Monday, 22 July 2019

July 18 New York - a different perspective!

What better to do that cruise around Manhattan on a 1920s-style yacht. Seen from the water Manhattan is like a silver forest of soaring skyscrapers the skyline or rather the waterscape punctuated by no less than 20 bridges - I was stunned! 19 of those span the East and Harlem rivers.  The huge expanse of the Hudson accommodates only one, the immense George Washington into New Jersey. The views are stunning, mesmerising. Some building are so big they have their own post code. We had a marvellous guide, a member of the American Institute of Architects. Our heads were spinning with stats and facts but it was s fantastic cruise.

This is our little craft. We were welcomed with bubbles and nibbles. Life is tough!

This is New Jersey’s tallest building.

Had to have at least one pic of the lady!

Our favourite- the Brooklyn bridge.

Queensborough bridge. I quite like.

And its cable car

this is intriguing. The river campus of the Rockefeller Uni built over the 6 lane FDR freeway.

This looks like an aqueduct and I fact it was built as an aqueduct but is now one of the many bridges spanning the Harlem River.

The Spuyten Duyvil bridge (spinning devil). You have to book hours in advance to pass through as it has to be opened. We passed through it on the water and also by rail twice travelling along the Hudson.

The one and only George Washington bridge into New Jersey

The water towers I mentioned before. The skyline is peppered with them.

Once on dry land we headed up onto the High Line. This is a bit of NYC history. It was once a freight line to and from the dock. It was rescued from obscurity and now thousands of people wander along its elevated pathways and gardens. Fantastic views and worth a wander. 

The High Line

Intriguing reflections bouncing offs number of buildings. All smoke and mirrors!

July 19 Flatiron food, history and architecture

I think I might have already said but this trip to NYC was all about tasty bites of the Big Apple - food and architecture. 

Our last day in this fabulous metropolis we took a walking tour of the Flatiron district. Absolutely wonderful! We passed the house where Edith Wharton lived, learned about the early development of NYC beyond its early settlement days where life centred at the tip of Manhattan Island, how the island was levelled for subsequent development and the west side became land fill. It was in this district that department stores had their beginnings including a huge toy emporium which is now Eataly an indoor upmarket food market plus plus and totally Italian. The rest of the story is in the pix but if you come to NYC do this tour. It was really worthwhile.

The iconic Flatiron building awesome fromany angle. Its location where Broadway and 5th Avenue formed a triangle with 23rd Street - it was a pretty windy corner. This was a place for women to wander back then and the wind funnelled up off New York Harbour would blow the ladies skirts up showing their ankles - shocking. The guys of course hung out there waiting for a glimpse. The cops would move them on but of course the guys would return in what became known as the 23rd Street Skidsoo!!

All buildings over 5 floors had to have a water tower on their roofs to provide adequate water pressure (you can just see one popping out the top of this building). It was a city regulation! And guess who controls the water tower industry, which incidentally were originally all wooden? The Mob who also control or owns garbage collection and scaffolding. Now the latter may not sound too much of a big deal except that there is another city reg that stipulates that all buildings have to undergo a full safety check or their exteriors twice every 10 years and sometimes one can take  a few years. One word - scaffolding!! Nice regular and reliable income!

Simply weird 

This building, now Eataly, has been many things but started as a toy emporium - Marble, terracotta trim the works. They are slowly uncovering and restoring.

A big chop!

We watched bread making as well as this - he’s making mozzarella, it’s made fresh daily. They also put on cooking demos.

The windows of Eataly are dedicated to the former toy emporium; this bit of the Statue of Liberty is made of Leggo! The construction of the Statue of Liberty was crowd funded. This part of the Statue was taken on a roadshow around the towns of the US to inspire people to contribute - it obviously worked.

Eisenberg’s dates from 1929 and the Wall crash. At that time people could get 100 year leases on buildings for a song. So many small business popped up . Come 2029 there will be an interesting change on the streets of NYC!

We were served with humongous Reuben sandwiches. To die for 😋

The atmosphere was like Pellegrini’s in Melbourne.

This is Seward, the man who bought Alaska from the Russians way back when forva trifling amount. At the time it was called Seward’s Folly but I think it payed off.  If the statue looks a little familiar you’d be right. It has Seward’s head stuck on Lincoln’s body- seems they had oodles of statues going to waste. It was a cheap option! It sits in Madison Square Park opposite the Flatiron building.

Beecher’s cheese making right in the city! We had the best cheese toastie!

We finished with dessert - of course! Not our thing but we had this pastry filled with chocolate and coated with honey before baking. It was heavenly.

This delicious thing is a chocolate Rugelach

At the end of the day we walked to Time Square and then collapsed with an ice cold mojito

Lindsay was looking but was definitely NOT tempted to eat- we were stuffed.

July 17 A taste of New York

Interesting experience - tonight I received an emergency storm alert on my phone to avoid flood prone areas. We’re surrounded by thunder and rain. A blessing after a 33C day. So where was I?  Oh yeah ...... I know you hate me going on and on about food but sorry I’m back with more! 

Today - oh by the way we’re in New York City, arrived last night - so today? we took a Food Cart Tour around the Financial District. You know those food vendors who park along the street selling all sorts of food - not just hot dogs and pretzels like you see on the TV. The tour is run by Turnstile Tours to introduce people to the amazing tastes and stories of the city’s street vendor community (incidentally I found them through a review in the Age Traveller weekend supplement).

Our guide, Brian Hoffman is a full time guide but also an actor and food blogger ( - you can see how it would appeal to me!?)

The tour was 2 hours starting in Wall Street and ending at South Street Seaport. In all we tried out 4 different foods - Greek, Vietnamese, Indian and Egyptian and finished with coffee and dessert - we were groaning with food! In spite of the sizzling heat it was terrific. Brian found us some cool places to eat out of the heat, that and the iced coffee (and almond madeleines) at the end - we were sweet.  We walked about 2.5 km.  

60 Wall Street we we started ate food cart tour. The cool marble was delicious after walking in the broiling sun fir a couple of hours! This place is home to the US headquarters of the Deutsche Bank.

Uncle Gussy was a Greek immigrant. We ate pork skewers and tzasiki- and oregano fries

Here we had Banh Mi - Vietnamese pork filled baguettes.

Sat in the shade of this little park to eat our baguettes

Chicken bati- a bit like a wrap.

We were hot and pooped so ice cold coffee was heavenly (they use Lavazza coffee). Zoom in and have a look at the sign at the bottom aimed at dog owners- cute but pointed.

This is the mammoth foyer of one of the huge new commercial buildings downtown. Buildings over a certain number of floors have to provide public space inside. Brilliant idea! There are seats and ‘rest rooms’ AND aircon! Here we tried to stuff down another treat - fresh cooked falafel and fragrant Egyptian rice.

The entire day which started with a quick wander and a few rides on the subway with a Big Apple Greeter volunteer and ended with a visit to Time Square, we walked about 9 km. Tomorrow we circumnavigate Manhattan - yep on a boat! 

We started the day at the Farmers Market in Union Square with our Big Apple Greeter Bruce.