Friday, December 31, 2010

the not-so-romantic aspect of NYC in the snow

Tardiness on the part of the Dept of Sanitation to clear the streets, combined with the NYC 'schmutz' and temperatures of 5-10C turned First Ave into an grey, icy, slushy bog, especially at the corners. Not as pretty as Monday, but just as amazing in its own way

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Central park yesterday

Central Park is photogenic anytime but always great after a snow storm. unfortunately at 3 pm sun was already off of most of it

5th Avenue footpath looking like a luge track

good way to get around

perfect conditions for sledding

The Mall: watch out for falling branches!

peaceful vista towards 5th Ave.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What we woke to this morning: "Snowmaggedon"

Snowed all night and finally stopped about 6 am, and more than 60cm snow had fallen, much more than predicted. On the streets, it was like "Independence Day II", with abandoned buses, buried cars, deserted streets, and the few people out were walking on the roadways because the footpaths weren't cleared. Tomorrow, pictures of Central Park in the snow...
on our terrace - never seen deeper snow

1st Ave & E.68th

outside MSKCC - living 5 blocks away, no "snow days" for Paul

Union Square

Broadway at E.17th!

Yesterday's blizzard: just as predicted

Seems most people in Australia have heard about the NYC blizzard by now, but here's an eyewitness account. The storm was being monitored as it barreled up the East coast on Sunday morning, and hit NYC like clockwork around 1pm. The drive back from Millerton was treacherous and took 50% longer than usual. By time we had gotten home at 5pm, the blizzard had really set in and was expected to continue through the night and dump a foot to a foot and a half. It was as bad as any storm in our 3 winters, and there was even thunder&lightning - apparently caused by friction from ice crystals rubbing against each other in the clouds!
on the Taconic State Parkway, 3pm

on our terrace, 5pm

our building's entrance, 7pm

on First Avenue, 7 pm

our building's courtyard, 9 pm

Sunday, December 26, 2010

blizzard warning for NYC this evening

Click on the link

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A white-ish Christmas 2010

According to the National Weather Service, to qualify as "white" it has to snow and there has to be an inch of snow on the ground. So we headed over into the Litchfield Hills of NW Connecticut (CT) where they have more snow because of the elevation. Norfolk is the highest town in CT. It is forecast to snow tomorrow night, with up to 3-5 inches accumulating by time it stops on Monday.
St Mary's, Lakeville CT where we went to 10 am Mass
"the weather outside is frightful..."
"...but the fire so delightful"
Lakeville CT
frozen Tobey Lake, Norfolk CT

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all from NYC

Not much snow in the city, but there has been a bit up in Millerton. Forecast to snow Sunday night.
"the weather outside is frightful..."

Millerton, Christmas Eve

30 Rock, Dec 23

30 Rock, Dec 23

30 Rock, Dec 23

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Visiting the Roman ruins around Antalya

The conference was over at lunch time on Saturday and our flight back to Istanbul wasn't until 5pm, so we hired a driver to take us to visit the nearby Roman ruins of Aspendos and Perge. Aspendos is recognized as having the best preserved Roman amphitheater anywhere in the Mediterranean, while Perge is a well-preserved Roman city rivaling Pompeii in scale. In between, we managed to find a roadside gozleme stand, and while these were totally authentic it did show the Turkish guy next to the $2 shop at Lane Cove makes a damn good gozleme.
aqueduct at Aspendos

ringside seats at the old amphitheater at Aspendos: half time score is Christians 1, Lions 0

making gozleme the old way

old street at Perge

east meets west at Perge

Friday, December 17, 2010

Aboard the good ship Titanic

oday we are at the Eastern Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, staying at the "Titanic" Resort. As you can see, it's a bizarre hotel in the shape of a cruise liner; guess they will be OK when the sea level rises! Works like a Club Med, with full board including free drinks and entertainment as part of the daily price of only 40 euros (not Turkish lira, as guests are predominantly German, Dutch and Russian). Today saw a nice change in the weather, 19C and sunny, so during a hiatus in Paul's conference we escaped the compound and spent a few hours visiting the old city which is a fishing port. Ironically (Titanic), there was a freighter which got smashed against the rocks in last night's storm and "one man caput" according to a street vendor we spoke to. Also saw a spectacular waterfall that cascades into the ocean. Tomorrow we head back to Istanbul.

bow of Titanic hotel

pools of Titanic Resort

old fishing port of Antalya

ship wreck at Antalya

Lower Duden waterfall

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Turkish delights

Off to Antalya this afternoon, so we spent the morning back in the Old City, first visiting the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar) -ruined somewhat by non-stop hassling from carpet sellers (wanting $1000 for a nice one) - then back to the hotel via the Galata Tower before heading to the airport. Galata Tower dates back to the Romans in 582 A.D. but rebuilt in 1384 and luckily renovated a few times since then. Observation deck is 60m above the ground, offering spectacular 360 deg views of Istanbul (pop 13 mil) Grand Bazaar

shopping inside Grand Bazaar

enjoying a Bikal Eklem (Turkish filet o' fish) on the Galata bridge. No more Doner kebabs for me!

Galata Tower

view from the tower: yikes!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Unlike Churchill, we pulled the plug on Gallipoli

We decided to stay in Istanbul instead of making the schlep down to Gallipoli: no disrespect to the fallen Diggers intended but it is a 4.5 hrs drive each way, weather crap, Monica not feeling well and very expensive. Instead, we did the short version of the Bosphorus River cruise then visited the UNESCO certified Hagia Sophia. It is a massive 6th century Roman basilica-turned mosque-turned museum, with beautiful Byzantine mosaics currently being restored. It was incredible.
Eminonu docks with Yeni Cami in background

Bridge over the Bosphorus, connecting Europe (L) and Asia (R)

Hagia Sophia

It is huge inside: bigger than Grand Central Terminal

the "Blue Angel" mosaic, which was only recently restored

Monday, December 13, 2010

Postcard from Istanbul

A fascinating day in the old part of the city. Visited some mosques, the 15th century Spice Markets and the Topkapi Palace where the sultans lived. Tomorrow we are going to Gallipoli

the famous Blue Mosque

inside a mosque

fisherman on the Galata bridge

inside the Spice Market

inner gate at Topkapi Palace