When I was traveling the USA in June, I visited the wonderful Strand Bookstore in New York City. Here’s some footage from my visit.
The first thing I did when I sat out after breakfast yesterday, was to pop by the New York Public Library, just to get that photo of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, that I so much wanted. It didn’t take long, so when I was done, I headed for International Center of Photography.
International Center of Photography was a nice surprise: It was a lot better than I had expected it to be. Its content was far more political than I thought it would be, and it was in general very well laid out. As for beauty, I think the pictures by Wangechi Mutu from Nairobi, Keny, were the ones I liked the best. However, what made the strongest impression on me were Gideon Mendel, Thomas Hirchhorn, and Rabih Mroué, all whom had important projects with a strong message. I was surprised not more people visited this centre, as it’s smack in the middle of the city.
A place where there were tons of tourists, on the other hand, was Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, which is only a short walk from the International Center of Photography. MoMA, on the other hand, was less impressive than I thought it would be. That being said, it wasn’t a bad place in any way, and it did have a some good pieces. Here you find pictures by Frida Kahlo, Monet and Andy Warhol, among others, so it’s definitely worth the pricey ticket.
I’m not sure how much time I spent at MoMA, but it’s huge. And I wasn’t up for walking a long way after that, so I went to have a look at Rockefeller Center. I guess it’s one of those places you really should visit when you’re in New York. I didn’t go up on the deck, though, as I didn’t feel like being all that touristy. It was nice just to walk around as well.
When I had been walking around Rockefeller Center for a while, I was hungry, and I realized it was dinner time. I went to have my meal at Madison & Vine, which is connected to the hotel. Though I love the hotel (I’m staying at the Library Hotel, which I’ve mentioned before), the food and service there was disappointing. I had wild mushroom ravioli, which sounded promising on the menu, but it didn’t make my taste buds dance, so to say.
After dinner, I headed for my room to rest. I was indeed tired. When I had rested for a while, I went down to the Reading Room for complimentary sparkling wine and cheese, and to read.
I went for a walk in the evening, just around the area of the hotel, before going back to my room.
I felt like an early bird when my alarm went off this morning. The breakfast at this lovely hotel is complimentary (as well as a lot of other things), so I hasted to eat before it was over. After breakfast it was time to visit a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for a long while: New York Public Library.
New York Public Library is known to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and that is not without reason. This is a truly beautiful place! Swarming with tourists, but still a beautiful library. And lots to see. Should you ever go there, be sure to have a couple of hours, at least, to spare!
Unfortunately, the battery of my camera ran out while I was there, so I might go back to get some snaps of some things I wasn’t able to photograph while I was there – like the real Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals! Yup, there they were: Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga… It was lovely to see them!
After my trip to the library, I went back to my hotel room, as I needed to charge the camera battery. While waiting, I went to have a cup of complimentary coffee in the Reading Room. It was nice to sit there, reading my book, jazz playing, and having a rest.
My plan was then to visit the south of Manhattan. I wanted to do a couple of bookcrossing releases. From one spot to another, I came across a cookbook shop, and I just had to stop by. Turned out this was an independent bookshop, and I ended up having a lengthy chat with the owner about cookbooks, and independent bookshops in general. She was really sweet, and I found an interesting cookbook I just had to buy. I can hardly wait to use it!
My last bookcrossing release stop was 66 Perry Street. These stairs are known from the TV series Sex in the City, based on the book with the very same name. They are seen in several scenes in the TV series, and famous for being the stairs to Carrie’s flat (she’s the main character). As you might have guessed, the book I wanted to release here was exactly that book.
After releasing the book, I headed to Union square to take the underground back to the station right by my hotel. On my way there, I made several stops. There’s a lot to look at! At Union sq. there were people playing chess and all sorts of things.
When I got back to the hotel, I popped by my room to drop my handbag, before heading back to the Reading Room, where they served complimentary sparkling wine and a selection of cheeses. It was so nice! After eating cheese and drinking wine, I went back to my room, as it was then quite late, and I was tired.
Today has been pretty uneventful, to be honest. I’ve traveled most of the day. I left Las Vegas in the morning, and am now in New York City again.
On Tuesday I had a rather slow morning. I had deiced to take it fairly quiet, and only went for a walk down the Strip. It was still very hot, so the energy level wasn’t great. However, walking south down the strip was interesting enough. I got to see more of the hotels, and the hotels in Las Vegas are strange. Like New York, New York, which is supposed to look like, as you probably guessed, New York. There’s also one that looks like Disneyland or something. And a whole lot of other strange hotels. Remember I said Las Vegas is a bizarre city?
