Saturday, 30 April 2011

FInal count down

Thank you US, you have served me well and given me many memorable moments.

Tomorrow I´m off to JFK and heading home. It´s back to reality again, but I´m sure there are good times ahead.

My last day did not let me down. I woke up at 4am and watched the Royal Wedding, and then walked to Central Park for a delicious picnic brunch. I spent most of the day in the park, reading and writing and just watching people enjoying the warm weather.

Next time I´ll row on the lake, and somebody, in true romantic comedy style, has to fall in the water.


Back at the hotel I grabbed the task of a final packing. I haven´t done any crazy shopping, but a little here and a little here for a month can easily add up. I think it´s under control now, but we´ll se tomorrow when the last bits are added.

Tomorrow you will be celebrating Vappen. Have a great time! I´ll see you in May!


Friday, 29 April 2011

Dance for me Harry!

I´m so glad I saw the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying tonight. It was hilarious, close to brilliant. And who knew! He can sing AND dance. Good voice, great pitch. Many in the audience were in love with Daniel Radcliffe before the show, almost everyone, I dare say, had a little crush on him when they left.

Here you can find one of the numbers when they did it for the Today show, outside at Rockefeller Plaza.

I loved the father-daughter interactions before the show.

Daughter Nr. 1: Aah! Daniel Radcliffe!

Dad Nr. 1: If you´re going to squeal the entire time, we´re leaving.

Dad Nr. 2 : What if Daniel Radcliffe isn´t on tonight?

Daughter Nr. 2: Then I would die.

If you can see this production of the musical, I recommend it (even if you´re not a Daniel aka Harry Potter fan). It had some other great actors as well, for example John Larroquette whom I know best as the bad guy from the movie Richie Rich. Hihi.

I sat in the third row, a little bit on the side, and had a great view of the stage. Far away enough to get the big picture and close enough to really see the details in the actors´ work. So much fun!

Now what else?

I spent most of the day in MOMA, the Modern Museum of Art. There were some great pieces and some pieces that just made me mad. Am I really that art illiterate? My 4-year old nephew could produce something more creative than these painted wood blocks on a stick, with his lego. Or am I just stupid?

There was some Finnish representation in the design section.

Spot the Aalto?

There were also the big masters like Picasso, Monet, Frida Kalho, Dali, Warhol etc.

Real or art? I didn´t dare try.

Tonight I am getting up at 4 am to watch NBC´s live broadcast of the British royal wedding. It´s crazy, I think the US media is 100 times more excited about this wedding than the British. There´s been nothing else on the big new stations like NBC, CNN and CBS for the last month. The last week has almost been ridiculous. Luckily I think it´s all rather fascinating so I don´t mind.

Let´s see if I can get my musical adrenalin down enough to get some sleep before I have to get up again.


Thursday, 28 April 2011

The French knew what they were doing.

I have seen her and she was rather magnificent. The Statue of Liberty.

I opted for the Staten Island Ferry instead of the Ferry that takes you to the actual Liberty Island and Ellis Island. I didn´t feel the need to queue for hours and pay to visit the statue when I really just wanted to see it from the water and could do that for free. So I hopped on the ferry, no queue, drove over to Staten Island, hopped of, did a U-turn and got on the same ferry back again. Very efficient. I recommend it if you don´t want to visit the museums on the actual Islands or go inside the statue.

While downtown I also visited Ground 0. It is basically a building site now. It was hard to believe that this was the place that I saw live on TV, ten years ago. I actually saw the second plane hit the tower, as it happened.

The beautiful Town Hall park was a stark contrast to the cranes and concrete a few blocks away. New York must be covered in millions of tulips right now, they are everywhere in large arrangements.

You can´t really go downtown without visiting Century 21, at least not if you like to shop. It is a very popular department store that sells designer goods for discount prizes. I lucked out, there wasn´t a horrible amount of people there and I found a coat I absolutely love. I almost can´t wait to use it in the fall (no no, just kidding, I want a loooong summer before that).

I also used the New York Subway for the first time today. So far I have opted to walk, it´s the best way to see things. I can report that it all went very well, no muggings, disturbances, creepy people (at least not any worse than you can find in any Helsinki tram) nor mistaken stops. Triumph!

I have now two days left in New York before I head home to Finland again. I believe I have seen most of the major sights on Manhattan, so any tips on how I should spend my final days here? (I´m not sure I want to leave the Island.) It might rain so some indoor alternatives might be good ...

See you soon!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Summer in the City!

It´s been a fab day. Great weather both for tower climbing and park sitting.

I visited the Empire State Building. The views were great, no doubt about it. My camera is full of picture of almost every angle of the city.

New York really is the city of taxis.

Now what I don´t understand: How can people not know there´s always a huge line to this attraction? It´s the attraction with "THE LINE" in New York City. Not knowing, and then complaining the entire waiting time is just stupid. Spontaneity, splendid, but please, a bit of research doesn´t hurt! It makes it easier for all of us.

