Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New York City Photos

On Friday, April 11th, at 6:30 am, I quickly and easily located a taxi to take me to the Port Authority where I would catch the airport bus. Since there wasn't much traffic, we quickly arrived at my destination. Luckily, I only waited for maybe five minutes and that bus arrived driving us to JFK. The airport was basically empty at that hour (7:30 am). Without a problem, I made my way through the ticket counter, security and to the gate where I would catch my plane back to Toronto. A short flight of almost an hour and I was back in Canada. It felt so good to be back.

For my trip, I took both my 35 mm Minolta camera and a digital one. I still prefer using film. Sure I take way too many pictures but I love the results. Below are a few pictures from that camera which I had developed on a disk. Enjoy!

My cousin's apartment building:

Selected pictures of Central Park:

Ferry to Statue of Liberty:

Views from the ferry of New York City skyline:

Time's Square:

Friday, 25 April 2014

New York City cont'd 4 - Empire State Building

My last day in New York City was Thursday, April 10th, and I spent the day going up the Empire State Building and then I walked to Time's Square.

I ordered a taxi to the Empire State Building because it was a little difficult to get there. Once inside,  I waited in line to get through security, waited to get my ticket, waited to get into the first elevator and then waited to get into the second elevator which lead out to the observation desk. I was glad to get outside which released all the tension in the cool fresh air.

The observation deck looked nothing like it is shown in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. I was so disappointed. But, I was able to walk around quite easily. I would have hated being there during the busy tourist season. The place was busy but not suffocating.

Leaving the Empire State building, I walked up Broadway to reach Time's Square. I was told to go there at night because the lights are amazing, but I did so during the day. It was still impressive and chairs were laid around. I sat down on one and watched the people for a while.

Hope I'll see you tomorrow at my signing at Chapters Square One Mississauga from 1 to 4 p.m.

Below are a few pictures from the Empire State observation deck.

have fun,


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

New York City con't 3 - Central Park

Wednesday, April 9th began poorly. I had trouble sleeping Tuesday night; didn't fall asleep until 2:30 a.m. I did sleep in a bit and awoke at 9:30 a.m. I was tired and didn't feel like jostling in crowds or dealing with the City so decided to just spend the day walking around Central Park.

Luckily and amazingly, my cousin lives right across the busy street from Central Park so it was just a quick walk across the street to reach the paths around Central Park.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir faced me immediately as I entered the Park. It is a large round lake with a nice cement path all the way around where many joggers, dog walkers and women with strollers can be found. A spurting fountain is centered near one end. Many ducks and geese can be found floating in the water. It is a pleasant, peaceful area.

My goal was to stroll around the Park heading to the south end to reach the Central Park Zoo. I was basically in the middle of the Park and so had to head south. The paths were a little confusing. Many choices were available. I asked a couple of people and followed their directions. The Park is so beautiful with flowing grassy areas and lovely trees just beginning to bud. A few flowers could be seen sprouting up.

As I reached further south, the Park became busier with people walking, biking, eating their lunch, or relaxing in the wonderful areas. I passed many interesting places; such as, the rollercoaster seen in Now Can You See Me, the place to play chess as seen in Independence Day, and the ice rink shown in Serendipity.

Finally, after a couple of hours of walking, I reached the little Zoo. I love zoos. First to be seen were seals being fed and asked to do tricks when they were rewarded with fish. There was a nice crowd of parents with children (I was the only one alone). I could imagine how this small, simple place could become so crowded but now it was just pleasantly packed. I was able to move easily around the Zoo viewing a variety of animals.

I was most excited to see the penguins behind the glass allowing you to view them on the rocks or in the water as shown in the movie: Maid in Manhattan. I enjoy this movie from time to time and part of the movie is shot in Central Park so it was fun seeing these areas for real.

Central Park is magnificent but much larger than I ever imagined. It is one place I would like to return to and spend more time.

