Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

It was a cold bleak day, with a "wintry mix" of snow flurries, freezing rain and sleet at times. Despite a plot by 'anarchists' to disrupt the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (thankfully foiled by NYPD), we went over to watch it and got a great spot on the corner of Central Park South & 6th Avenue, right where they turn. Emma Lovell, in US for a conference, came by for lunch. In the evening, we went for dinner to the apartment of some new expat friends fresh off the boat, Ray & Di and and their daughter Katarina who is just a week younger than Xave. This year, we're giving thanks for the Rabbitohs of course. Also the cherry tomatoes, egg plants and herbs on our terrace did pretty well! :) (the first frost, marking the end of the 'growing season' occurred Nov 18 this year)
as they say in Italy, Buon Ringraziamento!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"They celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, right?"

This year, I'm saying "yep, and it's big there too" - after 6 years of getting shocked &/or dismayed reactions to "no, it's in the Southern hemisphere, so it's spring there, it's not harvest time (and the water really does go down the plug the other way), and Christmas is our big family occasion".* But unlike Halloween, Valentines Day and various other American holidays, Thanksgiving is a nice concept, as these old photos show. Being just 2 deg C outside with a wintry mix (rain/sleet/snow flurries) today, staying inside to eat and drink and watch the footy sounds like a good option. We would do well to add "Thanksgiving" to the NSW Public Holiday roster, perhaps some time in late May?
*Footnote: despite the obvious harvest and religious connotations, it was actually Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed TG as a public holiday, to give thanks for "the advantages and privileges of living in a democracy" such as the USA

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A slow news day for sure, but the story is about the City Council attempting to regulate the people who dress up in costumes and hang out at Times Square for photos with tourists (for a fee). Many consider them little more than panhandling pests.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Private playground at Union Square

Perhaps the record cold temperatures (and snow - but not in NYC) across the eastern US yesterday made the World news in your neck of the woods? if not, it struggled to get above 0 deg here, and the 30-60 kph winds made it feel much colder. Nevertheless, it was a surprise to M & X that they had the Union Square playground to themselves at 10 am - a time when it would normally be teeming with hundreds of kids. New Yorkers are such whimps!
It's cold again this morning (6 a.m.): minus 5 deg C, feels like minus 10.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Holiday Train Show at NYBG

Although not winter until December 21st, the cold weather is now upon us and and there was even forecast of snow one night during the week, that did not eventuate. The "Holidays" (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) are just around the corner, and yesterday we went to the Botanical Garden to see the Holiday Train Show which Xavi enjoyed very much. Although the "Fall colors" are past their peak, the Garden was pretty spectacular on a clear, crisp day (max. 3 deg C). Even the real MetroNorth trains looked good today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This could just be the best value meal in NYC

From the sublime to the ridiculous - last Sunday we were enjoying the regional dishes of the northern Veneto with Stephen & Jenny in the old world charm of Hosteria Ca' Dentro on via Canova in Asolo. This Sunday back in NYC we had lunch at Ikea in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. All you could eat for $14.40: Swedish meatballs and fries, soup, salad, yogurt, chips, soda (free refills), apple juice. Plus great views of the Freedom Tower and Statue of Liberty from the dining room. Plus a free water taxi ride to and from Pier 11 at South Street Seaport. Not to mention plenty of exercise climbing through the "Bjursta" cupboards. Only trouble was it was extremely depressing standing in the long, slow moving line waiting to be served lunch...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our week in Italy

We have just been back to visit Jenny & Stephen in Milan for a week. We spent most of the time doing more sightseeing in the Veneto region in the North East with Treviso, the home town of one of Stephen's co-workers, as our base. We were very lucky with the weather, sunny & mild (9-18 deg C) most days, the scenery and food was amazing. We drove nearly 1200km in 4 days but still had a lot of fun, with no dramas. Day 1 - Milan: it's a 7 hr red eye flight from JFK to MXP, so we were pretty pooped on arrival.
Day 2 - Lake Como. it was sunny but a bit foggy. we really liked the town of Varenna
Day 3 - Milan to Bassano del Grappa. rented this Citroen C4 from Thrifty at Linate airport and headed out on the A4 East towards Venezia, making it as far as this cute town of Bassano.
Day 4- Bassano to Treviso, via Monte del Grappa. Very steep and winding climb to the top of the mountain (2000m) but worth it for the solemn WWI memorial (12,561 caduti) on the summit, and spectacular views of the Dolomites, then on to Treviso where we rendez-voused with J&S.
Day 5 - day trip to Padua. Home of the 2nd oldest university in Italy (founded in 1222) and also of St. Anthony. Also famous for its frescos by Ghiotto. And pretty good gelato, according to the afficionadi
Day 6 - day trip into Prosecco country (Vittoria Veneto to Asolo). Spectacular vineyard scenery to rival the Piemonte region.
Day 7 - Mantova. The weather not so good today for this amazingly well-preserved town in the Po valley (Lombardia) about halfway back to Milan.