Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 23 US, 13/07, NY, Central Park Zoo and Homeward Bound

Technically we left New York on the 14th but it was the night of the 13th. I had made some suggestions to R about how to spend our final day. Coney Island? No. Staten Island? No. Central Park Zoo? Ok. We'll see the zoo and try for another look at Central Park.

This wine shop was next door to our flat entrance. We walked in once and quickly ran out again. It was as bad inside as out and I don't understand why anyone would buy anything there when there are other proper and clean places not far away.


These bins have solar panels and three LED lights, as you can see. I am not sure what they are about. Bin full?


We had a nice brunch in 41st Street before caching the subway. This much sauce ketchup for one bacon and egg sandwich? I don't have sauce with bacon and egg anyway.


We caught one of the Not Quite Right trains (N,Q,R) to 59th Street and 5th Avenue. Previously our travel had been on older vehicles but this was a much newer, smoother and quieter model. The older subway trains reminded me of older Tube trains, in their roughness and obvious fast acceleration and braking. I wonder why our Australian trains are so quiet and smooth? I don't know why these live displays have never been added to our trains. They were so useful to us in Japan, several years ago now, as was the station name on the platform and with an arrow indicating the name of the next station and the last one. Later, today I noticed at our Melbourne Central Station, the former and following stations are shown on the wall.


Subway trains can be up to 11 carriages long. The hurtle into stations and if you are at the end they enter, you will swear it is a high speed express and not stopping, but stop the mostly do, abruptly.



Unlike the Tube, there is not a universal sign for the Subway. Apparently most signage shows colours, with lamps at night, to indicate something about the subway entrance but even local people don't understand the system.



We arrived just in time to see some Harbour Seal feeding.


And then otter feeding.



I think it was about 11am, not the perfect time to see animals at their most active on a hot day. The bear knew what to do in the heat.


So did the snow leopard.


This fellow popped up for a look before retreating back to the coolness and shade of the rocks.



This was a miniature deer. It busily trotted around.


Tortoises. Mummy, why are the tortoises stacking on top of each other?



I don't know what these blue birds are, or the orangey pink one for that matter.


A lemur doing what it does best in the heat.


But is it art?


Our possums are nocturnal so it was always exciting to see a squirrel out and about during the day.



Was R up for a second attempt to look at Central Park. No, and I agreed, it was too hot. Back into Hades to go back to the flat, but my Metro Card would not release the turnstyle. R went through without a problem. I tried again and as I thought would happen, now insufficient credit. R passed his card through to me but it too had run out of funds. Damn, I will have to put the minimum of $10 on the card and this will he the last trip I will take. Yes, there are the machines to top up. A lad bounded up, $3 man, and I will open the turnstile for you. It is ok, I said, I will put money on my card. But both ticket machines were out of service. I was smelling a rat, but $3 for a $2.75 fare was irresistible to me, even though I had already paid. Lordy it was so hot. As sweat dripped from me, I gave him the $3 and sure enough, he opened the turnstile.


New York's public bicycle scheme seemed very popular, not just judged by this almost empty rack.


We packed our luggage and headed out to the nearby Heartland Brewery for dinner. Our waiter was a gay man of a certain type, that is obvious, slightly flirtatious, very chatty and helpful. As we paid the bill, he presented us with two shot glasses with the name of the venue on them. It was a nice last moment (an maybe the time R's card was scammed?).


We returned to our flat for a final shower and last minute packing. Ahead of us was a fifteen hour flight, a five hour lay up in Hong Kong and another nine hour flight. Our departure airport was Newark in New Jersey. I had heard of a special new train service but it turned out to only be a train linking the terminals at Newark. To get there by rail it would be a walk or subway to Penn Station pulling suitcases, a train to Newark and then probably the afore mentioned new connecting service. I discovered there was a bus from the Port Authority, express to Newark for US$17, naturally more once tax was added. It all worked really well.

Look at her. She stopped in the middle of the street, opened up the back to get stuff out, oblivious to horn blasts around her.


Air Canada was great, with its rigidly enforced cabin baggage limit on quantity and size. Not so Cathay Pacific. Look what this woman has as carry on. A monster back pack, a huge case, two handbags and in her left hand, about three shopping bags. It is a disgrace that this is allowed and others are inconvenienced.


I must have been in Hong Kong when I took this. I doubt I really knew where I was but we knew enough to check out the duty free and subsequently I have learnt that the transit are of HK airport is not secure and so Australia says we cannot bring liquids back here and they will be confiscated at the second security check just before you board where everyone's hand luggage was opened. We were told at the duty free shop, but this doesn't always happen and people in some airports with insecure areas lose their duty free.