Check out my next installment when I go to the Empire State Building and Time's Square.

have fun,

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

New York City cont'd 2 - Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The plans for Tuesday, April 8th, were to meet Roni, her husband Andy and two of their three sons: Joe and Nathan. Now I don't mind divulging any information about this family because they are very very Facebook conscious. They post so much about their lives. Roni keeps telling me to read her Facebook page to know what is happening in her life. I'm not a Facebook fanatic so Roni complains about informing me the old fashioned way when I speak to her during our monthly telephone calls.

Any way, the plans were to meet by the ferry in Battery Park. This ferry would take us to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Luckily, we ran into each other easily and boarded the ferry. We found seats on the top of the boat; however, people crowded on and stood at the sides so we couldn't see much. We regretted our decision to sit. However, on the way home, the ferry was basically empty and we moved all over the ferry easily.

Our first stop was the Statue of Liberty. Having to go through what is almost worse than airport security, we made it onto the Statue's property. Along with everyone else, we marched up 240 stairs (well Roni and I took the elevator up but walked down) to reach that area jutting out near the bottom of that picture above. It was very cramped and difficult to move around with all the people. We were able to walk around the circumference but the view was not much better from the ground. We were all surprised to realize how small is the Statue of Liberty.

After lunch at a large cafeteria, Roni and I parted with her husband and sons who took the ferry back to the City; whereas, Roni and I continued on the Ellis Island. The visit to the Island involves travelling through three large rooms. In the first room, you can receive an audio tour handset which allowed you to hear the first hand stories of people who have passed through this incredible building. You also received a detailed history of Ellis Island.

The Registry Room was magnificent with its beautiful hardwood flooring and high vaulted ceilings made a small bricks. The stories about families who had been processed by officials in this large room was very interesting. The history here is long and enduring. The difficulties existing in this place was truly incredible. Some people were required to complete so much just to enter the USA. Many people were denied entry because of disease and illness.

After a coffee at Starbucks near Battery Park, Roni and I parted ways. The subway she required to return to her hotel was at a different entrance where I had to go to get the subway back to Kathy's place. It was great as always to see her and spend some time with her. Unfortunately, it was short. I look forward to visiting her in England.

As soon as I receive the CDs of my pictures, I will continue the blog and provide more photos of the rest of my trip.

have fun,

Saturday, 12 April 2014

New York City cont'd

I arrived into NYC in heavy rain on Monday, April 7th. It was pouring hard during the whole bus ride from JFK to the City. Thanks to the internet, I learned that the airport has a specialty busy for the price of $29.00 round trip, I was given a ride from the airport to the Port Authority which is 10 minute drive by taxi to my cousin's home where I had planned to stay during my visit.

Since it was getting dark (I had arrived into the City at 6:30 pm) and because of the unpleasant rain, I didn't get a good picture of the New York. I was tired and a little shell shocked. I just wanted to get to my cousin's place as quickly as possible. My cousin, Kathy, who was at work, left an envelope with the doorman with instructions and the keys to her apartment. With some difficulty, I finally succeeded in working the locks and entered Kathy's gorgeous place. I was told to make myself at home which I did happily prepared to begin my holiday.

Kathy's father was my grandmother's brother. We have not seen each other for many years. Her mother, when she was alive, would come regularly to Canada to visit with her sisters-in-law after her husband died. After my grandmother died, Kathy's mother continued to visit with Helen, my great aunt, who lived to the ripe old age of 102. Kathy's mother was wonderful to Helen who appreciated her warmth and kindness. Kathy accompanied her mother several times; however, I am speaking about a time long gone by. And, unfortunately, I wasn't around for most of those visits and the last time Kathy was here, I wasn't well so didn't really get a chance to know her.

Well, I got to know her well this trip after staying with her for five days. I feel so honoured and lucky to have her as a relative. She is such a wonderful person. Her parents were fantastic people which is obviously hereditary. She gave me free reign while visiting which was great because I felt very much at home which only added to the perfection of the trip.

