Category Archives: USA

USA, NYC – a visit to MOMA, an Ivy League day out in Princeton and a visit to Gulliver’s Gate

Having very much enjoyed seeing Billy Joel and then the play Ferryman, it was time for some different tourist activities.

First stop was MOMA – this place is almost as fantastic for its building design and in-house restaurants as it is for its art. We took a free tour of the sculpture Garden which was a new thing for me. Also liked the Brancusi exhibit and Magritte’s Kissing Couple – weird but strangely more voyeuristic than seeing their faces. At least I thought so!

Then Marjory and I took the took the train to Princeton where her cousin is a professor. I had never visited this town or the university campus before and it is an extraordinarily attractive place to study. Old buildings, beautiful landscaping, sculptures and an excellent art museum all on campus thanks to donations from former alumni.

By the way the character above right was made somewhere between 200 BC and 200 AD. That design would work today. Love it.

And then something totally different – a visit to Gulliver’s Gate which showcases the world in Miniature. It was actually more fun than I expected (I got my face in Niagara Falls!) although major omission with no sign of Australia or NZ???

USA, New York City – a sombre visit to the 9/11 Memorial

I was working in NYC on 9/11 so of course remember it very well in a personal way. While I had visited the reflecting pools which were built on the exact sites of the Twin Towers, I had not been to the memorial museum before but now felt up to doing that.

Firstly I would say that it is very hard to create this type of memorial and it has been done sensitively but honestly too. There are some excellent short movies about the day and an enclosed exhibition where no photos are allowed which covers some of the the more personal and therefore upsetting stories including video of those who jumped rather than burn to death.

There are many parts of what was left of the original buildings including a set of stairs that many escaped down to get out of the building and a distorted fire truck impacted by the fall of the one of the Towers. The docents were excellent – I did a free guided tour – turned out her father had been a firefighter on 9/11 when she was 6 but had been reassigned from Downtown to the Bronx on that day so survived but he was heavily involved in the clear up exercise.

Next to the reflecting pools there is a single tree that survived the devastation and continues to get bigger and stronger each year. Good to see that.

The area outside of the museum and pools is much changed. The Freedom Tower – which I have yet to visit (it has an observatory) reaches up high and the Oculus modern design is the “cover” for a new giant Westfield shopping centre and the subway stations. Life goes on ….

USA, New York City – the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Architecture tour by boat, Greenwich Village, Billy Joel

Thrilled to be back in New York City – it just always feels like the place I belong to the most. It’s also been great to have my friends Marjory and Michelle visiting from Vancouver and London to join in the fun for my first few days here.

Started the week with a drizzly day walk of the High Line. Especially liked the look of the new Zaha Hadid apartment block that is going up along the route. I hear it is pretty expensive!

Big weather improvement for our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – it has been a while since I did that and it is still a great way to get to Brooklyn and take those shots looking back at Manhattan.

Then a wonderful architecture tour which almost circumnavigates Manhattan- we had a wonderful day for that and a great guide from the Architectural Association. This skyline keeps changing so you could do this every couple of years and see new things but also find there are some buildings that are getting harder to see as they are dwarfed by others.

And then there was the foodie walk around Greenwich Village.

And to finish this week off we all went to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. Wow!!

Never any chance to be bored here! Love it.

USA, Cleveland

First time back in Cleveland for about 15 years staying with my lovely friends Terry and Brooks who I met on my cruise through the Panama Canal a couple of years ago. They were the perfect hosts and I loved being back at the I M Pei designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – we did about 3.5 hours there but it could easily have been six. Fantastic building and brilliant exhibits. I even got to connect with my beloved David Cassidy – RIP:(. Then we headed to the Science Museum to watch two IMAX movies.

Next day I was once again able to see experience the work of Yayoi Kusama – those who read my blogs regularly will know I am a great fan and always see her work whenever it is available wherever I go. This time if was at the beautiful Cleveland Museum of Art and involved 9 Infinity rooms – amazing as ever and what a treat to catch up with this exhibit which ends here in a week. And I got to catch up with Uschi – another Cleveland resident that I met on the last cruise – Uschi.

USA, Buffalo and Canada, Niagara on the Lake

Have spent three days back in Buffalo staying with friends Paulette and Michael (perfect hosts). We met up with another ex colleague and friend LuAnne who kindly drove us around for the perfect tour of Buffalo. First stop was the amazing Darwin Martin House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been beautifully and painstakingly restored (only the garden left to do). I am a major FLW fan so am sharing a few photos for others who like this kind of thing. Extra special was that we have a private tour:)

Next stop was the Richardson Complex – formerly the Buffalo Psyhiatric home. It is huge and is also being repurposed/restored as a hotel and event location. We got another private tour thanks to my friend Betsy. Some great artefacts like the beams holding up the roof.

Then we headed to the Canalside area. Formerly grain silos and now being repurposed as a place to dine, skate, roller derby and generally have a good time.

And finally a quick day trip back across the border to Niagara on the Lake, Ontario where the Shaw Festival is on – we saw Henry V – but it was set in WW1 trenches and hospital beds. Sounds weird but it was really cleverly done and very moving. The town is gorgeous and decorated with flowers in abundance so a nice place to stroll and indulge in all things maple!

USA, Massachusetts – Boston

Spent a couple of days in Boston post cruise and it rained a lot and when it wasn’t raining it was cloudy but I still enjoyed revisiting some spots and going to some new ones also. It is always a nice easy and compact city to visit -very walkable.

My hotel was a stone’s throw from Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall as well as the red pavemented Freedom Trail walk. I had my last lobster roll for a while in Faneuil Hall:(

Next stop – memorials to the holocaust – symbolic towers for each of the Death Camps which had hot steam floating through them – symbolic for sure. Bottom right is a memorial to the Irish who fled the potato famine for new lives in Boston

Then a nice walk around Beacon Hill – the traditional and swanky part of town. When i was 21 and came to the US for the first time, my friend Sue and I stayed at the parents of a friend who lived in this part of town. We had the whole of the top of the town house plus rooftop patio – we thought we had died and gone to heaven. A lovely part of town but the Cheers Bar is looking a little the worse for wear I thought – and nobody knew my name….

First time visit to the JFK Presidential Library – interesting to visit given the history up to and after his time as President. But the star of this place is the fantastic design of the building by I M Pei on the Waterfront – stunning.

In these shots you can see the hotel I was staying in – it was the very tall building with the clock on the top which was formerly the Customs House. Great to stay in such a historical building which still retains its old counting room. There is also an observation deck above the clock with fabulous views of Boston and surrounds – even on a gloomy day. And I loved the fountain which is hot and cold occasionally spurting out steam.

USA, Maine – Bar Harbour and Acadia National Park; last day of the Seabourn Quest cruise

Well I am finally departing the lovely Seabourn Quest after a wonderful trip covering a small part of Iceland (got to go back there for more), a lot of Greenland, and then a number of smaller locations in Canada’s Eastern provinces – Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and PEI. Finally entered US waters and had one stop in Bar Harbour – before disembarking in Boston.

Bar Harbour is a cute seaside town with an attractive harbourfront, some sumptious hotels and houses (even the birdhouse is plush!) plus more great lobster rolls!

The famous spot to visit in Bar Harbour is Acadia National Park – I took the free trolley bus there and it stops at loads of places so you can stay on it or get off and do some walking and then pick it up again later. Fab place and would love to go back in the Fall sometime in the future.

Then time so say goodbye to Seabourn Quest – my home from home. Lots of food and music for the final sail away night.