After my walk, I decided it was time for me to try my luck in the casino. I mean, it’s the thing you just have to do in Las Vegas. I didn’t play for a fortune. I lost the total of $1 on the slot machines, and $1 on the wheel of fortune. Oh well.
My friend D came to pick me up in the afternoon, and he took me to Hoover Dam. It was actually constructed during the great depression; the construction work started in 1931, and was finished five years later. I found the dam quite impressive, especially since it was built in a time when they didn’t have the modern technology we have today!
The dam is on the border of Arizona and Nevada, and from the point we were looking at it, we were officially in Arizona, and by that another time zone! That was a bit funny.
After having a look at Hoover Dam, we stopped to enjoy the view of Lake Mead, which is the reservoir connected to Hoover Dam. It is huge, and quite beautiful.
D and I went to have dinner at Port a Subs, where we both had wraps. Mine had avocado and salad and stuff (as I am a vegetarian), and some yummy unsweetened tea. After dinner, D dropped me off by my hotel.
In the evening I went to see the Cirque du Solieil show at the hotel (I got 20% off the tichet as I was a guest there). I have been wanting to see Cirque du Soleil for ages, as I know they are quite unique at what they’re doing. They have several different shows, and the show at the hotel is called Zarkana. This was actually the show in Las Vegas I wanted to see the most!
The show was spectacular! I loved the whole steampunk and goth look it had, and the acrobats were amazing. The thing that really does it, though, is how it’s all wove together, the music, colours, stunts – the whole thing! It’s more than just acrobats “doing their thing”. It really was the prefect end of the day.
Yesterday was spent mostly by the hotel pool. It was nice just to relax and take it easy. I found a sunbed in the shadow, and I either read my book, or went for a swim in the pool to cool down.
The travel to New York City today went smoothly. I love the hotel I’m currently staying at: The Library Hotel. I admit that it’s expensive to stay here, but so are most hotels in New York. It’s very central, though, and designed for book lovers. There are books pretty much everywhere! And the complimentary chocolates welcoming you have book or library related quotes too! I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight!
Yesterday I left New York and the east coast. I headed for the airport after breakfast, as I didn’t see the point in dragging my suitcase around New York. In other words, I had plenty of time at the airport, where I spent most of my time reading my book and relaxing.
I’m doing my domestic US traveling with Delta, and I have to say I’m disappointed. On a 6 hour flight you could buy expensive snacks. No serving of meals. Not even water! If you wanted to watch any of their films or use the wifi, you had to pay. I even had to pay US$ 25 to check in my suitcase! Now, I can understand the rest, but the suitcase? Very annoying. I’m not likely to ever fly Delta again after this trip.
Here in Washington I’m visiting my friend, whom I’ve known online around 15 years. I was very excited to finally meet her, and she’s pretty much how I thought she would be like!
Today she took me to Tacoma, and the first stop was Freighthouse Square. It was obvious that there once were more shops here, but there’s still a few small independent shops, as well as a food court, there. It was quite nice.
Nest stop was the water side, which was bliss! Quiet, sunny and in general very nice. We walked ou on the pier where we could look down into the water, which was very clear. There were pretty flowers to look at, and benches for sitting down and relax. There was a small park there, where you could see a big sun dial. I loved it!
I found just driving around for a bit interesting too. In some ways, like plants and such, it looks a bit like Norway, but the houses and shops and things like that, are typical American. We even stopped by Wallmart, which surprisingly looked pretty much like a big Obs! shop.
On a sunny day like today, I thought it was a great day to visit Greenwich Village, or “the Village” as they like to call it. My main reason for heading this direction, is the number of book shops you find here. More independent book shops than the rest of New York, unless I’m mistaken.
My first stop was the Strand, a huge book shop with lots and lots of books: New, used, old, rare… Pretty much “everything”. Actually, they have a whole floor dedicated to rare books, a floor separated from the others. There were even a couple of big, leather bound chairs on this floor, and books safely locked in, just to peek at. First editions, books for collectors…
In between all the book shops I made sure to rest. It really was a perfect day to buy some iced coffee, and sit down in the park to read…
I enjoyed the Village a lot. There were a lot of other things to see as well, like a public garden with small houses for the birds. I also visited Washington Square Park, which was full of life. There was even a guy playing the piano while some guys tap danced to his music. How he had managed to get his piano out there, I have no idea…
I ended my visit in the Village by having my dinner at Le Pain Quotidien, which also had very good coffee. After dinner, I headed back to the hotel, where I started to pack mu suitcase. Tomorrow I head west…
When I looked out the window this morning, it was raining. My instant thought was: This is a perfect day to visit museums! Found out I wanted to visit the Museum of the City of New York.
I thought I had brought a rain jacket, but it turned out it wasn’t exactly working as one, so by the time I arrived at the museum, I was soaking wet. And cold. Not exactly a happy puppy.
