Tag Archives: new york city

Pt 3: The Whitney, The High-Line, and More!

A long line of picture posts has preceded this one, including the La La Land HBowl & the first few days back east, followed by the first half of our big day down at the WTC area.  That post took a long time though and I had to end it so I could get some sleep – but let’s try to finish up these pics, why don’t we?

When last we met, Larry & I had just left the One WTC Observation Deck (and 2 glasses of wine each), so we were a bit hungry now.  Across the street is a mall that has something similar to Eataly (Mario Batali’s high-end take on an Italian-based food market) but for French food, and that sounded amazing.  Thanks, Stuart, for the recommendation!  So we went there to get some delicious rotisserie chicken and then took a seat at the wine bar and savored the food with some beaujolais.  mmm….

After that, we then walked back to the Oculus to get on the subway and head back up north a little bit, close to the Meatpacking district.  Took a few more photos of the Oculus as the sun was out in full force by this point.

Wed, May 31 – Lunchtime and the Oculus revisited

Up at the Meatpacking district area, we walked west towards the hip parts, walking through and noticing some places weren’t there any more (goodbye Black Market, White Market?), before getting to the site of the new Whitney Museum of American Art.  I hadn’t been to this new location yet, as it had moved from the Upper East Side a few years back.  Larry had visited it and was up for seeing it again, and it has some pretty great vistas for just the surrounding area.  Happily, our LACMA membership got us free admission, and we were near the end of their opening hours, so we did a very quick run through of just a few floors, while also making sure to take in some of the rooftop sights.

The Whitney Museum

The location of the Whitney is also a fantastic spot for walking the High Line, NYC’s elevated park, which has an end point right there and allows you to meander north through 20-30 great blocks of NYC.  It’s a very rich area and while the park itself is very narrow, it’s a fun thing to do.  Although by that point, it must be said, our feet were killing us by the end of it.

Walking the High Line

That was our day of sightseeing!  It was quite exhausting but the day was gorgeous and totally worth doing.  Back at our hotel, we took a well-deserved nap to get some energy, as we weren’t exactly done with going out and doing stuff.  That night, Larry found us a cool ramen place that we could get reservations at in the Lower East Side called Ivan’s Ramen.  Larry even navigated us there successfully over subway and sidewalk!  There was a threat of rain, and while it did sprinkle a little, no biggie.  And our reservation actually was useful, as we only waited a little bit of time before getting seats at the bar.  It was a fun meal, with a very friendly waiter (and some particularly attractive waiters elsewhere in the restaurant).  The ramen was a unique take on it, and good, but it definitely varied from what you’d expect a ramen to taste like.  We ended up being one of the last few people there before closing (this was a Wednesday, so it’s not staying open until 2am), and we then had a nice journey back before crashing at the hotel for a well-earned rest.

Ivan’s Ramen

And that concludes that epic day and this post.  More to come from that week o’ fun.

Pt 2: Our World Trade Center Day

Because this series of pictures could go on forever, I had to take a break yesterday and thus break up the posts (the latest Twin Peaks was on and it isn’t gonna watch itself, people…twice).  The previous post was about the first few days of our week off, and so this one will focus on the remainder…

Wed, May 31, 2017:  Starting the day off

So this day, the plan was to visit the area down by the World Trade Center.  We were there when the project finally started getting built, but even by 2010, it was still not very much higher up than above ground level.  But in the last 6-7 years, definitely lots of progress was made:

Back in 2009 – just a large pit:

Then in 2011 – a giant amount of height achieved:

And in 2012 – we got a bit closer to see the progress:

By late 2013, the building had been topped out, but it still took a while before everything inside opened up, and it wasn’t until the last year or so that the observation deck and the 9/11 Museum were open, although by this point, the memorial waterfalls were open:


Anyway, it’s been a long road for this complex to be all open.  Beside the construction of One WTC (formerly the “Freedom Tower”), there is also the construction of the Oculus, the other-worldly train station adjacent to 1WTC.  It’s kind of stunning to see and very hard to describe, so here are the pictures I took when we exited the subway right into the Oculus….

Pics from our Arrival at the Oculus

We had reserved tickets for the morning to explore the 9/11 National Museum, which is quite an experience.  It’s built underground and includes quite a few artifacts from Ground Zero, as well as a lot of meaningful displays around that day.  Eerily, it has the footprints of the original towers as something you walk around, and a few galleries are within that original footprint.  The main gallery, and by far the most intense, is that which walks you through the day as it began, as it occurred, and the immediate and long-term aftermath.  They advise children not to enter this and I can’t see anyone under 10 ever going in there, as it’s quite intense to have everything brought back to you.   There are some quite graphic displays that make you mad and sad all over again.  Throughout the museum as a whole, it’s a combination of awe at how well designed and presented the museum while experiencing it with tears in your eyes.

