New-York et Boston

The day I spent at the Museum of Natural History

Weather: gray, hot, wet. I'm dying with that weather... I wish it was much colder!!

I started the day going to Planet Hollywood to pick up my New York Pass. I had to wait a couple of minutes as the shop opens at 10.00am. That was just enough to look around: there are ads everywhere. It's amazing and HUGE.

Then, with the card in my pocket, I headed to the American Museum of Natural History. It was fabulous, very very very interesting... it was so interesting, I spent my whole day there. I love that kind of museums where you can learn everything about archeology, nature, peoples of world, animals. If only I could spend a whole week in that museum, I swear I would do it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other museums in NY.

I'm posting a few pictures of what I've seen.

To know more about the museum there:

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The day it was raining

Today, I have visited a lot of places.

I was going to the subway station when I saw a bus going downtown... well, my metro card allows me to take the bus, then let's go. It's raining and I don't want to walk in the rain. Now, I can tell you that the metro is muuuuuch faster than the bus. The only good thing with the bus is that you can sit down and see the streets. Yep , I know I'm lazy. New york is wonderful! There are a lot of cars, and of course you have traffic jam, but it's not driving you mad like in St Petersburg. It's much more quiet.

There's another good thing with the bus: it took me from the 96th street (one block from my hotel) right to the United Nations Headquarters. The UN headquarters where on the top of my list of places to visit. Now it's done. It was very impressive to be in that building. Unfortunately, because of the rain I didn't visit the gardens and for the same reason there were no flags in front of the building. I'll have to go there again for a nice picture of the outside.

After this, I went to the 42th street and started walking. I stopped at Grand Central Terminal and had lunch there. It's a huge train station, and you have plenty of restaurants under the main hall.

Then, I went to the NY Public Library... it was an excellent idea as when I was inside, it started raining for good.

When the rain let me carry on walking, I decided it would be a good idea to choose things to do INSIDE. On my list, I had: the NBC studio and the Rockfeller Center tours, between the 2 tours, I had time to walk around and visit St Patrick's cathedral and 2 other churches (I don't remember the names, sorry), and to see some other nice buildings in the area.

After all this, I went to the Empire State Building to see the New York Skyride show. It's really something to do when you arrive in NY: it's a movie that show you NY from the air then from the ground, with your seat moving as if you really were in a space ship. I had a lot of fun!

And at the end, I wen to Madame Tussaud's to meet Ghandi, Jean-Paul II, Bill Clinton, James Brown and many others.

I was so tired I ended the day having 'dinner' at Mc Donald's, on the 96th street. Aren't they ashamed to have opened a Mc Donald's so close from my hotel???

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Le jour où j’ai vu le ciel bleu au-dessus de New-York

Big surprise today: the sky is blue!!!!! I can't believe it as it was still grey and raining yesterday. Well, I'll change my plans for today. Yesterday evening I took a ticket for the Empire State building (just in case) and it just seems I'll use it today.

I left the hotel at 8.30 and arrived at the ESB before  9.00am, wich was a brilliant idea because I didn't wait at all: thanks to my NY pass I got my ticket from the news stand yesterday and didn't have to wait for it, then today I skipped the ticket line (more than 50 people were waiting). I didn't wait neither at the security check (a local specialty), didn't wait for the 1st lift. We stopped at the 80th floor, wich looked ugly because they are revamping it (you cannot enven reach the windows to see outside). Then I took another lift and of course, I didn't wait. When I went out of the lift, I had a breathtaking view on NY. Everything looks soooo small from here!!! It's fabulous! And with the blue sky it's really per-fect. It took me a while to start taking pictures because I didn't know what to start with. You can see a picture of South Manhattan, where I'll go tomorrow.

When I decided to go away, I suddenly noticed that it was a good idea to wake up early: the lines for the lift was so long! and I didn't see the one for the tickets, but it was certainly even longer.

When I was at the top of the ESB, I was a little cold (i didn't notice the air had cooled in the night) and I was almost sure I would be very cold on the boat to Liberty Statue & Ellis Island. Once again, I changed my plans and headed to the City Hall, thinking that I would go to the WTC after. But when I got there, I saw it... my bridge... Brooklyn bridge. I couldn't resist... I started walking and crossed it and arrived in Brooklyn. The bridge is gorgeous and the view from it is amazing. (you have some pictures of both).

In Brooklyn, I did visit the NY  City Transit Museum, Brooklyn Museum, the Botanic Garden and the Aquarium (which was much smaller than I thought, but anyway it was large enough for today and they kicked me off as they were closing).

I ended my visit of Brooklyn eating an ice cream, my feet in the sand of Coney Island Beach.

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Le jour où j’ai rendu visite à la Statue de la Liberté

Another busy day has ended here in NY. This morning, as I planned, I went to South of Manhattan and took my ferry ticket to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The sky was bright and the temperature just perfect. The Statue of Liberty is a must-see as it's one of the most famous monuments in the world, but the most interesting part of the stop on this island is the view: you have a breathtaking view of the south of Manhattan. A little further you can also see the Empire State building. I took the time to sit down, drinking slowly a good cappuccino and admiring the panorama. Un-for-get-able

After this, I took the ferry to Ellis Island. The 1st thing I did was to search for members of my family on the computers installed at the entrance. It returned 1 answer: Angelo Bonzi. but these computers do not give all the names of the immigrants (only the name of 'honored' people). That's why I went to the American Family Immigration History Center, which allows you to pay 5 dollars to search (during 26 minutes) the whole list of immigrants who have arrived in Ellis Island. I got 4 other names, all from the small Italian village where my grandfather was from.

