It might as well rain until September…..

“The weather here has been as nice as it can be”…….not! Yesterday’s blue skies and hot sun turned to grey, overcast and, at times, just downright wet. But we had agreed we wanted to get up close and personal with Lady Liberty and, come on, we are Brits and used to a bit of weather. I confess to chickening out on the tour bus down to Battery Park when I opted for the inside seats rather than the open deck. Once there, it was fine again and I was giddy enough to persuade Carolyn that the top deck of the boat was the best place to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the New York skyline, etc. It was – but blooming windy so we both resorted to kagools rather than go down a deck.

We alighted at Liberty Island, took the ubiquitous daft selfies, walked the circuit and refused to contemplate climbing the inside of the statue. Poor lady, with all those tourists swarming all over the place! Anyway, we came, we saw and we left!

Next stop was Ellis Island, along with the announcement about America being the land of the free and a nation of immigrants. Nowhere is a better example of this than New York, but it would appear to an outsider such as I that, currently, any new immigrants must exclude Mexicans and Muslims. Just a thought.

We had, thus far, managed to stay dry, so emboldened by our good fortune (and as it was fine), we opted for the top open deck. Big mistake. Within 5 minutes of our 1 hour and 10 mins ride uptown, the heavens opened and the Big Bus was awash. Interestingly, as the bus moves quickly I found it a trifle painful to get heavy rain on my face. “On your right…..”, said the tour guide. “Ouch”, said I, (or words to that effect) as my left ear received a gallon of rainwater. Getting off at the end of the ride, I squelched and dripped. Carolyn suggested McDonald’s for a burger, a coffee and a warm, dry place to sit for a few mins. Of course the rain stopped immediately and only renewed its apparent challenge to soak us to the skin as we stepped out of the door. It was funny, especially after a hot bath and dry clothes.


Carolyn’s Curios & Musical Notes 🎼🎶🖌

Kath has a penchant for politeness and understatement – it was WET and we were saturated. It was not an unavoidable happenchance caused by the heavens opening unexpectedly. The forecast said RAIN; the skies said RAIN and, even when it was raining and we were asked if we wanted to go downstairs, inside and dry, we sat there resolutely like… ducks! However,…

I’d never been to Liberty Island and, other than from the air, had never seen the Statue in person, as it were. Somehow, as Kath alluded, the current political situation almost required me to remind myself that the history of the United States is one of multiracial, multilingual, multicultural and pluralism of religious beliefs. What is going wrong, I wonder? In the U.K., we have similar issues and it’s the very group(s) professing the more fundamentally literal views of Christianity who seem to be the most bigoted and, frankly, unChristian. It was reassuring to hear the commentary on the boat reminding us that America – and particularly New York – prides itself in being cosmopolitan and accepting of anyone who wants to come to this country. Still?! The sign on the left says it all, I think. Researching Daniel Boorstin, I came across another quote worth contemplating.

One of the snippets of information which our Bus Tour Guide related to us was about Peter Stuyvesant, a Dutch notable and benefactor, who built the original Wall from which Wall Street got its name. The wall was built to keep out the Native Americans from his part of the then New Amsterdam, now New York. Our guide suggested, I suspect tongue in cheek, that he got the Native Americans to pay for the wall. Of course, over history, the Native Americans have paid a far greater price.

The musical notes for the day? The first had to be, “Didn’t it rain, children” of which I remember a black and white Granada documentary version from eons ago sung by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. My second ear worm was Gerry Marsden’s version of “Ferry ‘cross the Mersey” which, related to the purpose of Liberty Island’s Statue, could be retitled “Ferry across to Mercy”.

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Finally, as a prelude to beginning the road part of our American Music Road Trip tomorrow, the driver for our journey… extolled in Stevie Wonder’s wonderful:

“Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there’s Basie, Miller, Satchmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose.”



No lullaby on Broadway today

If anyone is in need of inspiration in the art of filling a day, look no further. I hadn’t realised when we left the hotel this morning how far we would walk or even that it would be 12 hours before we returned, tired with a capital ‘K’.  Which pair of idiots would walk almost two miles from the hotel to the start of the very beautiful High Line walk and then walk another 1.5 miles along this scenic route?  We even walked a few blocks at the end whilst deciding what to do next!


The ‘next’ took us to lunch at the Chelsea Market which is a delightfully revamped warehouse full of individual outlets selling every kind of food you can imagine. We fell for the one selling fresh lobsters (served every which way), huge oysters, crabs, etc, but settled for bowls of chowder.  Now what?  More walking before hailing a cab at the Flatiron and heading for the 9/11 Memorial.


The queue for the observatory at the top of the One World Trade Centre snaked endlessly around the front of the building. After yesterday’s mammoth queuing experience it was a line too long or a queue too far, so we headed to the beautiful memorial pool and the more recently constructed monument which is based on a white dove of peace and a phoenix rising from the ashes. Onwards to the church which survived the collapse of the towers and a short break for peaceful contemplation of the restoration of the whole area.  New towers are going up – 2 already built and 5 more in process or planning.


Now where? By this time we were hurting and it was hot. There was only one solution – the Big Bus hop on hop off tour. A few more blocks and we could sit for a while and enjoy commentaries on the delights of downtown, uptown and midtown New York. We made our final hop off at Times Square and headed for dinner and great blues music at BB King’s. Ribs and a performance by guys who can make their instruments sing. What could be better?  The only downside was that we had stiffened up and had almost a mile to walk back!  Phew.



“Phew, indeed…”

Carolyn’s Curios & Musical Notes 🎼🎶🖌

As we’re on a Music Tour, I decided to change the subtitle. No other reason, I suppose, than I like it.

So our first full day in New York was a… full day! Lots of walking but compensated with stunning cityscapes and the incredible High Line. Very well worth the walk – including the extra we walked back to find Ann’s preferred Tee shirt! We chatted to one of the many volunteers and she had a distinct London accent. She told us that she came over for a fortnight every year to volunteer and help in the garden areas. Commitment and a belief in the ‘cause’.

Lots of walking but compensated with stunning cityscapes and the incredible High Line.

I like listening to music and, frankly, don’t do enough of it. However, I, also, have fun with musical miscellany. So, today, walking past the train sidings and bus storage at the start (North) of High Line, I had in mind Debbie Harry’s New York post-punk band Blondie and their classic album ‘Parallel Lines’.


Walking past the train sidings and bus storage at the start (North) of High Line, I had in mind Debbie Harry’s New York post-punk band Blondie and their classic album ‘Parallel Lines’.


As we walked through Herald Square, the song in my head, of course, was “Give my regards to Broadway” and, when we got to Chelsea Market, Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning” became my ear worm for more than a few moments.


In between times, a sign about nude bodies which we didn’t know whether it was a warning or an invitation, an advertisement for Shawn Mendes’ fragrance (forwarded to my granddaughter who has him as her favourite singer of the moment) and the ubiquitous Rainbow which was irrelevant as we brought our very own.