I had a walk around the museum, but I have to admit that other than the new part with the current state of New York City and the housing situation and the part with activism in NYC, it wasn’t much. And the activism part was my favourite, with different types of activism. Very interesting! I just wish they had done something similar with e. g. immigration, which I was surprised to find almost nothing about!
After the museum the rain hadn’t stop, and I decided to go back to the hotel. When I was back in the room, it was nice to have a hot shower and put on something dry, as I was wet to the skin.
I decided to stay in my room for the rest of the day, only to go out to have dinner at the diner. The diner has a door to the hotel, so there was no need to go out. Looking out of the hotel room window made it clear: The rain had picked up, so staying in and watching telly would be a great idea! And watching the local TV is kind of getting to know the country’s culture, right?
The main event for today was to visit The Morgan Library & Museum, a place I’ve found in one of the guide books I borrowed at the library before I left home. This really is a “must see” for any book lover visiting New York!
Though there’s a gallery here as well, it was Pierpont Morgan’s library that was my main interest. It’s such a beautiful place, with lots of old books, and beautiful room!
After having had a look at the beautiful library, and the gallery, I decided it was time for coffee, and went to Stumptown, that had been recommended to me. Though the coffee was excellent, I really wish they had seating. So, I just had a quick espresso, before heading onwards to Chelsea.
In Chealsea I mostly strolled around and had a look around. I did stop by a cake shop called Empire, though, where I had a very yummy pistachio cupcake.
In the evening I felt like some vegan fine dining, and headed for a restaurant called Blossom. I had some really yummy food, and the ice cream, that’s made from coconut, was really beautiful!
Maybe not the most eventful of days, in other words, but that’s OK. It was nice to have a more quiet day.
I woke up to a very sunny day today, and figured that a great idea would be to walk down the famous 5th Avenue and head for Central Park. So, I grabbed some breakfast on my way to Fifth Avenue, and the adventure was on!
5th Avenue is a huge shopping street, with a lot of fancy shops. This is where you can find famous brands, but to be honest, I’m not all that interested in that. You can also find a lot of interesting architecture, and a huge Barnes & Nobles, which is an American book shop chain.
Except for the book shop, the only other shop I was interested in was Tiffany’s & Co., mostly because of the book Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capone and the film based on the novel. Coming into the shop felt very strange. The guards were very polite, and everybody were greeted with a good morning. I did have a look at the jewelry, but they weren’t really my cup of tea…
Tiffany’s is situated right by Central Park, and that was my next spot. I have to say, Central Park is probably my favourite spot on the whole of Manhattan. There’s plenty of things to see! It’s also a lot more quiet than the rest of the city. Sometimes you can hardly notice you’re actually in New York City, as you don’t hear much else than birds singing. This is where you can take a break from the busy city life and actually find some peace, even though you sometimes see the city peak over the trees…
There were a lot of musicians performing in the park. I was surprised by the quality of the music they performed. Wonderful! Not to mention the lake you keep seeing on films, where people can hire boats and go for a row. And did you know there’s a castle in the park? And a pond with real live turtles? This, and a lot more, is in the video below.
After the park, I went back to the hotel, and picked up some food on the way. Decided on taking the rest of the day in the room, relaxing. After all, I had spent many hours walking (Central Park is HUGE), and I was tired and had sore feet. After all, I need to be fit for a new day tomorrow, when new adventures awaits!
After first waking up at 4:30 this morning, and then heading back to bed for a few more hours, I went out for breakfast kind of early (at least for me). And what would be more natural than having it at an American diner? I got a stack of yummy pancakes with butter and maple syrup, and coffee.
I decided on doing a bit of sightseeing by foot. I strolled down to Broadway, and followed it all the way down to Time Square. It felt almost unreal to actually be there! I also headed to the Empire State building, which I can see from my hotel room, but decided on not going up.
One of the great thing by walking around, is that you get to see so much more. Things typical for the country or city you’re visiting. Like, for example, the yellow school buses they have here in the US, or the typical fire escape outside the houses in New York…
After having stuffed myself with a large lunch, I decided to head for Staten Island. To get there, you travel by the Staten Island Ferries. The ferry is actually free, and a great way to see the famous Statue of Liberty.
After all the walking, I found out I wanted to have dinner nearby. I stumbled upon a small place, and ordered my meal at the desk to eat in. I was surprised when I was told it was only $3.50 for the meal, including a bottle of Snapple! Another thing I noticed was that I was the only female eating there… The food was really good, though, but probably as far from fancy as you can get.
My feet are sore after such a long day on my feet, with a lot of walking. I’m still a bit jet lagged, so I will probably fall asleep quickly…