Sight & Sounds of NYC.

Finally made it to The Whitney Museum. It’s at the start of the High Line walk in West Village.

Unfortunately 3 floors were closed due to installation of the Biennial due to open on May 16. Get there if you can.

Having limited floors to cover actually allowed us to take our time and really enjoy the exhibitions.

So what we saw were 2 great exhibitions:

I love the work of Edward Hopper and Georgie O’Keeffe and they both featured in the ‘Where We Are’ Exhibition.

Leaving the Gallery we headed uptown to Mykonos Blue in 29Street. We met friends Lynn Sherr and Lois Dubin from our Galapagos swim trek two years ago.

Such great ladies who have become great friends. Both still involved in their professions – Journalism and Landscaping. Lois did the landscaping on Roosevelt Island several years ago. It’s worth a visit.

Walking down 29 street we noticed many trees and flower shops. Turn out it’s one of the main wholesale place for larger trees and planets. The hydrangeas the lillies and the orchids were fantastic. There was also every accessory imaginable for arrangements. Ribbons, vases, coloured sands. Etc etc.

NYC is great for walking if you have the stamina. It’s set out in a grid system so easy to follow and you just count how many blocks you have to walk. We decided to walk back along to the High Line. It’s like a spine running along the east side of the city for about 20 blocks. The sun was out and so were the walkers. It was crowded.

We started at the Hudson Yards. It’s newly finished with it’s new sculpture feature. The Vessel.

It an amazing honeycomb type gold copper type material. It has steps going up and down like a maze. It reflects what is going on around it.

We didn’t climb it. 2.500 steps if completed it. That would be too many! So we viewed it from the new shopping centre. It’s all shiny and filled with big brand names.

We enjoyed the walk in the sunshine and couldn’t help but comment on the building projects and street works going on.

We are staying right near Chelsea Market so got off there and explored the markets. Lots of great eating places and great little shops. It’s an interesting area to stay if you’re wondering where to base yourself in NY. It adjoins West Village another terrific area to stay. If you watched the TV series Friends then this is where the apartment is set. And Magnolia Bakery is here. It’s smells delicious!

In the evening we made our way to Time Square. We all had tickets for the The Temptations. We collected the tickets and had a drink nearby. We got back to the theatre and found like all the theatres here, there is no real foyer area so the line forms outside on the footpath. Somehow everyone gets into their seat on time.

We had great seats in the balcony but so close there was no room for legs!

The show told the story of how the Temptations formed with all their ups and downs. There were something like 42 guys making up the Temptations over a 25 year period!

Interval came and we decided on a quick trip to the restroom and boy did we get a laugh out of that. The queue went zig zagging up and down stairs with at least 100 in it.

Elizabeth and I decided we were chatting anyone so we’d try our luck. The lady who we christened the ‘toilet monitor ‘ was directing with all the energy and authority of a NY Police officer. Perhaps more because you wouldn’t want to cross her!

Sure enough they managed to get everyone through when the bells rang. Perhaps it works the other way round. They don’t ring the bell to return to your seat until all the ladies have been through the restroom!

The night finished with us all dancing and singing all the way home.

Staten Island, Brooklyn and the East River

You need to plan your days in NY. There are so many things to do and see.

Today we made our way down to Battery Park. The Lady Liberty looks small from the park so we decided to get the infamous Staten Island ferry for a closer look.

If you are wanting to take this ferry you’re in luck. It’s free! And it only takes 30 minutes over and 30 back. You have to get off the ferry at Staten Is and then re board it. It’s a good way to rest the feet!

We arrived back and walked along Water Street then Fulton’s Wharf area towards the Brooklyn Bridge. there’s some great street art.

We walked through Dumbo and stopped at the little beach near the children’s playground . It’s an oasis.

Wandering around this area is always interesting but we thought seeing it from the river would add a new perspective.

The East River commuter ferry came along so we jumped on and continued up the river towards Williamsburg.

We had 5 stops before getting off just near the United Nations at 34th St.

And then we walked. Through mid town and across town past Union Square and into Chelsea. We only just made it ready to go out for dinner!

Jordan has booked Buddakan. https://buddakannyc.com

If you’ve watched Sex and the City, it’s the restaurant that Carries and Big celebrate their engagement.

We had a beautiful dinner. It’s Asian fusion style and our group of 6 had the $75 pp banquet. It was delicious.

It’s big and showy and very dark!

There’s a big stairs where you can make a dramatic entrance- and hopefully not fall down it and really make an impact.

Elizabeth & Peter McGregor and Pippa

Three of the desserts!

Family Time in the Hamptons

Our flight over was smooth and uneventful – just the way I like it.

We landed in LA to blue skies. We’d like to have stayed a night to catch up with our friends Dan & Isabelle Garr but time didn’t allow. It was a short stopover before the 4 1/2 hr flight onto New York.

Unfortunately it was grey skies and light rain that greeted us there. We landed early but the taxi back to the terminal took about 35 mins. Waiting to cross a busy runway of plane taking off provided a plane spotters ideal but I was anxious to get off the plane.

Walking off the plane and into Terminal 8 we passed a wall mural that summed up NY. It was shiny and glittery and beautiful!

Lisa and John were there to meet us with a van and directions to Sag Harbour in the Hamptons. Traffic out of NY was the usual – stop, start, slow feature that leaving any city for the coast has.

The kids Rob & Jordan had arrived in the afternoon and were waiting for us at our hotel. The Sag Harbor Inn. We finally arrived and headed straight out for dinner. It was so lovely to see them again.

After eating a lovey meal at Il Cappuccino we planned tomorrow then fell into bed.

Start Spreading the News!

Yes, we are flying off to New York tomorrow!

It’s almost exactly a year since our son Rob married Jordan in Santa Barbara. They have been living in NY and we haven’t seen them since then.

So we are excited!

We land in NY on Friday at 5pm and will head straight to Sag Harbour in the Hamptons for the weekend. Sounds good doesn’t it.

So follow along for our three weeks in New York, Quebec, Montreal, Vermont, Boston and Newport.

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.

GuessWho!

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.