Rain rain go away. New York on a rainy day.

Rain alters your perception on how you enjoy your holiday.

I don’t believe in grizzling about it. You can’t change it. Just change what you do.

Jordan and Rob are great at finding interesting things to do – so today it involves eating , walking, viewing, walking, eating, viewing. Eating!

We started with a late breakfast, sitting at the bar at Jeffrey’s Grocer. It’s a typical NY corner cafe/bar with a local crowd. We had to take a place at the bar and that was great. We were at the curved end so talking was still possible and we had a great view of the very small kitchen and all the activity.

Steve and Jordan started with a ‘wake-me-up’ Bloody Mary. Rob & I stuck to healthy juices!

Then it was lox and cream cheese bagels. Yum.

Back into the rain. Umbrellas up until we entered the subway station which took us to Times Square. We walked around the corner and into Gullivers Gate. It’s a museum of miniatures . It had cities and scenes from around the world. It’s fascinating.

See if you can pick the countries.

It had an airport with a take-off and landing runway. The planes were all on time!


We spent quite a bit of time examining the countries before we went back out into the rain and had a 30 min walk to 32nd street to Eataly. This is one of the latest food areas. It’s a huge area / markets. A sort of shop, bar, little restaurant all under one roof. It’s fantastic.

We once again sat at a high table and tasted cheeses, meats, veggies & bread and food all washed down with Rose. We sat and talked and got a fix people watching.

Then back into the rain and a return to the apartment for a small rest and preparation for what was to come.

Rob & Jordan suggested we attend a play they had seen a few weeks before. It’s an interactive play (be wary I thought!) set over 5 levels in a warehouse building with stairs and corridors – in almost total darkness.

You enter the ‘McKitterick Hotel’ to participate in the play Macbeth – it’s called appropriately ‘Sleep No More’

Oh my goodness.

It was amazing. Scary, fascinating, unbelievable. There were strange characters who acted in different rooms and then moved between floors and scenes. You followed whichever you wanted.

Everyone wore a mask.

There were some strange scenes. And it was exhausting. Running up and down stairs in the dark. Sometimes in a creepy room by yourself! Steve and I got separated at the beginning and there is no talking at all.

This is a theatre company that specializes in “immersive” theater in which the audiences wanders in and throughout spaces, interacting with the cast to one degree or another and having a unique experience often quite different from the people they attend the show with.

The audience is an integral piece of this theatre. Actors will approach individual attendees, whisper in your ear, kiss you on the hand. While performers gauge the comfort of those they get close to, if you don’t want this type of interaction—no problem. Situate yourself within the crowd instead of at the very front.

BONUS: Prepare for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Enter Sleep No More with an open mind. No two visits are exactly the same and the film noir vibe makes for a mysterious, sensual, and exciting evening.

Quite a NY night!

Anyway I survived!

Walking New York.

Over breakfast at Rosemary’s on Greenwich St we decided to head in different directions.

Steve wanted to look at the big train stations and I wanted to visit Jordan at work.

I walked through West Village, down to Soho winding my way through some very trendy streets with very lovely shops.

I love people watching and found the dog walkers particularly interesting. And the gardens!

Spring is coming. The gardens are looking good. The bulbs are flowering. The sidewalks are festive. The planter boxes inviting.

I met Jordan at the Glossier Showroom. Her office is a few blocks away but we decided to meet where the action is! The Glossier Showroom. It is a relatively new skincare and make up range. It’s aim is to make good products available at a good price.

And it looks great! The showroom was buzzing with young women clustered around work benches with the products out for everyone to try. At one end there’s a big sink to wash off said products.

The flowers , the packaging, the room is all pink. Very cool.

Needless to say I loved being there with new daughter-in-law , Jordan.

Then it was lunch at Seamore a very ‘on trend’ seafood restaurant.

Then it was home to see what a boy’s day in NY looked like.

Steve had visited Penn Station and the Post Office,

Grand Central Station, and had a beer and hot dog!

The Empire State Building

Radio City Music Hall

And Times Square

Together we finished our day by visiting Rob’s club, right on Central Park. He was invited to play waterpolo at the New York Athletic Club, a very prestigious club in NY. As well he was invited to be a member, so has access to all the wonderful facilities the club offers. He took us on a tour before dinner.

The main foyer

The pool, where he trains.

The gym and basketball court.

The Billiards room and the rooftop with its spectacular views.

