Category Archives: New York

A Tour of Central Park, NYC

The curious paradox of New York City is this- if it has a fault it’s that there isn’t much green space in most of the city, and yet this lack means you can pool your resources to create the best park in the world.  Seriously, you wander through most of New York City amazed but wishing there was a patch of grass for your eyes to rest on, and then you wander into Central Park where there’s so much that you forget it can possibly be in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. Continue reading

New York, New York

I was in New York City this past weekend, part to see old friends and part because I wanted to turn in my application for Hungarian citizenship at the Hungarian consulate (I can get it thanks to my mother, but never have up to now).  It turns out that dealing with Hungarian bureaucracy is all the red tape and more you’d expect from a former communist nation as it’s taken me several months to get the paperwork together.  But that wasn’t enough, as then they’d just changed their hours (ie closed Friday even though the Internet says they’re open), but a combination of arguing, tears, and finding people who knew my mother means my papers will be processed and I’ll be a citizen in six months or so.  All in all it was the final test of Hungarian nationality!

Anyway, that done it was time to wander around Manhattan for a few days-

As a first stop, the financial district with the stock market behind me.  For being such a huge city near me I hardly go to New York City honestly (I’m much more familiar with many cities in Europe- see why I need E.U. citizenship?) to the point where the last time I was in the financial district the World Trade Centers were still standing- I remember the security in the lobby they had thanks to the 1993 attacks for example.  So it was good to be back and to see all the construction going on now at Ground Zero.

Moving onward and upward, Chinatown!  Filled with Chinese trinkets and fake goods all that other stuff no one really needs!

Ok, I shouldn’t be really mean about this as Chinatown does has awesome food.  In that we picked a random restaurant solely based on the fact that it was filled with mainly Chinese people and had a delicious meal for a fraction of what such things usually cost in NYC.  So how can one seriously complain?

Also spotted in Chinatown was something I’d never seen before but is certainly needed in an American city- 3D parking when you only have a lot.  I’m pretty sure the ones up top are there on a long-term basis, but I still rather liked the idea.

Just up the street is everyone’s other favorite ethnic community, Little Italy of course.  I’m pretty sure there is a higher concentration of Italian restaurants on this street than in Italy overall!  So great vibe but the tinsel decorations were a bit strange to me as it put me in a Christmas-y mood a la the decorations one typically finds in towns that time of year.

Finally, past the Empire State Building in the picture above and with the help of a subway ride we arrive at 5th Avenue. (Terrible confession: I do not say “subway” anymore because worldwide hardly any city calls it that, instead calling it the Metro. Does this make me un-American?) 5th Avenue is of course filled with shops filled with every Italian label known and places like Tiffany’s where one can admire shiny things- I think all women have a magpie gene or something, as I can never resist just looking- until at the end of the shopping strip you reach the toy stores.  And by toy stores I don’t just meen FAO Schwarz for kids but also the Apple store, which looks super cool until you see the hordes queuing up outside because someone didn’t design the stairwell large enough to accommodate everyone.

Also, I am including this picture because this building is curiously the second most photographed building in NYC according to a study done awhile back, after the Empire State Building of course.  To be fair, the Empire State Building is a lot bigger!  Number one most photographed building in the world is the Eiffel Tower in case anyone was wondering.

Anyway, in the interest of length and a lot of really awesome Central Park pictures that deserve their own post, my Manhattan explorations will cease here and call it halftime.  Cheers!

Video: The Big Piano at FAO Schwarz in NYC!

Checked out many a thing in New York City but to kick things off this video turned out really well- the famous big piano at FAO Schwarz! (Well famous if you have your Tom Hanks 80s movies correctly.) The song being played is, of course, The Entertainer because for some reason the two professional piano players couldn’t get things going well for the more famous Heart and Soul.

Alas, before anyone asks I did not get on the big piano myself because there were way too many little kids in line, and somehow FAO Schwarz makes a big kid feel out of place when not accompanied by a little one!

Photo: Niagara Falls

I’m in New York (City) this weekend so here’s a photo of one of the more famous landmarks in that state while I’m away- taken from the Canadian side, yes, but the land you’re looking at is in the USA! And the little boat you see here of course is the Maid of the Mist for scale.

I visit or pass through here about once a year as it’s a ~3 hour drive from Cleveland. The most recent was last fall, post Victoria Falls visit, so it was interesting to compare the two- in short I hate to admit it but Niagara Falls just isn’t that impressive anymore! I thought they were comparable in height when I was at Vic Falls but seeing Niagara afterwards made me notice how puny it was in actuality- you also stand a lot further from Niagara than Vic Falls (where you get so wet from the spray you resemble a wet rat towards the end) so that didn’t assist my perception.  But Niagara Falls is a lot closer to me than Victoria Falls, and only one of them has a Hershey store!