Tag Archives: tourism

Don’t cry for me

It’s the last day of my beach vacation…

image

…and Florida is crying.

I’ll miss you too, St. Teresa Beach. I’ve loved every minute.

Except the stingray. Hate you, you hateful critter.

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5 reasons to take the subway

subwayFirst-time visitors to New York City may be hesitant to take the subway.

I was you once; I spent too much money on taxis and wore myself out walking dozens upon dozens of city blocks.

But trust me —

The subway is the best way to get around town.

Here are 5 reasons to give the MTA a chance the next time you are in town.

  1. Speed — The subway is usually the fastest way between Point A and Point B.  There’s no traffic to contend with, and you have express train options when you have longer trips or are traveling from borough to borough.
  2. Cost — Currently $2.75 a ride, the subway is cheaper than any taxi ride. And while walking is free, you have to think about the cost of your time, and the wear-and-tear on your body. Most of my friends leave NYC broken-down and exhausted from the unaccustomed amount of walking they do…and it was supposed to be vacation.
  3. Comfort  — Except at morning and evening rush, the subway has room to breathe and seats for most travelers. I have claustrophobia, and I use the subway without any problem.
  4. People Watching  — Everyone takes the subway in New York City, from celebrities to crazies on the street…so you will see everything. It is a slice of humanity like no other. You’ll return home with story upon story.
  5. Performances — Like this one:

I mean, come on — take a chance and take a ride!

Honk

New Yorkers —

All over the city, Horse Heroes are taking to the streets to urge City Council Members to show compassion for our city’s abused carriage horses.

HONK

Write to your City Council member at http://nyclass.org/citycouncil

Tokyo, Day 3: Jimbocho, Marunouchi

I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
2014-07-26 08.33.10My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.

(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)

2014-07-26 08.29.55I don’t know who this guy is, but he must be a pretty big deal.  His face was plastered on every other building along my walk.

He’s cute.  Love the bangs, too.

Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why.  I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity.  I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella.  It really helps.

My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.

2014-07-26 09.05.30This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways.  It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.

2014-07-26 09.30.43You can see the Dome in the background of this shot of a lily pond.

When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby.  It was very surreal.

After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.

There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds.  I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.

2014-07-26 09.52.05Okay.

Hmmm.

I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture.  So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.

Or sea creature.

Or water faucet.

It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.

On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo.  Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.

imperial moatThe Imperial Palace was just a couple of blocks from my hotel, so I walked along it’s enormous moat — with many brave people jogging in the heat — then headed into the business district for lunch.

Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city.  Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.

2014-07-26 12.27.20But the ancient passageway is small and rather understated; I don’t know that I would have noticed it unless I was looking for it.

The expressway overhead plays a big part in that.  It casts a long shadow.

Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.

I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).

2014-07-26 12.41.47The kites were really beautiful art pieces, displayed as kites, framed under glass, and covering the walls and ceilings.

 

2014-07-26 12.39.582014-07-26 12.39.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!

I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.

 

 

Playing dress up

I have lived in New York City going on eight years now, and I sometimes worry that I will start to take the city for granted.

Maybe I already have.  Maybe we all have.

Image: An aerial view of Burj Dubai is seen in DubaiThe city of Dubai isn’t going to take that chance.

They have put together a think tank on tourism, and one idea is getting serious consideration —

Covering the Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building (2,716.5 feet and 160 stories) — with a “super-lightweight, reflective and semi-transparent fabric material.”

They say it’s art.

Critics say it sounds (and will look like) something much less low brow, but I like the idea of dressing up monuments.  The Statue of Liberty in a tasteful winter coat? The Guggenheim Museum decked out as a layered birthday cake? The Flatiron Building as a wedge of Swiss cheese?

Oh man — I think I’ve finally found my calling!