Friday, October 31, 2008

These Mountebanks at one end of their stage place their trunke, which is replenished with a world of new-fangled trumperies… the principal Mountebanke opens his trunk and sets abroad his wares, [then] makes an oration to the audience of almost an hour. Wherein he doth most hyberbolically extol the virtue of his drugs and confections…though many of them are very counterfeit and false. They would give their tales with such admirable volubility and plausible grace that they did often strike great admiration into strangers that never heard them before.

Happy Halloween to all!
Trick or Treat?

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

We got an early winter blizzard Tuesday night. The cemetery was covered and most of the autumn leave of last week were now under the blanket of white. These few hangers on will probably join their friends and neighbors in the next few days.

There is nothing like a cemetery to ignite ones imagination. Especially around Halloween time.

Another thing that fires up my imagination is the night sky. You know those midnight blue skies that look black and are sprinkled with sparkling diamonds in various configurations. By chance this morning, while out at 0400 for my aerobic exercise, was just such a morning. I imagined the natives of our planet who centuries ago lay on the ground in their animal skins staring at the night sky and making the configuration of the stars into Gods and symbols representing their daily existence. There was no TV, movies or radio. There was no light pollution to obscure their view. They produced a cast of characters that have endured through the centuries and will outlast the last human to tread the earth's crust. There was no moon visible this morning, and in a few spots the street lights were few and far between and I was able to discern a multitude of characters. Of course the most easily recognizable were the pans, dippers I think they're called. A few others were visible and recognizable to this novice star gazer. Sagittarius was there, prancing around and shooting arrows of hope into the night sky. And Pegasus was galloping away from Pisces toward Andromeda.

My mind began to race with fantasies. I'm not sure of what the differences are between myth, fairy tales, legends, and fantasies are. Sometimes they blend together in my mind and I can't tell where one starts and another leaves off. Be that as it may, my mind wander to thoughts of Merlin, Richard the Lion hearted, Prince John and the Sheriff, and of course Robin hood and Marion. Well quite a story began to unfold blending today's realities and stories of old and the alignment of the stars and human foibles, and, and, and.............
Well, I've got to go to work but the story develops and I'll be sure to let it unfold here over the course of the next few days. Until then, be human.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What do you say we finish up this "three" day tour of NYC? Ok, we left St. Peter's church and began to make our way uptown, realizing it would take a few hours to get back to the hotel on a good day with fresh legs. We decided that that wasn't going to happen so we made a pit stop at the first coffee shop we came to.

Why do women have to pee so often?

Any way, we thought it best to catch a cab. It was beginning rush hour and we were on a one way street going the wrong way. We found our way, after a few blocks to a street heading in the right direction and hailed a cab, and were back at the hotel in 15 min.

Remember that Italian restaurant that I told you about? The one 2 1/2 blocks away from the hotel that we were going to go to with Aris? Yah, well at some point prior to now, we had strolled down to Park ave and back , maybe it was yesterday, I don't remember. Anyway, we found it and looking in the window ascertained that, indeed, we'd probably enjoy ourselves within.

So here we are, our last night in the Big Apple, Both fatigued from miles of walking, we decide the Italian place is just the ticket. (Just the ticket; that's a phrase I picked up from Leigh. I knew you'd want to know that.)

We rested for awhile, freshened up, took a shower, or did we? I don't know! I'm suffering from CRS syndrome. Off we go.
If you look closely on the edge of the awning is the name of the restaurant: iTrulli. This is the entrance to the dining room. Immediately to the left is another entrance, to their wine bar.
Not being city folk we are used to eating early and as such we were early in the respect that even without reservations we were able to be seated immediately. After a half hour or so the place filled up, partly I think, because of two parties. We had a nice table near the connection to the wine bar and across from the brick oven.
This is the fireplace, not the oven. ;-) Our waiter was of European descent; Italian I'm sure, but when I kept talking in French he asked from where in France I was from, saying that he himself had lived in Nice for nine years. (I told him my great grand parents came from Quebec.) This was as upscale a restaurant as I have ever eaten in. The staff was exceptionally attentive, the wine was superb and the four course meal was primo. And all the photos are on KB's camera/blog.