Then it was bibs on and into our lobsters.

After dinner it was a one block walk to the amazing Carnegie Hall. We had tickets to the Mets Orchestra and planned to introduce Rob and Jordan to some wonderful music. Debussy and Tchaikovsky and Mezzo Soprano Anita Rachvelishvili singing Mussorgsky.

The concert hall is beautiful. The concert was great and Jordan and Rob said they had enjoyed it.

What a day1

Discovering New York

Today we visited the WTC with Galapagos Bill. The site of the worst attack of terrorism in American history. Known simply as 9-11

Bill had pre-bought tickets to avoid the queue and that worked well.

It’s well organised and everyone working there was so helpful.

We started with the half hour movie which brought it all back. It’s one of those events that you say ‘where were you?’. It’s something Americans living here, particularly in NY, will never forget.

Our friends Lois and Lynn were in their apartments near the United Nations and after the first plane hit were on their roof top and actually saw the second one hit. How could you forget something so terrible?

The centre tells the story and our guide was informative and a good storyteller. I heard recounts of incidents from the day I’ve never heard before.

The displays were moving. I really can’t say much about these pictures. Each one tells it’s own story.

We left in a sombre mood and made our way to the National Museum of the American Indian. Our friend Lois Dubin, the landscape architect, is also an expert on glass beading. She wrote a book:

‘Since its publication in 1987, The History of Beads has become the world’s definitive guide for bead lovers, collectors, and scholars. In her new edition, Lois updates all chapters with the latest archeological discoveries. ‘

Lois is particularly interested in American Indians – their culture and in particular their beading.

She is on the board at this Museum, which is part of the Smithsonian group.

So we were very fortunate to have her guide us through the Museum. It’s in a restored building, that is just so beautiful. It was previously the Port of NY Customs House, was going to be pulled down but has been saved and restored.

The collection is wonderful, the beading exquisite.

We were able to visit the newly opened Children’s centre, a very interactive display which aims to make information about the American Indian accessible to all.

Me in the canoe trying to stay afloat!

We moved on from the museum to have a few drinks and particularly liked the jazz trio at the Lovelace Gin Bar near Wall St. [Trombone and vocals, bass and vocals, guitar]

We moved on to Wall Street to check out the bank our son works in. It’s not a big street but has some grand buildings particularly the Stock Exchange. The security in the area is amazing. No cars are allowed near the Stock Exchange so it feels a little like a movie set.

Rob is not the Wolf of Wall Street like in the movie! More the Lion 🦁 !

Rob’s work place.

The Stock Exchange

Some of the heavy duty security!

We made it back to our perfect little apartment and tried to have an early night after the three previous nights out.

Monday at Lynn Sherr’s home

Tuesday at Carbone

Wednesday at Blue Hill Farm.

Tonight at Olio e Pui

So much eating. So little exercise! Walking yes. Swimming will be suffering.

“Take me out to the Ball Game….

Our little apartment is proving to be a cosy nest. Close to everything in the West Village. This morning we decided to explore it a little more.

What better way to start then by walking the 6 mins to Rob and Jordan’s and adding to the walk by going up the six flights to their apartment. You sure would keep fit living there.

They were ready to go to work so…..

Back down stairs and a quick photo.

If you visit NY, an apartment in this area would be great. We’re in Charles St. They’re in Commerce Street.

Other streets around like Christopher, Grove, Waverly are all quiet and have easy access to three metro stations. 14th Street, Christopher St are on the red 1,2,3; and W4th and Washington has blue ACE and orange BDFM. Once you’ve bought a card and loaded it with cash you’re right to go. The subway, buses etc. are an easy system once you know which direction you are going!

Washington Park is nearby and one of my favourite spots. It has a wonderful stone arch, beautiful fountain and areas of lawn for relaxing. And a dog off-leash area where all the locals mix and mingle – dogs and owners.

I love the sign on the grass here.

We walked past the University of NY law school and saw recent graduates fluttering around in their purple robes, stopped for coffee at one of the many coffee places in this area before continuing onto Soho. David Prior, an Australian food writer living nearby recommends Stumptown coffee and Atla for breakfast.

Soho and it’s charming streets – Prince, Mercer, Green, Worster and LaFayette – are littered with lovely boutiques. Some big known names, others new designers. Fortunately for Steve most weren’t open. Hours here are more 11-7pm. Or even 9pm.

