Tag Archives: usa

New York, 2006

The company where I (currently) work is always trying to get people to transfer over to the New York office. There are a number of personal reasons why I didn’t want to do that, however the main reason was always that it — basically — just didn’t appeal. It really didn’t seem to be very much different from London, where I currently live, but, well, more. So when I visited New York in April I was not expecting to like it very much.

As this was my first time in New York, and only my second in the United States, I was immediately drawn to the things that the place is famous for. Yellow taxis. The Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty. Central Park. I managed to “do” them all, but not always on the first attempt!

The first time I went to the Battery Park pier for the Liberty Island ferry I found a long, snaking line of people and no shade from the sun. Not feeling like turning lobster-red for my wedding photos, I decided to postpone.

Typically the weather turned the day after making this decision. It got to the point that you could barely see statue from Manhattan and I was starting to think the trip might have to wait until my next time in New York. But on my last day the clouds and rain lifted enough to consider it. Even the crowds had evaporated.

For the short trip out, the boat was accompanied by the coast-guard. The memory of September 11th lives on. I just walked around the statue rather than going inside. You can’t go all the way to the top like you could previously — security again. Liberty looks more impressive In Real Life than it does in the pictures. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it has a poise and grace that doesn’t come across quite so well in photographs.

A ferry took me from Liberty to Ellis Island, which was home to US Immigration for many years. It was late so I only managed a quick look around. It was fascinating if only because my wife had been dealing with UK Immigration for most of the time I’ve known her!

I had a similar experience with the Empire State Building. I first got there and found a vast queue. I had to be at dinner in about ninety minutes. Unfortunately the staff said that there was a ninety minute wait just to get to the top!

The next week I came back and splashed out on an Express Pass. I felt like a celebrity walking past all the queues — sorry, since we’re in America, lines — to step into the lift.

The main difference between London and New York I found is that New York is much taller. I guess this is a fairly obvious observation, but the lack of sky was quite striking from ground level. From the top of the Empire State Building you can see it all laid out in front of you. Even nearly a century after it first opened there is little taller. Looking down, ‘little’ six or seven story buildings seem nearly as far away as the throngs of yellow taxis. South of here, the buildings are smaller — the ground-rock isn’t as solid — until near the tip of Manhattan where things get taller again, and where the twin towers used to stand. Facing north you realise just how big Central Park is.

I’m glad I did the Empire State near the end of my time in New York. It allowed me to make sense of the various bits of geography I’d come to vaguely know. Oh, so that’s next to that!

Not quite fitting in the theme of “failed visits,” I saw Times Square a few times at various times of day. On the way to my hotel I believe I passed through it without realising. I look back and wonder how that was possible. To be fair to myself, it does look very different at night. I had to wonder at the value of any particular company advertising there. There’s just so much neon that absolutely nothing stood out, although I was continually dazzled by the lights, the constant flow of pedestrians and traffic and the noise.

I’ve only really scratched the surface of what I saw on my first visit to New York, yet I only scratched the surface of what there is to see in New York. I liked the place much more than I thought I would. I’m sure I’ll be back.

The Big Day

The Happy CoupleThe truth is that I don’t normally blog about very personal things. However, occasionally something happens that’s so big or different that you have to break convention, and this is one of them.

Last Friday I got married!

For various reasons we did this in New York, dragging most of our relatives three thousand miles from home. Everyone made it and I think a good day was had by all. We even managed to get a little sight-seeing in too. None of my family had been to New York before, in fact I’m the only one that had been out of Europe!

My wife — it’s going to take a while before I get used to saying that — has been mentioned a few times on here before (as “B”) and, well, we’ve grown very close, “inseparable” according to one friend. We were introduced by our mutual friend, M. After unsuccessfully attempting to get us to meet in a pub in April she tried again in July, inviting us both around hers for a weekend vegging out, watching movies.

This weekend went well and we soon agreed to meet again. A number of further encounters ensued. A couple of months later M was so pleased that things were going well that she blogged about us:

I knew theirs was a meaningful and deep union when we were casually drinking Starbucks one night and [B] almost fainted when she caught a sight of a new iPod nano and [S] joined in the drool over miniature toy. Let’s just say… Apple brought them together against the PC users.

View from the London EyeAlthough she insists on using a Vaio we’re all still close. Unfortunately she was back in Croatia and couldn’t make my Stag Do. (Yes, it was mixed. Many, if not most, of my friends are female. Not to be outdone in the “unconventional” stakes, B is having her Hen Night in a couple of weeks, i.e., after the wedding.)

To celebrate the end of my days as a single man, my friends organised a trip on the London Eye. A big Thank You to A for volunteering to organise it and herding my other friends around in a slew of emails; to C for the glitter and balloons at the restaurant, and for her persistence in getting R to come up to London for the night; and to everyone else for coming.

Miscellaneous Pictures, 2003

Like most people I take the majority of my pictures while on holiday. But that’s not the only time. Here you’ll find some odds and ends, places I’ve been where I was only there for a short time or where there are only a few reasonable ones!

The first batch are from my month-long stint at my companies Malta office (actually at the tail-end of 2002). There would have been more pictures, but it rained for much of the time I was there! Not encouraging weather for sight-seeing!

Next are pictures from closer to home. One from a friends wedding in sleepy Southwold, the next few from my “flight” on the London Eye, then a couple from Norfolk and the last two of the UK are in the Peak District. The last few are from my time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Click the small pictures below for a full size version.

The bay near St Julians Looking over Valetta View of Malta from Mdina This tower is visible almost anywhere on the whole isla
Beach huts in Southwold, Suffolk London Eye pod View of Charing Cross from the London Eye View from the London Eye
View from the London Eye View of the London Eye Near Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk Seals on the Norfolk coast
The Peak District near Edale The Peak District near Edale Charlotte at dusk Charlotee from just out of the centre
Charlotte sky-scrapers Charlotte sky-scrapers A park in uptown Charlotte Classy Christmas Decorations

The last few pictures (the colour ones of Charlotte) are taken on my D300. All the others here have been taken on my EOS300 using Fuji Sensia II ISO100 film.