The other part of the twin-city

Fort Worth! The historic stock yards where the streets are still cobbled and they run steer to the delight of tourists. We caught the morning action, it was a very short run – a long blink and you might miss it but it was still interesting to see. The area is quaint with lots of restaurants and tourist stores.

Downtown Fort Worth is the usual glass and steel sleepy downtown over the weekend. No real action to speak of.

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Onto the yellow rose of Texas

Spending time with friends who have moved to the state in the last year, so much to explore. Julie took me to the site in Dallas where JFK was shot in ’63. I didn’t stand on the road but there are two big crosses, indicating the shots fired. Wasn’t there only one magic bullet?

Wandered around downtown a little.

The below box is the JFK memorial – supposedly it looks awesome at night. Right now it looks like a lego piece.

The longsteer sculptural park was great.

Then a late lunch in an area called Deep Ellum. Funky shops and eats.

A whole lot more history and does it repeat?

A short tour through Independence Hall this morning. This is where the Declaration of Independence was drawn up and signed as well as the Constitution.

Just across the street from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell – I love the tale that when the first arrived from England it immediately cracked. They smelted it down to recast and added some zinc (?) which took the bell sound away. Ha!!

Over to the Philadelphia History Museum which was small but great as it spoke about more recent history of the town and the people and I got to walk on the map of the city. A lot quicker to get around this way.

There was a display of The Saturday Evening Post with covers illustrated by Norman Rockwell.

Wandered through the neighbourhood and down to the Delaware River.

On the walk back to Rittenhouse I noticed this sign… so very tempted…had I been in town.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

I would’ve taken a photo of the front of The Franklin Institute (science museum) but for the fear of drowning. Yes, it was incredibly wet and I did think I would be trapped inside for the day but I gathered up my umbrella and raincoat and dashed from Spruce Street out into the day. At least this dude (Ben Franklin) was sitting in the foyer waiting for my arrival.

Funnily enough I had booked myself a ticket to an exhibition of The Terracotta Warriors – totally forgetting that ten years ago I had seen them in London. Difference then was the huge queues and no photos allowed. Also the exhibition size was a lot grander, but this was still interesting.

As you can see I got through much of the show without anyone else around. I had booked in for the first walk-through on the chance it was packed. It wasn’t. Yay!

I had a quick bite to pass time, hoping the rain would ease up and it did. Until I reached the bus stop and then down it came again. Only a little damp by the time I reached the Museum of the American Revolution.

A short film gave me an overview of the revolutionary events before I took in a display of dances by some local Oneida people. They’re not too clear as there was a lot of movement.

Then it was into the museum proper – mostly tableaux like this and a lot of reading.

A wet but good day!

Not singing in the rain, but walking…

Had a walking tour through Old City this morning – it would be happening through rain or shine and it was mostly an annoying drizzle. The tour guide, Rich, was great and there was a large group of about twenty people to corral across roads and on busy sidewalks. And I realise that I tend to take photos without people, so it seems as though I’m the only living person still on earth, just let me say, that is not the case. I just wait for the right moment (and then curse people who walk into my shot – under my breath, of course).

We ended up throwing a penny to make a wish on Benjamin Franklin’s grave. Not really sure how that wish thing came about, but there you go.

Some like it hot (and humid)

Caught a train down to Philadelphia – the gentle sway almost put me to sleep. I’d like to take a longer journey across the States by train, hopping off and on, it would be an interesting way to travel long-distances. The Philly central station is quite gorgeous, built at a time when it was the premium way to travel.

Made it to my cute little loft apartment not long after midday so I had half a day left to explore. Can’t let any time waste when on holiday. I found a place through AirBnB not far from Rittenhouse Square so I can walk just about everywhere. This part of town has a very European feel to it.

From City Hall I walked from JFK Plaza along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This was a cardboard mock-up that the city residents were asked to help build. It was fun watching people contribute.

Just off to one side, before you walk (or run) up the stairs to the Museum, there is statue that most people queue to get a photo with. Yes, Rocky! Not one of my highlights but I still grabbed a snap from a distance and then walked sedately to the top of the stairs and watched while many people jogged up to the top and then did the victory fist pumps. Ha! All part of the experience.