Jordan works in this area at Glossier – a skin and make-up company. I’ll be visiting her on Friday so more about that then.

We reached Canal Street and bought a cheap duffle style bag for the extra purchases we’ve made including some birds for the garden! Fibreglass, not live!

A map of the area with a red dot marking Glossier.

By now it was Ball Game time.

So onto the Red1 to Times Square a quick change to the 7 out to Citi Fields, home to the Mets. One of the local baseball teams.

The whole thing was great.

Arriving and walking through the now grey rainy skies to the entrance.

Inside and up the giant elevators to the concourse, past all the food vendors selling beer, sausages , pretzels, cotton candy, supporters gear and cocktails!

We found Lynn and Bill and braved the conditions to sit in our $91 seats a few rows back from the protective net.

Great seats. Pity about the rain. But Barry bought Bloody Marys! Apparently that helps with the now cool conditions and the cheering & supporting!

Lynn and I huddled as she explained the finer points of the game. She’s been a Mets fan for years. She knows a lot!

They were playing the Blue Jays from Toronto where Barry comes – from so Steve became a Blues supporter with Barry.

By the third innings the rest of our swim trekkers had arrived and we knew the local Mets team were struggling. No home runs to 3. Not a great start for them.

Food called – so off to the Shake Shack. All coloured lights and fast food. Burger, hot dogs, beer and nacho! By now the temperature had plummeted, we were cold and sought shelter in cheaper seats under cover.

At the end of the 7th inning they sing. ‘Take me out to the ball game…..’ we all sang with gusto and beer-fuelled voices.

The Mets were still playing like they had celebrated too much after their 12-0 win last night. They play about 4 times a week – at least. It’s big money here so they play them all the time.

Despite many leaving – it was still raining – we stuck it out. We made it to the end and caught the train back into Manhatten.

Steve and I headed home to rest up because we had a dinner date at a restaurant called Blue Hill Farm with Rob and Jordan.

I had heard about it on a podcast with Leigh Sailes. Jordan had also heard about it and as it was close by here Jordan made a reservation a month ago.

It was wonderful. Expensive – yes. An experience- yes again. The food was fresh and simple and just lovely flavours.

There is a four course menu for about $95. I choose the fish followed by artichoke in a delicious sauce followed by pork and a gorgeous raspberry dessert. The restaurant was friendly, not pretentious at all, with an elegant design.

What a lovely night with the new Mr & Mrs Maitland.

From the High Line to the Beach.

This morning we allowed ourselves a little sleep in. Walking in this big city is hard work.

We had coffee and made our way to the start of the High Line. We thought we’d call into the Whitney Museum – but it was closed. So as we waited for our friends to arrive we watched the passing parade.

Even in this big city people like their dogs. All types of people were out walking and it was difficult to walk the street. There are some very big dogs living in what I’m sure are quite small apartments.

Bill and Betty arrived, the weather was perfect and we set off. Thank goodness dogs aren’t allowed on the Highline. It’s crowded enough without dodging leashes.

It’s a really pleasant walk, although our New York friends are not as embracing about its existence. They were a little against all the fundraising with locals to get something that is essentially for tourists. But I loved it.

It’s interesting to walk along above street level and see some of the great buildings in the city. New York is constantly changing  some amazing new building designs.

You may be able to see the sign behind Bill. It’s about Galapagos where we all met!

The gardens, as you walk along the curved and angled walkways are quite beautiful. We spoke to a few volunteers, including a mum with her young baby strapped to her.  Where would the world be without volunteers?

There are apartment blocks sitting next to the walk track. How could you relax with so many people nearby? Thank good it is closed at dusk!

This amazing apartment block was designed by British architect Zara Hadid. 

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail. It was created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York.


By now it was warm and Betty and Bill were the only keen swim trekkers ready to have a swim. So off to Brighton beach near Coney Island.

It was quite a trek, but troopers Lynn and Lois drove us out through Brooklyn to the beach.

I can only imagine how crowded it gets in summer.

We found a carpark and made it past all the Russian restaurants filled with Russians eating and drinking. You could forgiven for thinking it was St Petersburg.

The beach is wide and the sand almost white. There were a few walkers and mums and bubs. But no swimmers. Bill and Betty braved the cool water and in they went.

Coney Island in the background.

They swam for about 15 mins and the current was super strong. What champions.

