Archive for February, 2005

Art and Food

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Today we did the tourist bit. We are still waking up early, not that a bear needs a lot of sleep. So although it is Sunday by 9.00am we were out of the apartment, it was a lovely morning, sunny and crisp, so we decided to walk along the Hudson to the Subway at Bowling Green. There were lots of joggers around and a group of drummers with a large crowd gathered around in Battery Park. There are several monuments in the park and I was particularly impressed with the one dedicated to the American Merchant Sailors. Another monument was obviously being prepared for un veiling.
Merchant Seamen Monument
Then we saw a monument Maria thought she recognised, except the last time she saw it it was in a different place. For about 30 years there had stood a large bronze globe in the plaza outside World Trade 1 and 2, it stood as a symbol of world peace. On 9/11 it was badly damaged but still recognisable. It has been moved to Battery Park as a temporary memorial to those who died, an eternal flame was lit on September 11th 2002.
We were all particularly moved by some of the mementoes people leave at the memorial.
memorial World Trade Centre
We took the subway up to Midtown, to 84th Street and then walked over to 5th Avenue to Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had heard we were lucky because today was the last day of the Gates in the park. This is an instalation in Cenral Park by an artist and apparently a lot of people had been going to see it.
Well I don’t know about Maria and John but it didn’t do a lot for me. It was colourful but was it art?
Gates in Cenral Park
Maria and John decided to become friends of the Met, luckily entry is free for those under 12. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours looking at the exhibition of Ruben’s drawings, they were excellent. Maria always gets depressed after an exhibition like this, along the lines of ‘how come some people are so talented?’
Wilbeary with Met badge
We then decided to take a bus Downtown to Katz. Maria was moaning rather a lot about the amount of walking, the number of stairs and her feet aching. I said she was overdoing the whinging but when she suggested I might like to stop riding in her bag and start walking, I thought it best to keep quiet.
Riding on the bus really made us appreciate the speed of the subway, however you get to see alot more, and in the case of Chinatown smell a lot more. I think we need to go back there and have a really good wander about.
Katzs was great, very busy and lively, we bought lots of pastrami and chopped liver, Maria kept going on about wanting to have what Sally had but I didn’t understand (apparently it’s something to do with a film called When Harry Met Sally)
Katz
By now we were all pooped and ready to go back to the apartment. Being a tourist is tiring, still it was all very enjoyable and tomorrow it’s back to the real world, work and the laundry.

Ground Zero

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Today being a Saturday John didn’t have to go to work, so we had big plans for all the things we were going to get done.
We started with a nice leasurely breakfast and then strolled over to Century 21 to do the shopping for the kitchen Maria’s been intending to do for days. The weather is still very cold so I snuggled up in Maria’s bag with just my head sticking out so I could see where we were going.
Century 21 is right next to the World Trade Centre, just across the road from Ground Zero. This is the first time Maria has been back to NY since 9/11 so she found it very moving.
ground zero
A viewing fence has been erected around the site so people can watch the progress of the clearing up and rebuilding. A simple monument has beeen created from 2 of the girders and the names of the heroes (firefighters and policemen) who died are listed on black plaques.
wilbeary @ ground zero
There were quite a few people looking and talking quietly, street vendors are not permited around the site, which is nice ‘cos I’m sure some people would try to make money by selling tasteless ‘souvenirs’.
The area looks strangely small and big at the same time, it is amazing how the buildings around survived, although two of them are still being worked on. We look forward to seeing the new buildings.
We then went to Century 21 and got some real bargains, the kitchen is now much more useable.
We then did our grocery shopping at the Amish Market, it is just as well John was with us otherwise Maria and I might have got carried away.
After lunch I had another new experience, I had a ride on the NY subway, noisy fast and rather exciting.
We went up to 11th street in the East Village to an art shop to see if we could find a reasonably priced and portable alternative to Maria’s airbrush. Maria tends to get carried away in art shops, her eyes go all glazed and she starts muttering about colour and texture. Luckily John and I were there to control her. We think we got what we needed, she’s going to experiment next week
By this time we were feeling shattered so we just made our way back to the apartment and collapsed. We’re hoping to go to the Met and Katz’ deli tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to it.

Work

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Well, we woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground and glorious sunshine. The view from the window was fantastic. John wrapped up warm and went off to work while Maria and I had a leisurely breakfast. Then i went out on to the balcony and had a look at the view and tried to throw a few snowballs at the passers by below.
balcony in the snow

It was too cold to stay out too long, besides Maria moaned about getting a bad reputation if I kept throwing snow at people.
We decided it was time to create some New York bears, well to start on one at least. We haven’t brought a sewing machine with us (John didn’t fancy carrying it) so anything we made would have to be hand stitched, so Maria decided to work small.
I offered advice, Maria stitched and we listened to radio 2 on the web. By the end of the day we had almost finished an 8 in double neck jointed, open mouthed bear. Hopefully we’ll finish him tomorrow and then we photograph him and post the picture. It’s hard work being creative.

New York, New York

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Well, we all slept ok but of course woke up early, it’ll take a while to adjust to the local time.
John had to go to work this morning so that left just Maria and me. We thought we’d take it easy, sort out the apartment, do a bit of light shopping etc.
The apartment is lovely, spacey and clean. The view is to die for, just look at the picture.
view from the apartment

There’s snow forecast for later so we thought we’d go out in the morning, we needed a few bits for the kitchen, a decent sharp knife, some wooden spoons, a salad bowl etc. Also we heard there’s a large Borders near by and Maria can never miss a bookshop.
It was perishing outside, Maria’s glad she remembered hat, gloves and scarf.
Borders lived up to expectations, we spent a happy couple of hours there,we were thrilled to find they had Claire’s book, fame at last. By the time we left we decided it was too late to do the rest of the shopping so we just walked down to the National Museum of the American Indian and then back home.
We sorted out the kitchen and then watched as the snow began to fall. By the time John came home it had started to settle. We should have a few inches by tomorrow.

Snow and travel

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Well at last we’re off. Of course after hoping for snow for ages (all my life) today would be the day for it to start.
The ground was white when we got up, well to be honest I’d been up most of the night. Ever since I packed on Tuesday (one of Marias other bears kindly lent me a backpack) I’ve been rairing to go.
The taxi arrived on time and after a little difficulty negotiating the local roads we found the main roads were fine and apart from hitting some traffic we got to the airport fine and checked in.
Waiting for the plane

The photo shows me in the lounge watching the planes and reading a copy of CNN Traveler which had an interesting article about polar bears.
Our flight was late taking off but luckily the flight was only 6hrs 45mins and we landed early. I shared Maria’s window seat and had a great view flying over Nova Scotia and landing at Newark Liberty airport.
By 2.30pm New York time we were in the apartment, travel is so much easier these days. It’s a lovely appartment with a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson, I’ll try and get a photo of it tomorrow. John and Maria went out for a quick wander and to do some shopping but I’d had enough for the day, I think I need a good long rest and I’ll write again tomorrow.

Hello and welcome to my blog

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

My name is Wilbeary, and I want to be a travelling bear – I travel with my owner Maria. I am going to New York in a couple of days and I am very excited as I have never been away before – I was only created today! I am going to keep a record of my travels here – so watch this space. Here is a picture of me looking at the bearhugs web site.
Wilbeary working at his computer