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Trip New York New York   What I have seen in the state of New York since 2010. Walter C (US)
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What I have seen in the state of New York since 2010.

  • 05Sep 2011

    1 Day Trip to the Met 09/05/2011 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    It was Labor Day, and nothing planned, my mom and I tried to decide where to go, as we did not want to spend it at home, wasting it. So we decided to take a day trip to New York City.

    We would have to get there by car, since it was a last-minute decision. Normally, we prefer to go by bus or train. It has been a long time since driving there, as I used to do back in the day. Driving on the PA Turnpike, then the New Jersey Turnpike, until we reached the George Washington Bridge.

    Once we entered into New York, we went to the Columbia University area, where there is usually free parking available. Where exactly, it's hard to say, as it has been different each time. So we were able to find a spot. Then went on the subway, taking it to the Upper West Side.

    My mom and I walked a few blocks, until we reached Central Park. Then walked through it, as we saw people having picnics, and jogging, even on this very hot and humid day. We walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, more commonly known as the Met.

    I have been to museum before, almost a decade ago. And it was major relief to be indoors, to get out of that oppressive heat. We went to the right side, to the Egyptian exhibits. Very extensive, with a replica of a temple to see. After seeing this area, my mom and I went separately, as we were interested in seeing different sections.

    I would go to the area where the Temple of Dendur was. It was an actual temple, brought to New York, and put indoors, to protect it from the elements. With the huge statues and columns in place, it was an impressive place to see.

    Then I went inside what was a replica of an American mansion. There were rooms, with period furniture. Then walked around the museum, randomly picking sections of the museum. There is just so much to see, and I picked the ones that seem to interest me the most.

    I did check out the Middle Ages section, with the arms and armor. And saw paintings and other art from Europe, along with a replica of a church altar. Seeing these things, just made me think about wanting to go to Europe.

    And I did get to see the extensive Greek collection, which was organized by a different period. Nearby was the Roman art collection. I wanted to see the Asian collection, but it was closed off.

    We ended up spending most of the day at this museum. I knew that I would not be able to see everything. After it was near 5 PM, it was time to leave.

    We walked through Central Park, and then rode the subway, heading back to our car. Then drove out of the city.

    I would take the wrong exit, but not realize it for 30 minutes. But we got back on the right, and drove back towards Philly. Much to our surprise, there was not as much traffic as we feared, being that it was the late afternoon on Labor Day, when loads of people are driving back home after a holiday weekend.

    We came back home. Overall, it was a nice way to spend the day, as it was something to do. But hopefully, I won't have to drive to get there again, as it is not fun to drive in New York, to say the least.

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  • 06Jul 2013

    2 Seeing Baseball in the Bronx 07/06/2013 USA —

    Bronx, New York, USA

    Description

    I decided to take a day trip to New York City, to see the new Yankee Stadium. I had already bought a ticket for the game a few days earlier, on Stubhub.

    I tried to stock up on bottled water, taking 2 packs of it, along with one large bottle, since it was a very hot and humid day. Probably similar to my visit in 2008 to the old stadium. I tried to get an early start, but as usual, ran later than I planned. I took the SEPTA train to Trenton, then took NJ Transit to Penn Station in Manhattan.

    Immediately, I went to the subway, and learned that the all-day "Fun Pass" has been done away with, so I had to buy a regular MetroCard, putting some money on it. Then took the subway to the Bronx, heading to Yankee Stadium III.

    Sometimes nicknamed “Yankee Stadium III” or “the new Yankee Stadium”. Yankee Stadium I was the one built in 1923. After it went through major renovations for the 1974 and 1975 seasons, it looked completely different, thus called Yankee Stadium II. During those 2 seasons of renovations, the Yankees had to play their home games at Shea Stadium, which I’m sure, did not sit well with either NY team.

    Once I arrived there, I looked around the stadium for a little bit, then entered the stadium. This time, I was able to enter with my bag, which was full of bottled water. Unlike last time in 2008, when I had to check my bag at a bowling alley, and pay for it.

    I entered into the Great Hall, a huge concourse. Looked more like an arena than a baseball stadium. And I learned that I was too late once again, for Monument Park. It closes 45 minutes before the start of the game. That is such a stupid rule. Any reason for this? I was just annoyed!

    I went up the ramps to the upper level, stopping by the New York Yankees Museum. There was a long line, so I decided to come back to it later. I went to the top level, and looked around for a bit. I was lucky to sit in the shade, on this hot day, as I got a ticket for this seat, at such a cheap price on Stubhub. Hard to believe, as I thought these seats would be the first to go.

    I did go around the concessions, and went to the Malibu Rooftop Terrace Deck, where I could see the Bronx, and in the distance, Manhattan, though hard to see due to haze. I did see the murals of great Yankee players, as I walked around the upper deck.

    The New York Yankees were taking on the Baltimore Orioles in a classic AL East matchup. Andy Petitte was the starter for the Yankees, just like he was back in the 2008 game that I went to. I would not get to see Derek Jeter or Alex Rodrigeuz, both on the disabled list. The Yankees were not having a good season so far, currently in 4th place.

    The Orioles jumped to a 2-0 lead on a Chris Davis homer in the 1st, and scored another in the 2nd, before the Yankees scored a couple in their half. The O's scored 1 run in the 4th, but the Yanks scored 2 in the 5th. For those keeping score here, the game was tied at 4-4 after 5 innings.

    When the 6th inning came, I decided if the Yankees scored another run, I would headed to the museum. And they did, and I went to the museum, where I just walked in. Basically, this museum is mainly about the Yankees, and a little history about the most storied franchise in baseball. There are displays on the most well-known players that ever worn a Yankees uniform, like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Roger Maris, and Mickey Mantle. Also, are the different caps from different eras, along with the World Series trophies and replica of the World Series rings. Entering the place, I noticed the wall of baseballs, signed by players who have worn a Yankees uniform, whether for a day or a decade.

    Normally, I prefer to watch the game from start to finish, but had to make an exception here, since I was only going to one game. So I missed most of the 7th and 8th innings, only coming out of the museum, to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch.

    I did get back to my seat for the 9th inning, and for once, I was glad to see the Yankees having a 1-run lead. That meant, getting a chance to see Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader. I knew that I was watching a Future Hall of Famer. Rivera would pitch a scoreless 9th inning, and got another save. This was the biggest highlight of the trip! Baseball fans will know what I'm talking about. ;)

    After the game ended, I tried to walk around the concourse, but the usher tried to get me out, as I was looking around. After a while, I exited the stadium, and went across the street to the site of the previous stadium.

    It is now a park with a few baseball fields, named Heritage Field. There was a marking that I could barely see, that was the spot of the baseball diamond. And the only remaining part of the old stadium, is the frieze, which looked like a fence overhang. Hard for me to describe.

    I was debating whether to see more of NY, or just head back home. I decided to head to Manhattan and see a few more things, which I put in the next entry in this blog.

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  • 06Jul 2013

    3 Times For Rockefeller Center & Nintendo 07/06/2013 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    I arrived into Manhattan, as I was leaving the Bronx, after attending a game at Yankee Stadium. I was not sure at first, what I wanted to do next. I had a bunch of things in mind, but then decided on seeing Rockefeller Center.

    Getting off at a stop too soon, I ended up walking. I was sweating on top of the dried sweat from earlier. I got there, and looked around for a bit. Rockefeller Center refers to the entire area, which includes the GE Building (also known as 30 Rock), Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, and Lower Plaza, where the restaurant with the golden statue of Prometheus is. In the winter, Lower Plaza gets converted to an ice skating rink. A bunch of places to see, but they would be very costly. For now, I have to stay on budget.

    I walked around the restaurant, and seeing some strange stone structures. They are part of the art display called "Human Nature" by Ugo Rondinone. After seeing them, I went inside, and walked around the place. Looked more like an old mall, where I could tour NBC Studios. There was also the option to go to the top of the building. But both of them were way overpriced. Maybe some other time.

    I stopped by the NBC Studios gift shop, which is basically merchandise of NBC shows. The only one I would have remote interest in buying, was Vandelay Industries t-shirt, from "Seinfeld". While nice to look at, they are way overpriced to buy anything. And probably something I would not wear much, once back home. There was some attraction on the 2nd floor, but I'm sure it's not worth the money. This place is a tourist trap.

    Another place that is a tourist trap, is the Nintendo Store. But this will cost you some time, if you're into video games. Basically, this place sells exclusively Nintendo products, like the WiiU and DS, and there are a few stations where you can play games on them for free. There was a section of Pokemon merchandise. Reminds me when I used to be into the cartoon series, "Pokemon", before it got really repetitive. I did find myself playing on one of the DS handheld device, playing the 3-D version of Super Mario Bros. Some similarities to the very first game of the same name on original Nintendo, and Super Mario Bros 3 as well. It was fun, and I could play it all-day. But it was time to go.

