Wall St and Downtown NYC

If you head downtown to the financial district in New York, you will get to see some things that you have probably heard people mention throughout your life. One is Wall Street, being the stock exchange hub of the world, and the other being shopping.  When you head down there, you can go and see the grand building of Wall St Stock Exchange and the big statue of George Washington standing proudly facing the Stock Exchange. If you can get around the tourists down there, all wanting to take photos standing next to George Washington, than you can breathe.

When you have taken enough photos, you can go to the 911 Memorial at the World Trade Centre and take a look. There are always a lot of people in this area so be warned not to be in a rush. If it gets too crazy, I suggest you walk a few blocks over and head to Century 21. This is a department store that has five levels of shopping. It stocks all the designer brands like Bonds, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Guess, Armani and everything else and you get to go through the different sections and purchase what you need. They have clothing, accessories, handbags, sunglasses etc. Don’t forget, the shoe department is in the building next door and you need a few hours just to get through that.

On the bottom floor. The basement floor is homeware products, towels etc.

I noticed that when I went a few weeks ago, the whole store had changed and the renovations had been complete. They now have all the clothing a lot more spread out and more presentable. There are registers on each floor and plenty of cashiers to buy your purchases. The experience has certainly been a lot better compared to how it used to be years ago. You will no doubt walk out with heaps of bags in hand so be prepared for a wait to get a taxi. If you catch the subway, the Cortland St subway is right there at the bottom corner of the street outside the store.

IMG_0112 IMG_0113 IMG_0114 IMG_0115 IMG_0116 IMG_0117 IMG_0118 IMG_0119 IMG_0120 IMG_0121

Wedding Shopping in NYC

Who can beat shopping in NYC. I mean, women and men from all around the world go there to get bargains and a great selection of designers at your feet. Wedding shopping is not different. You just have to google wedding shops in NYC and a choice of many pops up. This is some of the selection I got in my last google search.

 

This is a typical card you get with info on the back of what you are getting. Hide it and take it around with you so that you can compare quality and price from other places. The diamond district in NYC specializes in jewellery for weddings but be careful because the price they give you when you walk in could mean half of that when you negotiate. If you pick a diamond around the F grade (better) or G grade, it is a better diamond. The different types of clairty determines if the diamond is clear or more yellowy looking. Can’t beat NYC Prices. Rings that are valued at $6000 are on sale for a weekend for a third of the price. 

IMG_0011 IMG_0028 IMG_0038 IMG_0042 IMG_0044 IMG_0045
IMG_0049IMG_0066 IMG_0067 IMG_0068

Make sure you have your subway map with you so you know where you are going. 
When you have enough shopping, choose a friend and go and get a drink. If you are in times square, go to Dallas BBQ for a cocktail only. Unless you like fried food, then order food, but if you want to keep slim for your wedding, I suggest just drink a cocktail.

IMG_0060 IMG_0062

 

When you taste these cocktails, You may even get excited like Kelly did. Love my friends.

 

 

Mohonk Mountain House 2 NY

This is to follow on from my last blog and show you more photos about Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York, in the town of New Paltz. The place is just stunning when you see it at different time of the day and through different weather patterns.

This is my favourite part of the whole place. The 25m indoor pool area which is part of the SPAA facilities. This section of the building was only added in the past ten years. It is just divine to swim in a pool that is so nice and warm and outside it is snowing. It’s kind of surreal but just great and I love writing from in this room too. Very inspiring.

IMG_87397R1A15097R1A15117R1A15127R1A15147R1A15167R1A15187R1A1527IMG_8684IMG_8687IMG_8688IMG_8717IMG_8724IMG_8733



IMG_9017 IMG_8742 IMG_8748 IMG_8757 IMG_8768 IMG_8771 IMG_8780 IMG_8781 IMG_8791 IMG_8793 IMG_8817 IMG_8818 IMG_8840 IMG_8886 IMG_8940 IMG_8953 IMG_8963 IMG_8965 IMG_8971 IMG_8977 IMG_8985 IMG_8986 IMG_8989 IMG_8993 IMG_8995 IMG_9004What they call the little boat house. It is closed throughout winter but in summer it would be so pretty canoeing around the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9013


Mohonk Mountain House NY

I am in Mohonk Mountain House for a period of Six Weeks. Most people stay here for a few nights because it is so luxurious and it is an old Historical Castle resort originally built in 1875. There is an old Indian burial ground nearby from when the area was invaded by the Dutch years ago and the tribal people were overtaken. You know, that isn’t the accurate description so maybe it’s best to read up on the history of it. I have put a link here on the Mohonk Mountain House for anyone who wants to look it up or book to stay here.

View from my room below. This is the lakeside view room and at the moment, you can see the lake with a sheet of ice covering it.

