Sep
2017

New York City September 2017

Walking in New York City 

 I was away on a walking weekend in Keswick, up in the Lake District, where I met  an Australian woman, who inspired me, with tales of her recent visits to New York. She told me how the Hudson River, area had been redeveloped. and recommended the Jane Hotel. It sounded good, I can’t recall seeing much of the river on my first and only visit back in 86. I decided to revisit.

 The Jane Hotel has quite a history.

In 1912, the survivors of the Titanic stayed at the hotel until the end of the American Inquiry into the ship’s sinking. I tend to write about the here & now, but if you like history click on the link below to read more about the history of The Jane.

 

Reception area at The Jane.

http://www.thejanenyc.com/history/

I Really love this pic looking out towards Ellis Island from the Hudson river near The Jane.

 

THE JANE HOTEL is situated on the embankment of the Hudson River.

It is  near where the old meatpacking district used to be and borders on the Chelsea area. If I had to compare it with an area in London, it would be Belgravia around the back of Victoria. The area hosts neat ‘little’ town houses (at a Grand Price). As well as very good restaurants & cafe’s. The Mole restaurant was my favorite, a Mexican place with fantastic food & drinks.

We ordered a ridiculous amount of food, not knowing what things were. Drowned down with non alcoholic cocktails, it was fantastic. Probably about 5000 calories just in that sitting.

BACK in 1986,  I travelled alone to NYC on a budget. I was aged 25 with 700 dollars in my pocket.

   

 Back in those days it was  $3 a night for a room in a hostel in Harlem. I was young free and single with 4 weeks to explore. I really got to know the whole of the city  & beyond from The Bronx to New Jersey, and Long Island. I wanted to extend my visit, but as  I was running out of money. I enquired at ‘The Whitehouse'( what the locals named the hostel in Harlem) . I got a chance to work as a volunteer at a children’s camp in New Jersey. I felt out of my depth. After one night there, I jumped back on a coach to the city.

I had after all travelled to the city, with a vague aim of meeting musicians. Although I did meet a few musicians, and saw a lot of live music. The extended visit had to end. I tried to sell my ticket to go on a road trip to L.A but it wasn’t to be. End of trip.

I never get tired of seeing The statue of Liberty, one of many pictures taken from ferry crossing to Staten Island.

This trip to New York, felt very different to the my visit in 1986.  

 The room in the Jane, was tight. You could not move, for the two bunk beds, that took up most of the limited space.  It was stuffy and humid. We kept the air conditioning  on all night. With only a tiny window with black meshing covering the window, it made no odds . You could not open it and the view was a brick wall.  If you woke up it was difficult to tell if it was morning or night!

 

https://www.thejanenyc.com/rooms/captains-cabin/

Looking out of Subway window as we go overground to Coney Island Brooklyn

 

We walked 70 miles over 7 days

We walked about 10 miles every day. One of the walks was from Harlem to 5th Avenue Central park. I attempted to revisit the hostel in St Nicholas Avenue 345th street.  On this visit, I couldn’t quite place it. Still it was interesting to revisit the area.

 Like re- visiting your home town, nothing looks quite the same. Nothing is the same, nor ever will be! 

I really enjoyed seeing it all again, but I did find it hard  at times. It’s a fierce city and was extremely hot every day and this was September. The subway stations were unbearably hot.

 

 

We got to know the area of Williamsburg where we found a great little venue called the Union Pool. 

They had a great DJ, with a good sized dance hall. A music venue tucked inside, with a different entrance and  a large artificial garden outside, with more bars. The bar sold a beer with a shot of tequila for a few dollars. I can’ t remember how many of those I had or how we got back to the hotel.! We wondered off with a couple of guys we had made friends with. Sad to say I don’t recall much of our late night adventure, out on the town!

 

.http://www.union-pool.com/listing/  

 

Coney Island, The Freak Show is no longer there.

Generally the food was abundant and good everywhere we went.

We visited the Russian Brighton Beach area twice as it was hot enough to swim and sunbathe. In fact it was baking.

Juicy Melons

Brighton Beach Subway.

 

 We enjoyed a fantastic meal at Tatiana a Russian Restaurant, situated along the seafront. We were treated to a blast of  Russian singing; The service was fantastic and the food was great.

