A Travellerspoint blog

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Empire State of Mind.....

Midtown moments........

sunny 24 °C
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I started my morning with a good Aussie coffee at Bluestone (with the hope of bumping into Hugh) while Joan and Mum started theirs with a visit to the Statue of Liberty! They enjoyed reading about the history and the significance that the Statue of Liberty has for those coming to the US from other places in the world and the views of Manhattan were amazing!

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We met up over coffee and wandered down Perry Street past Carries apartment and towards Washington Square Park, to see the arch - this is where 'Harry Met Sally'.

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Next the subway to Katz Deli for a must have pastrami on rye. Mum had a half with a Motza ball soup and Joan with split pea soup while I had the sandwich - the sandwich won - none of us finished it.

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We sat beside Chris Hemsworth - a fellow Aussie!
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Only one way to attack the sandwich and it ain't pretty!!

Now the subway to the Empire State Building - what an amazingly beautiful building!!! The Art Deco style of the building is gorgeous - the epitome of old New York City. It was a beautiful day with great views over the city. The last time I did this it was night time - day is definitely better as you can see further. We got the express pass, which was THE best thing, no lines, no waiting, just straight onto an elevator and up. If you find yourself debating whether to buy this or not - do it....... I have visited the Empire State both ways and the express pass is definitely the preferred option.

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Following this, a spot of shopping at Macy's designer labels marked way down, baby clothes $2.50! We found some good shopping!!!

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Home for mum and Joan, one more stop for me at Century 21, now this store has marked down designer handbags, clothes and the shoes........ I found some Jimmy Choo's and Manolo Blahnik's reduced to $599.00 or less - the closest I would come to owning a pair!!!! However, this would feed a family for a week - so the social justice part of me (and my bank balance) would not allow it.

Zabars for a take home dinner, and dessert from Cafe Lalo and we were ready for bed!!

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Posted by Auggiesfamily 07:53 Archived in USA Comments (1)

On Broadway......

overcast 26 °C
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Today is our last full day in NYC, we made our way to midtown to celebrated this beautiful city with a tour of a classic NYC Icon, "Radio City Hall'.

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This atmosphere of this building is classic NYC 1930's and 1940's, it is art deco - the same style as the Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building and many of the surrounding buildings of the area. From the foyer to the bathrooms - it was beautiful. We hope you enjoy the building through our eyes/photo's.

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The theatre was designed to look like the sunrise, it is very beautiful.

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The foyer above.

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Above is the 'ladies lounge' or the bathroom. I could just imagine the classic actresses such as Judy Garland and Grace Kelly in here with their long dresses powdering their noses.

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Above is the 'mens lounge' - the top photo's. The bottom photo's are of the elevator with Canadian maple wood panelling.

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The Rockettes wall of fame has images from across the years, including the famous Christmas Spectacular toy soldiers dance. This image is panelled across the decades.

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The suite below was where 'Roxy' the man who designed and opened the theatre lived. It is displayed and kept as close to the original, no one can use the furniture (even to touch), however the room can be rented out - Donald Trump has done this. The book shown has been signed by all performing artists that have ever performed at Radio City Hall.

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One last look around the Rockefeller centre!
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Our final treat is to take a handsome cab ride around Central Park, we saw some pretty sights on our way.

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Mum and Joan decided to head back uptown, pack and get organised for our trip to Washington DC tomorrow, I had a few more corners of New York City I wanted to explore......... so here they are.

Some Halloween decorations beginning around the city.......
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Serendipity - from my favourite movie ever - for their famous frozen hot chocolate!

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Union Square, Washington Square park and Gramercy Park - this park is a private park, open only to those living in neighbouring streets with a key.
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These are the streets you would need to live in to access the park.

The Flatiron building, which I found out is not named this because it is shaped like a Flatiron, it is because the shape of the buildings creates a wind tunnel - if you held your clothes out, the wind would blow the creases right out!

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I then wandered in Central Park to visit Bow Bridge and the Jacquie Kennedy Reservoir.

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I will be sad to leave this city that I love, it is full of energy, grit and grunt, history and familiarity.

Posted by Auggiesfamily 19:09 Archived in USA Comments (0)

So I'll Say Goodbye.......

Farewell NYC..... Hello Washington DC

overcast 24 °C
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So this morning we packed up our belongings and struggled down the 4 flights of stairs with our suitcases to get a cab to Penn Station for our Amtrak train trip to D.C. New York City is not designed for those who find stairs difficult, unless you can afford to live in a building with a doorman and an elevator, be sure to practice stairs before you come!!

Of course because of the rain every New Yorker was riding a cab to work this morning...... after attempting to get a cab for half an hour we needed to get a move on so made the very brave decision to take our luggage and ourselves on the subway. Well that was our workout for the week, but we got there in time. The subway is a great way to travel........ we got a 7 day pass for $30 and travelled unlimited, we used this pass for more dollar value than $30, so if you find yourself in New York explore the unlimited metro pass.

Amtrak has an amazing service called the Red Cap service, for a donation (of your choice) they will collect up your bags, get them to the train and find you seats on the train also. After our workout in the humid NYC, we were very grateful to use this service at both NYC and Washington DC and have someone manage our bags and organise us.

Our trip to Washington, showed us much of the countryside along the way, pretty pastel clapboard houses, in blue's, yellow's and pink. USA backyards and small towns along the way. We went past Philadelphia also.

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Washington DC is waiting for us with gloomy skies and hurricanes off the coast, today's weather is a nice temperature with no rain, however the next 2 days are predicting strong winds, cold weather and the possibility of flash flooding. The last time I was here, we brought with us the polar vortex and freezing temperatures......my apologies Washington DC.

