The Met 6

The Met 6

The Met 7

The Met 7

The Met 8

The Met 8

The Met 9

The Met 9

The Met 10

The Met 10

The Met 11

The Met 11

Posted by Markfr 17:48 Archived in USA Tagged the met Comments (0)

Natural History Museum, Madam Tassauds and Broadway

sunny 6 °C

Last night I caught up with my brother - who was shepherding a group of school kids through the US, with a couple of other teachers.

Today was an interesting mix of activities. We started off with the American Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately the dinosaurs didn't chase us and Teddy Roosevelt didn't offer us any sage advice. However, apart from that the museum was quite an experience. The dioramas were very well presented; the information was well laid out. It was so big, with so much to see. We spent 4 hours going through it and we only scratched the surface.
American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

After that we headed to Times square and bought tickets for a Broadway play - Mountaintop (Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett).
We had a few hours before the play started, so we went to Madam Tussauds. It was quite fun taking pictures of famous people. The figures were well laid out and they put on a good 'show".

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After that a quick dinner and on to the play, which was about Martin Luther King's last night.
Angela Bassett was excellent, she stole the show. Jackson, was good, but this is his first play - and it showed.
Theatre - Broadway

Theatre - Broadway

Posted by Markfr 20:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)

New York - Cloisters & Harlem

sunny 4 °C

OK - today we started by visited the Van Cortland house (museum). It's an historical house in the Bronx which dates back before Washington. Van Cortland was involved in protecting the New York public records during the revolution and Washington was camped there during the fighting. The house is a basic colonial house but historically significant.
Van Cortland House

Van Cortland House

Our next stop visited the Cloisters - which is part of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Cloisters is in upper Manhattan. and is dedicated to mediaeval construction and art. Parts of monasteries and other objects have been brought together in a building which incorporates these elements - so there are chapels and cloisters and various rooms with antiquities. It's set in a lovely park and is very pretty.
Cloisters - Chapel

Cloisters - Chapel

Inside the Cloisters

Inside the Cloisters

Inside the Cloisters - Cloister

Inside the Cloisters - Cloister

Cloisters

Cloisters

After that we went down to Harlem and walked around - walking past many of the churches and the brown stone buildings - Strivers row - which is a famous New York look.
P1103785.jpgStriver Row - Harlem

Striver Row - Harlem


Apollo Theatre - Harlem

Apollo Theatre - Harlem

Dinner at Miss Maude Spoonbread Too - a famous diner and back to up-load photos.

Posted by Markfr 18:51 Archived in USA Tagged bronx harlem Comments (0)

Brooklyn & Manhattan

2 °C

Well, we've had a couple of busy days.

Saturday 7 Jan
We took the Staten Island ferry to Staten island and spent a few hours at the Botanic Garden, which was quite spread out, but small. Because it's winter it was very quiet and nothing in bloom; more a winter walk.
Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

Coast Guard

Coast Guard

Coast Guard escort to Staten Island

Coast Guard escort to Staten Island

Statue of Liberty - from Ferry

Statue of Liberty - from Ferry

From there we headed to Wall Street - for such an important area - the street itself is quite small - and these days there are big metal barricades stopping vehicles going down the street. Again - mazing architecture in this street - one of the buildings (14 Wall St) has a replica of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus at the top.

After that we went to Union Square and listened to a brass band performing in the park. Great playing - we stayed for a few pieces before wandering through Greenwich Village. It's an area with a very particular feel to it - very studenty and bohemian - a bit like north Melbourne around Melbourne University.
Union Square - Performers

Union Square - Performers


Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

Sunday 8 Jan - Brooklyn.
Sunday was quite busy.
We started out by going to the Brooklyn Tabernacle, to attend one of the services, which features the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir - a very famous gospel choir. It was a long service (2 hours). Most of the first half was the choir, and most of the second half was the preaching. The choir were excellent - amazing singers!!

The one thing that the pastor did was tell a bit about the history of the building. The Brooklyn Tabernacle is housed in what was the third largest theatre in New York - bigger than Carnegie Hall. I suspect that they regularly fill the building to capacity. The church bought the site and totally renovated it - restoring it to its mostly original look - it's very impressive.

Brooklyn Tabernacle - 2

Brooklyn Tabernacle - 2

Brooklyn Tabernacle

Brooklyn Tabernacle

After that we went to the Brooklyn Museum. The museum houses some very well known pieces of art - from Monet's to Judy Chicago's dinner.
The museum had some lovely pieces - but the ones that intrigued me the most were the re-constructions of houses and rooms from various periods within the museum. Large portions of the house (from outside walls to rooms and furnishings) were re-built in the museum so that you could walk into them and look into the rooms. It was very interesting and impressive (it gives you an idea of how tall the ceilings are in this building.