I did take a picture of Kathy but I'm sure she wouldn't want me to post it here. So I will finish off Monday by saying I arrived safely without any difficulties and I easily fell asleep excited for Tuesday which was the date I was meeting my friend Roni from England who was in NYC at that time too.

Check my blog tomorrow for the next installment of my trip.

have fun,

Friday, 11 April 2014

New York City

So much for writing a blog every day during my trip to New York City. Sorry guys but I was just too exhausted. You have to understand that I've been basically hibernating through winter. Not often did the dog get a walk because I didn't want to trudge through that deep snow. And it was so cold outside which is my second excuse for not walking.

Well, I'm so stiff now and my feet hurt. I did a lot of walking this past week. New York is great to walk around. There is so much to see. Everything is there. So much to do but so little time to do it all.  Now that I have returned home, I'm tired but energized. I was hoping this trip would refresh me and it definitely has.

You don't really appreciate what you have until you have been away from it for a while. Even just a few days to experience another city which is completely the opposite way of life. That was it for me while in New York City. I stayed with a cousin who lived on Central Park. Yes, right across from that famous park. And what a park! I spent a day walking around half of it which I will tell you about another time.

I live on a very quiet street in a very quiet neighbourhood. If I ever hear anything, it's a dog barking (lots of dogs in the neighbourhood) or the children playing in the park across from my front door. Neither noises are a bother. However, my cousin in NYC lives on a main street and there is lots of noise from the street as well as from the other condos. That was an experience in itself. I appreciate the silence now that I'm home.

New York City is an absolutely amazing city with so many fascinating places to visit. I couldn't go to them all but I will write my adventures while in NYC. I have taken some pictures which I plan to share. Hope you enjoy the stories.

My backdoor is wide open. My windows have all been opened. Fresh air. My cousin's windows were all kept closed and when I looked out the front windows, they were black even though the view was magnificent. Other windows were kept covered. I missed the fresh air. Not much of that in New York.

So I will relate my trip over the next few days. I will attempt to write every day for the next little while. I would love to recount my holiday. Hope you will enjoy it too.

have fun,

Just a taste. A shot of a path alongside the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hamilton Speaks Out

Last night, a good filling crowd gathered at the well situated Artword Artbar, in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, to hear writers and musicians perform. The Artword Artbar is a delightful, quaint bar hosting a grand stage where people can show off. A number of artists revealed off their special abilities. Six people offered poems, three guitar wielding men played a few songs and four of us read from our novels.

Even though I'm not a great fan of poetry, I was immensely impressed with the quality of work crafted by these poets. One older gentleman read a hilarious poem about things which disclose your sexuality. At first, the man appeared to be a cross, sullen, stone-faced person. However, when he spoke, he transformed into a brilliant orator allowing us to enjoy his written words.

An enthusiastic, middle aged man played original songs on his guitar. He played well and his songs were enjoyable. Another act was two brothers playing guitar and bass guitar. They were terrible. One brother announced that they had a recording contacts and how famous they were. Well, it turned out that he couldn't sing at all and was always off pitch. I cringed and closed my ears.

As soon as this arrogant, distinguished gentleman arrived, he demanded attention. He required a table upon which to show off all of his books. When the organizer advised that it wasn't possible, he marched off in anger and took over one of the coffee tables. Thinking I was bored, he handed me a two long page catalogue of his work. None of his books interested me nor anyone else at the Artword Artbar. He had his own publishing company and he self-publishes all of his books. When one young man showed an interest, this man was very rude to him which turned everyone off.

I read from Locker Rooms and was told I did well. I wasn't as nervous as I thought since I had seen several people read from shaking papers or books as their hands quivered. I felt quite comfortable on the stage even though I couldn't really see the audience because of the lights. It was fun and a good experience.

On my way home, I was stopped by a police ride check. I freaked out. No, I hadn't been drinking but no one likes to be stopped by the police. I worried they would find a reason to charge me with something. I always feel guilty that I have done something wrong. The cop laughed with me about my fear after I had assured him that I don't drink.

Four more days until Monday when I leave for New York City. Can't wait.

have fun,