Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A city full of surprises

The other day I was shopping in our neighborhood and stopped in to see if the North Face store had a warm hat that would look good on me. The answer to that is a very firm "no," but as I was trying on hats, I looked over and noticed that the guy next to me was dressed like Elvis. Not just Elvis hair, but the Elvis white jumpsuit, white shoes, gold belt, and Elvis sunglasses. I desperately wanted to take a picture but couldn't find a way to do it without drawing attention to myself and Elvis.
Elvis may have left the building without being photographed, but take a look at the Santa's trying to get to work on the subway last Saturday. Santa and his helpers must be in demand this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post without photos----BORING!

I hope to add photos to this post at some point, but I will have to get them from Paige because she took all the photos while her family was visiting for Thanksgiving. We had such a great time with them. We were able to see the Macy's store Christmas windows, play in snow for the filming of Mr. Popper's Penguins, watch the balloons being inflated for the parade, eat at some fun restaurants and just enjoy being with Tyson, Avery and Payton and Paige and Brent. The weather was perfect and even too warm one day for coats!
Lat night Paul and I walked through our neighborhood where they were celebrating Winter's Eve. Bands were playing, restaurants had sampling tables out, jugglers were juggling, Christmas trees were glowing as we made our way from Columbus Circle, to Lincoln Center and home again. Christmas is in full swing in the city and it is a magical time to be here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Each time we have visitors, I try and show them all the familiar sights and then I try and add in at least one thing I have never done or seen. When my sister Ranonne and her husband came last weekend, the "something new" was hitting golf balls at the Golf Club on Pier 59. It is a multi-story structure with a net 200 yards out to keep the balls from going into the Hudson River. With my golfing abilities, no net needed. However, it was lots of fun and I did manage to hit a ball 150 yards if you count the distance it rolled.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celebrating John Lennon's 70th Birthday

Paul and I decided to Come Together with hundreds of others in Strawberry Fields Forever to celebrate John's 70th birthday. You didn't even need a Ticket to Ride to play your guitar or violin or even to sing along. It was crowded and I did cry for Help a few times as we squeezed through all the people. With a little Instant Karma we were able to find a good place to stand. In My Life I have never thought that I Am the Walrus, but I do Imagine a world where we Give Peace a Chance and All You Need is Love.

Somewhere over the rainbow

This photo was taken out of our dining room window one evening after a rainstorm.
We were a little bit panicked at first thinking that the end of the rainbow (and its pot of gold) was sitting in Yankee Stadium, but we quickly determined that even Mother Nature wouldn't play such a nasty trick on us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the Avenue

Three weekends each summer the city closes Park Avenue to traffic from 72nd Street south to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is open to bikers, skaters, walker, and runners. Paul and I donned our cute bike helmets and hopped on our commuters (Paul prefers to call them "old people bikes) and rode the city streets. It really was lots of fun to cruise down Park Avenue around Grand Central Station, through Union Square, Soho, City Plaza, to the Brooklyn Bridge. Along the way, vendors were out hawking their fitness products and good food. One event that attracted lots of attention was the dumpster diving. The city had converted several huge dumpsters into swimming pools. We didn't get to take a dive, but we did get close enough for a photo.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yankees spelled backwards

A true Red Sox fan knows that Yankees spelled backwards is "I-l-o-v-e-S-a-t-a-n," and even with that knowledge firmly implanted in our hearts, we decided we needed to see a game in the new Yankee Stadium. It is huge, gaudy, elaborate, and exactly what you would expect of the Yankees and with apologies to all our die hard Red Sox friends, we liked it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unconditional Surrender

August 14 was the anniversary of Japan's surrender after World War 2. Hundreds of men and women from the armed services had gathered in Times Square and as the announcement was made, a sailor grabbed a nurse who was standing close to him, bent her over and planted a kiss on her as a way of celebrating this huge event. The kiss was captured by a photographer and made it's way onto the cover of Life Magazine. In commemoration of this kiss, a statue was commissioned a couple of years ago and was temporarily installed in Times Square this past week. Saturday, August 14, the city sponsored a re-enactment of the kiss. Sailor hats were distributed to all in attendance and everyone kissed at 12:00 noon. Paul and I were in Times Square earlier that morning and had our kiss sans the sailor hats.

