Friday, December 18, 2009

Xmas in NYC #6: Xmas tree in our apartment


The blog is going offline for the holidays. see you in 2010

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Xmas in NYC #1: Holiday Markets at Union Square; and happy hannukah!


Menorrah at Aqueduct race track where i was today and backed 3 winners from 6 races

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger Woods

Followers of the now-defunct Park Avenue Paul blog would remember the hilarious photo of Tiger from the rain-delayed US Open on Long Island back in June. How prophetic that photo was! here it is, for those who missed it.
Q: what's the differnce between a golf ball and Cadillac?
A: Tiger can't drive a Cadillac 400 yards.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

first snow for the season

winter does not start officially for another 16 days but today we had the first snow in the city. The flurries of big wet flakes started around 3 pm and continue but too light for any accumulation (up to 2-3 cm was predicted). it has been only 1-2 C since lunch time.
snow flurries on our terrace
check out those temperatures for the week ahead, but not much precipitation
sunday morning in Cnetral Park: a bit of ice on the leaves is all that accumulated (make a great 1000 piece jig saw puzzle!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

another weekend in CT

where we stayed
getting our Xmas tree
country lane near Kent
Holiday traffic coming back to NYC, post 4 day Thanksgiving weekend. Just like the F3!

Thanksgiving - last Thursday

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day is one tbing worth seeing in NYC. Great holiday/family atmosphere and amazing bands, floats and balloons. We were late getting over there this year after running/breakfast. the first 3 photos are from last year when it was sunny but cold (like close to 0c). This year was overcast and milder (around 10C)








Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend in Washington

We had a great weekend in Washington, even though Monica had the flu (not just a cold, but probably seasonal rather than H1N1). it is only 3 hours by train. Beautiful fall weather: sunny and around 15C
We stayed at a hotel at Dupont Circle, like the West Village in NYC. Saturday after lunch we walked over to historic Georgetown via Embassy Row.
HISTORIC GEORGETOWN

Had dinner at "Cork", Washington's #1 wine bar. Sunday we went on an open air bus tour then the Mall and 2 of the Smithsonian Museums; Air & Space to see the Lunar Command Module & 'tin cans' from the Gemini program, then American History specifically to see Julia Child's kitchen from when she lived in Boston in 1960's , which is on display there.
THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS ARE POORER QUALITY, BECAUSE TAKEN ON PHONE AS CAMERA BATTERY FLAT
JULIA'S KITCHEN

ON THE MALL; CAPITOL BUILDING IN BACKGROUND

THE WHITE HOUSE [CAN'T GET CLOSER BECAUSE OF SECURITY]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beethoven's Ninth at the Lincoln Center

When there is so much destruction and evil in the world, you listen to Beethoven's Ninth and are reassured by the creativity and beauty humans are also capable of. Evereyone should have going to hear it on their bucket list. We have heard it a couple of times now, at Syd Opera House, & Syd Town Hall, but this was an outstanding rendition, by the National Chorale. Also our first visit to the Lincoln Center, which is over on the Upper West Side, on W.65th & Broadway; so the quickest way to get there was walking straight across the Park



in Central Park, outside Tavern on the Green








the Lincoln Center








Lincoln Center fountain


.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

End of a saga: Paul gets his NY driver's licence

2 weeks ago i became the proud owner of my NY State driver's licence (or should i say 'driver license'). it finally arrived in the mail today.

I asked a friend who had moved to NYC many years ago, "how do you know when NY is your home?" and he said, "When you get a your NYS driver license". it is also important for a number of other reasons:
* legal reasons: you are supposed to get one within 90 days of becoming a permanent resident, but I am not sure if this pertains if you don't own a car/routinely drive. i know a car-less expat been living in Manhattan 6 years who occasionally rents a car and still relies on his Victorian licence.
* valid ID for buying alcohol (over 21) [and fags, if you're a smoker]- I have been asked to show ID twice;
* car rental: no need for international driver license to support NSW one, and also getting tickets sent to right address [got one for going through an e-tag lane in NJ without paying, sent to Lane Cove],
*no longer needing to take passport for ID when flying domestic.

If you are from another US state or canada you can swap your old one for a NY one. everyone else is treated like a 17 year old. Getting the license was the culmination of a 6-9 month, extremely tedious, multi-step saga.
* Step One (February): obtain and study the 116-page driver manual. Rules, terminology and signs are basically the same but as John Travolta said in Pulp Fiction "same shit, little differences" e.g. stopping for those yellow school buses.
* Step Two (June) go to the infamous DMV office at Herald Square with sufficient ID - must produce Social Security card (Monica fell at this hurdle) and sit for written exam (pencil and paper, not computer) and get learners permit (valid 1 year, does for ID)
TAKING THE WRITTEN TEST

*Step Three (also June): attend 5 hour "driver's school": this involved physically attending the offices of a driving school in evening and sitting through 5 hours of instruction and videos on how to drive, road rage and drink driving followed by another pencil and paper test on the videos. Driver's school certificate also valid 1 year and required to take road test
WAITING AT THE DMV

* step 4: take road test (july): i fell at this hurdle: very undignifiying becuase Kate & Steve were here at the time. You have to drive around for 10 minutes with an instructor in the car (she was a bitch, and a trainee so there was a supervisor sititng in the back seat), and they have you pull out, do a parallel park, a 3 point turn, and stop at some stop signs. I did it at Riverdale in the Bronx (a site notorious for failing). you accumulate 5, 10 or 15 points for each error; 30 points or one major mistake (e.g. run a red light, have an accident) you fail. Worst possible score is 250. I got 65 points (which i am now quite "proud" of, like a naughty schoolkid).
* step 5: (October) when no longer pissed off about flunking road test, take it seriously, have some driving lessons, check out the road test venue and try again
* step 6: (November): take road test again -in Yonkers - and graduate. only got 10 points this time !

Sunday, November 15, 2009

day trip to western Connecticut

Yesterday we rented a car and drove to western CT again, less than 2 hrs from Manhattan and it is good to get out of the city and we are thinking of taking a long term weekend rental there next summer. Not a great day for it weather wise (damp but pretty mild, max around 13C) and the fall colors are past the peak, but it was fun anyway. Monica makes a weekly schlep to Union Square to buy free range eggs so when we saw these chooks we thought we might be able to get them even fresher


and lucky the farm had "cellar door" sales and these eggs were laid Friday (in fact it was on an honesty system and they were only $5/doz)


a bit further north is a cute town of West Cornwall, with another one of those covered bridges


could be in Scotland!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A week when too much sport was barely enough

On top of Melbourne Cup Night and the Yankees winning the World Series, Friday night we were at Madison Square Garden to watch the NY Knicks play the Cleveland Cavs. It was the Cavs only game at MSG for the season, so we got to see Lebron James and Shaquille O'Neal. Final score was Cavs 100, Knicks 91. The score line flattered the Knicks; they trailed by 20 points virtually the whole game.


Then Saturday morning, it was off to the Baker St pub to watch the Wallabies in their gutsy 2-tries-to-nil win over the English Lions, live from Twickenham.

Then running and cycling today. It was like September rather than November, max 19 and it was beautiful along the Hudson River cycleway...

...before mixing it with the Sunday arvo traffic coming home on 8th Ave; lucky for the bike lane, but still an adrenaline rush