New York Adventures

My first Christmas and New Years in New York, starring Lily O’Neill, Caitlin Tierney, Nick Sheridan, Meribah Rose, and others. Lucky I live in New York… I can’t imagine anyone making the trip just to see me. Most of the organising for this was very last-minute, but we made the most of it. It was kinda weird, but also very cool to spend the Christmas/New Year period with a huge group of Australians in New York, of all places.

Christmas day in the big apple. Lily arrived on a flight the previous night and was severely jet-lagged. Here we observe that she has crossed the road. This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem except that we weren’t supposed to cross the road, at least not to where she is. (She’s the one in the green jacket)

We began our adventures with a lovely Christmas lunch at Jean Georges

Walking down 5th Avenue on a very busy Christmas evening.

It was very crowded. Luckily, we had Nick with us. Although the average height in the US is much higher than most countries in Latin America, Nick still stands out a little and is easy to spot in a crowd. Can you spot him?

The Rockerfeller centre…

A church, opposite the Rockerfeller centre.

Holy water…

’twas a cold Christmas evening.

A giant Christmas tree in front of the Rockerfeller centre. There is an ice skating rink nearby, but the crowd was too dense to move close to it.

Though not as impressive as the lights that adorn the sides of buildings in Hong Kong, midtown New York did make a comendable effort.

…and, in case anyone wanted a hot dog, or some roasted cashews…

This was just a little bit wrong… so naturally, I took a photo.

Lily and Caitlin observe Times Square for the first time…

Walking around the East Village, we spotted this ‘modified’ streetsign.

We stumbled into an Irish pub and had a few drinks…

This was a common sight during the holiday period… me sniping with my camera. Nick is probably smiling because he knows that he’s not got my camera pointed at him.

For Boxing day, the girls went shopping and me and Nick decided to visit the American Museum of Natural History on what is probably one of its busiest days of the year.

oohhh… pretty rocks.

more pretty rocks. Those who have followed closely will know that I’ve already been to this museum, but only got to see a small portion of it. During this trip, I tried to ‘fill in the gaps’.

oohh… a crossword.

A very large tree… displayed to exhibit its rings. This tree was about 1500 years old when it was felled.

The female Anopholes mosquito… vector for Malaria.

This is a very large room… in this room is a very large whale.

mmm… Calamari…

a tiger

Nick examines the exhibit which gives you a sense of scale for the universe…

For example… Jupiter and Saturn in front of the sun…

The African animals exhibit is dominated by a very large bench. Oh… and there are some elephants too.

This is the exhibit of the ‘local’ fauna… straight out of the subway.

What are you looking at?

…and finally, the good stuff – Dinosaurs!

This is a very large fish. Imagine picking this guy’s bones out of your teeth…

This fellow was a sea snake.

A fairly complete Allosaurus skeleton. In the foreground, is a T-Rex skeleton.

this one really made my jaw drop. Archaeopteryx… the link between birds and dinosaurs… and what a beautiful specimen it is.

Touch a Deinonychus claw? Ok… I will.

A Stegosaurus… and a great deal of text refuting the two-brains theory…

A Triceratops… they’re a little bigger than I imagined them to be.

A Badger…

Unable to find the time to watch the “cosmic collisions” show at the museum’s planetarium, I was content to observe two Mooses colliding. (is that the plural of “Moose”? is it Meese?)

This was terribly kinky… I guess these guys solved the problem of uncomforably hard church pews…

mmm… yum yum yum

when the trunk is pointed up – it means good luck

Later that night, we meet up in Central Park to go ice skating… which was fun, except that I dont take too well to rental skates.

We met up with Meribah and her sister and went to have some dinner in the East Village at a very colourfully decorated restaurant called “Yaffer”.

Us? Tourists? Nevar…

Some random art in the West 4th Street Station… (i think).

A nice early walk across the Brooklyn Bridge… phwoar, very impressive.

On the 27th, we went on a “Sex and the City” tour. Apparently, it is a TV show about some people living in New York… our tour began in front of the Plaza hotel.

This was one of my favourite parts of the tour – muffins. Someday I’ll get around to watching the actual TV show so I will actually understand some of these references.