    Afterwards, I went to Times Square. Not surprisingly, it was very crowded, as people can marvel at the huge billboards and commercials flashing on the LED screens everywhere. Very nice to look at, even if it is very touristy. I remember the family trips to New York, back when this area was filled with adult movie theaters (back then, simply called XXX films). We would always enter through the Lincoln Tunnel. Once out of the tunnel, we would pass through this area, and my mom would tell me and my sister to close our eyes, obviously not wanting us to see the X-rated stuff.

    Now, it has been Disneyified, as the saying goes, making it more family friendly. I think of it, more along the lines of Hollywood, with all the tourist traps and characters that make appearances here. I saw Mario and Sonic. I did not stay long, as I wanted to catch the train.

    I tried to put more money on the MetroCard, but the machine was not accepting my credit card. I was dripping sweat as I tried a few more. Then decided to go to Penn Station by foot, walking and running. It was not as far as I thought, but it was tiring. Did I mention that it was a hot and humid day?

    I arrived there, and hurried to the correct platform. Then got into the train just in time, as the doors just closed behind me. Headed back to Trenton, then back to Philly.

    It was a fun day, even if the weather was unbearable. I got to see Yankee Stadium, even with its one major annoyance. And saw some of Manhattan again, for the first time in a very long time. I hope to make return trips to the Big Apple soon.

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  • 31Aug 2013

    4 Third Time's the Charm 08/31/2013 USA —

    Bronx, New York, USA

    Description

    It was the Labor Day weekend, and I decided to take another day trip to New York. Part of the reason, is to see Yankee Stadium.

    This time, I would go by Megabus. I had to buy the bus ticket ahead of time, and went to the spot, near 30th Street station. There was a long line, and I worried that I would not get on the bus, and end up arriving late to New York. Luckily, I was able to get on, as it was a double-decker, and it left on time. It arrived at a stop in Manhattan, around 28th Street. I got off, and went to the subway. I rode that, all the way to the Bronx.

    Once I arrived there, I had to walk a few blocks to the Bronx Terminal Market, which was a shopping mall. It was very hot and humid, and my legs were tired as I walked very fast. I got to the StubHub office, to pick up the ticket. I chose this option, because it was the cheapest option. For $1 more, I could have just printed it. Oh well!

    I walked back to Yankee Stadium, and went into one of the side entrances on River Ave. I walked towards Monument Park, and saw that there was a line. And it was really, really long, going all the way towards the stairways. Hard to describe here. I got in line, and shortly after, the ushers said that no more people could get in line. In other words, the line has been closed off. Those already in line, will definitely get in. Good thing, as it was about 90 minutes before game time. Just in time, as I will finally get to see it. More about visiting Monument Park here.

    Monument Park was where the great Yankee players were honored in team history. There were plaques and the jersey numbers of the players, plus a brief description of them. Kind of like a museum. It was first created in the old Yankee Stadium in the 1970's, after the renovations. Then got moved to the current stadium. It was always hard for me to get inside it, since the park closed 45 minutes before game time. First try was in 2008 at the old stadium, and the second try a few months earlier. For this trip, I tried to plan it so I could make it in. And I barely did, as I was not aware that there was a cutoff time with the lines.

    It did not only include players, but also managers and the owners as well. There was also a plaque for 9/11. I walked around the place a few times, as this was really awesome to see. And I'm not even a Yankees fan.

    I headed to the Yankees Museum, which I saw earlier. I just went to the replica of a locker, where one can put their name on a screen, and sit inside it. I did that, as the museum got very quiet. It was due to the game starting.

    Afterwards, I went to watch about an inning of the game. I just wanted to see Derek Jeter bat, which I did. He had been out most of this season due to injury, and this could be the last time I see him, as he did not play in the game that I was at earlier this year. The game was an AL East matchup between the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

    After seeing Jeter, I headed out. I know what most are thinking, but in the end, it was a lot cheaper doing it this way than a stadium tour. Besides, I did have other reasons for coming to New York.

    I went out the side entrance, the same one that I came in. I looked at the billboards of the different players on display. Then stopped by the nearby McDonald's for some lunch. Then hopped on the subway, heading to Queens.

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  • 31Aug 2013

    5 Breaking Bad In Queens 08/31/2013 USA —

    Queens, New York, USA

    Description

    Coming from Manhattan, I arrived into Queens. Once there, I had some trouble finding the place, and relied on my phone for the map. After going wrong way, I was able to find my way to the Museum of the Moving Image.

    I arrived at the museum, and went in. It was some relief for me, as I was sweating a lot. After paying admission, I looked around the place. And it looked very different from the last time I was there. It has been more than a decade since my last visit there.

    More about the museum and its permanent exhibitions, as well as more photos, in the review here. My main reason for coming to this place (and to NY for the day), was to see the "Breaking Bad" displays. Being that it is one of my favorite TV shows of all-time, I could not pass up the chance to see all this, which was on display until the end of October.

    "Breaking Bad" is a TV show that premiered in 2008 on AMC, and came on every Sunday night. And now, it is currently going through its final set of episodes, with the final episode not far away.

    Well, turned out, the exhibition was very small. A lot smaller than I expected, but I got to see the props used in the TV show, like Walt White's hazmat suit and underwear, as well as the pink teddy bear and the blue meth on display, among other things. I took some pictures, until a guard told me that this section was the only one where photography was not allowed. Kind of disappointing.

    But even after all this, I'm still glad to have seen it. After that, I went to see the rest of the museum, which was the history of the moving image, which would later become film. The museum has an extensive collection on old artifacts, like cameras, TVs, microphones, and other things that had to do with the moving image. And there are displays that tell the history of the moving image, from its origins and how it evolved over time, with the advancement of technology. The moving image would later be known as film.

    Also on display, are collections of past merchandise items of TV shows and movies. Plus various props used in TV and movies, like the different masks used, and the different clothes worn, like the sweater from The Cosby Show, and the one that Freddy wore in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

    Plus there are interactive exhibitions. One of note, that was a lot of fun, was the sound effects, where you pick the sounds for each scene of a movie. I could spend a long time on that, but it can get crowded.

    The most notable for me, was the little arcade of classic video games, plus a display of the earliest consoles, like the Atari 2600 and Nintendo. I played for a little while, but the controllers and joysticks were very stiff and not working. Plus I had to step aside and let the kids play, even though it's so primitive to them. Besides, I still have my own original Nintendo, that still works, and I still play it occasionally.

    After touring around the museum, it was time to leave. I left the museum, and took the subway back to Manhattan. I considered going to one more attraction, but I did not want to get back too late. So I just had to walk to the MegaBus stop, and waited there.

    I waited for some time, and when the bus came, I got on it. Then it left New York, and went back to Philly. Then took the train to get back home.

    It was a fun day, even if I did not stay for the whole Yankees game. But I did set out to do 2 things, and was able to do both of them. So mission accomplished there!

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  • 25Jul 2016

    6 Arriving to a Rainout 07/25/2016 USA —

    Queens, New York, USA

    Description

    This was the start of a multi-day trip to New York. I have only done this a couple times, since I almost always take day trips. But this time, I wanted to go to a night game and see more of New York, as there is a lot more to see. Leaving Philly, I would take a MegaBus to New York. Once I arrive, I take the subway to Queens, where I would go check in at the Q4 Hotel, which is really a hostel.

    Getting to my room, I unpack, and do head to a market to buy some things, hoping it will last me through this short stay. Then back to the hostel, where I went to the kitchen, to eat my lunch. It consisted of ramen noodles and some slices of bread. Eating really cheap here!

    I went back to the room, to rest for a bit. I had the room all to myself, for the time being. I would hear and see that it was raining hard outside. I did wonder about the upcoming Mets game, that I was planning to go to. I did call the Mets box office, to see if the game was still on. They tell me that it was still on, but at the same time, the person admitted that they only know when everyone else does.

    A short time later, it did look like it stopped raining. So I headed out, stopping by a store to get some drinks. Then to the subway stop, where I boarded the 7 train, which was crowded with baseball fans. I was heading to Citi Field.

    Arriving into Flushing, as I got off the train, and out of the station, I could see that it was raining very hard. I worried about a postponed game, as the storm system traveled from Long Island City to Flushing. At first, I tried to wait it out, but that turned out to be pointless. So I just walked through the pouring rain, to the entrance of Citi Field. After going through a bag inspection, I was able to enter the ballpark, into the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

    I had to dry myself, then looked around the Rotunda, which was a memorial to the very man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, back in 1947. His number would eventually be retired throughout MLB, which was 42. More about all this place in the ballpark review, later on in this blog.

