Thursday, 28 October 2010

Weekday on the Great Ocean Road

Next week I have to return to work after two months Long Service Leave. However, a few of us are heading off for a long weekend (Melbourne Cup = big deal)  run to the Vic and New South Wales high country organised by Bill R.

Today was a magnificent sunny Spring day Down Under and as I've had a new front tyre and chain and sprockets installed on the VFR this week, I took a run along the GOR to make sure that the Honda &  I are back in the zone for motorcycle riding prior to the weekend. I barely stopped and only took two pics as I enjoyed being back on the motorcycle so much.

At my stop for a drink at the Gellibrand store I bumped into an old school friend and motorcyclist who I haven't seen for many years. It was great to have a chat and catch up, albeit relatively briefly.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

The journey home

...comprised of a 6 hour flight from New York (JFK airport) to Los Angeles (LAX), 6 hours of waiting around and then 15 hr flight to Melbourne. Twenty-one plus hours flight time exceeds my tolerance for sitting still in one place by a substantial margin! Bags arrived OK and we cleared customs in no time.

So far I'm feeling OK, but I hate jetlag.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

NYC Day 5

A sleep in and a late start today in the hope of shaking off this head cold I've acquired in NYC.

We both had in mind that a fairly quiet day would fit the bill today, so we walked to the Metropolitan Art Gallery on 5th Ave for some culture. As we walked up the steps to the Met there was a group of men busking. Their vocals were sensational. No amplification, just beautiful vocal harmonies and one guy playing a double bass. They had a great reception from the crowd and were making a bundle in donations.

Oh the art at the Met was pretty impressive as well, about two rooms full of Rembrants being the highlight for us.

I ended up buying their CD, they were that good!
 Henry VIII th's armor, late in his life. He wore this gear in a major battle - can't remember which one!
 Mr Colt's finest

All sorts of art on display at the Met. In fact there is an extensive collection of weaponry. I was surprised how many suits of armor were made in  Germany. I'd always associated it with the British was and Knights. The info said that in the 1500's the Germans were able to knock out quality armor quite rapidly.

I took quite a few pics of various sets of flintlock rifles and pistols that were incredibly well decorated.

 Rembrant's famous self portrait. Mrs Tarsnakes Dutch ancestry plays some part in the art she likes to see. That's not to say that Van Gough, Vemeer and Rembrant are not well worth seeing in their own right. I really wanted to see van Gough's "Starry Night" but it's at a different gallery in NYC.

 A Vemeer - Mrs Tarsnakes is a fan of his stuff.

 More Rembrants

The painting above is pretty famous. I heard a young guy saying he had come to the gallery just to see this painting and it had taken him an hour to find it.
 French embassy on 5th Ave. I've been blown away with the architecture all around New York. It's not just the major public buildings. There are lovely old 1800's ornate apartment buildings all around the suburbs.

After leaving the Met we took a walk through Central Park and then around some of the back streets of our 'hood'. There were lovely old apartments everywhere.
 Central Park. This place is a huge oasis in a massive metropolis. NYC is the antithesis of the wide open spaces that I love so much - but is a place that I am very glad to have sampled.

Don't pat the pets - they bite!
Pics from some of the back streets of the Upper West side around 75th to 82nd streets.

 Neighborhood and our hotel.
Hotel Belleclaire

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

NYC Day 4

The plan for today was to go to ground zero where the twin towers used to be and to ascend the Empire State Building. Tickets for Empire State cost $22 apiece and I purchased them online prior to heading out.

There is a massive amount of building work going on for construction of the new memorial tower, however, apparently the logistics of bringing materials through city streets is a major problem. I'm not sure why, but they are not permitted to use a river approach and transport stuff the short distance from the water by road.

 A bell in the grounds of St Paul's church (which was a major relief centre during the disaster).
 We went to the 86th floor observatory. It's incredible that this building was built in only 13 months. The Great Depression provided a massive and cheap workforce and safety standards were abysmal by any standards.
 View towards the Hudson River, Chrysler Building spire in sight.

 The views of city extend to the horizon in every direction. Although it appeared a little hazy in the distance, one of the things that has amazed us about NYC is the lack of air pollution.
 View toward East River. Manhattan certainly is an island. I'd read that bedrock for building foundations can be at 2 feet in the middle of the island and 200 feet elsewhere, especially around the river banks.

We could see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Isl in the distance but it didn't photograph well, so no pic here.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

NNYC Day 3

Some pics from a day trip to Harlem and a look around the buildings adjoining Central Park. We also took a boat trip out on the Hudson River - pics of that later.

We went to a Broadway show in the evening. Chicago - strange show to see in New York!

 Apollo Theatre Harlem - starting place for the Jackson Five on Wed amateur night.
 Big Cathedral up near Columbia University
 Central Park from 5th Ave
 By the guard box is where John Lennon was gunned down
This officer caught a glimpse of me taking her pic and was not happy. She and a colleague were stepping out into heavy traffic and stopping taxis to check the driver's credentials. The policing in NYC is very active, cars, bicycles and foot patrols in huge numbers. They claim that's whats made the city safe.

 Public housing in Harlem.

Below- a sign on the subway train window.

Monday, 18 October 2010

NYC day 2

 A day of some iconic NYC land marks and a day on the water.

Empire state of mind. (That's the title of a song by Jay-Z & Alecia Keys)

Residential buildings: the triangular based building on the left below is the historic 'Flatiron' building completed in 1902 and regarded as NYC's first skyscraper.

 The new

 NYC viewed from Ellis Island

Times Square at night