Brooklyn Museum - daytime

Brooklyn Museum - daytime

Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum

After the museum we went further down to Brooklyn to Grimaldi's Pizza - a well renowned pizza restaurant - situated under the Brooklyn Bridge. The building it's in is famous for being used as a film set.
We had an excellent pizza for dinner and then set out to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Grimaldi's Pizza - Brooklyn

Grimaldi's Pizza - Brooklyn

Grimaldi's Pizza - Brooklyn

Grimaldi's Pizza - Brooklyn

Walking across the bridge was very cold - the temperature was showing as 2 deg C! However, the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn at night were worth it.
Brooklyn Bridge 2

Brooklyn Bridge 2

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan building from Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan building from Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge from walkway

Brooklyn Bridge from walkway

Brooklyn Bridge Rd at night

Brooklyn Bridge Rd at night

Brooklyn Bridge at night

Brooklyn Bridge at night

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P1083449

Monday 9 January
Today was a visiit to Macey's - the famous department store, mostly for alook around and a little clothes shopping.
The main visit here was the Empire State building and a visit to the 86th and 102nd observation decks.The views of Manhattan were very good. The sky was clear (and cold) so we could see a far way into Manhattan.
Empire State Bldg - Observation Deck

Empire State Bldg - Observation Deck

Top of Empire State Building

Top of Empire State Building

Manhattan - From Empire State Observation deck

Manhattan - From Empire State Observation deck

On Observation Deck - Empire State Bldg

On Observation Deck - Empire State Bldg

Taxis on Street - From Empire State Bldg - Level 86

Taxis on Street - From Empire State Bldg - Level 86

Manhattan - Empire State Bldg

Manhattan - Empire State Bldg

New York - from Empire State Building

New York - from Empire State Building

Empire State Building - Observation Deck - Level 86

Empire State Building - Observation Deck - Level 86

The next stop was a visit to Times Square to have a look at all the lights.
Times Square - Broadway

Times Square - Broadway

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P1093608

Times Square

Times Square

Park behind NY Library

Park behind NY Library

Finally we headed off to Grand Central Station to visit the main concourse (which is very impressive and to have dinner.
The main concourse is indeed grand - the building has an amazing dimension to it. It was very quiet while we were there but I can imagine it being incredibly busy with people evrywhere.
The architecture of the main concourse is amazing - the roof has the constellkations drawn on it with lights showing where each of the4 stars are. Very impressive.

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station - Concourse

Grand Central Station - Concourse

Grand Central Station - Main concourse

Grand Central Station - Main concourse

One observation that I can make about New York is that teh buildings - particularly the museums, the library etc are all magnificant buildings - in fact I think they're pieces of art in their own way.

Posted by Markfr 19:29 Archived in USA Tagged manhattan Comments (0)

New York - Day 1

sunny 5 °C

Today was our first day in New York. We had a quick stop by Times Square to pick up our New York pass. Times square is a very busy district with lots of billboards and people taking pictures of things - like me. The weather for the early afternoon was lovely - crisp, bright and sunny.
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P1062943


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P1062937

Then a walk through Central Park. That was very pleasant. We saw plenty of squirrels, had a lovely walk around the top half of the park. There were plenty of there people - jogging, walking, roller blading etc
the stroll around the reservoir was particularly lovely - with great views of the city across the water.
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P1062956


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P1062962


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P1062979

Walking along Park Av we got a great view of the Empire State building. It was quite a view and very reminiscent of many films.
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P1063007

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P1063103

From there we headed to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Target sponsor free nights at the Museum on Fridays, so it was very busy. The que to get in moved quite fast, but the que to drop bags at the cloakroom (mandatory for backpacks) took over 40 minutes. Nevertheless, it was a great visit. They have some great works on display - like van Gogh's Starry Night and Monet's water lilies.
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P1063103

Apart from the long que at MoMA, I was quite irritated about their policy for audio guides. They don't charge for it, but you can only get one if you have a government ID; they don't allow passports or credit cards. Basically they're discriminating against foreign visitors. If you're travelling what do you carry apart from a passport and credit cards. We never had this problem in Germany or the UK.

From there we went to Tom's Diner (from Seinfeld), where we had an OK dinner. While the food was just OK, the experience being there was interesting. We went there 15 years ago and it really hasn't changed.
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P1063107

Posted by Markfr 06:47 Archived in USA Tagged new york Comments (0)

Heathrow and Frankfurt

stormy weather and many delays

rain 6 °C

Our flight from Heathrow was delayed by more than an hour, so before we even arrived in Frankfurt, we'd missed our connection and were re-booked onto a later flight. Fortunately the new flight was only 4 hours later. The couple in the next row were delayed until tomorrow afternoon!
So, lengthy wait in Heathrow, followed bya lengthy wait on the tarmac, followed by another wait at Frankfurt airport.

We're scheduled to arrive in New York about 8.00 pm (New York Time) which means we'll be in Manhattan by about 10.00 if we're lucky. I imagine we wont be doing much more than checking in and going to bed.

Posted by Markfr 07:22 Archived in Germany Tagged frankfurt Comments (0)

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