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Posts tagged ‘New York’

Travelogue – Brooklyn, New York

I’ve spent the last few days staying in Brooklyn, at a hotel at the foot of the iconic suspension bridge that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River. I hadn’t previously spent any real time in Brooklyn, one of New York’s five boroughs, but I did get a little opportunity to explore.

Close up the Brooklyn Bridge is an incredible feat of architecture with it’s immense granite towers and thick steel cables, not to mention its birds-eye views from a span of 1,595 feet. Built in 1883 at a cost of $15m, my hotel room looked out onto it and I found myself just staring at this moving art installation as the sun lit it, the mist hid it, helicopters flew over it, ferries and barges moved underneath it and 120,000 vehicles and 4,000 people criss crossed it on any given day.
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Thin ice

A quick skip and a jump across the Atlantic to New York for two days for some work meetings with my boss and a few other fellows from across the continent. Short and sweet, and cold (photo), although not as cold in the Big Apple as it was this past weekend.

Bermuda weather has turned a little chilly as well, as it tends to in January for a month or two of what we nominally call winter.

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My 2016 Top Five Favourite Hotels

My 2nd listing of my 2016 Top Five Favourites. I stayed in 27 different hotels in 2016. Wow, that even surprised myself! But I do love a hotel, especially sumptuous fluffy slippers, flouncy beds and bubbly shower gel type ones.

So, here goes my 2016 Top Five Favourite hotels starts here:
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Travelogue – North Fork, New York

Recently I spent a day and a bit up in Long Island touring North Fork’s wine country. The day and time will dictate how long the drive out from Manhattan or JFK airport is, but as the crow flies it is only around 80 miles from the city to North Fork, stretching into a narrow peninsular surrounded by water, with the Long Island Sound to its north and the Peconic Bay to its south, creating an ideal climate for growing grapes.

Not so long ago the region was only known for potato and fruit & vegetable farms but since the late 70’s and 80’s it has become a stellar wine producing region and as we found out a great place to explore some very good wineries, nearly all of whom I had never heard off before.

We were informed that there are around 50 wineries in North Fork, but it seemed more as they lined up next to each other in lush surroundings, with the sea in the air on New York State Route 25, which is not much more than a country single-lane road.

We based ourselves in the Jedediah Hawkins House (below), a painstakingly restored Victorian inn with a well-heeled restaurant and, as you would expect, a well-heeled bar. I don’t think you’d drive out here and not taste wine, but the Jedediah Hawkins was worth the drive on its own.

Each room is individually named and decorated and the grounds deserve exploring (with a glass of course) with it’s gardens, fountains and gazebo. The inn was in Jamesport, a town with a bounty of farms, beaches, vines and charming roadside vegetable stands.
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Trains, Pope Francis and Ed Sheeran

I leave for Washington DC this morning for a conference in the nation’s capital and Pope Francis is coming too. No, I haven’t had a career change it’s just that his Papelness is making his first visit to the United States and starts his tour in DC tomorrow. He is also visiting Philadelphia and after DC, like me, he is heading to New York. I am sure we will bump into each other!

That’s all very nice but it does mean that New York and particularly Washington DC is going to be in a security meltdown for the entire week and getting around the capital is going to be nothing short of a nightmare, and to make matters worse, they have even banned selfie sticks. Disaster.
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2014 Top Five Favourite Hotels

With Charlton dominating an eventful January and already early February on my Blog, and rightly so, My 2014 Top 5’s have got pushed out, but I’m going to finish with one more, a subject close to my heart, hotels.

Future Grandchildren – when I am old put me in a plush hotel not an expensive nursing home, and I’ll let you visit.

Here are My 2014 Top 5 Favourite Hotels:
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Finger lickin’ good

Breakfast in Bermuda, New York for lunch, Chicago for dinner, Kansas City tomorrow for lunch. That is the itinerary and then stay a few days in the home of the barbeque, before Dallas and Miami next Friday night.

A week of work travel mostly at a conference in Kansas City, which is arguably the hardest place to get to in the world from Bermuda. Six airports, hopefully a bucket load of barbecue ribs and I have even got an invite to the speedway.
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Snow go

I had another aborted attempt in trying to get to New York this morning. At least this time my flight was cancelled even before I had thought about packing last night. A fortnight ago I had to spend 3 hours at Bermuda airport where there is nothing to do except get progressively more annoyed at American Airlines’ incompetence.