By the time we left the beach storm clouds had gathered and we knew we needed to get back to Manhattan. Lois (who is over 79!) drove us back. The rain poured, the thunder rumbled , the wind blew and Lois chattered like there was no problem. It got crowded on the road and about an hour later we arrived back at our air bnb. Exhausted.

An hour or so to recover and off to dinner with Jordan and Rob to Carbone at a very up market Italian restaurant.


A lovely night with the newlyweds.

New York New York

The words of the Frank Sinatra song sums up New York.

“Start spreading the news. I want to be a part of it…..”

New York is without a doubt a fabulous city. This time my visit here is different. Not just a tourist, I’m here to visit my son and his new wife and a group of fabulous swim trek friends.

We arrived very late after delayed flights from Havana to Miami and Miami on to here. So we knew it was too late to have dinner with Rob & Jordan.

Our air bnb in Charles Street West Village is in a perfect spot. It’s in a pretty little street between 6th & 7th which is in the heart of the West Village. It a good air bnb but not perfect! No washing machine and for me, not enough light or places to hang things.

I’ve started to become quite an expert on what the perfect air bnb should have. But it is NY and though it’s small it’s well located and no mountain of stairs to climb.

When we entered, there on the table near the door was a framed photo with a note. It was from Rob and was a photo of me looking up at him. Happy Mother’s Day the note said.

Needless to say I got teary.

We headed off the next morning for the FDR memorial.

I’ve never been to Roosevelt Island – in fact I didn’t really know about it. It’s an island in the river across from the United Nations building which is next door to Lynn and Lois’ apartments.

We got the cable car/ tram across river and walked along the river front.

Lois told us the history of the island. It was called Welfare Island and was home to the sick and destitute.

We passed an old hospital- no longer used but so lovely.

Lois filling us in on Louis Kahn the architect who designed the memorial to Roosevelt but died before it was started.

Lois, a landscape architect , was one of 5 women out of 500 students, taught by Kahn. She found that glass ceiling.

Photo: Lois,Betty, Steve, Bill, Lexie, me and Barry.

We walked along the paths towards the point of the island. Like a ships prow.

It’s so good being back with the group we met in Galapagos. Betty from LA, Lexie from Mexico City, Bill from London, Barry from Toronto and Steve & I.

We puttered along after the memorial and took the sky tram back to the mainland for lunch at Moonlight on 59th street. a typical NY diner – a bit upmarket and great lunch food.

Then for some speed shopping.

Why is it that men can shop so quickly ? In about half an hour Steve bought 4 pairs of pants and 2 beautiful Ralph Lauren jackets and a belt! He headed home and I went shopping for myself.

I had about an hour, got locked out of dressing room and bought one pair of black pants and had very tired feet.

Finally caught up with Rob & Jordan after they finished work.

WWe headed up to Lynn Sherr’s apartment near to the UN building opposite Roosevelt island where we’d been this morning.

The apartment on the 16th floor is amazing and the rooftop had the most fabulous views.

The swim group were all there and we had the most wonderful fun night.

Beautiful food, great company and so many laughs. Very special.

Trinidad. Cuba. Let’s Salsa!

Arriving in Trinidad was a different experience. It’s a cobbled city. Quite small with lots of coloured houses which gives a festive feeling.

It was raining when we arrived. The hot days are often punctuated with a downpour that lasts an hour or so.

It gave us a chance to check in and have a little rest.

The house we are in is on a street with lots of painted houses and some have a sign outside indicating they are a casa particular. They rent rooms to tourists. It makes such a difference to the lives of the people – making an income to supplement their government wage. Salaries are so low here. The owner of our house is an engineer who was paid 28CUC (about $28 a month). Renting a room, he can make about 20-30 CUC a night.

Our owner Reginald pulled out all stops in decorating our rooms. Ours is a beautiful blue and Marg’s is pink.

When the rain stopped we headed out to the cobbled streets walking towards the main square (and wifi spot!) it’s quite a busy little town and is known for its salsa clubs. Can’t wait to visit one!

We passed a few craft markets seeing things of a Cuba style. I just had to buy a bell for my collection.

We saw the Trinidad equivalent to the Spanish Steps. It was littered with people (mostly young people) on their iPhones taking advantage of the wifi.

Alex guided us around the town pointing out the best bars and coffee places.

We ended up for dinner on a roof top in another casa particular. It was a feast with far too much food. Simple cooking but nice ingredients. So far we’ve been fortunate to have Alex point out the best places to eat. The Government run restaurants look quite ok but are not good to eat at (according to our guide).