No, don’t be silly, we’re not tourists… we’re just fans of Narcissus.

…is there chocolate in my teeth?

In this TV series, there is a character named “Carrie”. This is her “stoop”, which I think is just another word for “the steps leading up to the building containing her apartment”.

Caitlin samples a cosmopolitan.

We were in a restaurant/bar which was used in the series…

Despite never having watched the show, the tour was enjoyable because I got to see some of New York and the tour guide was very informative.

Later that night, Lily met up with Iyana, a friend whom she met while spending a semester in Amsterdam who now lives in New York. The owner of the bar, Gary, sits to the left of Iyana and made us some nice drinks and undercharged us some ridiculous amount.

…and of course, what trip to New York would be complete without a trip to Macy’s?

The next day, we spent the morning browsing through the Metropolitan Museum of Art…

…which was just magnificent.

We rushed past most of Egypt to join a tour… hmm… is that the book of the dead? (yes, it was… *bows*, see, I DID pay attention during my archaeology classes on ancient Egypt)

I was not particularly fond of most of the art from the formative years of the US… but the rooms were very nice indeed.

Tuning the cymbals… getting ready for some pretty sweet tambourine riffs.

Lily did French at school… no, it seems that the ancient Egyptians didn’t write in French… darn.

Mummification does a surprisingly good job of preserving… stuff.

As all good mueums of art should have… a room full of statues.

The rooms were works of art in themselves… if I ever live in a very very large house, I want at least one room that looks like this.

People are the same everywhere… but fountains are not.

The level of detail was, at times, astounding.

this is a painting – these are in no short supply in the Met.

This s a painting of an ear… and other stuff.

close up… we see there is much more to this ear than meets the eye.

There are even one or two paintings by some Spanish fellow named Picasso…

A Badger… no… actually, this is a very thin Cat.

Yet another magnificent room in the Met

$2 Hot dogs… mmmmm

The absurd queue for last-minute cheap broadway tickets… the group split. Some of us went to see “Rent”, I had already seen Rent, so I went to see “Cyrano de Bergerac” which featured Kevin Klein and Jennifer Garner, who was surprisingly good… and she wasn’t bad at acting either.

Everywhere we went, there were scary people dressed up as characters from children’s TV shows.

Us? Tourists? Nevar… a lovely posed shot with a member of the NYPD

Does this seem strange to anyone else?

This was the queue to get into the Guggenheim museum… ugh

That Frank Lloyd Wright guy sure knows what he’s doing when it comes to architecture.

The idea is to go right up to the top via elevator, then slowly spiral down through the exhibits until you get to the bottom.

It was a very busy day… like most days in New York.

Even the Cafe was wonderfully decorated with photographs.

…can you tell that I like the architecture of the building?

Sunset over central park, taken from just outside the Guggenheim

…and in the capital of capitalism, we just *had* to buy stuff at the gift shop.

After the Guggenheim, we skipped across central park and found ourselves a nice Thai restaurant called “Land” which was recommended by a friend…

…and there was much rejoycing… and eating.. mmm… eating.

Later that night, we strolled up into Harlem to check out some Jazz…

It was goooood… and we were pleased.

At about midnight, the ‘traditional’ jazz stopped and there was a whole African drumming-with-jazz hybrid gig… and by this time, the place was packed

forget the subway, this was the rumble we were after…

Caitlin’s neck was sore… so Lily thought it would be a good idea to try and strangle her…

St Nick’s… must remember that (because I live here, and can go back whenever I want… )

Apparently, it is impossible, or at least very difficult to wave your hand around in one direction while simultaneously twirling your foot in the other… I’m not entirely sure what brought this up.

…and another one of our favourite activites – sniping each other with our cameras

Most days began like this… or a variation of it – a brief meeting at my place do decide on a loose itinerary for the day… and also so that the geographically-challenged would not get lost, at least between my place and our first destination.

Which was gospel at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on that particular morning

…which was actually pretty cool. Apparently the head pastor of this church even has his own radio show.

…and more meeting up with random friends in New York…

…how dare she! in the city that never sleeps…

New Year’s Eve began at Junior’s – a cheesy cheesecake shop in Brooklyn

Which actually had some pretty nice cheesecake.