    I would go to the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum. I had to make sure that I came early enough to see this place. Surprisingly, there was no line to enter, and not really crowded either. Going through the place, it reminded me of the names of the Mets players, mostly from the '86 team. Names like Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, and Lenny Dykstra took me back to my younger years, when I first became a sports fan. Especially Dykstra, who would later get traded to the Phillies, and have some great years with them, with 1993 being the best.

    And I would get to talk with one of the guys, who worked in the museum. Even mentioned that I mainly knew Keith Hernandez for "nice game, pretty boy", from an episode of "Seinfeld". To him, it was not surprising, coming from a non-Mets fan.

    After seeing the museum, I would go up to my seat in the upper deck. It looked like that it stopped raining. A good sign! Or so I thought, as got to my seat. But that turned out to be the wrong one, as I would wipe that seat dry for nothing. Correct row and seat number, incorrect section. So I moved to the next section, where I had to wipe the seat dry again. Not fun, as I had to use paper towels from the bathroom. When dry, I finally sat down.

    I would eat my chocolate sandwiches (consisting of bread and Nutella), while looking around. There was still tarp on the field. The scoreboard kept showing old footage. I waited until that dreaded announcement was made. The game was postponed due to rain, and rescheduled the next day as a traditional doubleheader.

    I went downstairs, to fan relations booth. There was already a long line, as many wondered what to do next, myself included. Turned out, I would have to exchange my ticket outside of the stadium, at the box office. So I exited, and got in the very long line at the box office. One of many long lines.

    I would wait for a long time. Then I heard an announcement, but could not hear it clearly. But I think it said that there were no exchanges happening at this time. Waited a little while longer, then just decided to come back the next morning.

    I would get on the subway, deciding to go all the way to Manhattan. I got to talk to a guy during the ride, who worked at Citi Field. I got off, and went to see Times Square.

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  • 25Jul 2016

    7 Times Square at Night 07/25/2016 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    Arriving into Times Square, where I have been to before, multiple times. The last time was in 2013, which was during the day time. I decided to visit again, this time at night, when the place really shines! Literally!

    I would take a walk along Broadway, as it seemed like some parts have become pedestrian. Hard to tell, as it was very crowded, to a point at some spots, where it spilled onto the streets. I would see all kinds of advertisements, which were everywhere. Either on a wall, or on screens. Passing by a bunch of stores and restaurants, along with some other type of attractions. More likely, those attractions are overpriced and probably not worth doing, as they are clearly tourist traps. In fact, Times Square is basically the very definition of a tourist trap.

    Times Square dates all the way back to the early 20th century, and probably even before that. The annual ball drop on every New Year’s Eve has been happening here since 1907. And has gone through major changes throughout the decades. From the 1960’s to 1980’s, it was the porn district, with its XXX theaters and shops. But by the 1990’s, efforts were made to clean up the place, and making it a family-friendly place, that does make it very much worth visiting.

    Then came upon the Disney Store, which I could not pass up. Not sure why, since it was just a merchandise store, and nothing more. And I was not going to buy anything. This one consists of 2 floors, and I would look at both of them. After that, I went back out, to see more of Times Square.

    After passing by some statues and a set of bleachers, I made a brief stop in the Hershey store. When entering, I would get a small Twizzlers, which was good. Can't remember the last time I ate them, as they are not really my favorite candy.

    Coming back out, I went back towards the subway stop, seeing more of the bright lights along the way. Once at the subway platform, I rode it, to Grand Central Terminal. I would go to the main concourse area, to look around for a bit. But realized that it was getting late, and I started to feel tired. So I decided to come back here the next day. So back to the subway, and to the hostel.

    When coming back to my room, I was still the only person in there. Maybe I will have the room all to myself? Turns out that was not the case, as another guy came in. This guy came from the UK, and was an interesting guy to talk to. He has been going to Olympic games for some time, probably going back to the 80's. Very impressive, as the Olympics are very hard to get to. And I think that he said that he would head to South America a short time after. And yes, that would include the 2016 Games in Rio.

    I made sure that the AC was on, as I went to sleep. And the subway noise did not bother me at all.

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  • 26Jul 2016

    8 Going Back and Forth 07/26/2016 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    I saw that we were the only 2 guys in the room. I had to got ready and pack up, as I would have to change rooms. I would eat ramen noodles and bread as my breakfast. After all that, I put my backpack in storage. Then headed out, as I had to take care one order of business. And this would be a long one, as I had to exchange tickets for Mets game.

    Took the long ride on the 7 train to Citi Field, but when I arrived, I did not have my ticket. So I had to go back to the hostel, to get it. But once back there, I could not find it, looking everywhere. Even worse, the computers there, were not responding well, with this security certificate problem. And I had trouble e-mailing the ticket to the hostel address on my smartphone. I started to lose it, with the front desk, even though it was not their fault. But then, there was a tablet, which I used to access the ticket site, and was finally able to forward that e-mail. And able to print the ticket. Success! I would also apologize to the front desk for my behavior. Then back out, to Citi Field again.

    Once there again, I was able to finally exchange the ticket, for one for both games of the doubleheader. But I planned to go to only one of them. Then back on the subway, as I headed to Manhattan. I would get off at Grand Central Terminal, also known as the Grand Central Station or GCT, and often used interchangeably. I walked to the main concourse area, and looked around.

    Grand Central Terminal is one of the commuter rail stations in New York that dates back to the early 20th century. Also called Grand Central Station or GCT for short, this station was built, meant to wow visitors whose first impressions of New York was grandness of this place. I looked around, seeing the Greek Revival architecture of this place.

    Afterwards, I exited out of one way, onto 43rd St, looking for the row of columns. But that was not it, I went back inside, through the concourse area, and out the other way. I came out to the 42nd St side, under a bridge. At first, I was not sure if I came out on the right side, not seeing that row of columns. Then noticed someone taking photos, pointing above the bridge. When I went to that spot and looked up, I would see the columns. Plus some statues.

    After seeing GCT, I would walk down 42nd Street, then hopped on a bus when one came by. I rode it to the end, then walked to the United Nations Headquarters (or UN for short). Formed in 1945 after World War II, mainly to prevent another world war.

    Passed by a row of flags, as I had to head for the visitor check-in office first. Then went through security, and had to get a sticker, after showing ID. This would allow me to enter the UN grounds. I had to go through security again, then looked at all the gifts from other countries.

    I would book a tour inside the General Assembly building, and thought it was a long-shot to get on one at the last minute. But I was able to get onto one, which was a short time away. So I took the time to look at more of the gifts, first the ones outside on the Visitors Plaza, like the United Nations Slavery Memorial, which is a memorial to honor the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Then went back inside, to see the ones inside the building itself. Plus the rotating exhibitions in relation to the UN. One of them was "Sustainable Development Goals", which were different goals to help improve lives better around the world.

    The time for the tour came, and we were taken around the United Nations Headquarters. Our guide was a Chinese lady, who did show us around the place as much as she could. Some rooms I was able to see, and others were closed off. And there were more gifts to see along the way, along with other artwork set to a certain theme, like human rights. And bypass some parts, some of which, I remember seeing before when I first toured this place back in 2001. Like the clothing remains from Japanese teens after the Hiroshima bombing. The tour would end at the General Assembly room, which is the only one where all member nations have equal representation. I thought it did move too fast, as if it was on some time limit, and overpriced. But worth a look if time permits.

    After the tour, I would see more of the exhibitions inside the lobby of the General Assembly building, including one of the refugees. And not just the Syrian refugees, but also other ones that don't get reported on the news. At least, I have not heard or seen it on CNN or the other news networks. Have to say, the photo gallery was really telling, and heartbreaking to see. Especially seeing the conditions that kids have to sleep in. After seeing the exhibitions on the lobby, I would leave the UN.
    Leaving the UN, I would head back to 42nd Street, passing through some residential area. And then took the subway to Lower Manhattan. I was going to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which has free admission after 4pm on Wednesdays.

    Once I got there, I would see a long line, which turned out to be a separate line for free tickets. Turns out, there are only a limited amount of free tickets, which will be given out, starting at 4pm. Seeing how long the line was, and after asking some questions to the people working there, I decided that I would save this place for the next day. I wanted to make it to the baseball game in time for the 2nd game, and did not want to rush or cut my visit short. Leaving Manhattan, I would take the subway back to Queens.