One parting anecdote: Some months ago Leigh and Karen took us to Little Italy up In Ottawa (Canada's capital city) and at the end of the evening took us to a little place for after dinner espressos and Leigh introduced me to Grappa. Grappa is a brandy of Italian origin. Although I drank it all, I found it tasted like kerosene. Blahhh! It's not that I dislike brandy. Quite to the contrary; I enjoy very much the Armagnac I brought back from Condom, France.
In remembrance of that night with Leigh, I ordered a Grappa after dessert. The appertif menu offered 4 or 5 five types/flavors of grappa. Intrigued that there were different grappas I asked for one that sounded exotic. It was quite pleasant and not at all like the Petrol flavored one I'd sipped in Ottawa. A wonderful dining experience that I whole heartily recommend.

Last stop before Penn Station and the return trip to Albany.

Pashmina shawls anyone?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

As I was saying, we left Wall street and made our way to Battery park. Actually we were trying to get to ground zero but were sure how to get there, so we wandering into a park to get a look at our map and lo and behold we learned that we were in Battery Park. We decide to have a look see before proceeding to ground zero. There are many monuments and memorials here and we only took time to visit a few. Fatigue was creeping into our legs and we were a fur piece from 27th street. The first memorial we stumbled upon was the Sphere:

The Sphere and Eternal Flame: 9/11 memorial.

Click on photo to enlarge if you want to read about the sphere's significance!

Sphere before 9/11

Next we mosied by the Korean War memorial. I lived in Korea for the U.S. Army in the early 1970's, and not during the war. No really, I'm not that old. I did however have a cousin who served there during the "conflict". One of my favorite books deals with the Korean conflict and Gen. Chesty Puller;" Marine! The Life of Chest Puller."
P.S. I like the word mosied it's such a cozy word don't you think? The dictionary doesn't recognize my spelling but does have the word mosey. Go figure.

Down to the water's edge next and the sight of this memorial:

Commissioned by the American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, Inc., this memorial was conceived in 1976. In 1988, after an extensive competition, the artist Marisol Escobar (b. 1930), known as Marisol, was chosen to develop her design. Situated off-shore from the north end of Battery Park and just south of Pier A, the monument stands on a rebuilt stone breakwater in the harbor. The bronze figural group and boat are based on an actual historical event; during World War II, a Nazi U-boat attacked a merchant marine vessel, and while the marines clung to their sinking vessel, the Germans photographed their victims. Marisol developed a series of studio sketches from this photograph, then fashioned a clay maquette as her winning design proposal for the monument. The work was dedicated on October 8, 1991.....more.....

To finish today's post, I invite you to reflect on Ground Zero (9/11 2001) for a few moments:


If you are so inclined,

Stop on the steps of nearby St. Peter's

to say a prayer for



the World!

Tomorrow: Dinner Italiano.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

So, OK, ummmm? Where were we?
Oh yes of course, we were having lunch at the Pacific Grill at South Street Seaport. All I can tell you is that the food was sumptuous, the wine smooth like velvet, the sun was high and the temperature near eighty. Even though there were tons of people, the area is large enough to accommodate the crowd without feeling crushed. The service was unbelievably fast. The bill reflected the degree of our satisfaction; high. Okee-dokee, what's next? Let's stroll around and see what there is to see:
Immediately around the corner we espied the famous Brooklyn bridge and a waterfall display. Because of the month long artsy display of waterfalls around the city, the bridge was not currently for sale but get back to me after the first of the year if you're interested.
One of Olafur Eliasson's 4 temporary cascades dotting NY harbor. The waterfalls are at Pier 35 in Manhattan, near South and Rutgers Streets north of the Manhattan Bridge; at the Brooklyn tower of the Brooklyn Bridge; Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, west of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; and on the north shore of Governors Island. They will be turned on every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they will be activated at 9 a.m. After sunset, the waterfalls will be lighted by light-emitting diodes. The bridge immediately behind is the Manhattan bridge.