The 9/11 Museum

Afterwards, it was a nice thing to go from remembering the horror of September 11 and then visit what has been built since…One World Trade Center.  It’s a quite impressive feat of engineering.  We had purchased a timed priority pass, so we could pass by the main line and go straight to the elevators.  And man, that elevator ride alone is worth the price of admission as it’s completely covered in video screens that show a chronological evolution of NYC from before the 1600s.  As you go higher (and you get to the top in a VERY short amount of time) you catch up to current time, with a brief view of the original Twin Towers.

At the top, you then line up against a railing looking at a video screen of NYC activity, and then triumphantly, a stunning reveal is made at the end of the video.  I won’t completely ruin it, but it really must be seen to be believed.  It was a fantastic, jaw-dropping moment before heading out to the main observatory floor.

The sun had finally come out by that point – happily, that was the case as the days before were gloomy and rainy.  So yeah, getting a view was a relief, although it wasn’t crystal clear.  But the view?  Amazing.  I need to find my pictures from when my dad and I walked all of Manhattan and visited the top deck of the old WTC, as this is quite a spectacular view.  I won’t bombard this post with every pic I took, but a few highlights are in order.   Before we left, Larry & I had to go and get a few drinks on the top of the world – so we grabbed 2 glasses of the exclusive ONE white wine each.  It’s a unique feeling to just drink and look down over a thousand feet to the world.

Visiting One World Trade Center’s Observation Deck

And the day was not over – but I think I need to get ready to go to bed.  So yeah, this is Pt 2 of my pictures posts, but really, it’s just the first part of this one day as we walked a LOT that day.

A Pictures-palooza From the Last Month – Pt 1

Normally, I’d insist on showing absolutely every picture I took….but I realize that will take a lot of time and effort.  So we’ll have to do a bit of editing, although I’m pretty sure it’ll still look as if I posted every picture I took.  What can you do?

It has been a busy month or so, since last I posted, whether it was work or vacation.  Work was especially intense and I can actually see a finish line for this engagement, if that can be believed. Probably shouldn’t jinx myself though, so I’ll leave it at that.

Sat, May 27, 2017: Starting Memorial Day Weekend with La La Land @ the Bowl

During Memorial Day weekend, Larry & I were heading out to New Jersey & NYC to spend the week with friends and family and to be able to attend our niece’s baby naming ceremony.  But before we headed back, I had bought us tickets to the La La Land in Concert @ the Hollywood Bowl….and it was great and a wonderful way to kick off the Hollywood Bowl season.  The kicker in this concert was that the orchestra would play the entire soundtrack while the movie played, and for this, they also included a jazz band, and there was a fantastic piano player who quite deftly played all the Sebastian music.  Pretty great experience, and aided by fireworks that kicked in at various moments in the movie.  Gotta love fireworks!

Sun, May 28:  Flying to Newark

Happily, flying out of LAX in the middle of a long holiday weekend isn’t a complete shitshow, and even while you can’t ever escape traffic at the terminal, we were still able to get in and to the gate pretty easily.  Pro-Tip:  Get yourself Pre-Check.  Everything is easier once that’s accomplished.

I liked these pictures I took right after take-off, looking back at Los Angeles and the area around Rancho Palos Verdes.

That first night, we got picked up by Fran & Joel and hung out at their place, eating some delicious New Jersey pizza.  Then it was time to pass out and hope we could get some sleep.

Mon, May 29:  A Day with Jon, Alyssa, Stacey & Rachel

Our first full day back was going to be spent with the Rausches as we never get to see them.  Plus, the baby naming ceremony for Rachel was the following weekend and that was going to be a hectic, stressful day for them.  So here, we could just relax and have a nice day.    Which we totally did, as we hung out at their house for a while, chatting, having a few drinks, eating lunch, and getting to play with Stacey & Rachel.  We then went to the local zoo!  It may have been kind of dreary and rainy, but it was still fun.  It was back to the house for some more Lego Batman movie watching and games directed by Stacey before we then went to a wonderful dinner with just Jon & Alyssa as Fran & Joel picked up babysitting duties.  In other words, it was a really fun day.

Tues, May 30 – Larry’s Birthday!

So this day was a day with Fran in NYC as well as us starting a temporary hotel stay in the city for a few days to be tourists and enjoy the old neighborhoods a bit.  First on the agenda was heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the UES, as hello, it’s awesome there.  After Fran fearlessly navigated her way there – btw, the city seems to be a whole lot more crowded as lots of streets are under refurbishment? – we walked the few blocks to the Met and took in a few exhibits before heading to the roof.  It’s got a spectacular view of Midtown framed by a tree-top view of Central Park.  See for yourself!