I felt the beach had lost some of it’s edginess. Well in fact, all of it’s edge. It had been cleaned up a lot. No ladies with snakes, or the tattooed man eating fire and that sort of thing

Cats for Sale in Union Square

 

The cats looked so well looked after and all the cages had little notes attached with stories written of where the cats were found; mainly in places like The Bronx; some with missing feet, or legs. So sad, but very encouraging to see The New Yorker’s volunteering to help home abandoned cats.

 

 

Abandoned cats for sale in Union Square all with a story to tell.

 

 

A mask from American Indian Art taken at The Met

American Indian Mask from the Met.

 

I revisited the Met in search of a lost item.

Every now and again, I see a design that inspires me and I think about putting it on a teeshirt. It’s one of those ambitions that pops up every now and again

 I was hoping on this visit I might be able to purchase the same book. I  had lost with a perfect image. the mask above had ben in the book, I was on the right tracks, it has to be out there somewhere.

.

 

 

Until Next time, Keep on Keeping on. It’s all you can do.

Aug
2017

I can’t explain my feet comes full circle!

Let England Shake!

The title of PJ Harvey’s album seems apt. We were driving down to the West Country for some time out, and the news broke that Brexit had won the vote, n the referendum. A feeling of impending doom took over me. This year has been varied and interesting. I have posted some of my best blogs.

I decided to post the best blogs of 2016. Hope you enjoy.

FEBRUARY 2016 ‘STATES OF MIND-

Here I looked at Lack of social housing in particular in London, I joined an old friend walking from Kennington to Downing . I’m not normally up for marching and protesting. Got some great pictures. States of Mind

 

APRIL 2016 A WEEKEND with the UK Explorers’ taking time out to meet a new group. I have eventually joined another walking group and went off for a weekend . Peak District Weekend

JULY 2016

 The Eden Project  

I would like to dedicate this post to my friend from Cornwall.

the forver fantastic Cornishe coastline

On the way to Sennon Cove

Keith Richards who passed away unexpectedly w/end of July 28th 2017. The last time I saw him was at this gig. !

 PJ HARVEY at The Eden Project

The Eden Project

EDEN Project

 

I met Keith in London in the early 80’s both of us were on some Government Back to Work Scheme;  we became friends as we had a shared interest in bands like The Fall and The Damned!  He had a good sense of humour & an appreciation of the ‘Dark Side’, When he moved back to Cornwall he kindly put me up on my many visits. He gave me the opportunity to really get to know Cornwall. Keith was a real fun guy unfortunately Chron’s disease finally got him. RIP Keith.

Let England Shake After all the tension pre Brexit, we got a great polished performance from PJ Harvey.

 

 

 

WHERE NOW?

I’m going to NYC in September and haven’t visited there since 1986, at that time I stayed in Harlem for a month,the hostel cost me $3 a night, it was the best time ever I loved it.

This time I’m sharing the experience & staying at The Jane near the ‘meatpacking’ industry and I’m prepared to have my eyes opened again. I will be doing a lot of walking.

NYC should be a good jumping off point in terms of looking at the bigger picture and making long sought after changes.

Until then

keep on keeping on.

 

 

Jul
2017

I can’t explain my Feet -Best posts 2014-2015

Best Walks of 20142015

 It’s difficult to pick the best walks, or the best blogs;or even the best pictures, but did manage to select a few.  All walks and the blogs posted here are my personal favourites.

February 2014 Westgate to Margate…

A familiar stroll – See archives for more stories and pictures.Westgate to Margate revisited February 8th 2014

MARGATE BEACH FEBRUARY 2014

 

May 2014 Urban Landscape

Excel/ Docklands Trinity Buoy Wharf

One of my favourite off the cuff walks.

The entrance to the Wharf has a varied display of street art, sculpture & murals.

A musical tide chimer….

July 2014 Photography in Posts

Walking the cliffs of Dover.Photography in posts

Wild flowers on cliff top Dover

Photography is another tricky art form, depending on what camera you use will determine whether you can size them up all the same. After a lot of experimenting with different cameras, I realised the convenience of an I phone is sufficient but a portable recharger and an old I Phone is needed. One phone just for pictures the other for maps on very long walks. Occasionally I like to use a 35 mm camera. 

SEPTEMBER 2014 -Thorney Island! A strange hypnotic walk

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Jun
2017

best blogs 2012-2013

 

I cant explain my feet  20122013

Thinking about writing, thinking about walking

 I have learnt about new walks, in areas outside of London, but near enough to be able to do in a day. Since starting this blog it has been a pleasure to have discovered new places and enjoyed writing about them all. After many years of neglect,where I have stayed in my comfort zone too many times. Rewriting and republishing gave me an opportunity to reflect on how far I have travelled. It has been a joy to write about my travels.

