Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New York City Boy(s & Girls)

Hello everyone! *enthusiastic waving*

It's been a long while since I've written an entry and I actually feel quite bad about neglecting the bloggie. The travel schedule has been slightly more hectic and I've succumbed to updating the peeps back home the lazy way - by uploading a blitz of pics on Facebook. At this point of time, we've already covered NYC, Newport (Rhode Island), Cape Cod and Boston (Massachusetts), and are now in Stowe (Vermont). Last night, I finally managed to drag my sleepy butt off the couch (I had fallen asleep during the pre-dinner screening of Kung Fu Panda on TV) at midnight to select and upload these photos, but couldn't muster enough energy to write anything.

Why the radio silence on our end? Well, with the family in town, I take ALOT more pictures than I usually do cos I have four more pose-able human bodies to manipulate. Sorting through hundreds of daily photos can be a royal pain - as much as I'm excited to view the photos I take, sometimes I just don't feel like it. Selecting about a hundred photos to upload onto Facebook was pretty difficult (I'm a Libra - I take AGES to make a simple decision - and a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to photos), so as you can imagine, picking out a handful to convey what a great time we had in NYC for the blog was plain TOUGH. Plus, alot of time is spent researching on travel itineraries and booking good accommodation for the rest of the family. With 6 people to tend to now, we're more careful with the quality of the hotels we're booking. My family had just emerged from the throes of university exams and heavy workloads (my poor dad had an especially trying time due to the swine flu scare) and I want to make sure that they have a great well-deserved vacation. After this, Dan and I can return to our budget lifestyle where the only requirements for a room are 'cheap + non-smoking + free WiFi'.

So after the poor folks sleepwalked off the flight from Singapore to NYC, we escorted them to the Doubletree Guest Suites at Times Square to check in, freshen up, and then it was off to Bubba Gump across the street for a sinfully fried seafood lunch. Dan and I had seen Bubba Gump outlets all over Los Angeles and San Francisco but had yet to try it, so it was a pretty good first-time for all of us. Just don't ever order the fish and chips, which are surprisingly bad for a seafood restaurant.

Happy Shiny People posing with Sad Dead Fish & Shrimp

Tummies filled, we walked around the Times Square area. I finally got to set foot in this very place where the world's most famous New Year's Eve Countdown celebration is held. And I saw the iconic crystal ball, which draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to partake in the tradition of the dropping of the ball to signify the arrival of a new year. Watch out NYC, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is gonna catch up with you one day! *cross fingers*

Anyway, without the Marina Bay version to worry about this year, I turned my attention to the other attractions that Times Square had to offer - ever-changing electronic billboards, gawking tourists and the city's interesting residents. Despite the lack of sleep and having their day magically extended by another 12 hours, my family was having fun soaking in the atmosphere too.

The parents looking great!

Watch out Broadway, here we come! *high jazz kicks*

It was obvious that the biggest draw in Times Square were the candy stores - MnM's World and the Hershey's store. It was good that we came across the latter first and satisfied the chocolate craving with a modest haul of (only) four chocolate bars, otherwise I would have gone crazy filling a huge bag with every color of MnM's available.

I am the Candy Man, hear me ROAR!

Times Square at night was simply fascinating. We stepped out into the cool air and just hung around Broadway snapping pictures and watching the world go by.

Lights, lights, lights, lights, lights!

The next two days were spent exploring Manhattan via the subway and on foot.

Stairway into the dungeons of NYC

Daytime darkness

We covered Wall Street and the Financial District, Chinatown, 5th Avenue, Broadway and the Theatre District, Central Park... boy, were we pooped after that! I really wanted to catch Wicked on Broadway, but tickets were sold out until the week after! It was too bad that Rent wasn't showing either (it would be cool to watch a musical set in NYC while in NYC) so we caught MaMa Mia instead. It was campy but a whole lot of fun shimmying in our seats to the Abba songs.

Taking a break from walking outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street

Central Park - where I fell asleep on the lawn

There's always time for a late night snack of New York style pizza!

I'm pretty pleased that I managed to visit the Project for Public Spaces office, a non-profit organisation focused on initiating good place-making efforts all over the world. Our office had invited PPS to conduct a workshop in Singapore earlier this year and I had also met them in Melbourne the year before, so it was great visiting their office for a change.

With Ethan Kent from PPS

As you might have heard by now, five blocks of Times Square is now a pedestrian plaza and is closed to vehicular traffic. The roads closed for good over the Memorial Day weekend. It's a pity we left NYC the day before the closure - it would have been a more enjoyable experience exploring Times Square without the exhaust and noise from the super heavy traffic that's literally choking the city. PPS was one of the parties behind the initiative.

I think it's a great move and I fully support it. I just don't know how we're suppose to return our rental car to the Hertz outlet at Times Square now!


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