We then had lunch at the Atlantic Grill, which was the restaurant that Larry literally lived right above when he used to live on 76th St.  When you’d walk up to his place, you’d walk right by the windows of the restaurant that faced his building’s little courtyard.  So we were back!  It’s a great seafood restaurant and was a very nice way to celebrate his birthday.

At this point, Fran dropped us off over on the UWS as she headed back to New Jersey, and we then grabbed an Uber to take us to our hotel in Chelsea, the Hyatt House.  It was a fairly new building with just a few rooms per floor as the building is quite narrow, and it didn’t seem very crowded.  Also, it’s in a great location as you’re near Midtown but not quite in it, while also handy to a few subway lines.  Anyway, after checking in and getting settled, we had a show to catch, as Fran had gotten us tickets to see “Kinky Boots” on Broadway.  It’s a fun show about a British shoe company that is down on its luck until it realizes there’s a market for drag queen shoes.  It’s an enjoyable, fun musical with some standout performances, notably by the main queen, Lola, as well as the young owner of the shoe factory, played here by the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco.  A lot of catchy numbers made for a very fun show – definitely recommended.

Afterwards, we walked over to Hell’s Kitchen to grab a meal at one of our favorite places, Five Napkin Burger…so goood.

Saturday State Amidst the Horseshit

Hello everybody!  With Larry & I both having gotten a run in this afternoon, it feels like it is actually Sunday, as that’s when we normally do that.  But we’ve got some plans tomorrow so today was it!  I ended up trying a variant on the route I’ve been going, using the Griffith Park horse trails to run along.  I enjoyed it as it was a little bit more hospitable than the bike path along the eastern side of the 5 Freeway, but I got to about 3 miles in my run and was like, hmm…what to do now?  I didn’t really want to retrace my path I’d just taken so instead, I decided to go through the equestrian tunnel under the 5.

Will never go through this tunnel ever
Will never go through this tunnel ever28-Dec-2014 14:23, Canon Canon PowerShot SX600 HS, 5.0, 10.591mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 400
 

If you notice the caption of that photo, I mentioned EVER.  Well, I’m a dirty liar.  That was from a simpler time, back in December 2014, when Larry & I were strolling along.  But now it was a practicality – I wanted to get back to where I started and not have to go all the way around.  So this tunnel was the solution.  Funny enough, as I approach this point, I start seeing people on horses.  As I get closer, there are a LOT of people on horses.  And they’re all cowboy’d up with hats and flannel.  I slow down a bit thinking maybe they’re heading into the tunnel and I’ve missed my shot.  But then they all bunch up and hold short before the entrance, and I’m like, THIS IS IT.  I gotta go or I’m going to definitely be running through mounds of fresh horseshit.  So I high-tail it into the tunnel, quickly making sure I’m actually not prohibited from doing so – turns out, only bicycles aren’t allowed.  I head in and it is DARK in there.  The ambient light available does indicate that plenty of old horseshit is in the middle of the tunnel, so I wisely stay aligned against the left wall.  As I’m running, I start hearing over the music from my headphones the LOUD echoing of horse footfalls.  And it sounds like they’re moving fast!  So I put on turbo speed to make sure I’m not gonna get trampled, all the while hoping I don’t plop right into a pile of horseshit.  Happily, all horseshit was avoided and I was not trampled.

FitBit_23Jan2016

The tunnel is there at that southernmost point of the route – it’s a good run and I like that it’s a loop.  The previous runs on the bike trail are great, but can get boring.  Griffith Park is always a fun run.

saucony2016After we got back I ended up buying some new Saucony shoes – I realized I think I’ve had these current pair for much longer than I’m supposed to.  It’s been apparent to my feet for a little while now, especially now that I’m really trying to stay consistent with exercise and that I’m out in the world and not on my treadmill.

In Other News….

So how about that northeastern blizzard?  Very very glad to have made my visit there last week and not this one – I probably would have still been out of there in time, but eh, better safe than sorry.  Some of my FB friends have been posting snowfall pictures and I was telling Larry that I was having a bit of jealousy….then he slapped the sense back into me as while it can be pretty, if you actually have to go out in it to get somewhere, MEH.  I think most people are happy with it as it’s a Saturday and no one really needs to go anywhere.  So you can just go out, take some pics, then go back into the warmth and continue drinking.  Happily Larry’s family are all doing fine back there and the forecast is that it’ll be 40 degrees early next week so the snow won’t really get a chance to stick around.

Barbara was my next-door neighbor when I lived in the UWS of NYC and this is taken right outside where I used to live, looking west down West 72nd St.  Again, I momentarily missed this, but then I remembered that time when we got hit with a blizzard right before we were moving to California.  It was this kind of snow and we wanted to get a Duane Reade that was a few blocks further west than the view above.  PAIN. IN. THE. ASS.  So yeah, it’s neat, but I’m pretty thrilled with cloudy and 65.