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  • 26Jul 2016

    9 Ballgame Happening 07/26/2016 USA —

    Queens, New York, USA

    Description

    Arriving back in Queens, I stopped by the hostel, to put my backpack in the room for the night. I did get to talk to some of the people there, who were from other parts of the US. Then back out, making a stop at a Subway restaurant, to buy a sandwich. This would save me money from buying food inside the stadium. And then, rode the long subway journey to Citi Field.

    Along the way, I kept checking what inning the first game of the doubleheader was in. And I would find my original copy of the game ticket in my back pocket, so all that back and forth for nothing, earlier that morning. A huge waste of time!

    Once I arrived at the ballpark, I would check out some of the things outside of it. Starting with the Home Run Apple, from Shea Stadium. Then to the parking lot, where there were plaques, which marked the spots of the bases and pitcher's mound at Shea Stadium. Once I did all that, I entered into Citi Field, to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, which pays tribute to the first black to break the color barrier. Took another look around the area, before heading to my seat.

    I got to my seat, as Game 1 was in the 9th inning, with the Cardinals winning, 3-2. The Mets got a man on base, but nothing, as the Cards won the game. Then waited until the next game. I would eat my Subway sandwich as my dinner.

    I would have to sit in the same row as some noisy boys, and a couple who brought their newborn baby to the game. It did get a tad annoying with the boys, but did not bother me as much as I thought. Eventually, they would leave early. I would see the retired numbers, and it seemed like I did not hear any airplane noise. The opposite of Shea Stadium, where it was loud and clear. Plus the mascot race of cars, which looked weird.

    The same 2 teams, the Mets and Cardinals, played each other in Game 2. And turned out to be another low scoring game, with Bartolo Colon starting for the Mets. I did not know that he was still playing. He would give up a solo home run in the 2nd inning, as the Cards took a 1-0 lead. Then in the next 3 innings, the Mets would score 1 run in each of them. And that would be it with all the scoring, as the Mets beat the Cardinals, 3-1, thus splitting the doubleheader. Both teams needed wins to keep up in their respective divisions.

    I headed out, and saw the series of tiles called the Citi Field Fanwalk. Each of those tiles marked moments in Mets history, like the Black Cat game in 1969. A common myth that the black cats are bad luck, as they were good luck to the Mets, as they would end up winning the World Series that year.

    Overall, a nice and cheaper alternative to that of the other New York team, even if it does not have as much of the history of that other team.

    Headed to the subway, and rode it back to the hostel. Once there, it was to the 8-bed dorm room, where I had some major issues with it. I would write about all of them in the review. I took a much-needed shower, and did raise the issues to the front desk, to no avail. I did hang for a bit in the kitchen and common area, where there were people who were drawing and coloring Pokemon. Someone asked me if I wanted to join, but I declined. I would go back to the room.

    I did try to sleep as much as I can, as the room can get hot, with the AC off. I did turn it off and on, being the considerate person that I am, I did not want to make the guy sick, who had to sleep right below the AC.

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  • 27Jul 2016

    10 9/11 and Facing Uncertainty 07/27/2016 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    It was my last day of this trip, and time to get ready and pack up. And I did go to the kitchen, to eat some breakfast, and charge my devices there. I would stay in this hostel until around the time of checkout. When finishing packing up, I checked out, and decided to carry my backpack, to save time and money.

    During checkout, I overheard a guy, wanting to change beds, as he did not want to be under the AC. But the hostel was completely booked. I would e-mail the hostel about all this, done sometime after I returned home.

    I would ride the subway, going to Lower Manhattan, as I decided to go to the 9/11 sites. I start at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. This time, I would have to pay. I entered, and would check my backpack at the coat check-in, which was helpful to me. Then take a look around the place.

    September 11th (or 9/11 for short) in a nutshell - the day when 4 flights that were hijacked by terrorists, and 2 of them were were used to crash into each of the World Trade Center (which consisted of North Tower and South Tower, also known as the Twin Towers), causing their collapse. The 3rd was used to crash into the Pentagon, outside of Washington DC. And the 4th crashed in western Pennsylvania, where passengers fought back, and prevented it from going to its intended target.

    I remembered where I was, and did have some connection with the city, as my sister used to live there. She was home with me at the time, and was suppose to go back that day. But that did not happen, as the city was closed off. I did not know until my mom called and told me all about. I turned on the TV to see it all happen.

    And I have visited the World Trade Center a few times, and went to the top once. Back in 1999, the elevator went very fast, which was unusual back then. And came close to going to the top again, around Labor Day in 2001. But it was hazy, and I was short on time, so that trip to the top did not happen. And it turned out, never happen. I did get to visit a short time after the attacks, as I can remember seeing the dust and debris, as well as so many of the missing posters that hung throughout the city. It was truly something.

    I would walk around the museum, seeing some of the items along the way. Starting with Foundation Hall, which had items from the original WTC. And the survivors' stairs, which would be key to save lives as people ran out of the burning building. And then, to the main exhibition area, which told the story of that day. It was very crowded, and I had a hard time at times, moving around. The only part where photography was not allowed. It also gets into the 1993 bombing.

    After seeing that part, I would rest for a bit, before heading outside. Then walk around the area, in the memorial part, with its 2 fountain pools that are currently in the spots each of the Twin Towers once stood. There are names on each of bronze boards, that are around the pools.

    After that, I would visit the 9/11 Tribute Center, which once served as the main museum, before the National September 11 Museum opened. Operated by the survivors and family members affected by 9/11. This place definitely humanizes the event a lot more, and does show that it is not just something that happened in the news or history books. The items on display, definitely show this, which includes a boarding pass that was recovered at one of the crash sites. And a photo gallery of the people who lost their lives that day. An interesting place, though overpriced and short.

    After seeing that, I walked to the nearby Zuccotti Park, and saw the statue called Double Check. I was not sure what to do next, and considered getting something to eat. I had limited time left. I walked down one street, until I came to Trinity Church. I decided to check it out, as it was nearby. I entered through one side of the graveyard, seeing gravestones along the way. Then went inside the church, to look around.

    The current church is actually the third church building. The first one was built in 1698, and got destroyed by the Great New York Fire of 1776. Then came the second one, in 1790. But that one had some structure issues, and got demolished in 1839. Then came the current one, which opened in 1846.

    After seeing the church, I walked down Wall Street, and came upon the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Monument. Then went inside Federal Hall, where the very first inauguration of a US President took place. After seeing how much there was to see, I decided to skip this one, and save it for another time. Besides, I don't have my NPS passport book with me, as this was a NPS site. So I headed back out, and back on the subway.

    I would go to midtown, around Penn Station. And got a hot dog from a cart, as my cheap lunch. Then went inside a Baskin Robbins, to get some ice cream, which I enjoyed very much. Very cool and relaxing. But it could not last long, as I had to go back out into the humidity.

    I walked to the Megabus stop, and saw the line was already long. Even worse, it was in direct sunlight. I tried to cover with a towel, over my head and beck. And a long wait, as I got there early enough. When the bus came, I was relieved, and boarded the bus.

    I sat in the back, and thought it was a good spot. But the sun shined on that side, making it tough to sleep and just endure. And with my backpack on me, it was not comfortable at all. The bus left New York City, and headed back to Philly.

    Once back in Philly, I would get off earlier than planned, as traffic was stalled due to protesters from the DNC. Luckily, it was somewhere that I was familiar with. I had a lot of time to kill, but hardly anything was open. So I went to the train station, and headed towards home. I would wait there longer, until my mom came to give me a ride back home. This trip was over.

    I faced an uncertain future, as I have no job to go back to. No trips planned for the time being, and not planning to find another job until I moved. But I still hoped to visit more stadiums.

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  • 06Dec 2016

    11 Presidents, Christmas and More 12/06/2016 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    I decided to take a day trip to New York, as I planned to visit some sites in relation to US Presidents. Plus see Christmas in the Big Apple.

    It started with me hurrying to get from one place to another, barely making it. First, it was catching the train into the city. Then a Megabus, taking me to New York. I was lucky to make it to both, otherwise it would have been a long wait for the next one.

    I arrived into New York, and had a list of places that I hoped to visit this day. Being close to the dropoff site of Megabus, I headed to the closest one, which was within walking distance. I did try to coordinate the times to try to visit all of the listed sites. But I had to concede that I won't see them all. So no need to rush, and stressing me out.

    The first place was the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. Wow, a long name. As the name indicated, it was the birth home of the 26th President. I got there, and went inside. I looked around the museum part for a bit, until it was time for the guided tour. Then was shown around the home, and learned that Roosevelt was also nicknamed "TD", in addition to TR and Teddy. It was made a lot more interesting, because of the guide giving the tour. Very knowledgeable and really seemed to be engaged into it, not only about the family that lived there, but also the history of the house itself. After the house tour, I went to see the rest of the museum, which has a collection of photos, that give a quick overview on the life of Theodore Roosevelt.