I rediscovered my Love of London; as well my love of Newcastle, and the North East coast; and on top of that I have found new places on the south coast and Sussex.

Below I have selected some of my favourite blogs in my first two years as a blogger! It has been great fun.

 

Shoes and Boots!

The Charleston House Experience

Rye- Hastings walk

Thinking about walking -thinking about writing!

LONDON LIFE/MUSIC MACHINE

 

 

1979 you could smoke on tube- All night!!

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May
2017

Is it better to travel or arrive

BRIXTON TO MONTCUQ

 

Magic ward and fairy dust

 

BRIXTON TO MONTCUQ A 12 HOUR JOURNEY DOOR TO DOOR

I leave my building at 8.20am, where I walk briskly down Railton Road to Brixton Tube. As I got to the station, my heart sunk as I was confronted by 2 queues being controlled at the top of the stairs. ‘(crowd’ control!)  There are three staircases to the entrance at Brixton Tube Station, two going in and one for those coming out. There are considerably more want to go in than come out.

Some deviants try to escape the cattle like situation & huddle into a small lift, which is only big enough for about 4 people with suitcases. The scoundrels squeeze themselves in hoping to get to the platform without having to wait in line.

I look back thinking to attempt it myself and see that the lift doors aren’t closing . They are jammed and it’s going nowhere. I wait in line while the people in the lift , realise their efforts to escape are futile.

Is it better to travel than to arrive.?

Arriving at Victoria Station, I was getting flustered at being diverted to a different exit. It was jam packed and claustrophobic. . I start to feel panicky in the crowd trapped under ground.

Further panic as I realised it wasn’t such a good idea trying to get on a peak time train to Gatwick with an off-peak train ticket. I managed to get away with it.

I arrived at Gatwick, realised  in the nick of time Easy Jet who usually depart from South Terminal had changed to North Terminal. If they emailed me that information I overlooked it.

 

I ask again. Is it better to travel than to arrive.?

What is it with this part of the journey, you are at the gate with passport check/boarding pass & going on to the plane. You are told to put your handbag in your bag! Now walk 100 yards from here to the plane and take your bag out of your bag-

Oh for Christ’s sake I’m getting annoyed and flustered now. All said and done once I sat on the plane I was fine.

The Journey French/English

Funny as soon as I got to France all office politics and tedious concerns had dissolved. There is no point caring about things you cannot change, but to focus on the things you can. My extremly limited understanding of the French language is shown up at the ticket bureau in the airport.

Buying a return ticket for the airport bus to Toulouse. We have a bit of a situation. The guy could speak good English.I can sort of string a sentence in French with missing bits!

It was a sort of polite battle of wills as to who was going to lead the conversation. I will make the effort but if the guy can speak fluent English and is keen to do so who am I to argue.? The journey to Toulouse was easy the roads not crowded and I was there in no time.

My next hurdle is buying my aller simple  (Single ticket)to Cahors! I had it written down on a bit of paper but wanted to practice speaking.

There was some confusion the lady misunderstood my request for a simple aller Cahors with a simple Latour de Carol.

Although I might be able to ask for something in French, I can’t always understand what they are saying back. Unless they pronounce it clearly and speak slowly.

She printed a ticket out and I asked if this was the Paris Train or the train that goes to Brive? Apparently not.

This train was not going to either of those places.

I knew something was wrong  Buried somewhere in my bag. I had this information written down, the exact time, price and train type.  The price of the ticket and train and where it was heading to. She was printing the ticket and I knew it wasn’t right. Eventually somehow, I revived my bit of paper. she reimbursed me with the correct ticket. Not too much tutting or disapproval expressed no harm done.

Better to travel than arrive.?

RL Stevenson original quote

“Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”It is ultimately expressing that to live in hope and anticipation is more exciting than arrival.

Taoists also believed the journey is as important as arriving. Life is a journey. There’s a lot of talk these days about people being on journeys but usually people are waffling on about their careers or path to success.

I doubt  this has much to do with any real journey of Taoist Wisdom, travelling far and wide.!  Modern travel these days has about as much romance in it as a Brussel Sprout, it feels more like being on a conveyer belt.

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