Monday, October 29, 2007

Woo Concession

In which Olivia acknowledges Halloween.

1) Something appears behind you in the mirror.
2) Something grabs your ankle when you're sitting on the edge of the bed.
3) You're afraid to wash your face with both eyes closed in case you see something when you open them.
4) You make sure your back and neck are firmly against the back of the sofa when you read scary books or watch scary movies.
5) You walk very fast from the basement after turning out the lights.
6) You don't look out the window at night for fear of coming face to face with something.

Nothing ever happens, right? But you can't stop being silly about it!

Now it's your turn to continue the list :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quarter Apple Left

Sunday in NYC with Vanessa and we met up with Vera again at Columbus Circle.

Two fruitcakes in knitted clothing who were informing the public of "them" ripping us all off.
St Patrick's Cathedral
Columbus Circle from inside the Times Warner Center, a very snazzy shopping mall
A jade horse in the window of a Chinese luxury goods shop

A quad of art deco buildings on 5th Ave near Rockefeller Centre, another of NYC's many concessions to internationalism. Clockwise from top left: La Maison Francaise, British Empire House, Italia House, and one unassigned glass sculpture by an Italian artist.

Clockwise from top left: Art deco Atlas near the Rockefeller Center
A sumptuous Subway station where we said farewell to Vera
Passing by St Pat's again
Vanessa, before taking a pic of me at Rockefeller, played camera wars with another tourist

Rockefeller and more flags than I've ever seen in one place
The facade of the GE building (ex RCA) opposite the flags
GE building is so tall my camera was near the ground and I still couldn't get the top
And finally, moi

We took the subway to the UN near the eastern tip of Manhattan.
From opposite the UN you can see the top of the Chrysler building
A zoom on both buildings

Grand Central Station - such grandeur to house such utility
Vanessa and me on Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport
Old rowhouse at the seaport, in front of the Brooklyn Bridge
More sailor rowhouses at the seaport - shops and a museum

Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
Helen McAllister (1931) in dock
Peking (1911) in front of the Pier 17 Mall
View of city between the masts

Monday, October 22, 2007

Halfway through a Big Apple

On the first weekend, I went to La Guardia to pick up my dear friend Vanessa. We took a cab from the airport straight to the Jewish Community Center to see some friends at the Succoth celebration on the roof. However, we missed the whole thing anyway, and spent an hour up there chatting instead.

On the Sunday morning Vanessa and I went downtown to meet up with Vera. Oh, the miles we walked! And these are the things we saw:

Top: The biggest city hall I have ever seen.
Bottom: A lovely art deco building and detail

Clockwise from left: We found ourselves at the Irish Hunger Memorial by the World Financial Center and waterfront. You enter, walk through some ruins of stone cottages, up a winding slope to the top. It is like an elevated garden and you look out across the water to the Statue of Liberty in the far distance.
Me, Vera, Vanessa at the Memorial where a kind police officer offered to take our picture.
At the WFC Marina.
A nice sky and sculpture shot on the waterfront.

Ground Zero construction site.
A zoom on the building in the far right of the construction photo.
Graves from the 1730s at Trinity Church Wall Street.
A lovely lobby in another lovely building.

Walk for Diabetes crosses the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Shrine (and former home) of St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821), the first American to be canonised
A tall upshot.

Seen from the Staten Island Ferry:
18th Century Governor's Island
Vanessa's profile
Harbor Light, about a mile away, on high zoom
Me (and an Orthodox Jewish lady)

On the Staten Island Ferry return trip:
Manhattan in the afternoon
Sitting in the ante room of the ladies restroom, snapping pics of each other
Sunset from the deck
Vanessa the little poser

Sunset over a very tiny Statue of Liberty
The bridge of the JFK
Sunset over Ellis Island in the distance
Four little ducks, all in a row

Castle Clinton by the Staten Island Ferry waterfront
The two Vees kissing a bronze stockbroker near Wall Street
Deck chair in a tree, SoHo
After dinner in Chinatown: Vera chilling on an abandoned vinyl couch beside the tree, SoHo

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Apple Second Bite

Alright. Back to the Big Apple series.

Clockwise from top left: The neo-French Gothic Fletcher Sinclair House (1899, by C P H Gilbert) on 5th at 79th, now the Ukrainian Institute of America / a view up 5th Avenue / The American Museum of Natural History on 77th-79th at Central Park West, founded in 1869 by Theodore Roosevelt, J. Pierpont Morgan et al., is comprised of a complex of 25 buildings housing a collection of 32 million objects / The Metropolitan Museum of Art, now one of my favourite museums.

Lovely spaces in the lobby of the Great Hall of the Met / View from my bedroom at my cousin's place: Will the bus fit between the fire trucks? Yes, it did, just about!