    After seeing the TR Birthplace, and getting the National Park Service stamp, I would head to the subway. Then head north (or go uptown) in Manhattan, all the way to Harlem. Stopped by a supermarket to get a drink, and considered getting something to eat, but I did not. I walked to the next place, going through Hamilton Heights, to the Hamilton Grange National Memorial.

    This was the home of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father. Served under George Washington, first during the American Revolution, and later as the very first Secretary of the Treasury under Washington. He built this home, but only lived in it for 2 years, due to being killed by Aaron Burr in a duel. And the home has been moved a couple times. Yes, it was actually lifted and moved to a different spot. I know about the musical based on Hamilton, but I did not see it.

    I went inside, first seeing the museum part. Then watched a film. And did the guided tour around the home. The house would have an interesting history of its own, having to be moved twice. Yes, actually moving the entire building from one spot to another. The first time was around 1895, and the second time was in 2008, to its current location in St. Nicholas Park. And re-opened in 2011 after renovations, it can be seen only on a guided tour.

    I did meet one of the rangers, who commutes all the way from Philly. That cannot be fun at all, to go such a long way each day. I did get the stamp, and headed out. Stopped by to see St. Luke's Episcopal Church, where the Grange used to be. That was really shown, with the statue of Hamilton still being there.

    I considered walking all the way to next place, but turned around and hopped on the subway, to save some time. I arrived at the Columbia University / Barnard College. Then walked all the way, to see Tom's Restaurant, whose exterior was always shown on the TV show, "Seinfeld". The inside is completely different. I have been there a few times, but did not go inside this time.

    I turned around, and walked through the college campus. Then came upon The Riverside Church, which I remember visiting briefly back in the 90's. But since I had to wait until the next place on my list had to open, I decided to kill some time by seeing this church. It opened in 1930, and financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. And it is currently an interdenominational church, as it welcomes Christians from different denominations or sects.

    After seeing the church, I went to that next place, which was the General Grant National Memorial. Also known as Grant's Tomb, it is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia. As it was not open yet, I went to the visitor center, which was across the street. And down some steps.

    At the visitor center, I would look at the museum area, until the tomb opened up again. I went back to the tomb, and looked around. Then back to the visitor center, to see the rest of the museum and watch a film.

    Ulysses S. Grant was a Civil War general who helped the Union win the war, and became an American hero. He would later become the 18th President, serving 2 terms from 1869 to 1877. His Presidency was a mixed bag, but he was immensely popular during his day. So popular, that a huge mausoleum was built in his honor, for his burial site.

    After all that, I did get to talk to the ranger there, mainly about the Presidents, and how it compares to today. After a while, I would leave, and to the subway. I rode it to Columbus Circle, which is at the southern boundary of Central Park. I entered into Central Park, where there was the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. A Christmas market, I did not linger long, as I was short on time, and wanted to see as much of the Christmas sights as possible.

    I considered a short visit to the ice rink in Central Park, but it was out of the way. So I went to 5th Avenue, and started to walk down on it, seeing some nice Christmas light displays along the way. Then came to Bergdorf Goodman, a clothing department store. I have read about their window displays at Christmas time. And each year has a different theme to it. This year, the theme was "Destination Extraordinary", about different exotic locations. So green, and nice to look at.

    Afterwards, I would see Trump Tower, belonging to the next US President. Then to Rockefeller Center area, where I saw some type of Christmas light show happening on the building of the Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Set in the tune of Christmas music. Really nice to see.

    I continued into Rockefeller Center, seeing some other Christmas displays, until I got to the famous Christmas tree. It is really nice to see. Plus the ice rink, which is there every winter. And unbelievably crowded, as it was tough to get around. But I managed, and thought it was all worth it, as these Christmas sights were nice to see.

    Unfortunately, I had to cut this part short, as I had a scheduled bus to catch. I considered walking all the way, until I saw a subway stop. I decided to come to my senses, and just pay a little extra money, to get to the Megabus stop on time. And riding the subway, I remembered that there is a subway stop much closer to the Megabus pickup site. I arrived there early enough, and waited in line. It was cold, but more tolerable for me than my time at the stop during the summer.

    The bus came, and I got on. Nearly full, as it left New York, and took me back to Philly. I got off at the earlier stops, as I could not take it anymore in the bus. But had to walk a bit to get indoors, as it was so cold outside. And getting late. I got to a train station, and rode it back home.

    This was a nice day trip to the Big Apple. While I did not get to do as much as I wanted to, but it worked out for the better. As it turned out, there are more things to see around Christmas time, so maybe a return trip soon? We shall see.

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  • 29Dec 2016

    12 Return to a Rainy, Christmas Time 12/29/2016 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    I decided to take another day trip to New York, as there are more Christmas sites that I did not get to see, a few weeks ago. Seeing the weather forecast ahead of time, I came close to cancelling the trip, as I did not want to deal with rain. But I already bought a bus ticket coming back, and changing the ticket would cost more, so I decided to go anyway.

    Going to New York, I would take the train getting there. I would transfer through Trenton, to ride NJ Transit into New York. When buying the ticket, I can see how much the fare has increased by a lot. No longer the cheaper alternative to taking the bus. But I find this experience better than any of the bus companies.

    Arriving into Penn Station, the first thing was getting something to eat. So I went to a Pizza Hut to get a pizza. Then rode the subway to Lower Manhattan, to visit a few of the historical sites there. Getting out, I would have to walk through the rain. Not fun to do, as I came to Wall Street.

    Looked around, seeing the Christmas tree there. And went inside the Federal Hall National Memorial. This was the place where the very first inauguration took place in 1789, when George Washington became the very 1st President of the US. I did visit it back in the summer briefly, but did not have enough time then. This time, I took the time to look around, going to all the different rooms.

    The building has a history of its own. It started out as a City Hall building in the early 18th century. Then becoming Federal Hall, when New York was the capital of the nation. Then back to City Hall, after the capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, until 1812, when it was demolished. In its place, was a Custom House and Treasury building until 1920, when it would later become a museum.

    I would drop my camera, and that caused me to lose all of my photos. So I would have to re-visit everything again, to take all the photos. And would switch between my camera and cell phone, as the lens cover on my camera has broken off. Luckily, this place was small, as I was able to go through everything relatively quickly. After all this, I would go back into the rain.

    Getting wet in the process, I would stop by a shop briefly. Then to St. Paul's Chapel, which was located close to the World Trade Center area. Back in the summer, it was closed due to renovations. But opened now, so I went inside, to look around. It was a good place to dry out for a bit. I did have to wait for a bit, until I could see the 9/11 Chapel of Remembrance.

    Opened in 1766, this was the church that George Washington attended services, after became the 1st President of the US. And more recently, after the September 11 attacks in 2001, this was where relief workers would come to get some ministry, and even rest on the pews. Even though the Twin Towers collapsed, the church suffered no damage at all, which is a miracle.

    Going back out, looking at the One World Trade Center, going up into the clouds. Walked around the area for a bit, before heading to the next place. Along the way, I saw some moments in New York history, on the sidewalk. Only really noticed the sports one. Then I passed by City Hall, until coming to the African Burial Ground National Monument.

    This place looked like it was inside a building, which looked like an office building. I had to go through security, and looked around the visitor center. This place also has an outdoor memorial, but it was closed off during the winter months. So I would only view it from the distance, in the dark. Disappointing, and I will have to come back at another time. And will review it sometime after that.

    By then, it was starting to get dark, so time to focus on the Christmas part. I rode the subway to 59th Street, and walked to Bloomingdale's, to look at the Christmas display windows. The theme was "Lights Up A Young Mind", which seemed to be a series of bright lights and neon. Really nice to see.

    Unfortunately, I would have more camera problems, as my camera somehow had full memory. Even though I had already cleared it before this trip. But I will have to check on this when I get back home. Until then, I will just have to use my cell phone. And tried to minimize the use, to have enough power to take photos.

    Moving on, as I walked to the Bergdorf Goodman. There was a women's store and a men's store, across the street from each other. There were window displays on the men's store, but these were kind of bland. Not nearly as good as the women's. After seeing this, I walked down 5th Avenue.

    I would run into huge crowds, with part of the sidewalk being closed off, due to security at Trump Tower. So I had to go back and forth, through the crowds. I came to Rockefeller Center, and to Saks Fifth Avenue.