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Washington is a very pretty city, and after the pace and hustle and bustle of New York City Joan and Mum noticed the quiet, lack of beeping horns and slower pace. We got settled into our hotel, had some Maccas (the quality in Oz is much better, including the service!) and wandered around the National Mall to see the highlights of Washington. See photos below:

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National Mall (above)

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The above building is part of The Smithsonian Institute.

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The National Monument - above

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The Lincoln Memorial (above), from a distance.

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War Memorial WW2

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The place where Martin Luther King made his 'I have a dream speech!!

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The White House!

Following our walk, we headed back to the hotel for dinner, a cuppa and bed.

Posted by Auggiesfamily 17:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Dear Mr President......

An opportunity for reflection......

rain 16 °C
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DC showered us with rain, rain and more rain today, it is cold outside and the rain has a way of traveling under our umbrella's onto our clothes. Today we headed to Arlington, and we caught the Metro (train). A day pass meant we had unlimited stops on and off, and boy were we grateful for this convenience. We decided to start with a stop at the Pentagon, while we couldn't tour the building unless we have booked months in advance, we could visit the 9/11 memorial. We are very glad we did despite the rain, from my perspective this event appears shadowed by the twin towers event of 9/11. I personally knew about this event, but not a lot. A visit to the memorial prompted me to research this day on google, I recommend you do, as there were 183 people who died that day, men, women and children, including unborn babies. The story of how the event unfolded is very concerning, and heart wrenching. I have forgotten to remember others impacted on that day than those in the twin towers, this visit has made me reflect on that and change this viewpoint. I will remember those impacted by this tragedy from now on also.

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The security around the Pentagon was very very high, understandably.

Enough rain, we caught the metro back to Arlington Cemetery, dried off and rather than walk around a wet cemetery, grabbed a trolley tour that drove us around, let us off and collected us at the next location. We were able to visit the Kennedy Graves, The tomb of the 'Unknown Soldier' and walk through the property, reflecting on those who have lost their lives in service to their country. The cemetery is for Service Men and Women and their families, we were very confronted to see a funeral in progress of someone who lost their life in service. A horse and carriage with the coffin draped in the American flag and his widow walking behind. A brass band leading the procession, it was a sobering and sad experience to recall those who are still fighting and losing their life today.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Following Arlington, we stopped at Georgetown, which we have heard is very pretty, the rain impacted on us walking around, however through the windows of a wet cab we saw the streets and headed to Martin's Tavern, a bar/restaurant frequented by many past presidents such as Truman, Kennedy, Bush and more. Most excitingly, John F Kennedy proposed to Jackie here, we sat in the booth where it took place. The food was delicious, comfort food - mashed potato, steak, shepherds pie, stew...... well worth a visit to hang out a while.

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Time for home, Mum and Joan went back to the hotel, I popped into the National Museum of American History. I only had an hour and had a priority list, of which I got to see..... I enjoyed this museum very much, it celebrated America.

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A Lego model of the American Flag

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Posted by Auggiesfamily 12:23 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Star Spangled Banner

Oh say can you see......by the dawns early light.....

rain 13 °C
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Today is our last day in Washington and our second last in the USA, our trip has gone at a nice pace. It seems like ages ago that we arrived, it has been nice to experience so much of the American culture in the time we have been here.

This morning we had a great buffet hotel breakfast, then made our way to the Capitol Building for our tour. It is wet and cold in DC today, so a cab was the best option for the short trip to the Capitol.

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The building is under repair, so sadly there was a lot of scaffolding around, this impacted on us being able to see the beautiful architecture and art in the rotunda. Did you know the Statue of Liberty (without the base) can fit in here?
The tour explained some facts regarding government in the USA. The Capitol building is like Australia's Parliament House, the senate and House of Representatives meets there to pass bills and make decisions about the running of the country. All 52 states have a representative, however there is an interesting practice that the President must be invited into the Capitol building. As they are not impartial in regard to decision making, they cannot come and go as they please, the Vice President yes, but not the President.

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We also learnt on this visit the history of the USA, how they became independent from British Rule, and were at war with the British around this. It then explained the civil war in the USA was about the states fighting against other states within the USA. It was very interesting and educational.

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After the tour back to the hotel for Starbucks, packing and then off to the airport for our flight to LA.
While we were waiting at the airport, Virgin America were decorating the gate with red, white and blue stars and stripes decorations, and we welcome our war veterans signs. We learned that just after we left a plane load of war vets from WW2 and Vietnam were arriving for a tour around Washington. This is organised by an organisation that provides this trip to them for free, and provides each one a volunteer to accompany them, and assist them. It was really great watching the enthusiasm of the staff, they were dressed up in clothes from that era, with music playing - such as 'bugle boy' and their hair done. What a great thing to recognise the service men and women of past wars.

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Touch down! We arrived in LA, after a long shuttle ride we collected our hire car. Now I have been a bit nervous about driving in the US on the opposite side of the road, without my husband there to take the lead, and me have a little go!!!
However, I did in fact do very well with no mishaps, and surprisingly remembered how to go about driving on the right. A car is definitely needed in LA, it is such a big place, without the accompaniment of a great subway system (or grid design) like in NYC.

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We arrived safely at our hotel, only to be upgraded to their largest room with 4 beds and 2 bathrooms for 3 of us! Yay! That was nice, such a shame we won't be in it for long! We all slept very well in those large beds that night.

Posted by Auggiesfamily 18:09 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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