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NYC to DC

 

NYC to DC
The first time I traveled to New York, I’ll admit I was expecting somewhere grittier and more… ’80s. I suppose I mostly stayed in Midtown Manhattan, which is probably the least “gritty” area around. So I was immensely pleased to glimpse this great industrial view while waiting on the street for a bus to D.C.

 

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Summer girl

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Sometimes you capture a perfect moment. We were on vacation in New York, horrifically jetlagged, in the midst of an excruciating heat wave, and pretty much about to give up on… well, everything. But this sweet smile in Central Park is one of the moments that has stayed longest and the kind of memory that makes the whole thing worthwhile.
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Times Square sunlight

Times square
Times square is famous for December 31, or for wandering past disney characters on the way to a Broadway show. But after a fresh snow on a cold February morning, with the sunlight shining down like the New Year’s ball, and the air is clean and crisp – that’s the time to go.

O Canada: bonus round – NYC redux

Our bonus round was an extra visit to NYC after our plane was delayed and couldn’t be rebooked for several days. We holed up in the airport hotel and took a few trips into the city again. The first day, we visited the NYC aquarium and Coney Island – both newly reopened after hurricane Sandy. On the second day, we headed into Manhattan for a bit more sightseeing, including the Flatiron building, Madison Square Park and a trip to Eataly, Macy’s, and the NY Public Library. Even though we were more than ready to head home, it was nice to have another chance to redeem our less-than-stellar first visit to the city!

O Canada: photo highlights!

Our trip back to Canada is nearly over – other than a rather large airline hiccup that has stranded us in New York for a few days. Irony, thy name is air travel!

In the meantime, enjoy our photo highlights!

O Canada: part one – NYC

What’s that you say? New York is not part of Canada? Well, on our way here, LittleB said: “But mom, Ottawa and the United States are both inside of Canada!” There you go, US – you are now the 11th province. How’s them apples?

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon after about a million hours on flights. We foolishly thought that we could navigate the subway to our apartment rental, which actually was not so much an issue until we landed on our 4th subway train that had no A/C. Oh yeah, and did you know that there’s a heat wave in NY right now? I’m pretty sure our shoes melted today. Anyway, back to the subway – there we were, packed into a sweltering rush hour train with two dead-to-the-world kids who refused to hold on to the pole and three suitcases. I’m pretty sure I almost passed out at least twice. But we did make it to our apartment eventually, and settled into the 30-sq-foot luxury that is the upper west side.

So anyway, let’s be honest here. We’ve had a rather mediocre time in NYC. I’m going to blame it on the fact that our kids are overtired after the long plane trip, or maybe that the temperature has reached into the 40s for the past few days. We didn’t get to do a lot of the things we planned, and the things we did do were cut short by whiny kids, or by us being tired of carrying whiny kids around, or by us having to find food or beverages for whiny kids. Right, so here are the rules we have established for visiting NYC with kids: 1. Do expensive ticketed items first thing in the morning. You’re going to regret arriving at, say, the museum at 2 pm and your 84 bucks go to waste when your kids refuse to actually look at exhibits at the museum. 2. Don’t bother going to NYC with your kids. They would be just as happy going to a toy store anywhere else in the world instead.

But we did get to see lots of great things: beautiful Central Park in the summer – Rockefeller plaza and the MOMA design shop – Times Square in the afternoon sun – Neil de Grasse Tyson’s planetarium – the Manhattan Skyline from the Statue of Liberty – and our friends’ new baby. So there are lots of reasons why our trip was wonderful. Even better, we’re heading on to Canada tomorrow where the real fun begins! (After another trip on the subway back to airport… wish us luck!)

 

NYC extravaganza – part GHOSTBUSTERS

So the best part of my trip to NYC was that I got to see all the real-life sites of the Ghostbusters movie. We watch that movie at least once a month, so as excited as I was, it was even more essential that I catalogue these places for the kiddos back home.

The first building, which I found quite by accident, was the church next to Dana’s apartment building. You know, the one that gets squooshed by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man?