A room with a "clear" view

I was sitting on the sofa reading one morning and I heard a noise like someone was tapping on the window. Since we live on the 27th floor, it seemed unlikely that someone would be tapping on the window. But to my surprise, not only had I actually heard the noise, but I saw the guy making it. It was a window washer and I hope that by taking his picture, I didn't throw him off balance!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Looking Back

We recently gathered in South Carolina for a family reunion. The entire McKinnon clan gathered in the small beach community called Isle of Palms. It just so happened that the only week we all had open was from June 12-19. I tell you this to say that it was so generous of Meredith and Eric to spend their first wedding anniversary traveling to the family vacation. It then occurred to me that perhaps I never blogged about their New York City wedding on June 12, 2009. It was such a wonderful event and certainly fits my blog requirements of describing what I do in the city. Therefore, here are a few photos from the big day, which actually was about four days of fun with everyone here.
And since I mentioned the family vacation, it would only be fair for me to post a few pictures from that event even though it didn't happen in NYC. We spent most days in the pool or at the beach, but with Fort Sumter just a short ferry boat ride away we definitely needed to go take a look at this historic site. Paul was sure the little ones would love the ferry boat and the adults would be quite thrilled to see the place where the Civil War began. The trip over to the fort was quite pleasant but we soon realized why the phrase "hot as Hell" has been changed to "hot as Fort Sumter." This very small island in the Charleston harbor still has some of the barracks and cannons from the Civil War in tact. Interesting for a brief time under the best of circumstances. But try and find shade or a drinking fountain and you come up empty. The day we went to Fort Sumter I believe the humidity and temperature readings for Charleston were both in the 90's. I think we all came away convinced that had the leaders of the North and South met at Fort Sumter with the direction that they couldn't leave until they had solved their differences, it wouldn't have taken them long to come up with a solution. Perhaps on another day in the middle of winter we would have come away with a more favorable impression of the fort. For now, it is just the great story of how grandpa forced everyone on the "hot as Fort Sumter" boat tour.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So many friends in the neighborhood!

Paul and I were having dinner last night and had chosen to eat at a table outside on the sidewalk. it was about 7:30 and lots of people were hurrying home from work. The sidewalk was crowded, but not too crowded to be able to look at each person walking by. A woman caught my eye because her hair was so blond and full. She was texting on her phone as she was walking so her gait was slow. And then it hit me. I know this girl. She just wants to have fun. Yes, you're right, Cyndy Lauper was just hanging out in the neighborhood. She actually lives on the upper west side, but this is the first time our paths have crossed.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Piano Fun

Megan and Blake came to visit and FAO Schwartz was just the place to hang-out on a rainy morning. Blake had a wonderful time playing with nearly every toy in the store. He also demonstrated his great skills on the "big piano." Had they only stayed a little bit longer, Blake could have played one of the pianos that have recently been installed throughout the city. This is an arts project and pianos have been placed in random places all over the city. Paul and I stopped to listen to a performance at one piano placed in Lincoln Center. Anyone can perform and as we discovered, lots of people are willing if not able. If someone is playing a song you recognize, feel free to stop and sing along.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cycling in NYC

If you were so inclined, you could bike around the entire island of Manhattan and be on a bike path or dedicated bike lane nearly the entire way. With our recent purchase of bikes, Paul and I plan to take advantage of these beautiful bike paths. Just today we took our maiden ride along the Hudson and completed a 15 mile ride past the GW Bridge and back.
However, owning a bike in NYC isn't totally without responsibility.
Here are the NYC rules for bikers.
1. Cyclists must obey all traffic lights and signs.
2. Cyclists should yield to pedestrians
3. Cyclists may NOT ride on the sidewalk.
4. Cyclists must ride in the direction of traffic.
5. Use lights at night.
6. Wear a helmet--Even if you look totally geeky!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Memorial Day