Walking back to our casa stumbling over the cobbles, we called into few craft places and I bought some cute ceramic earrings.

It couldn’t be the end of the night without a rum drink so as our casa also had a bar (in the kitchen!) we ordered a pina colada to enjoy before bed. It came with something pink floating on the top and was heavily laced with rum. Sleep came easily.

Today we headed to the beach. White sand clean water. Mojito.

Now we’re exploring the cobbled street of Trinidad and getting ready for salsa tonight.

A great dinner in a restaurant Alec suggested then off to salsa.

Some hot moves on the dance floor. There were a couple of men there to dance with the ‘lady tourists’ for tips I take it. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

There was one girl. Turns out she was from Sweden and she was mesmerising to watch. She swayed and swung her hips. Her hands rotated above her head and we were entranced. Another had a lesson with a big guy with white trouser who swivelled those hips! We thought we’d like to have a go but thought we needed another lesson or 6!

Sorry. Photos hard to load!

Fantastic Fusterlandia

I love discovering places a little off the radar.

Our guide Alex suggested a place called Fusterlandia. What is it you ask?

It’s a ‘Gaudi ‘ style creation.

It’s a street , a park, an area. And if it stands still it’s covered in mosaic tiles.

Needless to say I loved it. I love mosaics and this is mosaics in the community.

Our lovely taxi driver knew about it and drove us there, told us about it and then waited for an hour or so while we explored. It cost about 40 CUC for his time and well worth it.

Leon the driver was a great character and was so friendly and helpful.

The local kids were playing on the chairs scattered along the street!

It really 2 streets with a park and some walls around an oval each house has decorated their own fence or house.

It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s communal.

I think all communities could embrace something fun like this. The more entrepreneurial people had set up little craft or food stalls.

Some of the walls were devoted to other Latin American countries. So creative.

The art works we’re great.

And the cars matched the fun.

Later that evening our visit to the Fabrica de Arte was not so successful. Despite enquiries we got there and it’s closed till June. Never mind. No art no party salsa 💃🏻 tonight. So we had a lovely dinner before returning to the old town walking around and enjoying the lighting on some fabulous buildings. And dropping into the hotel Floridita. Hemingway’s drinking bar. We’d seen it on the movie we watched on the bus. So we drank a final Pina Colada and salsa – ed our way home. We were slightly disappointed there wasn’t salsa in every open plaza : square. That would have been fun!

Che Day

Today it was all about Ernesto Guevara. Or Che as he has become.

Our hotel last night was great and we had a lovely breakfast in the dining room. A smooth Alex arrived and gave is the run down on today’s activities.

We were to drive to Santa Clara about an hour away, but before that we visited the town plaza. Around a central garden stand some very grand colonial buildings. They are painted in different pastel colours and have colanades running along them which is handy in the hot sun.

We went into the arts co operative and loved the various arts and crafts. So bright and happy. Cuba certainly is colourful.

Then we tried to climb the building on the edge of the square with a high tower and a look out. Only problem no one arrived at 10 am to open up!

Next up was the theatre. It’s a really lovely building built by a wealthy sugar farmer back in the 1890’s. It’s still used for performance each weekend and us open to view for $5.

Unfortunately it’s been subject to the same decay that so buildings have been in Cuba. There hasn’t been the money to pay for restoration. So even though the whole square is Unesco listed they are in bad condition.

Last stop was the church. Very plain and in need of paint.

Paint can be hard to get apparently. Alex has bought an apartment with his wife and is trying to do it up. He can’t find any paint. He’s got the money but there just aren’t the supplies readily available.

Victor arrived with the bus and we got on for the hour long ride to the Che Guevara memorial. During the hour we watched a documentary on his life. He was certainly charismatic and driven and in the minds of the Cuban people he would be forever young.

In my opinion he seemed attracted not just by the cause and helping people overcome dictators but driven by the adventure.

We visited the museum and the memorial and it was quite moving.

Back in the bus we stopped next for lunch at a hotel. Quite attractive with a large empty pool.

Then it was across the mountains through sugar country to Trinidad.

The forms of transportation are varied – not many private cars, just taxis , tour bus, bikes and horse and cart.

This tower is not a church. It’s a tower that was used for watching slaves.

Until next time. Leave a comment!

sorry if the photos haven’t loaded. V slow internet.