The Schuylkill River runs to the east of the Museum and I took a walk down to see the Boathouse Row.

Let me tell you, I hadn’t chosen the best shoes to walk the distance I had this day. Definitely need a foot massage before long.

It’s a kind of magic…

Over to Astoria, Queens to the Museum of Moving Image because they have a Jim Henson exhibition. JIM HENSON! I KNOW!

I had bought a ticket months ago, thinking that it would be packed out and I would have to fight through crowds. But no… had most displays to myself and it was just glorious.

So who knew that Cookie Monster used to have teeth (before Sesame Street obviously)?

An origin exhibition so I travelled Henson’s timeline, from early days on local television commercials to the big blockbuster films. I will always love Sesame Street and it was fun to be singing along with many of the displays that showed animation clips devised by Henson and his team.

Onto Fraggle Rock – Red was missing. Well, quite a few but it just means I’ll have to revisit the series when I get home.

I wish there had been more about the movies, Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

And so endeth my visit to the moving image museum. I need to read all there is to read on Henson and muppet magic.

More eating and I accidentally tripped into Time Square and then skedaddled out of there just as fast. Rode more subways and took its of the cool tile signs.

The subway is a great way to get around – fast, but you miss seeing the in-between places so I took the bus just as much. And so ends my time in New York for this trip. Next up, Philly.

Another day in a big city

Up early and across the river by ferry again. This time to Lower Manhattan so I could wind my way up – had considered wandering past the girl facing down the bull on Wall Street but by the time I got my bearings through all the construction and one way streets it felt as though every tourist in the world was in the vicinity and I just couldn’t take it. Argh! Tourists!

Caught the subway up to the Lower Eastside and The Tenement Museum – definitely worth a visit. I was lucky enough to be asked to experience a new exhibition, a work-in-progress. The small group I was with got to check out how three different families (Jewish, Puerto Rican and Chinese) would have experienced living in one apartment over three different periods. This was early to mid twentieth century – and the educator who ran the tour shared how excited the team was to actually be able to speak to people who actually lived through some of this time. Usually the experiences/tours are a century or so earlier (I’ll have to go back another time to take one of those). Photos are not allowed – but the tour is definitely worth your time and this one ended with a room mocked-up as a garment factory that illustrates one of the main industries of the area for decades.

Next I broke for lunch and hunted down a store that Kim had told me about, a Knish bakery. The ‘K’ is not silent.

Love the knish – the one I had was spinach and it is generally mashed potato that is then baked – over simplification but it is YUMMY! I took a couple more back to the house for the others to try. The chocolate egg creme was not to my taste and won’t be had again.

More walking and then because I was on that side of town I had to find another bakery, this one was Veniero’s Pastries and has been in operation since 1894.

To be honest, I didn’t find anything too special about the pastries here. Cavallaro’s back in Footscray beats their cannoli, hands down. But the lemonade was awesome.

Went back Washington Square Park for something to do and Ai WeiWei was installing a new piece of art.

Would be interesting to see how this goes down.

And I will walk 500 miles

Firstly to find a Starbucks and then through the fabric district of the city. Fabulous fabric, but quite a dingy side of town. Then onto the Museum of the City of New York.

There wasn’t really any photo opportunities at the Museum, but it was fascinating getting an overview of the city’s history, focussed for the most part on history after the Europeans landed. Definitely worth a visit. I’m slightly disappointed that I’m missing a new exhibition starting in a couple of weeks on the Suffragette movement in New York.

Next it was just walking whats seemed like the length of Central Park.

I managed to find an old diner. The Lexington Candy Shop Luncheonette has been open and owned by the same family since 1925. Tasty hamburger and milkshake and great service.

Walking off lunch took me pass all sorts of wonders.

I also managed to find another piece of the Berlin Wall in the advertising district of Madison Avenue. Very commercial.

Long afternoon talking and walking with a high school friend. It was great to gossip with Kim sitting in Union Square watching life go by.