Next it was back around to harbor side, past a triple jointed acrobatic yoga performer, (KB may have a shot of him, I did not), and a self guided tour of an old timey sailing ship. There were three but we only boarded the one; the Peking.
While walking around the decks and snapping pix we noticed a professional photo shoot going on. I don't know why, but I was uneasy about shooting the shoot. Now, in retrospect, I wished I'd taking pictures of the photographer and the child model she was using. I mean, come on, what were they gonna do, shoot me? Punny? Mais oui mes amis!

If you look straight down the right side of the photo I think you can make out a person there; that's the photographer. The child appeared to be a boy of 7 or 8 years of age and costumed in a Arabic sultany type of outfit; you know, turban, loose blousy pants, gold shoes of lamee with the toes curled up, and like that and all. You get the picture right?

I liked the contrast of the old rigging against the moderninity of the skyscrapers. Kinda cool, don't ya agree?

That's Wall street in the distance and since the financial meltdown was in full melt we decided to pop up there to see what was happening. You know, like was anybody jumping out of buildings, or riotous demonstrations.....

The beauty and the bane of a whirlwind tour of three days is the limited time to soak up any one sight.

We take our leave of the port and begin our stroll up Wall street toward the NY Stock Exchange.
The first and enduring sight as you make your way through the throng is Trinity Church:

Along the way we passed the Trump building on our right. I kept an eye out for The Donald, but didn't notice him about. Of course if I'd left my eye in I might have had more luck. Do you think he would have hired me as a one eyed apprentice? No? Nah, me neither.
It's like shying away from photographing photographers; you won't know 'til you ask. I did feel emboldened while walking amongst the rich and powerful of the most famous street in the world. I wonder if that was how Jesus felt when he encountered all the money changers in the temple. Just wondering.

First Georgie and then;
the Exchange.

Then the cemetery. Hey this is rel here. You know how he's drawn the cemeteries as well as churches. At least he stayed out side this time.
Then we turned the corner toward Broadway and were make our way to Battery park and, Holy-Moly-man; We ran into:
And that's no bull. Err, I mean, uh, well ya, I guess it is a bull. Yup, that's it, a brass bull, and yes it has brass balls too!
Getting a photo of this icon of Wall Street was no mean accomplishment. With all the people wanting to get their pic taken by, under, on, holding his balls, and riding his horn, it was nigh on to impossible to get a clear shot. But D. captured the one above and thankfully we moved on to Battery Park.

That will be our next stop. Not a long one but lots of thought provoking memorials to check out.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to the work station.
A shot from Battery Park.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm sure you've been waiting on pins and needles with bated breath for the next installment of our three day excursion in the Big Apple. Remember when we arrived, we purchased a CitySights tour? Well the tour include a Circle Line, 75 minute cruise along the west side of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty and back. The day couldn't have been more perfect: cool, and bright and sunny there was a foggy mist over the harbor, which if you're a romantic like me you'd find it enhancing, not obscuring. After our usual breakfast at Cafe 28, we hailed a cab to take us over to pier 83 at West 42nd St.

We arrived a little early, which I prefer to arriving late, and as luck would have it the lines were super short. That gave us the opportunity to check out the recently returned USS Intrepid. The retired Navy aircraft carrier had been refurbished and repaired , first in Bayonne NJ, and finally at Staten Island, NY and returning to NYC's pier 86 on 2 Oct. 2008--just prior to our arrival. It's scheduled to open for tourists on Nov. 8th, 2008. So while D. went to get herself a cuppa joe, I wandered over to get a closer look at the Intrepid.