Fleet week coincides with Memorial Day each year. During the week, there are several ships that cruise up and down the Hudson and numerous fly-bys of helicopters and interesting aircraft. I was able to capture one of the ships that was cruising down past our building. The men and women from all branches of the military descend upon the city for a little R&R. Paul and I decided to take in the sights at Battery Park on Memorial Day. (The Battery is named for the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the settlements behind it.)Battery Park is also the place where you can take the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
We visited a few war memorials and then sat and watched all of the people. Most interesting was a gentleman who was fishing off the pier. Paul started up a conversation with the guy and was asking if he had caught any fish. He claimed to have caught three or four 30 pound blue-fin tuna earlier in the day, but while we were watching him, he didn't have any such luck. He said the tide was low and the fish had already eaten for the day so they weren't biting. Guess we will have to get there earlier next time if we want to see him hauling in the big tuna. And if you are wondering, yes he does eat the fish he catches. Think I'll pass.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Law and Order

I was summoned for jury duty and not once does it mention on the instructions that you have to show up for two days! That is the requirement in New York and if you are assigned to a trial, you obviously have to see the trial through to the finish.
I mistakenly thought that "business casual" would be appropriate attire. There was a handful of us dressed in slacks and jackets and the rest of the crew had on Yankees jerseys or some kind of t-shirt with a slogan on it. During the Q&A portion of the instructions, most people were trying to get out of serving. One guy raised his hand and said, "Uh, I just served last August, can I serve again?" When they told him he could be dismissed he kind of sunk down in his chair and said, "But I want to do it again." They let him stay.
I have to figure out a way to make it more fun tomorrow. We can't have any food in the waiting area, but they didn't say anything about not having a dance party!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Super Hero

New York City is one of the safest cities in the country. Okay, except for the attempted car bombing attempt in Times Square last week, it is a very safe city. At least Paul and I feel very safe in our neighborhood. Paul runs in Central Park every morning at 5:30 a.m. and I am often out by 6:30 a.m. walking to my gym. Even walking home late at night from the theater or a church meeting we feel very safe. You may be wondering why we feel so protected in what others view as a very dangerous city. When you walk out of your home/apartment, is Batman patrolling your streets? I think not. He is too busy keeping those of us on the Upper West Side safe from the evil that lurks out there. Thanks, Batman. I'll sleep better tonight knowing you are on duty.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No longer a stranger

Central Park has suddenly come alive with flowering trees and bushes and tulips and daffodils. Paul and I strolled down the lilac walk one Saturday morning and couldn't help but bury our noses in the fragrant blooms of the lilacs so reminiscent of what I remember about spring in my childhood home of Burley, Idaho. Wanting desperately to win the approval of an elementary teacher, I would pick some lilacs and wraps the stems in aluminum foil (thinking that was attractive) and present them to her before class started. I'm not sure but I think that is why I managed to be selected to play the coveted role of Sacajawea in our 4th grade pageant.
Back to Central Park. Something I recently learned is that it has 20 gates or entrances and each one has a name. For example, there is the Warriors Gate on the north end and the Artists Gate and Artisans Gate on the south end. Each gate was named to try and represent the people who would be using the gate to enter the park. The Children's Gate is at 76th and 5th Avenue. The Strangers Gate is at 106th and Central Park West. Having past our two year mark living in New York, it is so nice to say that we no longer qualify to enter at the Strangers Gate. I've been trying to find a complete list of all the gates to see which one best suits Paul and me. What I do know is that we no longer have to enter in at the Strangers Gate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Climbing out of winter

Not long ago I posted about the signs of winter and just a few months later we are heralding the signs of spring. A visit to Central Park on Saturday was a testament to how excited New Yorkers were to have a little sunshine. Every lawn that was open was filled with people. Children were chasing each other, parents were relaxing on blankets and the brave were exposing their very white bodies to the sun. The not so brave tried to walk by without staring.
Even Times Square was celebrating the approach of the new season with an outdoor spring concert featuring Mary J. Blige. I just happened to be walking by when the concert started and stopped to listen to just one song. The good news is that the concert was being sponsored by Dial Deodorant and I came away with coupons for my next purchases!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A visit to a "Pop-up" store

