Tag Archives: Times Square

Snapshots of New York City

Going with the flow of New York City, here are some snapshots of this frenetic city… with some of the calmer bits thrown in.

Heading to the top of the Rock

The Rockefeller Centre is pretty awesome, considering the risk John D Rockefeller Jr took to finance and build it himself after the stock market crashed in 1929. What vision and what a view!

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Centre

The history of the plaza is fascinating and the views from the top are stunning, especially of the Empire State Building. It’s something you might consider missing when you visit New York City, but don’t. It really is worth the ride…

Copyright: Louise RalphCruising the Hudson

You can take the free Staten Island Ferry out to look up at the Statue of Liberty, or you can jump on one of the Circle Line sightseeing cruises for a fee and see the lady and the city from a different perspective.

The great thing about the cruise is that you get to hear all the stories of the city.

…like the cliffs that apparently inspired Bill Finger’s Bat Caves.

…or the Pepsi Cola sign that was the first neon sign in Times Square but was preserved and moved to Long Island City.

…or that Times Square was once called Longacre Square and cattle were grazed there. Cattle, who would’ve thought…?

Copyright: Louise Ralph

The pepsi sign at Hunter’s Point

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Loving Lower Manhattan

If we were going to live in New York and dollars weren’t an issue, Greenwich Village would be our first choice.

It’s our kind of place, with its eclectic atmosphere, boho history, old-time jazz bars, cozy bars and cafes, and bookshops you could hang out in all day.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Three Lives & Company book store In Greenwich Village

Copyright: Louise Ralph

And then there is nearby SoHo, an enclave that got its name from its location south of Houston Street.

Wander the cobblestone streets, watch shoppers on a mission or do some power shopping yourself, and take in the beautiful wrecking-ball-dodging restored buildings.

A leisurely lunch at the Antique Garage is the perfect place to kick back and recover over some delicious Mediterranean food…

Kicking back at Birdland

When it opened in December 1949, critics and nightclubbers said Birdland wouldn’t survive for more than six weeks. Sixty years later, it’s still here.

Charlie Parker once called it ‘the jazz corner of the world’. There’s something about this place that makes you believe it.

It may be almost 11:00pm, but we can’t walk past Birdland when the exceptional Maria Schneider Orchestra is about to come on.

Okay, we can’t pretend to be jazz aficionados but critics use words like evocative, majestic, heart-stoppingly gorgeous to describe Maria’s music – so in we went.

Oh wow…Maria writes the music – feels the music with every fibre of her being (I do not exaggerate!) – and her orchestra delivers it with precision and soul. Their respect for her – and each other – is truly remarkable, clearly the secret to such perfection.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Maria Schneider Orchestra at Birdland NYC

At the risk of exhausting you – and myself (which happened days ago), I’m going to leave it there. For now.

Because EB has just arrived back from the gym (I kid you not) and it’s time to get ready for dinner. No doubt we won’t be back in until early tomorrow morning…



In a New York state of mind…

After about 20 hours of flying time we arrived in New York City feeling pretty seedy. But with our hotel in the middle of the Theater District, and only metres from Times Square, our plan to get some rest before we hit the streets was soon discarded. After all, this is a city that never sleeps – and we’re in a New York state of mind.

Times Square NYC

Times Square NYC

Times Square is a pulsating neon hub in Midtown Manhattan. It’s hard to miss – and hard to move through. It’s jammed with tourists trying to get the perfect snaps, NYPD keeping the peace, and Elmo and other movie characters angling in for random hugs.

We wandered a few city blocks to the Pongsri Thai Restaurant on 48th Street for something fresh and spicy after all that airline food – and by the time we’d finished the surprisingly hot (hot!) food we realised just how tired we were.

But clearly still operating on Aussie time, we were both up at dawn and EB was itching to get going. Faced with two powerful life forces – New York energy and the Energiser Bunny (EB) – I gave in, strapped on my walking shoes and off we went.

What started out as a stroll to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) turned into an epic journey almost the entire length of Fifth Avenue, through Central Park, and into the Guggenheim instead. I know, I know. Why am I surprised when I’m travelling with EB?

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Spring is finally here and New Yorkers (and lots of squirrels and birds) are out in force lapping up the delicious sunshine in Central Park.


Copyright: Louise Ralph

The Guggenheim is a ‘monument to moderism’ with its spiral ramp rising up to a domed skylight. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright late in his career and only opened to the public in October 1959, six months after his death.

After five hours of walking, we finally stopped at the Morrell Wine Bar and Cafe in the Rockefeller Plaza for a well-earned and delicious lunch, surrounded by posh ladies lunching after their Fifth Avenue spending sprees and business people unwinding over a few drinks.

Time to wander back along Fifth Avenue to our hotel, to rest our feet for more nighttime adventures and birthday celebrations for EB… I suspect I’ll need a holiday (or at least a few Thai foot massages) when I get back to the land of Oz.

Fifth Avenue NYC

Fifth Avenue NYC