 

7R1A1229 7R1A1230 7R1A1235 7R1A1244 7R1A1251 7R1A1253 7R1A1274 7R1A1276 7R1A1291 7R1A1293 7R1A1316 7R1A1319 7R1A1323 7R1A1331 7R1A1335 7R1A1337 7R1A1356 7R1A1358 7R1A1364 7R1A1366 7R1A1373 7R1A1378 7R1A1381 7R1A1390 7R1A1398 7R1A1399 7R1A1413 7R1A1420 7R1A1428 7R1A1430 7R1A1432 7R1A1444 7R1A1445 7R1A1464 7R1A1466 7R1A1469 7R1A1472 7R1A1481 7R1A1498 7R1A1502 7R1A1505

Momofuku – NYC

Momofuku Ssam Bar is located at 207 2nd Ave, New York. I went there with friends and had a great meal.

Momofuku can translate from Japanese as ‘Lucky Peach’. It is owned by the chef founder David Chang. There are several restaurants now in New York, Canada and Sydney.

It is a great restaurant and the food is really great. When I went initially, I noticed the ambience was quite dark and a colder feel inside but very cool and simply designed. You can see the kitchen from the end tables and the chef and kitchen staff are all presented neat with their white chef outfits.

It’s a nice night. I ordered a ginger cocktail infused drink that came out with one huge square ice cube and it had a sure bite to it. One of my friends was a chef and so she wanted to try many of the dishes. She had pre ordered the duck main and it was huge. It was well presented and plenty of food for three. In fact, we had so much left over that I took it to the homeless shelter on Bowery St Mission.

Here are some of the photos below of the food there and my two visiting friends. The way they infuse the flavours together was great and a mixture of textures in their ingredients also.

 

IMG_8494 IMG_8495 IMG_8496 IMG_8498 IMG_8499 IMG_8500 IMG_8501 IMG_8502 IMG_8504 IMG_8505 IMG_8506 IMG_8507

Museum of Natural History NYC

What a great place to visit. So much to see and do. We entered through the subway section, so you need to catch the C train to 81st Street and then walk straight into the Museum from there. Doing it this way though, you don’t go through the main entrance. The cost is around $19.00 to enter however this is technically a donation. If you cannot afford to pay the $19.00, you don’t have too. As we walked in, we ate something in the cafeteria, then walked in. At first, we were thinking, What is the big deal about this place. Then we found the really cool spots where we walked to the dinosaur section and the found the African Mammal section. I was excited and it finally clicked to me why everyone was bragging about this museum and how great it is. We have nothing like this in Australia. It’s awesome.

Dinosaur Hands:

 

7R1A0054 7R1A0040 7R1A0043 7R1A0051

These three pictures below are a taste of the African Mammal Section further Below. They look like paintings but they aren’t. They are window displays and inside they have animals that look real and seem stuffed and are built in their environments. It is the closest to seeing and experiencing the African animals without actually going. It is pretty amazing and my favourite part of the museum.


7R1A00627R1A00637R1A00667R1A00687R1A00727R1A00747R1A00757R1A01157R1A01167R1A01177R1A01247R1A0126

7R1A01327R1A01347R1A01357R1A00957R1A00977R1A01017R1A00777R1A00797R1A00817R1A00867R1A00887R1A00897R1A01027R1A01037R1A01047R1A01057R1A01067R1A01077R1A01107R1A01117R1A01147R1A0115This is the Earth and Planet Section: One main Room with this big world globe in the middle.

7R1A0025 7R1A0036 7R1A0038

 

 

The Ocean Animals Section: A really cool section too with a massive full size whale hanging from the roof which is the size of the entire room. You can lay on the floor and look up at the whale to feel the size of the whale above you. This place is so well set up. Loved it.

7R1A0126

This is a Malarial Mosquito. It is awesome the way it is magnified to see every little thing on it. Wow, wow wow. 

7R1A0128


This Museum is a must see coming to New York.

 

Lead up to Christmas – NYC

Christmas in NYC is exciting. The lead up to it is exciting. It is very different from what I am used to back home. In Australia, I spend most of my time at the beach during summer, when I am not working on a film that is, and then Ill go and do a few shops, put a few trees up and that’s it really. I never look forward to Christmas that much.

Being here in New York though, kind of feels quite different. You can feel the energy in the air. The whole community and all the shops get ready for the christmas period. There are Christmas shows on every channel. It just feels like a special occasion here so I have a feeling that New York may change my mind about Christmas. Even the talk shows have Christmas themes on their shows every day. It’s a nice thing to be surrounded by people that embrace themselves around these special days. Whether it’s Halloween, an election, thanksgiving, or now, Christmas, each occasion is celebrated and embraced seriously in a joyous way.

I sit and wander whether or not it will snow on Christmas Day. For years I wandered what it would be like having a white Christmas. I may just get one although I kind of imagined that I would see a family around that Christmas Tree, and children, and carol singers etc. It would be great to experience a White Christmas with loved ones.

In Australia, we have a hot, sunny Christmas and it’s mostly spent by the pool, swimming, opening presents, eating alot of food, drinking all day and then just repeating that cycle until you have enough. Some days, you repeat it all over, the following day for Boxing Day. I asked an American the other day of they have Boxing Day and they had no idea what I was talking about. Clearly, they don’t celebrate boxing day.