Originally, I took this photo because it was quite picturesque. And I didn't realize until later that it was *the* church I was looking for!
Originally, I took this photo because it was quite picturesque. And I didn’t realize until later that it was *the* church I was looking for!

Next, as I wandered through Central Park, I managed to find the apartment building itself!

Here is so-called "Spook Central" itself. Unfortunately, it seemed to be undergoing some refinishing, so the tarps take away from the looks a bit.
Here is so-called “Spook Central”. Unfortunately, it seemed to be undergoing some refinishing, so the tarps take away from the looks a bit.
Another view of the apartment building. There was obviously some "movie magic" going on to make it look more imposing in the movie itself. But you can see the platforms on the penthouses!
Another view of the apartment building. There was obviously some “movie magic” going on to make it look more imposing in the movie itself. But you can see the platforms on the penthouses!

A few days later, I found the library.

Another iconic shot. The stairs heading up to the library, where they find the first ghost!
Another iconic shot. The stairs heading up to the library, where they find the first ghost!
The lions guarding the entrance. Also haunted, I assume.
The lions guarding the entrance. Also haunted, I assume.
And here's where they run out after being scared by the library ghost. It's like I was standing in the same place as the film crew. Wow!
And here’s where they run out after being scared by the library ghost. It’s like I was standing in the same place as the film crew. Wow!

And the piece de resistance:

And the money shot: the Ghostbusters firehouse. Still looking the same (though much smaller in real life)!
And the money shot: the Ghostbusters firehouse. Still looking the same (though much smaller in real life)!

Funny story about the firehouse. I dragged my dad and friend on the subway all the way uptown to find this firehouse. I had the address and I was fairly sure we could get to it from the subway stop. But when we came up the stairs from underground, we stood around for a few minutes, struggling to get our bearings. My map wasn’t quite good enough. Then suddenly – there it was! It was literally across the street from the subway station. Too bad the garbage truck blocked our view, but it was still a great victory and a great way to finish off my Ghostbusters tour.

Next time, I’ll try to find Slimer.

NYC extravaganza – part D.C.

After my week in NY, I boarded a bus for DC, where I had a work meeting on Friday. The meeting didn’t take too long, and my plane didn’t leave until late in the evening, so I spent the afternoon wandering the city. I spent most of my time around the national mall, seeing everything from the White House to the Smithsonian to the Capitol Building. The area is deceptively large – I assume it was some kind of joke by the city planner (Pierre L’Enfant). Luckily I discovered a bike rental hut about halfway through the day, which gave me more time to see the whole thing!

And now… a photo tour of my visit:

I ended the day by spending a few hours at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. Aside from a great selection of books, they have a little cafe where I enjoyed a fantastic bison burger and the last delicious beer I will be having for some time.

I won’t bore you with the details of my 48-hour flight home, and I didn’t get any good pictures of my overnight in Doha. But stay tuned, because next time I will post a special b-roll tour of NYC!

NYC extravaganza – part 2

Despite our very long Saturday, we still managed to wake up early and head out for some more sightseeing on Sunday morning. After a disappointing breakfast at a greasy diner, we walked into Central Park for a quick tour on our way to the Museum of Natural History.

The museum, of course, is featured in such classics as “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum II” (or is that the Smithsonian?). Anyway, it was huge. We barely saw 10% of it before we were museumed out. We left to wander the city a bit more, and mostly to buy some giant cookies from a local bakery.

That afternoon, my friend J arrived to join us. We headed up to Macy’s (so I could check out its original set of wooden escalators!). Then we had a very filling and delicious dinner at Keen’s Steakhouse, followed by an evening on the Empire State Building.

The next day was grey and very rainy. We decided to head underground for a subway tour. After checking out Grand Central Station, we took the subway downtown for a stop at the 9/11 memorial. That was a very complicated experience, involving several security checks and a lot of walking. But the memorial fountains were incredibly moving.

Then we walked up to Washington Square Park and saw the NYU campus. After dropping my tired parents off at the hotel, J and I went back to Central Park to take a look at some of the other sights. Later that night, we all headed to a showing of Rock of Ages. It was the kind of show you don’t want to watch with your mom, but it turns out mine likes face-melting hair metal and crude jokes!