After that, we attended a private party of sorts… hosted by a friend-of-a-friend at Columbia.

Obviously a very sophisticated, in-depth philosophical discussion… complete with wine in plastic cups

Does this seem strange to anyone else?

Nick fiddles with the Champagne bottle while Caitlin snipes

Nick, not being very experienced at fiddling with champagne bottles… um… couldn’t control it when it popped (that was not a dirty joke), and made a bit of a mess

10… 9… 8… 7… 6…

5… 4… 3… 2… 1… yay! It’s 2008

We even got to see the ball drop in Times Square.

…so don the pink hat Caitlin!

…and Lily!

…and Nick!

…and Meribah!

…and some random guy…

this banner was hung quite low… as if Nick didn’t have enough to worry about with that low arch, he also had to worry about grazing his shins on this stupid thing.

…and, as is customary at parties, there was some dancing…

Nick demonstrates his dip-ability

New York apartments are typically not very big… although this was was fairly decent – the area you are looking at is probably about the size of my whole apartment.

Nick and Lily smoke it up on the dancefloor…

Even Meribah got in on the action

…and like all good Australian tourists, we decided to take over the ipod briefly to ensure that the music was dance-able to.

you can tell that I like having my picture taken, can’t you?

A strane side-effect of having a rather large and professional looking camera, is that people like to ask you to take their picture.

…the party starts to wind down, and plans for moving out into the town are hatched.

The elevator… a lovely antique thing with a swinging door.

trying to decide where to go next…

we stumbled outside and, quite randomly, found ourselves an Indian restaurant (which we later returned to to eat… it was GOOD) which was playing bollywood music

…and giving out free drinks… which, in retrospect may not have been the best idea in the world… actually, I take that back.

…so we just went crazy for a few more hours.

while I experimented with my camera’s flash and its long-exposure capabilities.

a psuedo-congo-line

the ghostly images that the flash-long-exposure combination picked up were pretty cool… i thought anyway

Even from the street, it all looked pretty happening.

Nick and I demonstrate… I’m not sure what… but whatever it is, we’re doing an stellar job of demonstrating it.

Australians? In New York? Surely you’re mistaken…

…and the fish we caught was THIS big!

Meribah demonstrates her martial arts skill… or maybe she was trying to dance… I forget.

Look at the camera Meribah! Otherwise you won’t be able to remember any of this…

…the next afternoon (as if we’d wake up in the morning after all that)

the sun begins to set over downtown…

The Barnes and Noble at Union Square…

and interesting mix of structures… one wonders WHAT they were thinking when they joined the two…

Some birthday presents for Meribah… she has a thing for peanut butter and sweets which feature it

A very large arch and Christmas tree at the north end of Washington Square park

Sittin and chillin in a cafe in the West Village…

…and here we met up with an old school friend, Derek Choy, and his brother Ian

…who, conincidentally, was in the same year level as Nick, and was suitably freaked out by the coincidence of bumping into him in a cafe in the West Village.

Nick and I are sitting on a bench which belonged to the Medicis… how cool is that?

Somehow the group got split… and the keys ended up with someone who ended up not getting home first… d’oh. So we just waited, then nipped down to the 24-hour French restaurant to eat some soup.

This is what I bought at the Guggenheim shop… I never knew that they modelled the whole museum after some coffee cups.

does this seem unusual to anyone else?

We tripped down to Chinatown…

…so that we could catch the super-cheap chinatown bus to Boston to visit Nick (who had returned to Boston at this point)

A trojan cow watches over south street station

We went to this awesome north-african restaurant where we had lemonade with mint leaves and rose petals… and it was AWESOME!

This is Nick’s apartment… and Nick, right about when he realized that he left his keys in his mailbox keyhole.

the view from Nick’s apartment is pretty cool… and visibility that day was also very good.

Lily, the tourist, helps another tourist with the fiddly ticket machines

We picked the worst day possible to attempt the “Freedom Trail”… it was -12 celsius with a windchill in the region of the -20s. We didn’t finish the trail, it was just much effort to even be outside.

but we did complete at least part of the trail

first stop – the golden dome… are you sure that’s it Nick? (at this point, Nick rolls his eyes)

Boston Common… how lovely…

awww… it’s Sam Adams.