While the cynic in me thinks American Airlines just didn’t want to fly a two-thirds empty flight and would rather save the fuel, the official reason was the weather, and to be fair the Big Apple is getting hit pretty hard this morning with a snowfall of upto 14 inches expected – bigger than the dump they got two weeks ago.
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Ground zero

I was in New York last week and I spent a lot of time walking Lower Manhattan’s streets which always wakens the senses. This part of NYC is the oldest part of the original colony of New Amsterdam that evenutally became New York City and is a maze of history and a myriad of architecture.

Wednesday night I was in Chinatown, the largest of its type in the west. A few pints in the Whiskey Tavern and we asked for a recommendation of a non-touristy Chinese restaurant with the only insistence being that it was licensed! The barman suggested Hop Kee, and we proceeded to eat ourselves into a MSG coma. You simply cannot get good or even average Chinese food in Bermuda and it was a big treat as we all live on the island.
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Sandy – the aftermath

Almost a week after Sandy invaded New York and the entire Atlantic coastline of the United States, the impact is still being felt far and wide. Incredibly as many as 60 million people in 24 states were directly affected by what is now known as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy. At the peak of the storm, the diameter of winds stretched 1,040 miles and extended 520 miles from the center of circulation making it one of the largest ever recorded.

To give you a further sense of the scale of Sandy’s consequence, it knocked out power to more than 8.5 million customers across the US, and 2.5 million still remain without electricity. The storm caused extensive damage to electrical grids, mobile phone towers and nine oil refineries. Over 20,000 flights were cancelled in 4 days including mine, swarths of the famous New York subway was flooded and the NYSE was closed for two days, the first time for weather since the Great Blizzard of 1888. Over 100 died in the US alone.
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The Giant Apple

An early start tomorrow as I’m off to New York for a couple of days with work. NYC saw its first real snow of the winter on Saturday (photo) but fortunately for me it has rapidly cleared as the temperatures warmed with it supposedly set for 50°F (11°C) tomorrow.

The trip will be typical of many, i.e. airport, office, bar, restaurant, hotel, office, airport but I’m looking forward to being away from my desk which has been a bit mental since the new year.
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10 years ago today….

I was walking back from lunch with a client just by the steps to the Lloyds Building in the city when we heard a few whispers that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. The whispers got more frantic and we walked into a nearby office and watched the tragic drama unfold on a television.

My client had a sister in New York and was desperate for news of her, while I thought about my colleagues that occupied 8 of the top floors in the No. 2 South Tower. 176 of whom sadly lost their lives, 2,606 altogether at the WTC site and 2,977 in total not including the 19 cowardly hijackers.

That terrible day still doesn’t seem real, it was so horrific that even the most creative of film writer hadn’t thought of a plot so deplorable.
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Hurricane Irene

With one eye on the telly watching CNN’s saturated 24-hour hurricane coverage and one eye on my daughter in her playroom yesterday I suddenly saw out of the corner of my eye her inflatable turtle, which earlier she’d been sat in half full of water, fly by the window followed by a couple of garden chairs.

I rushed outside and there he was Tropical Storm Jose careering past Bermuda 50 miles away packing winds of 40mph. My little excursion out to the garden got me soaked and when I returned to the telly there was Anderson Cooper on CNN stood in the middle of a deserted New York’s Greenwich Village desperately looking for sign of rain, let alone a hurricane.

Hurricane Hyperbole is nothing new, especially since the invention of 24-hour news channels, and the American’s have rarely been known to overreact, but when one anchor proclaimed that the storm to be as “big as Europe” it was enough for me to turn over.
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A week in New York

Back to Bermuda yesterday and it is with relief that I don’t have to travel again for about six weeks – home for the Bournemouth match in fact.

New York was fun. A flurry of midweek work meetings was sandwiched between two wonderful long weekends.

The first one was at friends in a lovely little town called Madison in New Jersey. We knew that by flying into JFK on a Friday that we could potentially run into nightmarish traffic. We hadn’t a clue. 

A two hour flight delay meant we landed at 2 .30pm and we then had the gruelling task of batting it from Queens into Lower Manhattan and through the Holland Tunnel to Jersey with bazillions of others the day the schools broke up. 

We spent five and a half hours in the car and by the time we got to our friends there was 45 miles on the clock and my daughter had learnt a whole new range of vocabulary! It was almost funny, no you’re right it wasn’t funny at all.
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