When the tour boat started to load, we mosied over to get in line. We needed to show ID and get our picture taken. The ID for security reasons and the photo for money making reasons. There was no obligation to buy but upon return the pix were available for perusal, and pray tell, what tourist would refuse to buy a souvenir photo of their NY'Hudson River cruise?

Leaving the Intrepid behind we began our boat ride south down the Hudson river. There was plenty to see and our guide was quite knowledgeable. I won't bore you with dozens of photos but I'll include a few to pique your interest and perhaps motivate you to come to NYC yourself to see the sights that you may have only heard about or "seen pictures of."

NYC sky line. Notice two dark towers center right in the foreground. These are air shafts for the Lincoln tunnel. There are two corresponding towers on the NJ shore.

The city of NY is turning many of it's old piers in to parks. This pier with the netting around it is a golf driving range. Previously it was well know as the pier where the survivors of the Titanic disaster disembarked the Carpathia.

Seem like quite an empty space here in the NYC skyline!

*The Colgate Clock is an octagonal clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, promoted as being the largest clock in the entire world. It is situated in front of the site of the former headquarters of consumer products conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive, which until the 1980s was based out of Jersey City. It is fifty feet in diameter, faces the Hudson river harbor, and is clearly visible from Manhattan's west side.

The current Colgate Clock was built in 1924 to replace an earlier, smaller clock designed by Colgate engineer Warren Day and constructed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company for the centennial of the Colgate Company in 1906. That clock, second only in size to its replacement, was relocated to a Colgate factory in Clarksville, Indiana, where its future is now unknown as the factory is closing.

As of 2005, the Colgate Clock stands on an otherwise empty lot; all of the other old buildings in the complex were razed in 1985, when Colgate left New Jersey. There are currently plans to move the clock[citation needed] in order to use the lot it stands upon for other purposes. The lot is in the downtown area, and the clock itself is 100 meters away from the Goldman Sachs Tower, the largest skyscraper in the state of New Jersey. The construction of that building in the early 2000s forced a minor relocation of the clock southward to its current location, and a significant reduction in the size of the Colgate advertisement attached to it. Goldman Sachs now maintains the clock.

*(from Wikipedia)

Leaving the southern tip of Manhattan for:

Ellis Island.

The hospital on Ellis Island. (You knew I'd get a shot of that, didn't you?)

The Statue of Liberty.

On the return leg we passed, or they passed us, I'm not sure which, the Staten Island Ferry.

Did you know that it's free to ride the Staten Island Ferry? Yup, it sure is. And it's a cheaper way to get out to see the Statue of Liberty.

Cruising back to pier 83 we passed alittle closer to the NYC shore giving folks the opportunity to get pictures thay may have missed going out. Our guide mentioned that to get back to mid-town Manhattan we could take the # 42 bus or the # 50 bus. D. wasn't up to buses nor the subway so it was decided that we would catch a cab to the South Street Seaport. We picked up our souvenir photo and were looking around for a taxi when a nice young man approached D. and offered us a Limousine ride. D. asked what the difference was for a limousine rather than a taxi. He told her that the limo was a fixed fare whereas the taxi was a metered fare. He went on to tell her that the limo fare to South Street Seaport was $40.00. She looked at me, and I just shrugged my shoulders. I thought it a bit pricey, but said, "hey it's your money." Since we were taking the West side highway it didn't take long and the fellow was quite talkative, (D. had complained earlier that the cabbies didn't talk at all), and the limo ride was comfortable. D. asked if the $40.00 included the tip, and he agreed, with a chuckle, that yes that would be acceptable. After we got out and she paid she asked me, as we walked away, what I thought a cab ride would have cost. Considering how fast we got there, I said, "oh, probably &12.00 or so."
Even so, I don't think she had any regrets.

The first order of business at the South Street Seaport was Lunch.
This piece is getting a little longish so I'll leave off for now while we eat and people watch. Did I mention that there were a lot of stylish women in NYC?

We ate at the Pacific Grill:

Add ImageWe have three more things to do today. Next is:


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