This building is “Old City Hall”… the guidebook says so.

This poor donkey had to stand perfectly still out in the blistering cold. Good thing it isn’t a real donkey…

oh, I like tea parties!

at the museum, there was this lovely exhibit where you pushed buttons and lights would come on! here, the freedom trail is illuminated in blue.

Funny thing about this whole museum… if you replaced “Patriot” with “Revolutionary”, it would have been difficult to tell the difference between this and the “Museo de la Revolucion” in Havana, Cuba. The Boston massace… quite pale by today’s standards, resulted in the death of five (count them) patriots and the hands of the English pigdogs.

The building was quite nice…

It had a nice spiral staircase

…and some spiffy displays.

Including a very nice model ship

…and an advent calendar in the shape of the building.

The basement contained a lovely collection of old photographs.

We got quite sick of the ridiculously cold weather, so we ended our trail at the Quincy market

we had some clam chowder…. mmmmm

and so we spent some time trying to decide what to do…

We went to a lovely pub called “republic” for a drink.

Apparently the place is usually very busy… but due to it being unusually cold, it was… not very busy.

It was so cold in fact… that steam coming out from the grates immediately turned to frost… crickey!

Nick’s apartment’s common area… now home to three Australian refugees

the next day wasn’t nearly as cold, it was only -6, so we had a walk around Harvard

…meh… library’s kinda nice.

…but ice skating on the “Frog Pond” seemed far more appealing.

This was actually an attempt by Caitlin to get a photo of me, but I was just too fast and you can’t even see the blur.

That night, we dined at a Tibetan restaurant and we were having such a good time, that I slipped on a prawn-tail and… it flew into the air and… into Nick’s water. The laughter which resulted from this probably nearly got us kicked out of the restaurant…

The mighty Charles river… qute a serious body of water… is frozen.

So we threw some rocks out onto it.

did I mention that it was very windy?

…and that we were very hungry?

so we walked through MIT and then took the train to the bus stop and went back from Beantown to the Big Apple.

….aaahhh… home again, home again.

…back to morning strolls through central park

We thought we’d do a tour of the UN… even though I’ve already been on a tour of the UN… and have even been inside for the odd conference…

Oh well… it was fun… I knew all the answers to the questions that our guide asked.

The Security Council…

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A gun, converted into a guitar…

The General Assembly

…and, of course, the gift shop

I felt that this rather random piece of… thing… should have been a bit more prominent, rather than being hidden in a corner near the gift shop.

…ahh, all the lovely art that surrounds the UN

We came out in time to see all the flags coming down.

walked about a bit… took some photos…

what else to do in New York? The Opera, of course.

The buildings of the Lincoln Centre are truly magnificent… one gets the feeling that no expense was spared.

The lighting design was particularly impressive

This is what happens when you get rush tickets… its really just pot luck where you end up sitting. The view wasn’t too bad from up here, and the acoustics were actually very good from where we were.

ahh… those lights.

feeling slightly whimsical afterwards, we decided that it would be funny to make it look like Lily had a luminous afro…

Lily and Caitlin discuss the program at a cafe afterwards while I decide just how many courses I want to order.

hmm… Central Park is so Lovely, I wonder what it looks like from the top of one of those really tall buildings?

Hmm…. it still looks quite lovely.

A lovely view of the Empire State Building as seen from the top of the Rockerfeller Centre.

Ice skating seems to be a recurring theme…

Not satisfied with just the opera, we took it upon ourselves to go and see the ballet.

I arrived very early to get good rush tickets… good thing I did. Ten minutes later, the queue was very long indeed.

The interior of the complex is… magnificent, of course.

I must say… for $12, these are pretty awesome seats. I’d rather be lucky than good…

…and, not to be outdone by the opera venue, the ballet theatre also had a very spare-no-expense look about it.

after that, we had another stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, this time with the aim of getting a good view of the city by night.

…yeah… I guess that’s not a bad view…

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but the Brooklyn Bridge is terribly impressive…

After that rather long night, we gorged ourselves (at 2am) at a very nice 24-hour Ukranian restaurant. Yum.

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