The visit of Ellis Island was very interesting and longer than expected. When I took the boat to go back to NY, it was to late to catch the ferry to Staten Island (I wanted to visit 2 museums on that island). It was too late for Staten Island, not for NY. Being in the South, it was only a short walk to Wall Street and the NY Stock exchange (you can see the pictures), which of course I only saw from the outside.

If you know me, you also know that I love a few american series like CSI (Les Experts), Chips and FBI portés disparus (sorry, i don't know the US titles) and of course, you guessed I didn't miss the visit of the NY city Police Museum.

I then headed to South Street sea port (a few blocks away to the north). From there, you have a wonderful view on Brooklyn and Brooklyn bridge (remember, I was there yesterday). Last year (or 2 years ago) I've seen a documentary on Arte about Fulton Market (a huge fish market) which was moved to the outside of the town. Before this, it was right there, on South Street sea port. It was strange to be there because I knew the story of the place, saw interviews of people who had worked there... it was like I was back home after a long while. In the gallery, you can see the 2 boats I have visited (I also did visit the museum located on Fulton Street).

I was already really tired, but there were too many things to see in the area to go back to the hotel. I walked to the Church of St Peter, Ground 0 (see the picture), Trinity Church, Chinatown and 1 crowdy street of Little Italy, all decorated for the San Gennaro Feast, and I bought some zeppole (du sucre glace avec des beignets bien gras dedans).

It was a long looong looong walk. You can guess I was happy to arrive at the hotel tonight!!

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The day I relaxed

Here we are… another day is over. The weather was grey all day long, but I took the boat anyway for a 3 hours cruise around Manhattan. Despite the colour of the sky (wich wasn’t good at all to take pictures), I had a really GREAT time. I was sitting, with some fresh air, and all I had to do was to look at all the beautiful buildings and bridges. It’s so good to visit a town and relax at the same time. It was a fun trip because I recognized a lot of places I’ve been at: The Empire State building (yeah, I know, that’s not new, you can see it from anywhere in NY), the Chrystler building, Battery Park (where the boat to the Statue of Liberty leaves), The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the tiny building of the police museum, South Street sea port (Fulton market), Brooklyn bridge, the UN and many other places.
Once out of the boat, I took the bus to Columbus circle, on 59th street. Of course, I took some pictures, then, tadaaaaa… I had a walk in Central Park. That’s incredible it took me 5 days to do it. I’ve walked on Central Park West several times but I never entered the park itself before today. It’s all green there, with places to sit down and squirels to look at, some people are playing american football or baseball. I’d LOVE to have such a quiet place in Montpellier (well, it’s almost the size of the whole town, but that would be great anyway).
Inside Central Park, there’s a zoo. I did visit it. It’s not really big but it’s a cool place to relax. There were 3 amazing frogs living in the water and looking like small trees. I’ve never seen anything like this before (no picture of them, sorry… it was too dark).
I carried on to the Guggenheim museum and had a bad surprise: not only they are fixing the ouside of the building, but only 3 half floors were open (and one whole floor was diplaying paintings I didn’t like at all). I was happy to see some paintings by Kandinsky, but I would have loved to see more.
Let’s be positive: it didn’t take a long time to visit the museum and this allowed me to go to again to Chinatown and Little Italy (I didn’t take pictures because they wouldn’t have come out well because of the weather, sorry again). As for once my day hasn’t been exhausting enough, I have decided to take the bus on the avenue of the Americas, wich made me visit Soho (South of Houston) and Noho (North of Houston) at the same time (I was walking on Houston Street, the limit between the 2 boroughs, hahahaha!!).
I went out of the bus on the 59th again and from there, my hotel was only 3-stations away.
End of the story for today.

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The day I tried to understand modern art

Today is Saturday and all the museums open later than on week days… a good excuse to wake up a little later (7.45 instead of 7.00). I realize that I’m leaving on Monday morning and my stay in NY is almost over. I’ve seen all the major places and museums here, except 2: the Van Cortlandt House (in the Bronx) and the Museum of Modern Art.

I really started the day at 10.30 and to the subway to the North, and stopped at the Van Cortland park to visit the Van Cortland House, a Georgian-style mansion, symbol of NY’s colonial past. Even if I knew that NY was one of the first settlments in America, I didn’t imagine I would see such an old house kept intact, with all its furniture and everyday life objects. It was one of my favourite visits since I arrived in NY.

The second and last museum of the day (because museums open later AND close earlier on the week ends) was the MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art). I won’t say it was my favourite visit in NY, because I don’t understand anything in modern art. I tried but well, that’s not my thing. It sometimes made me think that they did some colour testing to choose the right one to paint the walls of the museum. For the records, we’ll only say that I went there and saw some artwork by Picasso, Kandinsky, Cézanne, Matisse and many others.
I came, I saw, I went away.

One my way back to the subway, I crossed the Avenue of the Americas and at first I thought the San Gennaro feast had invaded the street, but it was something else, with more international food (with some crepes, a taste of Paris).
I was so tired I went back to the hotel early and collapsed on my bed.
Tomorrow will be my last day here and it’s supposed to be a sunny day. I hope I’ll be able to go to Staten Island.
Good night or whatever.

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