North America 2009

North America 2009


Well. At some point I had to break the Southern Hemisphere tradition and stick to the north, and thus travelling in June-Augustish.
And at some point I had to break the Eastern Hemisphere tradition and head west. And thus, USA/CAN, here I come!

Leaving New York

US of APosted by Martin 2009-08-02 07:21:31

As planned, I returned to the Staten Island ferry with a bigass tele lens. This time I got some closer-up shots of Lady Liberty, and headed thereafter north to Noho, Soho, Nolita and other acroyms. Unheard of music was shopped at Other Music, whisky and stout were drunk at Whiskey Ward, as was I. Met a lovely Tennessee girl named Micha and her friend, and I stayed at the WW longer than expected. However, I had a prior engagement and sauntered on to meet Cristina for dinner on this my last night in New York. Afterwards, it was time to discover some new local musical talent at Mercury Lounge. The last band on stage called themselves Nightmare of You, and they were so good that I paid the ten bucks for their CD. An hour later I was back in Harlem for my last night on this trip.

As it clearly takes a lot of time to go to JFK, I went up, packed my stuff, checked out and went to the Apple store to buy iPhones for my cousins and/or their husbands. No such deal, though, as they could only be purchased with a two year contract with AT&T.

And then, the three hour subway/train ride to John F Kennedy Airport, and here endeth the journey.

The Hands that Built America

US of APosted by Martin 2009-08-02 07:17:59

New York is a city of museums and galleries. I spent a good many hours at MoMA (where hangs the most famous painting by my favourite artist, Dalí) and the Met, and also in a bunch of art galleries in Chelsea, including, but not limited to, Andrea Rosen, Greene Naftali and Paul Kasmin.

As the sun started to set, I took the ferry to Staten Island. Quite a few photos were taken of the NYC skyline and/or the statue of liberty in sunset. And with a well formulated plan to return with a bigass tele lens next morning, I left Lower Manhattan for a Senegalese dinner in good ol' Harlem.

Blue in the face

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-28 21:28:49

...that turned green, eventually. But more on that later.

The general location of Harvey Keitel's smoke shop in Smoke and Blue in the face was explored this day: Planet Brooklyn. As I wandered around in Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, I realised how different Breukelen is from most of Manhattan. The people, the architecture, the city planning... it has a more intimate and less constricted feel to it. And on Tuesdays, the admission to Botanical Garden is free, so obviously I went there, and to its neighbour Prospect Park. As I sauntered on in the hot, sunny New York summer, I figured a trip to the ocean would be nice. And some time later I walked the famous boardwalk on Coney Island with an ice-cream cone in my hand.

For those who don't know, Broadway shows cost an arm and a leg and it takes years of planning to get the tickets you want. Enter TKTS, who provide unsold and returned tickets to current day's events. Most famous is the TKTS booth on Times Square, with its billions of people waiting in line for hours. Less famous is the one in Brooklyn, where I stood in line a mere half hour, and got a ticket to see Shrek – the Musical. And it only cost me a leg. Some of the actors were brilliant, esp the Lord

Farquaad performer and the actress portraying Fiona. The story was the same as in the first film, and the humour similar. It was therefore a quite enjoyable show, but the main reason I went was that when in NYC, you have to catch a Broadway show. And hence, the Brooklyn blue turned ogre green.

Singin' in the Rain

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-28 21:25:18

Before I went to check out my hostel's free and very generous brekkie buffet (bagels, muffins, brewed coffee, OJ, cereal) I packed my daypack with rain gear, just in case. After about three hours of hiking in Central Park I kinda regretted carrying all that extra weight, a regret I would soon not have.

I met Cristina for a picnic lunch in Central Park, and then we started exploring downtown.

Madison Avenue, Grand Central, Chrysler Building, Madison Square, Bryant Park, Flatiron Building, Union Square and Washington Square were all visited and looked upon and/or within. However, the walk from Central Park's south end to the area around Bleecker St (around 55 blocks) took longer than expected, due to the frequently added seeking-shelter-from-the-heaviest-rain breaks we had to do. But all in all, the sunny/cloudy/rainy sky offered some great light for photography and a lot of ground was covered. Also, Cristina splashed around in the fountain in Was. Sq. Like a happy happy kid.

Back in NYC

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-27 04:58:36

The last day of the Canadian Pioneer trek consisted pretty much only of driving. As we left Maine we drove through five states before reaching our destination in New Jersey, making it a total of seven states in a day: Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. And then back to New York.

After checking in at my home for the next seven days, I took the subway to the Village for a last night out with Mark and Mike. It became rather late, so I used the following day to relax a bit; planning my upcoming week, strolling the neighbourhood and writing postcards in Central Park. Just as I returned to the hostel, a thunderstorm hit the city.

The Cider house rules

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-25 15:03:48

In Acadia, it poured. Fortunately our tent was more or less waterproof, and when morning came, the rain conveniently stopped, and didn't return until the morning of departure. In between there was plenty of time to explore Maine's largest national park. Hiking, swimming and whale watching was on the agenda. Steve's tele lens came in handy as Sedge the humpback popped out of the water every now and then.

Continuing down New England we arrived in Portland, Maine in the afternoon, where we, instead of camping, bunked up in Eddie's mate's house. Supposedly Portland has more bars per capita than any other American town. Therefore, take out Thai and Indian and some serious barcrawling ended our last night as a group.

Waterfalls (again)

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-17 16:47:35

Per overly expensive taxi I got myself to New Jersey, where it was time to board the Trek America van, along with three couples (from Germany, Norway and UK) and six solo travellers (from UK, Malawi, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany/Poland). Upstate New York, first stop was Taughannska Falls near Itacha. But the real falls were waiting just round the 100 mile corner: Niagara.

762 metres wide, 51 metres high, sending water down with a flow 2,5 million litres per second, it divides the friend nations of USA and Canada. And it is impressive.

Theme from New York, New York

US of APosted by Martin 2009-07-17 16:45:53

Late at night we reached the biggest of apples, got our gear in order and headed out for the NYC club scene. The morning after, our little group more or less disbanded. Some went home, some went elsewhere, most switched hotels, but eventually I found myself with the dutch and the english on a hop on-hop off bus around downtown. And in just one night and one day I got the frosting on the New York cake: Times Square, Empire State Building (not up it, just into the lobby), Wall Street, Rockefeller Center, Statue of Liberty (from far, far away), Brooklyn Bridge and even more. I didn't go into any depth, I will have a week to do that when I return from Canada and New England in two weeks time.

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