    Seeing the light show again, and came to the window displays, which I did not get to see at Saks Fifth Avenue. The theme of this one, was "Land of 1000 Delights", a candy-themed one. Most were just advertisements for their clothing. But there was one set of display windows, called "The Sweet Nutcracker", telling the story about the Nutcracker, with candy involved. There was a separate line to see them, but I find it better to stand just outside of the line, mainly to take photos of the display windows. And some of the displays would move, making it more tricky to photograph. So you may see a few duplicates in this entry.

    After all this, I walked to Rockefeller Center, to see the Christmas tree. And a block away, a couple of Christmas sculptures. Then walked to Bryant Park, where there was a holiday market, called Winter Village. There was also an ice-skating rink and a Christmas tree. I did not stay long, as I was running out of time. Moving on, I got to Herald Square, to the Macy's department store.

    I would see the window displays, the theme being "Believe". Very similar to the one in Philly, but these seemed to be a lot more. They were bigger, with more things in each display. So not exactly the same exact thing. Really nice to see. After seeing these windows, I went inside the Macy's. There were rotating snow globes, also part of the "Believe" theme. Really good attention to detail, from what I can see.

    I could not stay long, and had to get to the Megabus pickup spot with enough time. So I left, and walked to the Megabus pickup spot. Luckily, both were on the same street, 34th Street. I walked all the way, and would make a brief stop at a park, where there were some Christmas lights on trees. I tried to take photos with my phone, but somehow, my phone kept resetting. After a few times, I just gave up. My devices are breaking down, probably due to use and age. I may have to get a new phone and camera.

    Arrived at the pickup spot, and got on the bus. It would leave New York, and take me back to Philly. Being on the bus, I would feel a little motion sickness, reminding me how the train was better. I would arrive back early enough, so I was able to connect to a train, taking me back home.

    Even though it was a late and wet start, I am still glad to have gone. And get to see more things. I am sure that I will make a return visit sometime in 2017.

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  • 16Jun 2017

    13 Central to Meeting a TBer 06/16/2017 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    When learning that a TBer will be in NY for a few days, I decided to take a trip there. I also decided to spend the night there, which I don't often do. I would only bring along a day pack, putting as many things as possible. This would be a good thing in the long run.

    I arrived into NY by Greyhound bus. Hard to believe, as I really don't like traveling with them. Plus they tend to be the more expensive option. But not this time, which is why I rode with them. Arriving into Port Authority bus station, I went to the subway, riding it to my hostel. I would be staying at the Jazz on the Park hostel.

    I was not able to check in, so I went out, carrying my day pack. Being only a block from Central Park, I decided to explore it. Starting from 103rd St, I pretty much walked almost the entire length of the park, going from south to north.

    Central Park is a large urban park, that was established in 1857, by architect Frederick Law Olmsted. It was created, to give a place for New Yorkers, a nice place to enjoy and relax. I have been here a few times before, but this time, I decided to take a closer look at the park.

    I had a bunch of places in mind, to visit within the park. I did not get to see everything, as the park is huge. But I started to feel tired and worned out. Plus I needed to get back to the hostel, to rest up for a bit. So I headed towards Columbus Circle, around 59th St. Getting there was a challenge, as the trails are not always straight within the park. Plus it was very humid, though I'm glad that it was cloudy.

    When getting to Columbus Circle, I got on the subway, and rode back to the hostel. Then I was able to check in. After doing that, I had to go up 5 floors of steps, to get to my dorm room. Then I unpacked, showered and rested for a bit. After resting, I went downstairs to the lounge, where I charged my devices at one of the computers there. That was mainly due to the fact that I forgotten to bring the plug part. So I could only re-charge through a USB port.

    After 30 minutes, I headed out, this time taking the subway, mainly for my sore feet. I arrived around 81st St, then walked to Central Park, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More known as the Met, I have been there a couple times before. I decided to make a short visit, as it was open late on Fridays. I went in, and paid $3 as my suggested admission.

    Main reason for coming here, was to see the original painting, "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze, after seeing replicas elsewhere. Well, it was worth it, as the painting is a lot bigger than I thought. Then I went to the nearby rooms, to look at more American art. And they were nice to look at. Then went to see some Egyptian art, as there was so much more to see. But with time running out, I had to leave. With so much to see, I have to make a return visit, and more likely, write up a new review for this place.

    Leaving the museum, I walked to Columbus Circle again. There was no nearby subway station, so I decided to walk, despite my feet hurting so much. I figure, it would save some time in the long run. I walked through the park, to get to Columbus Circle. That was the meeting spot to meet up with Mira.

    This was my 2nd time meeting Mira (mnmira), as we have met back in 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur meetup. She was reaching the end of her trip, making stops in NY, as she has traveled to Central America. This time, she was with her friend, Daniel, who is a local.

    We walked around a bit in the nearby area, looking for a place to get some dinner. Stopped by a few places, until we decided to get our meal from a food truck. After getting our food, we went back to Columbus Circle, to eat and hang out there. It was a very fun time.

    Unfortunately, when getting back up, after hanging out, my left foot was in so much pain, to the point where I was limping. Not sure how this happened. Probably from so much walking, which I decided to do, to get some exercise.

    From Columbus Circle, we inside a nearby shopping mall, for some photos. Then had to part ways, as Mira and Daniel were planning to meet Daniel's brother. I headed back to the hostel, which was made a lot harder due to my bad foot. Made worse by going up the 5 floors, as there was no elevator. Once back in the room, I went to sleep.

    The next day, would end up being a complete wash. My foot was still in pain, so I stayed in the hostel until around checkout time. After that time passed, I went out, hoping to visit the Central Park Zoo. But by the time I reached the area, it started to rain really hard. So I decided to visit the American Museum of Natural History, but the line was so long, even in the rain. At this point, I just gave up, and went to the bus station, waiting (and dozing off) there until it was time to board.

    Getting on the Greyhound bus, I rode back to Philly. It was a very good day trip, getting to see Mira again, and see a little more of NY. I am sure that I will visit again this year.

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  • 19Dec 2017

    14 Animals, Art and Christmas 12/19/2017 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    Planning this at the last minute, I would make that Christmas trip to New York. I just could not make up my mind, as my interet was elsewhere. Plus, this would be the first trip since the loss of my black cat, Billy. About a month ago.

    After getting ready and going to the Greyhound station, I would take the bus to New York. No point going through this part, as it is the same process. I will say, that I am surprised that a Greyhound bus arrived in NY on time.

    After arriving, I realized that I forgot to bring along a previous MetroCard, so I had to pay $1 extra for a new one. Then decided to re-visit Grant's Tomb. Mainly so that I can take photos of all the burial sites of the Presidents, with me in them. I have been to this one before, but not with me in this photo. You can read about this visit in the previous entry.

    I arrived at Columbia University by subway. Then took a detour, as I just remembered that part of "Ghostbusters" was filmed there. The 1984 version, not the 2016 one. So I walked to the square, to look around. This area, with the Alma Mater sculpture, was shown after the title of the movie was shown. Then I walked around, looking at the different buildings.

    I did go inside one of them, for a quick look. Then walked around the campus for a bit, visiting a few more places from the movie. After that, I would eat the sandwiches that I packed, as my lunch.

    I walked to the General Grant National Memorial, and found that the site was closed on Mondays. A major bummer, as I basically came there for nothing. A waste of money and time. So I just went back to the subway, and rode it to Central Park. Getting off at Columbus Circle, I walked through the park. I would walk through Columbus Circle Christmas Market, and saw the Wollman Rink. Then walked to the Central Park Zoo.

    I was finally visiting a zoo in New York, which has a bunch. But never got around to visiting any of them. Since it was a nice day, this was a good time to visit the place. I would pay admission, and finally enter my 1st zoo in the Big Apple.

    Starting in the pool area, which has sea lions. I got kind of close, but it was enough out of reach, so no one can touch the pool. I would see them swimming around, and get close look of the sea lions.

    After that, I went to the Penguins & Sea Birds building, which has penguins and an owl. Then came out, and walked up some steps, into the Temperate Territory area. This has the snow leopards, which gathered quite a crowd. They did act like a household cat.

    Then walked the rest of it, seeing animals like red pandas and black swans. Next, I went inside the Tropic Zone building, which has aviaries and some tropical animals.

    After walking through this building, I was back out. And would leave this part of the zoo, and see the Delacorte Clock. Then I head to the Tisch Children's Zoo. Included on the same ticket, but I had to scan it, to enter.

    This part of the zoo, is mainly domestics and farm animals. I would see sheep, goats and a bunch of birds. I went through it rather quickly. And I was done seeing the Central Park Zoo. More about this zoo and more photos in the zoo blog.

