Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New York, New York

We spent the first weekend of August in New York, visiting daughter Mandi, her husband Paul, and our granddaughter Kaci.  (After spending a month with Heidi, Joey, and the Twins, we decided to show some love to the rest of the family - of course, you read not long ago about our Texas trip for a family occasion, too.)

I haven't fixed Playlist yet, so don't have any NY music built in, but to get in the right mood, go here.

We hoped to fly to LaGuardia, where Mandi works and near to where she and Paul live in Astoria/Queens.  Didn't work out, flights to LGA full, so we flew to Newark.  This makes for a rather pricey van-ride, but, hey, we fly free.  As it would happen, our driver was Greek, so he was particularly happy to drive to Astoria, heavily populated by people of  Greek heritage.  When we're in Astoria, I like to go out in the early morning to a nearby deli for a bagel and am always entertained by the exuberant discussions going on among some of the neighborhood gentlemen.

Mandi and Paul's apartment is adjacent to Astoria Park, so I went walking out there Saturday morning.  I'd been to the park before, but had not seen this very large swimming pool.

This pool was the site of the Olympic swimming and diving trials in 1936 (when the pool opened) and 1964.  Back then these events were outdoors.

Doesn't look like the diving pool has been used for a while.

That top platform is 10 meters above the normal water level.

The bridge in the background of these pictures is the Robert F Kennedy Bridge, formerly known and still called by the natives, the Tri-borough Bridge.  There are rather stern instructions on the approaches telling motorists that this is now the RFK Bridge.  The bridge spans the East River.  Here's a picture from downstream, looking at the RFK Bridge from under a railroad bridge.

Saturday, after everybody else got up, we took a drive to Long Island, heading for the village of Greenport, near the northeastern tip of the island.  A sign said: Greenport - a drinking village with a serious fishing problem.

There is a lot of agriculture, too, on Long Island and we stopped at one of the many fruit stands/farmers markets.  Had some fresh-roasted corn on the cob and bought some fruit and veggies to take home.

Found our way to Greenport and had lunch on the dock (wharf? pier?), at Claudio's.

A sign said Claudio's was the oldest same family owned restaurant in the US - since 1870!

Hey, check out this these ... boats!

Musical Interlude.  Here is one of song-writing son-in-law Paul's latest.

I had checked the internet for street festivals and found out there was one going on in Chinatown, in lower Manhattan, so we headed there on Sunday afternoon.  We found a band.

Then, on down the street we found a square where the main activity was going on - several groups of folks playing music like this.

We've been to China twice and I don't remember hearing music quite like this.  (Incidentally, video and snapshots shot from my I-phone.  Quality is a function of the operator.)

Kaci had joined us in Chinatown, under the condition that we wouldn't eat there, so we proceeded north to Little Italy, destination pizza - picked as NYC's best.

For a better picture of Kaci, go here.

There are lots of sidewalk cafes in Little Italy, but we ate indoors and the pizza was very good.  Nice, thin, tasty crust in particular.

The culinary treat of the weekend, though, for me, was the Rice to Riches shop where we stopped for dessert.  Gourmet rice pudding with a huge variety of flavors added.  Some examples:
  •  Cinnamon Sling with Raisins
  • Coast to Coast Cheesecake
  • Coconut Coma
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Bear Hug
  • Man-Made Mascarpone With Cherries
  • Property of Lemon Poppy
  • Stubborn Banana with Toasted Coconut
  • Understanding Vanilla
  • Almond Shmalmond
  • Turkish (International Special)
  • Sex Drugs and Rocky Road
  • Cuban Rum Raisin
  • Chocolate Chip Flirt
  • Play It Again Butter Pecan
  • Peanut Butter Pick-A-Peck
  • Caramel Yogurt Crackdown
  • Sugar-Free Chocolate
  • Pumpkin Walnut

I had Chocolate Chip Flirt.  Here's a review (from where I got the list of flavors).  The Rice pudding folks had lots of clever sayings on the wall and in their brochure, which I kept, but seem to have misplaced. 

What else to do down town?  How about a ride on the free Staten Island Ferry?  So, we did.  Many ferry pictures here.

Here, in the center, is the Freedom Tower, being built on the World Trade Center site.

Statue of Liberty.

I had hoped to climb the stairs inside, but the statue is closed for renovations.  It was re-opened after 9/11 not too long ago and I read then about how hard it was to get a ticket.  Maybe next visit.

While we were on the Staten Ferry a nice man offered me a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge, so I made a down payment and made an appointment to meet him the next morning to get the title.  To see what I had bought, I got up early and hopped four trains that got me to the Brooklyn end of the bridge.  Here's the approach to the bridge.

As you can see, the walking/biking lane is elevated and straddles the car lanes.  I was concerned because I didn't see any toll booths, so I don't know how I'm going to make any money on this deal.

Approaching the west tower.

I was to meet the bridge salesman right there, on the walkway, under the flag, but he didn't show.  All things considered, probably best that he didn't.  I would have had to move to NYC to manage the thing.

To complete your New York experience, go here.  No hints, but don't miss it.

Next day, Tuesday, was home.  Again, flights from LaGuardia were booked solid, so we hired a van to pick us up at 345am and drive us to Newark.  Flew to Chicago Midway, from where we had to get creative.  Flew to Houston, El Paso, then ABQ, getting home to Cedar Crest about 7 pm.  Great trip.


Susie and Rob
Subway System Seniors