Clockwise from top: Barrel vault above the Met main staircase / Sculpture Hall (can't see but the figure at the very very back is probably the inspiration for the temple statue of Apollo in the movie Troy) / View of the Federal Style room from the Versailles Diorama Room / Glass enclosure for the Egyptian Temple of Dendur

Temple of Dendur surrounded by water / Pharaoh's head

Clockwise from top: Egyptian apis bull / Neoclassical female bust / Hellenistic female / Byk protecting Pharaoh

Federal Style room (American, late 18th-early 19th C) / convex mirror / Tiffany windows. Unfortunately the Frank Lloyd Wright room was closed for renovation....

Um Naief wants to know about the musical Curtains, with David Hyde Pierce (Niles from Frasier). I read some negative reviews, but there's nothing wrong with turning off the sophisticated modern mind and regressing for a while. A few racy jokes, ticklish one liners, great song and dance numbers, including one dream sequence with a hint of Busby Berkeley that had me grinning from ear to ear throughout. Niles can dance. Yes, he is probably like Niles in real life.

A Church at night

So, where did I go the next day? To Macy's of course, the world's largest store! I was surprised to find that it retained some wooden escalators, and that all visitors, even from New Jersey, can receive an 11% discount on purchases. The entire top floor is the petites department and I went CRAZY. Finally found things that fit better than anything I've bought over in the UK, believe it or not. I love Ralph Lauren and there was more than enough clothing in my sizes.

On my way back to the subway around 9pm, I passed an Ann Taylor Loft. When I was in high school, I used to browse Ann Taylor and promised myself that when I was all grown up I would wear those clothes. Since then, they have opened the Loft which is a bit younger and I went nuts in there finding size xxs or zero tops (which I am) and size 2 or 4 bottoms (such variation depends on the cut or brand). I bought all sorts of tops which I have been searching for months and months here to no avail. I chatted with half the staff, as they were so helpful! Once you start holding items they ask if you would like them to "start a room for you" so they relieve you of the burden and hang them on a changing room door and when you are ready to try them on, anyone nearby asks which staffmember is helping you, and they hang the clothing in the room for you and close the door. This is not a terribly fancy shop, just sort of equal to Principles for 20s-30s.


The next day, my cousin drove me up in the hopes that we could pop in and see my other cousin's family, but having school-age kids they were off at some event, and he took me shopping instead. When we got hungry, we went to a nice Chinese restaurant and enjoyed a great chat. I love reconnecting with cousins I've known for years, but on another personal and adult level, apart from the innumerable family gatherings where everyone merely mingles.

As a result of my intensive shopping expeditions, I now have a number of soft long sleeved tops, cashmere or cotton sweaters, fitted cotton shirts, cargo pants. Cashmere was my focus in preparation for this cold winter they promise.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lil Interlude

Hey, a small break in the New York posts. (May be a slight pun there.) But I hope you do catch up if you haven't seen them! There will be more pics in the next one, by the way.

I have an interview tomorrow with an auction house, for a dual role in a department I love and another I don't. Oooh, but exciting, I really want this one!!! It is finally the sort of thing I need to be doing!

Wish me well!

Other than that, I have been temping at an old familiar company, and possibly have another upcoming temp at the Arts Council. That would be reviving old memories of the past summer and someone who was then part of my life, and so am not sure if I want to experience the nostalgia...

So then - thoughts onward, to this interview, and hopefully it will be mine!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Big Apple First Bite

I reluctantly left my cousin and my goddaughter in Canada whilst looking forward to my upcoming adventures in New York City.

My cousin R picked me up at the airport in his big shiny Lexus and we had lunch at his apartment. He's a good cook though he wouldn't admit to it, and he likes to offer up selections of sliced fruit from his ever-bounteous supply.
He had called me the day before, asking what tea and cookies I preferred, and if there was anything I didn't like. As you know, I like black tea, but I wasn't sure which cookies to ask for, so I figured I would pick some up myself on a jaunt round the neighbourhood. Being the host he is, though, R decided to buy me a box of Jules Destrooper Almond Thins. I've always wanted to try those, and they were delicious - I like almond in baking, but he didn't know that. R had excellent taste in choosing my cookies throughout my stay!

Now, he has lived in the Bronx since first moving to NYC in 1990. When I first visited New York, we stayed with his sister and her family upstate, about 20 minutes from the city. We made a brief overnight visit to R's place and he took us to the top of the World Trade Center at night. That was the extent of my experience with the city. At the time, we were living in Texas, the friendship state, and I didn't like New York or its environs. I thought it was dirty, crowded, and the people aggressive.

Of course, my five years in London have hardened and disillusioned me a great deal. From this perspective, I now think New York City is better than London. It is cleaner, the pace is slower, the people are friendly and interact with each other. The aggression I expected manifests itself more in London. All my preconceptions are shattered. I am newly impressed.