I went past Macy’s and some other major shops like Bloomingdales and I love the shop front displays. They are awesome. I actually love walking around the city and just going to watch the displays. I also like walking into Christmas shops. They sell so many ornaments and such beautiful christmas decorations. In fact, it makes me want to buy a whole stack of them and take them back to Australia to have for future Christmas’s.

Below, are two of the shop displays I went past the other day. I’ll put more up when I come across them.

Christmas Display One

Christmas Display Two

Lighting of the Christmas Tree – NYC

Every year, there is a huge ceremony that is in place for finding a huge tree around New York and organising for it to be cut down, and then delivered and placed at the front of Rockefeller Centre Plaza between 5th and 6th Ave, between 48th and 49th Street. It isn’t just any tree. it is huge and they need a huge truck to take it to the spot.

This year, the tree was found in an area called Mount Olive and the owners of the tree and the local community love the fact that the tree is found and selected from their area. It is said that in the last two years, no money was given to the owners of the tree. It is just taken and used and it is more about the honour of having had your tree selected for the main spot.

Once the tree is placed, they spend one week, getting it prepared. There is a huge Swarowksi star on the top of it and then it is dressed with lights. One week later, which this year was on Wednesday 28th November 2012, the lighting of the tree ceremony occurs.

The Swarovksi Star

Thousands and thousands of people go to find a standing place around the rockefeller plaza to watch the show, hear the live performances from selected artists singing Christmas Songs and then be there when they turn the lights on the tree.

It might sound nice but I assure you, if you don’t go there early, like around 3 or 4pm and get a spot, or the most easiest way, is to buy an actual ticket into the plaza and be celebrating the whole occasion with the people watching the show in front of the tree. Well, as I was saying, if you don’t go there early, expect to be elbowed, or squashed, or fighting to get through the barricades to see the backs of peoples heads. It’s crazy and packed. In fact, it was the same around Thanksgiving Parade Time and I could imagine the same around New Years Eve where the ball drops.

Another thing you can do is actually see if you can get pre tickets into the Rockefeller Centre, where you can go up a few floors and have an amazing view of the ceremony.

The official show starts around 7pm when the singing starts and then you stand around until 855pm when they light the tree and everyone cheers.  I managed to find a spot with a decent view and took some photos before the tree lit up which I will attach to this below. It is a beautiful tree. When you are watching it, they shine lights on it.

The red lights flashing on the tree during singing

The whole plaza with decorations

Behind where I was standing, there were Christmas patterns on the building. It was real pretty.

Trader Joe’s NYC

Love this supermarket. It’s the place to go for affordable supermarket shopping and very popular. There are heaps of them around if you know where they are located. None of the supermarkets are really stocked up with everything like Coles or Woolworths which Im used too. These ones just have a selection of things and everything they have is basically made by them as their own brand which is good. It is an interesting system though. The other supermarket I go to is Whole Foods but that is organic and the price of everything is alot more expensive so I guess you need to look at what you want and decide where to go. I’ve never seen such lines to wait for service in my life but the fact they have about 20 registers operating, and in some places more, the lines move fairly quickly.

A fact to know is that wine and beer can be sold at supermarkets in the USA. Spirits though must be sold at a liquor store for the licence.

The photos are the best way to describe the lay out of Trader Jo’s. My favourite items that I get from there is the nacho salsa mix which is tasty as a dip and they stock two of my favourite dark chocolates. The Coconut Bon Bons and the Dark Chocolate Caramels. Absolute bliss. Honestly, between Trador Jo’s chocolates and Max Brenners Dark Italian Thick Hot chocolate, no wander I can’t seem to lose any weight.

Turkey for sale for Thanksgiving

Getting a delivery. All bags are brown Paper Bags

Arrows so you don’t get confused which entrance to take

The checkout area. Around 20 checkouts

Some interesting points because it gets so busy. It’s NYC so you don’t generally get people doing big loads of shopping. Its mostly what people can carry out of there with their own hands. The line to the checkout splits in two. It starts to wrap around down the aisles so when it’s crazily busy like before a storm or thanksgiving when people are all out stocking up, the lines can literally start from the checkout and wrap all the way across the whole store to the fruit and vege section. In fact before the hurricane hit, the line was out the door and it was like a night club with security letting five people in once five came out. Crazy stuff. The line moves quickly. I tend to take my back pack when i go for a shop as then I have to get the subway home, which is all quite close but still, its easier to do little bits of shopping as you go. Totally different life style to what I’m used too, where you drive and fill huge trolleys up of food, which you then take home, wrap individually so you freeze things and put them all separately in the little freezer bags for a rainy day. Well, that isn’t really how it’s done in the city.

Fruit and vege section at entrance

So many employees working

A small range of Flowers

The bread Section

My favourite Chocolate section

The aisles

 

I had to secretly take these photos towards the end as one of the staff members told me I wasn’t supposed to take photos. Oh well, it was too late now after I had taken them and considering these photos are all for positive exposure, I’m saying it’s okay…