Yes, I just complained about the complainers. That´s me.

After the tower adventure, I visited a few bookstores and then spent the rest of my day in a couple of the many great parks smack in the middle of the city. Bryant Park was a nice surprise. You hear about it everytime someone mentions the New York fashion week or the finale of America´s next top designer.

It has loads of seating and special areas for petanque and pingpong, free yoga classes and an outdoor reading room. Brilliant. You could borrow all kinds of newspapers and books and just sit and read for as long as you wished.

Oh, and a cute carousel!

After a full day of walking, I had to have some proper New York food. A slice of pizza and Snapple!

It was much better than it looks. And nothing ended up on the white sheets, magic!


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

All that jazz!


Another eventful day. I spent most of it walking about in the Manhattan areas of Soho, Noho, Chinatown and Little Italy, and places between that and my hotel. :) I had an anti-camera moment and didn´t take many pictures until I came back up via Grand Central Terminal. It really is quite impressive. It´s nice that such a busy place can have beautiful architecture like that. (Doesn´t really show in the pic though.)

I like the architecture in New York, different eras, 0ld mixed with new. It never gets boring.

I ended the day on a high with the Broadway musical show Chicago. Loved it! It is wonderful to see such pros do their job, they don´t falter for a second.

Which made it even harder for the current celebrity star of the show, the former super model Christie Brinkley to convince as Roxy. I don´t really know why she suddenly wants to do musical theatre. She´s not horrible, she has an okay voice, moments of good acting and looks very charming on stage, but next to above mentioned pros, it just looked and sounded sloppy. Luckily Roxy, at least in this production, has few song and dance numbers while the character Velma "owns" the difficult parts. Velma was played by Amra-Faye Wright, and I have never seen someone with such stage charisma.

On Thursday I´m seeing another musical. I can´t help it! I just have to see a dancing, singing Harry Potter, aka Daniel Radcliffe. Apparently he´s doing a good job in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". It´s just so hard to imagine. But hey, we all have hidden talents! :)


Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter celebrations in NY

Happy Easter! (Again.)

To begin my Easter morning in style I had the hotel buffet for breakfast. Enough fresh fruit, croissants, smoothies and toast to last me a life time. Then I resisted the urge to have a snooze and found my way to the annual New York Easter Parade.

It´s not so much a parade as a costume party. They close down parts of 5th Avenue and let people dressed up in fancy/crazy/elaborate outfits strut their Easter stuff. Some go head to toe, but it is really all about the hats.

Like many other Easter celebrators I kept following 5th Avenue to Central Park. The sun had popped out and turned the park into a warm, happy place with lots of musicians and artists entertaining the visitors.

Me and the one eyed spongebob popsicle. (No I do not have a spongebob obsession.)

On the edge of the park is the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, a gigantous museum with pretty much everything since the earth was born. You could spend an entire week there and still miss something. I walked around for about four hours and then declared myself exhausted.
The museum is so large that they have entire facades of houses inside. And an Egyptian temple.

In one room you´re in a authentic 1900th century American house, and in the next a 1600th century French palace. They have paintings by almost every famous painter in the world and a rather nice gift shop.

Okay, way too many pics in this entry, but what can you do? If the weather is okay tomorrow, I´ll try to find my way to a tower. And in the evening I´m seeing my first Broadway musical, wohoo!


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Wet Feet

My first NY purchase: an umbrella, any umbrella. It kept pouring down all morning. I didn´t mind really, it felt kind of genuine. A bit too genuine when my shoes began to leak. Apparently real New Yorkers don´t mind walking around town in rubber boots, because I can´t imagine the tourists bringing theirs. you quickly learn "umbrella chicken". Who will give way first? Who will get their eye poked out? At least I have my protective goggles.

I began the day with a quick visit to Rockefeller Center, mostly to get my bearings. (I think someone put the map in the hotel information packages up side down ...)

Most pics are the sad result of too many items and too few hands.

Then I walked down along Broadway to Union Square where I visited the bookstore Barnes and Nobles. They had a free panel discussion with independent screenwriters and directors about transforming real events into feature movies, not documentaries. It was very interesting to hear about their creative process and all the different things they needed to take into account when they were dealing with living human being and not just fictional characters. The "Pen to Paper" talk was part of the ongoing TRIBECA Film Festival.

By the end of the talk it had stopped raining and I began walking back up towards Time Square again. I bumped in to some familiar sights, for example The Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.

New Yorkers and Finns alike: If it´s neither raining or snowing, you sit outside.

When I came back from my walk along 5th Avenue there were so many people about, I had to flee to my room and take a long hot bath (my feet were still cold and wet). It felt utterly decadent paired with a book, hot chocolate, and a red velvet cupcake.