    From the zoo, I walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as I wanted to see more of it. When I got there, I paid $3 for suggested admission. I would see more of the Egyptian collection, including the Temple of Dendur again. When I was there, I sat down for a bit, to relax my feet. Then went to see the temple again.

    I would also see the American wing, as if I entered into a mansion. This has a series of rooms, with period furniture from different time periods, in different styles. Wow, that was a mouthful. But they were really nice to see.

    After a while, I headed out, passing by so many exhibitions that I could not see. Coming back out, it was getting dark. I thought about getting something to eat, but decided to pass.

    It was time for the Christmas displays, and hoped to see all of them. I started with Bloomingdale's, set to the theme of "The Greatest Showman". Based on the movie of the same name, which I have not seen. But the display of windows was a nice set. Then I went inside the store for a bit.

    Coming back out, I went to a couple stores that I did not see last year. I would make a brief stop at Louis Vuitton. Only 1 window, I think, and the photo did not come out well. After that, I went to Barneys New York, set to the theme of "Haas for the Holidays". This set just seemed really "out there".

    Next, I came to a store that I did see last year, Bergdorf Goodman. The theme was "To New York, With Love", with each window set to a different New York attraction. Very nice one, and probably the best one so far.

    After seeing this one, I walked down 5th Avenue, stopping by Tiffany & Co. These windows has silver figures, which looked nice. But hard to photograph, as I tried both, with flash and no flash. Not much of a theme, but I liked it.

    I continued on, making a brief stop in St. Patrick's Church. Then proceeded to Saks Fifth Avenue, set to the theme of "Once Upon a Holiday". This was celebrating Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", released 80 years ago. Told the story of the movie, which was very nice to see.

    But it was unbelievably crowded, like a Disney park. Taking good photos of the displays was tricky, as I was hearing music from the movie. And this had to be the last one, as I wanted to catch the bus and not get back home too late.

    So I passed through Rockefeller Center, going to the subway. I went to Greyhound, and got in line, and find out that it was late. No surprise there, and I had to stand the whole thing. When I finally got on the bus, I went back to Philly. And this ended the trip.

    It was awesome to visit New York during Christmas season. Just unfortunate that I did not get to see all of it. But hopefully, I will get to see the rest of it on another day.

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  • 12Dec 2018

    15 A Mickey Mouse Christmas 12/12/2018 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    That time of year again, to take a trip to New York for Christmas. It has become another annual Christmas tradition, to see Christmas in the Big Apple. Of course, it is not the only thing that I will see, as I do try to see the regular sites as well. Only problem was deciding when to go, since I tend to be lazy to make up my mind. I had to make myself go.

    Leaving from home, I would take the train to New York, through SEPTA and NJ Transit. And it has gotten more pricey than before. When doing the math between this and the bus, I decided to buy a Megabus ticket to come back, on my phone.

    Arriving in New York, the first thing was to deal with my leftover Metrocards from past trips. Turned out, I had $9 left on my expired card. So I had the attendant transfer that amount to a card that was not expired. Then to the subway, to ride to Columbia University.

    I was back here, mainly to get a selfie at the General Grant National Memorial. Arriving there, I went inside, taking a quick look around. Then downstairs towards the coffins, trying to get a good selfle with them. I did bring a selfie stick, but not easy to do, as the place was only lit by the sun. After a while, I took a bunch. Have to wait and check them out when I get back home.

    Afterwards, I made a quick stop at Riverside Church, hoping to find a place to sit down and eat a quick lunch, like a dining area. But I could not find any, so I just ate my packed lunch outside, in the chilly weather. Then went to a nearby store to get a drink, before going back to the subway. I headed to the Chelsea area in the lower part of Manhattan.

    I came here, for "Mickey: The True Original Exhibition". Arrived at the building, and I could only buy a ticket online. So that meant paying the service fee, and the total being $43. Then entered the exhibition, which was about Mickey Mouse, celebrating his 90th birthday. I had to check out, being the Disney fan. Though, I will admit, I was not a huge Mickey Mouse fan, but do enjoy watching his cartoons.

    The exhibition started out with the history of the character, along with some interactive exhibits. And some additional works of art in various styles, of Mickey. Plus I did get some free chocolate ice cream. The exhibition took less than 90 minutes to walk all the way through. It ended with the Mickey merchandise over the years. Then to a gift shop, where there was Cosmic Cavern, a room that looked like a colorful collection of junk. Overall, I did like the exhibition, but I do think it was overpriced.

    Afterwards, I made a short stop at nearby Chelsea Market, to eat a snack and more. Then back out, as I came to the Christmas part of this trip. The sun was setting, and I considered walking to Macy's. But changed my mind, and rode the subway to the Upper East Side.

    I would start my sightseeing of the holiday windows, starting with Bloomingdale's. Then went to see the windows of the other department stores along 5th Avenue. When at Rockefeller Center, I walked around for a bit, seeing the Light Show on the Saks building. Plus stopped by the Nintendo Store, to rest. And again, inside the GE Building. Then walked all the way to Macy's.

    Here is the list of stores in the order that I visited, and the theme of each one...
    1. Bloomingdale's - "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch"
    2. Bergdorf Goodman - "Bergdorf Goodies"
    3. Louis Vuitton - "Trees of the World"
    4. Tiffany and Co - "The Holiday Made By Tiffany"
    5. Saks Fifth Avenue - "Theater of Dreams"
    6. Macy's - "Believe in the Wonder of Giving"

    After seeing Macy's windows, I went inside briefly. And decided that I would have to make one more trip this month. But I ran out of time this time, as I left and walked to the Megabus stop.

    Once I got there, which took 20 minutes by walking, I waited until I got on the bus. But then, there was a delay, due to a woman being prevented from boarding. An argument happened, as I overheard it. Long story short, the delay only ended with the police involved, taking the woman away. I did not see anything, so I don't know for sure. And the driver did not seem interested in sharing the details. And really, not relevant. I just wanted to get home.

    Leaving New York, I made it back to Philly. Then took a train to get back home. An enjoyable trip, as I did get to do most of what I wanted to do. If this was the only trip to NY this Christmas, then I am satisfied with it. But I hope to make another, to see more.

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  • 24Dec 2018

    16 Daytime Christmas and City Museum 12/24/2018 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    I decided to take another day trip to New York, for the same reasons as before. Can't remember the last time that I traveled on Christmas Eve. This time, I had to wake up around 4 AM, to take care of some things, and breakfast. I got ready, then headed to the train station. Then rode to 30th Street station, where I caught the Megabus. And had to the whole row to myself.

    But when trying to do some things on this bus, I started to feel nausea. I tried to think of something else, and sleep as much as I can, to get my mind off it. And I did sleep part of the way, waking up when approaching New York. Then the nausea came back in full force.

    As the bus arrived at the stop, I could not wait to get off. And when I did, I tried to get to a bathroom. But no luck, as there were none nearby, as I worried about vomiting. So I stood outside, breathing in and out, and feeling a little better.

    I saw a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins, and went inside. I would get ice cream, as I could not pass the chance. I always enjoyed their ice cream, and got some. Then just relaxed for a bit. I know, too early! Plus I tried to make a reservation for Santaland, but it was fully booked.

    Coming back out, I walked to Macy's, as it was a short distance away. And saved some money on my Metrocard. But it was raining a little, so that may change my plans later on, as it was kind of weather dependent.

    Arrived at Macy's, seeing the holiday windows again. This was the first time seeing them in the daytime. I read the story again, about Sunny the Snowpal, who is female, helping Santa. So a snowgirl, I guess? And the background Christmas music, in a computerized style, enhanced the atmosphere. After seeing them, I went inside the store.

    I came to a greeter, asking a few questions. And he recommended to try my luck to get into Santaland. Then went to see the rotating globes, part of the "Believe" theme. They were amazing to look at, as I looked at the 2 that I missed in my previous visit. Then I went to a visitor center, to ask some more.

    When walking around the store, I did not realize how big it was. It felt like forever, getting from one side to another. I would go to the 8th floor, where Santaland was. And tried my luck there, but it was not there. I could try to come back in 1 hour, to see if someone cancelled. But I decided not to, as the reservation just meant that I was allowed to stand in line. From there, who knows how long it will be. So I will have to skip it this time.

    Moving on, I went to 9th floor, where there was "Holiday Lane". This was a Christmas shop, with a snow globe featuring Sunny. I wanted to get a photo of myself with Sunny, but good luck with that. Too crowded, and I was not going to ask other parents to do it. The frustrating thing with traveling solo. So a quick photo of Sunny, then looked around the shop. Some really nice looking decorations.