My parents headed home Tuesday morning, and J and I spent the next three days at our work conference. It was also a lot of fun, and we had some good network (i.e. drinking) sessions during the week. One night involved giant slices of cheesecake from a dirty times square diner. The perfect end to our NYC experience!

NYC extravaganza – part 1

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering where I’ve been for this past week or two!

Well, I was in NYC last week for a work-related conference, followed by a trip to DC. Luckily, because I was so close to home, my parents were able to come down and spend the weekend with me.

I arrived in NYC on Friday, minutes before “winter storm Nemo” touched down. But I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, since I had been the air for so long and hadn’t heard any weather information. Thankfully, we landed without any issues. Indeed, the snow hadn’t started falling when I arrived. I later found out that we were one of the last planes to come into JFK that evening!

After landing, I caught an airporter shuttle and headed into town. Everything was feeling a bit surreal since it had been so long since I’d seen north america. The cars were on the wrong side of the road, there were no motorcycles, and the houses were not nearly close enough together. Oh yeah, and it was cold! (But don’t worry, fellow canucks, I was still under dressed compared to the locals and other tourists. It wasn’t that cold!)

An aside: I had a hard time finding clothes to wear on this trip. Winter coats are not something you typically need to buy in Jakarta, so I didn’t have a lot of choice… I had to settle for a $200 cashmere coat that I will probably never wear again. Argh!

Unfortunately, the storm meant that my family couldn’t arrive on Friday as planned. My parents were delayed until Saturday afternoon, and my sister had to cancel her visit completely. So, I holed up in the hotel room (at Times Square) and ate a giant club sandwich (which cost $30). But yum! real mayonnaise, bacon and chips!

Times Square 1
Times Square 1
Times Square 2
Times Square 2
Two "double" beds
Two “double” beds
The desk in the hotel
The desk in the hotel
Dinner, yum!
Dinner, yum!

Anyway, my delayed family left me with most of Saturday to myself.

I decided to wander around the city a bit to get my bearings. I headed out and walked up to Central Park – apparently with all the other people in Manhattan. Well, at least all the people with dogs, dogs in coats and boots and strollers.

It was beautiful, though. The snow was blanketing trees and icicles hung from street lamps.

Central park 1
Central park 1
Central park 2
Central park 2
Central park 3
Central park 3

I walked about halfway up the park on the west side, then turned around and headed back down the east side. I would have kept going, but I wanted to get to the MOMA when it opened. Along the way, I saw a bunch of great landmarks:

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Central Park West
Central Park West
LOVE
LOVE
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall
Rockefeller place skating rink
Rockefeller place skating rink
Rockefeller place
Rockefeller place
Rockefeller tower
Rockefeller tower
Rockefeller place.... in LEGO
Rockefeller place…. in LEGO
Lunch!
Lunch!
Trump Tower
Trump Tower
FAO Schwartz: the "BIG" piano
FAO Schwartz: the “BIG” piano

When I arrived at MOMA, there was already a lineup, but it was still early enough that it wasn’t to crowded. I paid my $25(!!) and went in. Now, it’s been several years since I took any art history courses, but most of the important things stuck with me. To see so many important works in one place, in person, was a bit overwhelming. I teared up a few times. It was lovely.

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans
Munsch's The Scream
Munsch’s The Scream
Van Gogh's Starry Night
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
Monet's Water Lilies
Monet’s Water Lilies
Mondrian's Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow
Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow
Pollock's Number 1A, 1948
Pollock’s Number 1A, 1948
Alfred Stieglitz's City of Industry
Alfred Stieglitz’s City of Industry

That afternoon, my parents arrived and we went out to celebrate with some beers! I teared up a few times. It was lovely.

Dad & Beer
Dad & Beer
Mom & Me
Mom & Me

Later on, we went to see ‘Wicked’ on Broadway. I didn’t tear up, but it was lovely too.

Stage of 'Wicked'
Stage of ‘Wicked’
Mom & Dad at Wicked
Mom & Dad at Wicked