In the evening, when it cooled down a bit, R took me downtown to Union Square, about an hour on the 6 line. There is a Whole Foods supermarket there, a store I liked back in Texas with lots of fine natural and organic products. Picked up all sorts of yummy stuff, then made a short foray into Union Square proper. I was pleased to see people hanging out on the steps chatting, laughing, playing music. It seemed so relaxed and free.

The next day, I began my own adventures. Exiting the building I passed the mailman going in and he said "Good morning." Shocked at being spoken to by a complete stranger, I replied surprisedly, "Good morning." I crossed the road with a smile on my face. I went to the bank to withdraw some money. The man waiting in the lobby waiting for the two customers to finish at the ATMs saw me approach, opened the door for me, and even offered to let me go in front of him. Again surprised at the courtesy, I declined and said he had been waiting before me. But when an old lady with a walking stick came in after me, I let her go ahead of me. Again, I was feeling good with all this community spirit. My first experience with passing it forward in years.

This put me into a good mood to go into town, and all this had only been in the Bronx! Turns out its reputation is undeserved, but also my cousin lives in Parkchester which is a pretty good neighbourhood with a special history. More on that in a later post.

A friend, Vera, from my university dorms in Houston was in town visiting friends, so she and I met up on the steps of the Met.

street scene at the

We picked up lunch at a rather lovely Italian cafe on Madison Avenue, and had a picnic in Central Park while we caught up with each other. The weather was absolutely summery. Central Park is like a whole county. I think of it as the lungs of New York City.

After lunch, Vera and I went back to the Met where we visited three exhibitions, all of which are free with your entry donation: The Age of Rembrandt, Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, and Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan. We had a bit of time left before closing so we flew through the European paintings, Egyptian gallery which housed an entire temple on a water feature, a Spanish courtyard, and the American Wing, which featured whole rooms from different eras. There was so much more I wanted to see, but I had to get across town to meet my friend Denise for dinner. It was a 15 minute walk through Central Park.

Vera joined us for dinner at Arte Cafe, a local Italian in the West 70s. I enjoyed some veal scallopine in lemon and caper sauce. Very yummy. We also had salad and sorbet, as it was a pre-theatre dinner menu. But I had to have a cocktail! I think it was lime and mint and vodka.

We took the subway to Times Square which really is an awesome sight at night. It's like Piccadilly Circus x 10. Vera parted from us at the theatre and then we went in to take our seats. Curtains with David Hyde Pierce (Niles from Frasier) was a delight, in the style of the old musicals with toe-tapping song and dance and comedic dialogue. One number had me smiling from ear to ear in naive delight. That is what you have to do, just shed cynicism - I read a negative review of it, but of course I disagree. So what if I kept thinking, "It's Niles on Broadway!" So what if the jokes were, well, naive. We moderns are too worldly anyway ;)

And at intermission, I saw Liza Minnelli going up the aisle on the way to the bathrooms. Yep, the most famous celeb I've ever spotted but on my least favourites list. Blimey, she be ug-a-lee.

Don't worry, Photobucket displays the photos too large. The better sizes are from Flickr. I wish I could put all 100 on there...May have to make do with Webshots, but the quality on Flickr is still better....Arrrrrggghhh!

Now. Get ready for the next bite.

NYC 2007

Photobucket Album

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Well, Grrrrr

Oh my goodness. I am having a terrible time with the internet at the moment. (Plus, I have been in a foul mood since returning to London.) After I came back from NYC, I decided to take my new ethernet ISP wireless. The first attempt was unsuccessful and I took the router back. The second time, I chose a highly recommended kit, and it worked right away, and it's really fast, but our laptops keep dropping off my home network when we reboot our systems or even come out of hibernate. This evening it has just been verrrryyyyyyy slooooooowwwwwww...even with the ethernet cable plugged in. I haven't exhausted all troubleshooting avenues, but any suggestions would be welcome.

Anyway. I had a great time labelling my NYC photos, but am unsure where to host them so I can link to them for my upcoming post (any ideas?) - which I am in the process of writing! So no, I have not forgotten that you are all itching to read about my time in Noo Yawk Ciddy.

In short, I LOVED IT TREMENDOUSLY, but maybe you gathered that from my last raving post. Right now, I am going to see how long this takes to publish...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From the Big Apple

Am falling asleep at the moment, but wanted to pop in and say I will be back in London in a couple of days.

I am loving every minute in NYC. Have done sooo much, in fact everything I meant to do. It is one spectacular city - the place and the people; one adjective will have to suffice for now. It can be anything to anyone, I think.

Oh, wait till you see the photos! It is a city of great detail and there is beauty even in the corners.

Ciao xxx