    After a while, I went to 7th floor, to the McDonald's there. Yes, there is one inside the the store. I went to buy a soda, which was only around $1, much to my surprise. So I got one, and just relaxed again, and tried to figure out what to do next. I did look outside, as the sun was coming out. I was considering a visit to top of One World Observatory.

    I would leave Macy's, as it stopped raining. Walked to Lord & Taylor, as it was in its final days. And saw a Christmas window, with a TV screen showing different images. Then went inside, to use the bathroom there. It really showed that the store was closing down for good. It had been around since the 1820's.

    Afterwards, I continued on, to Saks Fifth Avenue. I went inside for a bit. When coming back out, looked at the windows again. Being that it was Christmas Eve, it was unbelievably crowded. So I had to get out of there. I walked to Bergdorf Goodman, to see the 2 display windows that I missed earlier. And I did see them, taking photos of them. The result after all this, showed that day viewing was NOT the same as night viewing. Not as impressive.

    I would go to the Museum of the City of New York, getting there by subway. Once I got there, it was suggested admission, and I paid $5. Then started with the short film, "Timescapes", which told the history of New York. After it ended, I sat on the bench, and dozed off for a bit, as I was feeling so tired. That 2:30 feeling.

    After a while, I resumed seeing the museum. Made a stop to eat a quick lunch. Then went to see "New York at Its Score", a series of 3 parts, telling the history of NY. Starting with NY's origin in the 1st part called Port City, then resuming in the 2nd part called World City. And concluding at Future Lab City, which is more of an interactive one. Really nice to see, and I like how it divided into different time periods to tell the history, with artifacts on display.

    The rest of the museum were temporary exhibitions. The ones that I really saw were "Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers" and "Activist New York". Others included one on "Rebel Women: Defying Victorianism", and Stanley Kubrick's photos. Yes, the very same one, who was a photographer before becoming a movie director. And the display of the Stettheimer Dollhouse, which was amazing to see, with great attention to detail.

    I did really like this museum, and think it's worth visiting, and a good place to start to understand NY. Also, kind of cheap. Only problem is the location, which is out-of-way. In a city with a lot of recommended sites, this would unfortunately, fall through the cracks. But it should not be.

    Leaving the museum, I made another visit to Bergdorf Goodman, getting there by bus. Once I got there, the windows looked a lot more nicer to see at night. So this really confirmed it for me, that night viewing of the Christmas sites is way better than day viewing.

    As it was time to go, I had to go to the Megabus stop. So I took the subway to Hudson Yards, and got in line, which was already long. Waited until it was time to board. I got on, and the bus took off, leaving NY. Arrived back in Philly, and I took the train back home.

    This day trip was not as good as the last one, but a learning one. So not a waste at all. And I will return to NY next Christmas, if not beforehand.

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  • 08May 2019

    17 Full Yankee Return 05/08/2019 USA —

    The Bronx, New York, USA

    Description

    Decided to make a last minute trip to New York, as I wanted to see a full game at Yankee Stadium and more. I packed really light, as this trip would be for only 2 days. I would arrive into the city by bus, getting into Manhattan in the afternoon.

    After getting off the bus, I decided to go to a Chipotle, for a lunch. With nothing else planned, I wanted to get something to eat, and kill some time until check-in time at the hostel. I did some people-watching while eating a pricey lunch. After the meal, I went to the subway, exchanged for a new Metrocard. Then rode it to the Jazz on the Park Hostel, where I stayed in 2017.

    After checking in, I would go up 5 floors by steps, as there was no elevator. Then just got settled and rested for a bit. After that, I went to ride the subway to the Bronx, as I arrived later than planned. I only spent a little time, looking outside of the stadium. Then entered!

    I went to Monument Park, and much to my surprise, there was no line. I just walked in. A huge difference from my last visit in 2013. Though, it was very sunny, making it hard to take good photos. Another difference was seeing the numbers and plaques of the more recent Yankees that have retired, which included Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and more. As I was looking around, I did notice some people in visiting team gear. When done with this place, I went to the New York Yankees Museum.

    This place has gone through changes as well, with fewer display cases. I just focused on the changes, with a display of different players, including Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Plus one on the 1978 season, and how the Yankees made a comeback to win the World Series that year. So this place has rotating exhibits, I guess, to get people to return to museum.

    After the museum, I had enough time to get to my seat, as the game would start at 6:35 instead of the usual 7:05. My main reason for this visit, was to see a full game here, which I did not in 2013. This was due to spending a couple innings, seeing the museum. Normally, I would allow 1 inning at the most to miss, depending on reason.

    The New York Yankees took on the Seattle Mariners. And this game would be one-sided, as the Mariners took a 5-0 lead, as they hit a few home runs. During the 7th inning, when the crew go around the diamond, they would do the YMCA. Something I missed in 2013, but I do remember seeing it at the old stadium in 2008.

    The Mariners would end up winning the game, 10-1. It was a chilly night, and good thing that I packed an extra layer, to wear. Surprisingly, the final score was not displayed at all, on the scoreboard. I guess that applies to any embarrassing losses. I will say, I was happy to see the Yankees lose.

    I stopped by the store, to browse. Then went back to Manhattan. I stopped by a Baskin-Robbins, for some ice cream, and ate it back at the hostel. Then went to the room, where I would meet some more roommates. They were exchange students from UNC, originally from Hong Kong.

    Took care of some things, and trying to decide what to do the next day.

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  • 09May 2019

    18 Greenwich and Lower 05/09/2019 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    Started the day, trying to decide what to do. I considered visiting the Bronx Zoo, but with the limited time and high admission price, I decided to save it for another time, that is less rushed. With the sky being cloudy, I decided to walk around Greenwich Village. I packed up my things and checked out of the hostel. Then to the subway, going to Greenwich Village.

    When I arrived there, I walked to Washington Square Park, in the New York University area. Also known as NYU, as I have been here a few times before. Named after George Washington, was formed as a public park in 1871. There is the fountain, and people playing chess. But the most notable landmark is the Washington Square Arch, which has statues of George Washington. I looked through it, from both sides.

    After looking at the arch, I went to a nearby McDonald's, to eat a brunch there. Then came back to Washington Square Park, and just sat for a bit. I did some people-watching.

    I got to visit this area back in the late 1990's, and always remembered it as a unique area, as well as interesting. A different side of Manhattan. Will it still hold up for me? This would be my first visit with a digital camera, as I would be following a walking tour.

    Leaving Washington Square Park, I came upon Washington Mews, which used to be stables. Looked like an old side street. Then went inside the nearby Church of the Ascension, and sat for a bit. Then back out, walking along 10th Street with its elegant-looking row homes. Continued walking around the area, seeing different buildings and side streets.

    Some places of note, include the building from the TV show, "Friends". And I went to see the outside of what was considered the Cosby Show house. The "Friends" building is very touristy, but the Cosby Show one is not. I have seen every episode of both shows, as I used to love them both. Interesting enough, the Central Perk is actually inside a Warner Bros studio, which I have visited.

    Continued walking around, until I came back to Washington Square Park. And that ended the walking tour. I have to say, it does hold up for me, as it is interesting now as it was then. I remember, seeing this area, it made me really like this city, and part of why I continue to visit this unique city in the world.

    With some time left, I decided to visit the Brooklyn Bridge. Rode the subway to Wall Street, and came close to walking across it. But I wanted to see the entire bridge first. So I went towards the East River to see it. I thought that I could do both with the time I had left.

    Well, I came upon a comic book shop that I took a detour in. That would cancel the part of crossing the bridge, but no big deal. I stopped by a few places, until I got to the South Street Seaport. There was the Titanic Memorial and the museum there. But no time to see the museum.

    Instead, I went to Pier 17, where I would see the East River and the boats that passed by. And the Lightship Ambrose, which was a lighthouse on a boat. Plus seeing Brooklyn on the other side, and the 2 bridges (both named after boroughs). I see that this pier is relatively new, as it was a great place to look around. I did not stay long, as I walked along the river on the East River Esplanade.

    I would see the Brooklyn Bridge, then the Manhattan Bridge. Then left the area, as I came into Chinatown. I did a quick walkthrough, seeing a few statues as well as Kimlau Memorial Arch. But not enough time to linger longer, as I had a bus to catch. I did see Columbus Park, and saw some Chinese locals playing games there. Then went to the subway, to get back to midtown. I was running short on time.

    Stopped by Penn Station, then walked to the Megabus stop. Arrived there, with just enough time, as I did run a bit. Much to my surprise, the line was not long. I was able to get on the bus, and had the row to myself.

    The bus left NY, and arrived back in Philly. Though, it arrived late. I would then take another train to get back home, ending this short trip.

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