Archive for the ‘New York 2016’ Category

I’ve been doing some research on the Three ‘Feel At Home’ scheme that I used on the New Tork trip. I now gather that the best performance you’ll get from it when you’re abroad is in fact 3G, regardless of the capability of your actual phone. So even if you’ve got a 4G phones you’re not going to the same performance when you’re roaming as you would in the UK. In point of fact, I didn’t even get that level of,performance.

Doubtless this is to cut Three’s costs. I have to say, I had to do a fair amount of digging to find this out – there’s nothing about it that I can see on the Three site.

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Now that I’m back and recovered from the jet lag, etc, it’s time to reflect on the whole experience and draw some conclusions.

First, it was a good trip and I had a great time. The highlights were mainly in NYC, although there were some good experiences upstate. But there were some things I did wrong, or could have done better, so here are my conclusions:- (more…)

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IMG_0075For my three nights in NYC I stayed at an Airbnb place. This was a two-bedroom apartment on W 42nd St, just beyond 11th Avenue – so just about four blocks from Times Square, and three blocks from the subway on 8th Avenue. This was my first stay in a real Airbnb – I had stayed at a place I’d arranged through Airbnb in London a couple of months ago, but actually that turned out to be a room in a budget hotel.

So how did I find it?

First thing to say is that the location was amazing, of course. A lot of places were reachable on foot, albeit with a bit of a walk. It was maybe 20 minutes to the bottom of Central Park, and perhaps 15 minutes over to 5th Avenue. Downtown could be done on foot but would be easier on the subway. And there were plentiful restaurants on 9th Avenue just a couple of blocks away. (more…)

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Just a few final pictures from New York City.

On Monday afternoon I wandered through Bryant Park.  It lies between 5th and 6th Avenues, and between 40th and 42nd streets. The New York Public Library forms the boundary on the 5th Avenue side; on all other sides it’s open. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Apparently in decades past it had been “taken over by drug dealers, prostitutes and the homeless” but several major renovations and improvements have created the popular oasis it now is. I can’t remember what it looked like when Val & I were in NYC last time, which might have been in 2002. I remember that the Public Library was very popular at that time as it operated one of the few free, open wifi networks available in the city.

Then after that I strolled on down 42nd St to Times Square where I saw a few interesting sights: (more…)

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CentralPark__MG_3071After leaving Brooklyn I went to Central Park and just had a wander round. I stayed mainly in the southern part of the park as I intended to walk down 5th Avenue back to 42nd St afterwards and didn’t want to get to far up 5th. So I started at Columbus Circle, the SW corner of the park and walked in a big loop into the park and back down to the SE corner, opposite the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue. It was a very pleasant stroll for about an hour or so – the pictures below are some of those I took. As you can see the weather was bright and sunny, with temperatures perhaps in the high teens Cº.


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Brooklyn Bridge from Fulton Ferry park

On Wednesday I visited Brooklyn. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, along the Brooklyn shoreline, and through Brooklyn Heights before getting the 3 Train back into Manhattan.

The pedestrian footway over Brooklyn Bridge begins on the Manhattan side near the Municipal building. From there it’s easy to get onto it – just follow the crowds (or battle your way against them). I started the walk in mid-morning and, although fairly busy, the bridge wasn’t crowded with work-time walkers. Most of the people walking the bridge were tourists (like me) and were continually stopping to take selfies (not like me) and other pictures (yes, OK, that might be me), so progress was very stop start – I couldn’t get a decent walking rhythm going. I suppose it took 40 minutes or a bit more to cross the bridge – given a clear walk it could be done quicker. near the Brooklyn side I came across a group of young women taking fashion-style pictures of another young woman – I couldn’t work out of they were students or not. (Images below.) (more…)

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IMG_0732I got home this morning. I still have a couple of detailed posts to do about the last day or so, but they will have to come later – I’m quite tired.

And then there was that snow! – that was a shock. From walking around New York in 21° (and Poughkeepsie in 25° earlier in the trip) to Manchester in 1°…. I want to go back.

The image is from the inside of the plane, shortly before landing. It shows the ground between Liverpool and Manchester.

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I’ve been doing some travelling around on the subway.

I bought a 7 day, unlimited rides ticket for $31 (+$1 for the actual card). This gave me ‘unlimited rides’ for 7 days, even though I’m only here for 3 and a half days. Subway tickets work rather differently from London TfL tickets. Mainly, there’s no daily cap – if you buy a normal ticket with, say, $15 credit, every ride you make will eat into that credit even if it’s your umpteenth ride that day. You can also buy individual rides for $2.75, but that looked like hard work and fiddly. The ‘unlimited rides’ ticket breaks even if you do more than 15 rides in the week which I won’t, but having it avoided a lot of hassle.

There’s no ‘tap in, tap out’ system because you don’t tap at all. On the way in you slide the card through a magnetic scanner and if it’s accepted, this unlocks the turnstile. On the way out you don’t do anything – you just walk through the turnstile the other way. I imagine that everything depends on the magnetic strip, so it’s probably a good idea to keep the ticket away from mobile phones. (more…)

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Ladder Company 3 Engine, buried in the collapse. All 11 firefighters with it died when the towers collapsed.

This morning I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. You can’t really say that a visit to a place like this is ever going to be “good” or “enjoyable”. However, it was memorable and moving, and I imagine that was the designers’ intention. (more…)

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Tonight I ate at Alfie’s Craft Beer Bar, and this was much better than the previous night’s experience.

I just wanted something simple so I had a glass of beer and a burger. Both were excellent. More importantly I wasn’t rushed. I suppose I wasn’t in there that long, to be honest – 45 minutes? – but they bought the beer quickly and then there was a wait for the burger during which I just relaxed. Simple but enjoyable.

Talking of beer, I was surprised to find out how strong these beers are. I’d got a hint of this in the pub in Ithaca when I was told the IPA I was drinking was 6.5% ABV. On the list of 40+ beers at Alfie’s quite a few were stronger than 8% ABV. The Montauk IPA I had was one of the weakest, at 4.9 %.

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