Saturday, April 30, 2016

Coming Up: A Poignantly Scuffed Pew

Scuffed for a most noble reason. More on this and the other New York in a week or so. The blog is currently on its travels. See you soon and watch this space!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Other New York 5: Street Scenes

On the way to Washington Square, these houses could be in Chelsea. Chelsea, London, I mean. Confusingly, New York has a Chelsea. And a Soho. Or rather SoHo, which these days is posher than ours and I'm told stands for South of Houston. That's a bit confusing, as I thought Houston was in Texas. Oh, OK, it's a street called Houston, pronounced HOWston. Incidentally there's also a place called DUMBO - Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

And here's Marble Arch.

Though Washington Square isn't a patch on Hyde Park. Having said that, there's always Central Park, on which more later.  But if you're not near it, you're out of luck where parks are concerned. These trees must be paid to bloom on time.

Through the Arch to skyscrapers beyond and behind it some of the Big Apple's more modestly priced housing.


Now here are more of those flippin' fire escapes, They're everywhere!

rather ruining the facades.

Could this be Portobello Road?

How much you got?

to be continued

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Other New York 4: George Washington's False Teeth

Or one of them, can be found in the Fraunces Tavern, a real old pub squeezed uncomfortably among the skyscrapers near Wall Street. It was here that George Washington bid a tearful farewell to his generals. Finding out that he wore badly-fitting dentures made this British visitor feel a little less like a loser. Plus there was a lock of his hair. Under that wig it was actually black.

The Fraunces Tavern has a dark and cosy whisky bar and serves decent food - including Americanised Scotch eggs - not enough of the pink sausage meat to my mind but I suppose so-called healthy eating has taken over.

Incidentally, if you remember, a few years ago I discovered a place called Berkeley Springs (BURKley to Americans, of course) where George Washington had had a bath.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Other New York 3

Here is a very small selection of some new York City quirkery. How nice, for example, to spy a bootblack's stall. I doubt they do much business what with everyone wearing trainers these days but maybe some of those city slickers can afford proper shoes.

Speaking of city slickers, I'm not sure if this gentleman, spotted on the way to Washington Square, is representing the men's spa or the firm selling boxes. He's not really dressed for a spa.

Washington Square has a dog park, with the usual rules and regulations.

I'm glad they've at least remembered to say "have fun" at the end.

The sand, or whatever it was on the ground, smelt a bit pungent, though, this being New York City, it's probably frequently changed. The dogs were Designer of course and having as much fun as they could have, considering they probably spend a lot of their lives in high rise flats. I wonder if you'd be allowed in with a mongrel, which Americans call a "mutt",

A potential customer?

In Washington Square, someone had chalked out the words of the First Amendment to the Constitution - all about free speech, press, religion etc. But I suspect that some views popular in rural western New York would be best left unsaid in Washington Square.

I have a feeling they may be running out of clever restaurant names.

And while we're on the subject of spas, the Russian Bathhouse and Restaurant looks intriguing. Do you have the facial scrubs and massages while you slurp your borscht or are they a way to clean up afterwards?

On the day we were there, you didn't need a Russian bathhouse to get wet. These tourists were forlornly snapping a statue of a bull at the end of Wall Street. The Trafalgar Square lions it wasn't but it was all they had. There's not much point trying to take a selfie with a skyscraper.

This bit of the pavement had a few history lessons - sorely needed in both America and Britain.

So back to those arty recycling bins - see below. They were in Central Park, where even dustbins are stylish. And everyone recycles, of course.

To be continued.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Other New York Part 2

Or perhaps the other, other New York, which is Brooklyn. It of course used to be a separate city. Apparently it's now the tourist thing to walk across Brooklyn Bridge in the course of building which, in the nineteenth century, so many poor workmen died from diving because they didn't know about the bends. Plus did you know they ran a herd of elephants across to prove that it was strong enough? These days you have to run the gauntlet of herds of tourists and their selfie sticks.
Here's the view across to a tiny Statue of Liberty.

And a Brooklyn Bridge police car. The regular police cars say "Courtesy Professionalism Respect". Actually, I'd like them to catch criminals.

 And back to the Manhattan forest.

That's the Bridge with its stone arches to the right.

 Brooklyn Heights is a swanky neighbourhood - nice and quiet with some interesting old buildings.

This is a brownstone - or a beigestone, more like.

This may have been an old fire station.

I've noticed that New York houses, no matter how attractive, have fire escapes down their fronts. Hubby tells me there's a reason for this deformity. There are no back gardens or alleyways to escape through from the back.

Here's an arty pussy willow.

A quaintly named street.

A nice old doorway.
 And a yellowstone.

And a greystone.
 A courtyard by a church.

It was freezing cold but this chap was trying his best.

To be continued

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Other New York Part 1

The blog has returned from a cold, rainy weekend visit to New York City - about as far removed from western New York (300 miles and many more years) as it could possibly be and still live in the same state.

 It does make me nostalgic for London, though. The Subway has many similarities to the dear old Tube, though the carriages are higher with hard seats, the platforms more open and haphazard, the stations grim and utilitarian but smell a little the same. It's a great help not having to "touch out" though - you don't have to burrow for your Oyster at the end of the journey as well as the beginning.  There are fewer ads but Americans are more creative with their signs, in this case, "Don't Be a Pole Hog" and "Crimping and Primping? This is the Subway not a Washroom." People seem very quick to give up their seats.

One of my favourite landmarks - Grand Central Station

is chocca with tempting restaurants like the Oyster Bar

and there's the eye-watering food market,

a sign, if there ever was one of how pampered and privileged New Yorkers are.

Our little and genuinely local farmers' market pales in comparison.  Incredibly, there are also still a few trains

 Though nothing compared to its heyday. But at least they haven't pulled it down.

to be continued.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spotted Outside Walmart

 Now I'm not taking sides here but this is the first local bit of electioneering I've seen - save for a lone "Bernie" placard outside one house where I couldn't stop to get a photo. As a foreigner, I forebear to comment on America's puzzling taste in politicians. Though to be fair to my neighbours, many of them are distinctly underwhelmed and agonising over which lesser evil they can bring themselves to vote for. (And one tunefully described what he would shortly be doing: singing the Canadian National Anthem. )

Monday, April 4, 2016

And Here it Comes!

 Right on cue, we're back to winter. At  least they haven't put the snowploughs away yet.

Somewhere under there is a poor daffodil.

 I did try to tell them they'd come out too soon.