Target has come to Manhattan for just three days. They were previewing their partnership with Liberty of London. I had some errands to do and decided to walk by and see what all the buzz was about. Much to my surprise the line to get into the store stretched for two blocks, but it was moving fast, so I stepped in line. Once inside there were dozens of articles made with Liberty of London fabrics---pillows, purses, dresses, pajamas, umbrellas, dishes, storage bins, bikes, boots, underwear, swimsuits, comforters. Women were filling their bags like they were contestants on Super Market Sweep. It was an amazing thing to see. I walked out empty handed knowing that on Monday all these same things will be in a Target store in every neighborhood in America. Even though we have only been in the city for two years, I identified with the frenzy of being able to buy Target merchandise without having to go to New Jersey.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And that's a good thing

A good friend and I went to see the Martha Stewart Show. Inspired by others who had attended, we got tickets and were very excited about the possibility of coming home with a bagful of Martha treats. On the application for tickets it asked about ones interest in crafting, cooking and gardening. I have minimal interest in all of these things and said that I just wanted to see how the show was produced. That was the wrong answer. There was great care in seating everyone and it was obvious by our placement in the back corner that we hadn't impressed Martha. During the commercial breaks, a lively fellow named Jay ran through the audience handing out some of Martha's favorite things. He always ran out just before he reached our back corner. The production of the show was interesting and it was fun to see all that happens backstage to make it a successful show. If there is a next time, I may have to tell a few white lies such as "I wear my glue gun in a holster 24/7,"I only eat what I grow in my garden," "I love spending a couple of days making my own gift wrap for my homemade gift, or "I am an avid follower of the blog titled 'Oops, I craft my pants!'"

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

We had 30 inches of snow in Central Park last week and it was beautiful. Snow is so much better when you don't have to drive in it or shovel it. New York has an amazing system for cleaning the streets after a snowfall. The garbage trucks are equipped with plows and rather than pick up trash, they head out and plow the streets. It is illegal to have snow on the sidewalks in front of buildings, so the even the sidewalks are shoveled clean before you have to go outside. The threat of snow doesn't even bother us, but we won't complain when we see signs of Spring.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Year of the Tiger

My church assignment takes me to a different ward in our stake several times each month. Sunday I headed down to the Chinese Branch in China town. The subway seemed to be much more crowded than normal and with each stop as we got closer to Canal Street, the crowd became excited. As we emerged from the subway I began to understand the excitement. It was the Chinese New Year parade and thousands of people had come out on what was a beautiful Sunday afternoon to participate. There were balloons and fireworks and dragons and floats. Several of the streets I needed to cross were closed off so I wound my way through China town only to discover that part of the celebration included throwing confetti at each other. I was covered with confetti sparkles by the time I made it to church, but felt like I had appropriately welcomed in the Year of the Tiger.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goodnight Moon

Paul and I live on the 29th floor of our building and while it's not the tallest building in our neighborhood, we still have some unobstructed views of the city. Last night the full moon was practically sitting on our window sill and I managed a poor attempt at capturing this amazing sight. Observing the night sky from our vantage point never gets old.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Disneyland of Grocery Stores

At least this is the way Stew Leonard's was described the other day so Paul and I decided to venture into Yonkers to scope it out. Paul had read about this store 25 years ago in Tom Peter's book about excellence in management and had always wanted to see why Peters was so sold on the store. The exterior certainly lived up to the hype of "Disneyland-esque," but I am sorry to say we were somewhat disappointed in the actual products. Yes, there were puppets everywhere, little mechanical figures on swings, and free samples, but we came away almost empty handed. I think if in our life time we had only experienced the crowded NYC grocery stores, Stew's would have been a virtual wonderland for us. But that is not the case. Fortunately, within just a few hundred yards there was a Costco----familiar territory for us---- and we managed to score on a gallon size drum of salsa, a year's worth of toothbrushes in one pack, and 45 pounds of cheese. Nachos anyone?

Friday, January 1, 2010

We made our way to Times Square around 4:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve knowing all along that it would be a short stay. We only got to about 48th and Broadway before it became too crowded to walk any further so we turned around and walked back to our apartment. A simple dinner, a New Year's Eve toast and we were in bed by 9:00. However, the fireworks from Central Park woke us up at midnight so we rolled up the blinds and enjoyed the fireworks display from bed.
It is hard to believe that we are beginning our third year in the city. There are some things that seemed like a big adventure when we first arrived, but they have become commonplace. However, walking through Central Park on any day of the week, in any season, is still enchanting. And that is how I began this New Year. May 2010 be an enchanting New Year for all.