2015—Times Square

Sue and I saw two Broadway shows while we were in New York City. We saw our first production, a last minute decision to see a revival of The King and I at Lincoln Center, on Saturday evening. Our last minute seats were just a couple of rows away from the stage that moved toward us covering the orchestra pit. It was sensational. On Sunday afternoon, we saw Kinky Boots at the Al Hirschfeld Theater on 45th St. What a fun, colorful, uplifting show! We emerged from the theater into Times Square at dusk. We both agreed that we’d seen Times Square, with no desire to return unless it was to see another marvelous Broadway show.

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2015—West 10th Street

On Sunday morning as we strolled through Greenwich Village on our way to a restaurant where my nephew had made reservations for brunch, one of my Sisters-in-law spotted a huge sign looming over the corner of a century old brick townhouse at the corner of W. 10th Street and 7th Avenue: Restaurant BOBO Bar & Garden the sign proclaimed. We all chuckled and of course I stopped to take a photo to send off to Cody, Bobo’s bird sitter while I’m gone. After a few minutes, Michael descended the stairs, allegedly to look at the menu. When he emerged a few minutes later he told us he’d ‘cancelled’ the reservations at the other restaurant and we’d be eating at Bobo’s. Turns out, Bobo’s was our destination the entire time. He’s taking some classes at NYU which is just a couple of blocks from Bobo’s in Greenwich Village and he’d scouted it out before we even arrived in NYC. Bobo’s is a great restaurant with delicious food and fun staff. We ate on the rooftop garden and they’re eagerly awaiting a portrait of my own Bobo that I promised to send them. By the way, Bobo, in Greenwich Village Speak, is an abbreviated form of the words bourgeois and bohemian and refers to the fusion of these two very different cultures; apparently ‘bobos’ are successors to the yuppies.

In the first shot, Pam, Sue, and Sonia pose in front of Bobo’s. The second shot is a view down 7th Ave. from Bobo’s to One World Trade Center.

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2015— Entertainment NYC Style

On Saturday, we spent the day wandering the streets and observing the sights in NYC with visits to the World Trade Center site, China Town, and Little Italy. Non traditional street entertainment opportunities abounded, including a “pole dancer” on the subway train as we traveled downtown, a troupe of talented acrobatic street dancers who grabbed passersby to join in the entertainment, and a group of Chinese musicians whose Eastern music sounded very traditionally Chinese. We enjoyed watching these three shows for “donations” totally less than $10.

Sue and I visited Lincoln Center Saturday evening for some rather more traditional fare, the musical The King and I which was just as entertaining but at a substantially greater financial output.

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 2015—Take The “A” Train

Pope mania was everywhere in NYC Friday with tens of thousands of people descending on the various venues around the city. We’d seen the preparations at Central Park Thursday, so we chose to go in the opposite direction to avoid the madness. After breakfast, we stopped in at Milano Market on Broadway and bought some deli sandwiches and wine, then we hopped the “A” train to escape the crowds. The “A” train took us to the Cloisters on the northern tip of Manhattan. I think I could almost hear Duke Ellington tickling the ivories as we swayed on the subway tracks. After touring the Cloisters and seeing its fascinating collection that includes the 15th century Unicorn Tapestries, we walked to nearby Inwood Hill Park and we had a very late afternoon picnic on the lawn in view of the Henry Hudson Bridge. By the time we returned to our neighborhood, we’d registered another 15,746 steps, 7 miles.

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2015—Lady Liberty

What a day in New York City! We started the day with breakfast at Tom’s Restaurant, just a few blocks away from where we’re staying. It’s the restaurant made famous in Seinfeld where the Seinfeld characters spent much of their time. Michael joined us there and then he showed us how to buy metro tickets and we took our first subway ride. At noon, we boarded the Circle Line Tour Boat for a trip around Manhattan Island.

After the boat tour, we spent much of the rest of the day trying to avoid the Pope! We encountered preparations for the Pope’s visit everywhere and when we went to rendezvous with Sonia who works at the Frick Museum on 70th St. at 5th Avenue, we found blocks of 5th Ave barricaded and what appeared to be every law enforcement officer in the burough of Manhattan lining the roadway because the Pope was scheduled to pass by following mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on his way to where he was staying in NYC, about a block away from the Frick. We did finally manage to cross 5th Avenue and tour the Frick and its unbelievable collection of master paintings. What a treat to stand so close to stunning works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, Turner, Manet, Goya, van Eyck, and seemingly countless others I’ve admired for decades. We finished the day at Pasha, a Turkish restaurant on the Upper West Side. By the time we got home, my Fitbit had registered 20,542 steps, almost 9 and a half miles. This was a surprising distance because we also took two subway rides, a 2 and 1/2 hour boat ride, and two cab rides along the way.

Despite taking lots of photos, for me the standout sight of the trip was The Statue of Libery. She is quite awesome.

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2015—Four Twenty-Five RSD

My two sisters-in-law, Pam and Sue, and I arrived in NYC Wednesday morning for a six day visit with my nephew Michael and his wife Sonia in Manhattan. We rented an apartment through AirBnB and are quite happy with our lovely accommodations on the 16th floor at Four Twenty-five Riverside Drive, overlooking the Hudson River complete with its own doorman and with views of the George Washington Bridge and, yes, even Grants Tomb. You bet your life it took us a few tries before we managed to guess who actually is buried in Grant’s Tomb. (N.B. Unless you grew up watching Groucho Marx on TV, don’t give my Grant’s Tomb comment a second thought.)

With the three hour time difference, we felt as if we’d flown all night long and with little sleep. Our Bloody Marys for breakfast on the second leg of our flight to JFK perked us up a bit. We were very glad we opted to book a limo ride from the airport and our driver deposited us in front of 425 Riverside Dr. less than an hour after we landed. A brief misunderstanding with the doorman about why we were there was quickly resolved and we settled into our lodgings. Michael arrived and escorted us back to his apartment with a quick tour of the neighborhood and some much needed sustenance. We walked home from Michael’s mid afternoon and we all three promptly fell asleep.

Here is our friendly doorman at 425RSD (note his cap), the view from our apartment, and a closeup view of Grant’s Tomb as we passed it on the way to Michael’s.

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2015—Behind Bars

Tuesday morning while I watched some lesser goldfinches bathing in the fountain, the female Anna’s hummingbird dive bombed them and they escaped to the safety of the shrubs. I was sitting just a few feet away from the fountain and realized that a garden ornament next to the fountain obstructed my view but I didn’t want to move it or move myself because I knew the hummer probably wouldn’t return. So, I practiced manually fine tuning my focus so that the bird, not the garden ornament in front, or the leaves behind, was in focus. The hummer stayed low behind the rusty bars but I managed to succeed with a few shots. I was hand holding the 80-400mm lens and I was pleased to overcome, at least on this day, one of my problems with auto focus that locks on an object near a moving target instead of the target. When I first turned a ring on the lens to focus, I mistakenly twisted the focal length ring instead of the focus ring so I took these shots at 390mm instead of 400mm. Fine tuning my focus in wildlife shots is something I really need to practice. Well, that and keeping the subject out of dead center.

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