29 comments:

  1. The snow leopard was funny, legs up.

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    1. Susie, I thought he, or she, (I should be able to tell really) was very funny.

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  2. Andrew, I love the zoo. But the driver in the middle of the road so dangerous situation...

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    1. Gosia, not especially dangerous as nothing seems to move any faster than 10 km/h. Just inconsiderate.

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  3. Didn't know about the zoo, we missed that.

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    1. Victor, it is only a small zoo. I think the main one is in The Bronx.

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  4. Our Lily (the goldendoodle) sleeps in the same position as the snow leopard, too funny!

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    1. Jac, so many lines come to mind, but I will control myself.

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  5. Central Park seems to have a little of everything. I remember reading a Helene Hanff essay about it and being fascinated.
    Carry-on luggage abuse is too common. And infuriating.

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    1. EC, is she the author of the Charing Cross book? You need some good energy and a cool day to properly explore the park. A bicycle would help.

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    2. That is probably her most famous book - and how I found her. I then tracked down everything I could that she wrote.

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    3. I should read more of her writings. I was entranced by her most famous book.

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  6. Love the Zoo photos, is that in Central Park?
    How rude is that woman stopping in the middle of the traffic like that?
    Good to hear Canada Airlines enforces carry-on allowance, but wondering why Cathay Pacific is so lenient, that's really unfair to inconvenience other passengers who may have to put stuff between their feet because the overhead lockers are full.

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    1. River, it is at the southern end of Central Park. I forget which one, but one of our airlines has clamped down on carry on too. They also bump people as they are boarding and delay people getting to their seats as they shove everything up top.

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  7. Enjoyed all your photos and commentary. I really think the squirrel is cute, seems I like them..
    Gosh it must have been hot there...it's only 33 deg here in Broome..

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    1. Margaret, maybe over 30 at times in NY, but high humidity. I can take dry heat more easily. So you are now in Broome. Are you going to where the tides are huge?

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  8. The Subway system sounds like a challenge!

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    1. It was a bit Fen, the heat and at times a lack electronic screens.

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  9. So R's credit car got skimmed somewhere? I heard restaurants are the most dangerous, if you hand them your card. A waiter or waitress can have a skimmer in their pocket to scan the card and grab its information. Goes on so much here, I try to use cash now. But some places are safer I think. That woman stopping in traffic to unload, horns blaring around her, that's some kind of attitude that let's a person do that! And the carry on's of that one lady, oh my gawd, that also takes some kind of nerve (arrogance). the park zoo, the animals look content and the habitats look great. Not your typical concrete yucky zoo look. Those flight times, my goodness, that's a long time to be on a plane. I hope you had a good time, sure looks like you did, from all the photos and descriptions! Has been so much fun to read about your adventures.

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    1. Strayer, we are fairly sure it was done in a restaurant but which one? The transactions used the name Meijer, which is grocery and pharmaceutical chain, but without a presence in Canada or New York, however, they do issue their own credit cards. I would not go to one of those horrible old concrete zoos. They are bad history.

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  10. The blue birds are Victoria crown pigeons. No idea what the pink birds are.

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    1. Thanks Ad Rad. They are pigeon like.

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  11. Sounds like you had a great trip. you were god to be able to work out the subway. We mostly walked everywhere in NY or caught a cab. Bad luck it was too hot to stroll through Central Park. I enjoyed it.

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    1. Diane, the subway could certainly be a bit more user friendly to visitors, but it wasn't too hard. Had it not been so hot, walking would have been easy as much of what we wanted to see was not far away.

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  12. Central Park is a great space, but one of I have seen in many beautiful cities in the world. So the joy of Central Park is different. This is a great urban park in the centre of a major city, owned by the council for the public good. Capitalist developers wanted to take the land for profitable development and to keep the working classes away from all that beauty.

    Ha ha :) The people won.

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    1. Hels, rather like the gentry who stole the western edge of Fawkner Park. There are some small parks, like Battery Park around New York, but Central Park is quite special.

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  13. How hot was that last day in NY Andrew, it better have been over 35C to warrant all that fuss about the weather :) I'm just happy you made it out of the US without being shot!

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    1. Grace, night time about 23 and daytime a bit over 30, but it was the humidity that troubled us most. Apparently shootings happen, but it did not feel like a troubled society.

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