Video Games!

There’s a few I’ve been playing and some I recently finished too – this is purely for my own fun so feel free to leave at this point.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (Finished)

ACS-media-SS-4-big_202195_202309What an amazing return to form for this series!  Unity was a pretty big disappointment, even if it was fun to run around Paris.  I did enjoy the sailing-ship entries such as Black Flag and Rogue, but those kind of are their own beasts.  AC 3, the one set in colonial America, had tons of potential too, but man that was a drag.  So yeah, someone figured out what needed to be done as Syndicate is just so much fun to play.  It’s set in Industrial/Victorian London, and you play as the Frye twins, Jacob & Evie.  They come in to rescue London from the grip of Templars who have command of the city; you can play as either twin throughout the game, which adds some interesting variety.  There are fun side activities and exploring the city of London is very gratifying.  You run into Darwin, Dickens, and Marx in your travels, and in the DLC, you can interact with and track down Jack the Ripper.  The game’s mechanics are just lots of fun, the story is compelling and well-written, Jacob & Evie are fun to tag along with, and it’s just a fun game.  Highly recommended!  (I’m honestly nervous about the news though that the next installment will take place in Ancient Egypt….)

King’s Quest, Chapter 2 (Abandoning…)

Kings_Quest_Chapter2_BannerI really did want to like this next chapter as I loved playing Chapter 1.  But the developers decided to add a mechanic of having to play everything exactly perfect if you want to save everyone trapped in the dungeon with you….and of course explain things ridiculously poorly.  Once you figure things out, it’s too late and even more hilariously, you really can’t restart the chapter.  It’s not clear if the next chapter will have actual repercussions, but I just don’t know how much I care.  Disappointing.

Undertale (Currently Playing…, Kinda)

Undertale-logoThis is a very independent game made by one guy that is getting a ton of raves.  It’s understandable why, as while the graphics are intentionally primitive, there is an interesting and quite funny story to be experience as you embark on your quest.  Also, you don’t have to kill anything and apparently, you really shouldn’t if you want the best ending.  That is frustrating to hear, as I did kill one of the “bosses” as it didn’t look like you could do anything but kill.  So now I’m thinking I need to replay the game, but I’m not motivated enough to do that just yet.  Instead, I kind of faded away from the game and figure once I’m done with some of the other games I’m playing, I’ll go back to it and replay it.  With no killing.

Fallout 4 (Now Playing)

fallout4_wallpaperI was pretty stoked for this game ahead of its release – both when seeing it at E3 last year and when the trailer came out.  BRING IT ON!  Then I started playing it when it released and I liked it, but didn’t immediately love it.  Then I remembered that I got Assassin’s Creed Syndicate “for free” when I bought my new graphics card, and I couldn’t help but start playing it.  Then I couldn’t stop and so I played till I finished it.  It was time to go back to Fallout and post-apocalyptic Boston though, and so I fired Fallout 4 up again and started fresh, and I’m in it this time.  I still haven’t actually entered “Diamond City”, the new name for Boston.  But I’ve been enjoying the outskirts so far and figuring out the new systems, like settlements and crafting.  I did find Walden Pond this morning and it’s hilarious to see it’s now a nearly empty nuked out shell of what I assume it once was/is.  It’s a wonderful game world and I’m kind of wondering how the main story will turn out, but I’ve been delaying that for a little while.  I should probably head into Boston and get shit started.

Diablo III (Now Playing)

VHGE1UOVGE431402697675171Yes, yes, I’ve been here before.  Diablo 3 has been out for a few years now, but it manages to keep coming back into my life.  First, I finally started playing it once the godawful Auction House idea was taken out.  It was awesome.  Then the expansion pack came out, and I waited awhile before getting it, but it was also a lot of fun.  Now there’s concepts of Seasons and Adventure Mode, both introduced in the expansion pack, but I didn’t actually explore them that much as I was happy with finishing the main story.  But I got sucked into it again and am playing a new Crusader character in Season 5 (don’t ask me what the different seasons mean…I don’t know) and it’s just a blast.  I’m hooked.

Leaving El Nino for El Freezo

UPDATE:  Guess I’m not going after all!  Client decided not to have us all gather in person this week.  Sooo…all the El Nino for me I can handle!!!


Not for too long of course, but duty calls and I’m off to NYC and Philadelphia for the rest of the week.  And JUST when the rain was getting good!

And to see the LA River like this?

Pretty impressive, albeit a bit scary thinking of anybody stupid enough to get anywhere within the river.  Fortunately, the rain seems to have tapered off this afternoon.  I’m hoping that stays the case as I am dreading getting to LAX this evening.  It’s already enough I’m taking the red-eye.

So what’s awaiting me on the East Coast?  Seems like pretty damn cold temperatures, that’s what!  Breaking out the pea coat, yay!!!