For those that think NYC is a concrete jungle--well, they are sort of right... but as you can see from past posts of mine--the city has many many parks spread throughout not just Manhattan, but also through the other boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx). One of the newest parks to hit the city and definitely the one getting the most press these days is High Line Park.

High Line is on the lower West Side of the city starting in the Meatpacking District (very trendy area full of restaurants and in general just a neat place to be) around 16th Street note: for those of you familiar with NYC but not super familiar, Madison Square Garden and the Macy's store are around 33rd/34th so to walk, briskly, from 33rd to 16th it'd take about 40 min) This isn't just a regular park--its an elevated walkway that allows you to traverse the West Side above the city streets with sweeping views of the Hudson river on one side and the city on the other.

Tasteful food vendors are scattered around selling Gelato and pretzels while sunbathers and those wanting to escape for a while with a book or a friend take a seat in one of the oversized teak lounge chairs that are plentiful (but I hear get pretty full on a sunny weekend day). Currently the park is just in its first phase of completion. Once all phases are completed, the park will be a mile-and-a-half-long running through not just the Meatpacking District but also through the neighborhoods of West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen.

I discovered the High Line with my friend Angie. Earlier in the day, we had celebrated our birthdays which are separated only by a few days by having a wonderful lunch at a very cool restaurant --5 Ninth in the Meatpacking District (I had possibly the best Cobb Salad I have ever had). After we walked the park and marveled at the views and how it felt like such an escape from the streets below. By the way, Angie is credited for the title of this post--as I was commenting on how way cool the park was she stopped me during my "ooooh's and aaaaahs" and told me "just wait---the cool factor goes waaaaaay up". She was correct!

You may be wondering, as I did, how this Park was dreamt up considering the fact that its elevated and how much work that must have been to get it built and up and going with this economy and NYC's budget issues...

Well, it actually was a pre-existing structure constructed in the 1930's to lift freight trains up off the streets of Manhattan. As you walk the park you see the beautiful landscaping planted in and around the old existing railroad tracks. Pretty neat.

Check out the website if you have time

Here are some pics I snapped (and one from the website showing the park in the "old days" with the freight train and the Chrysler Building in the background).

Pics of the High Line and the views, the Meatpacking District, the restaurant, Ang and I lounging on the teak chairs

Altho today... in the NE... you prob wouldn't know it----not at least in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, Conn). Aside from the INCHES of rain accounted for today---there were also 5000 lighting strikes that hit the ground within a period of 60 min!
Of course its still warm with very high humidity, but the heavy rain and cloudy skies makes it seem like winter when you look out the window.

As my friend Jean in Seattle tells me---we have switched summers with you! She is RIGHT.

Today was the HOTTEST DAY EVER RECORDED in Seattle. My home city has not had a break in weeks--actually months---when it comes to 80 degrees and above temps! This is what a Seattleite dreams of.... until it happens. The complaints are pretty much full blown now as one can understand... pretty much no one has a/c in Seattle and all stores are sold out of air-conditioning units---even fans are hard to get.
I can go on and on and on and describe how hot it really is, but I think this picture says it best:

My friend Andrea's son Kaden (also in Seattle) taking his nap in front of the fan. 82 degrees in her house and 103 outside was what she reported earlier today. I love this picture and to me---it exemplifies summer perfectly!
Stay cool Andrea!! :)

boat trip vacation

I am trying to keep the blog up with all of our pictures and adventures as of late and its been tough! Too much--but I am not complaining!

Here are more pics from our week off on Long Beach Island. What a fabulous trip that was! Can't wait for the next one...hint: its in a state we have not been to yet...

Sunset shots!

Diana in the surf!

Us relaxing on the boat at the Marina

Ollie at breakfast with us--waiting for a crumb

Tom & Di at the Rock
Subway riders
Ducks in formation
Central Park shots (doesn't look like the middle of Manhattan huh??)

midwest friends

Hello everyone! This post is a bit out of order, but none the less important... two weekends ago our friends from Michigan, Keith and Diana Davidow, came to visit for a long weekend. They came in Friday am and Tom and I picked them up and headed straight to the city! After the normal stops (Chinatown, lunch in Little Italy, Times Square, Top of the Rock etc) we headed home and prepared for the annual event on water: Aqua Palooza!!! This water event is held nation wide and its basically a party on the water. Boats head to a named area and tie up together and listen to music, play in the water, hang on the beach etc. This year was PERFECT weather! We tied up with John and Li and spent some very lovely moments on the floaties and doing a little dinghy driving. We treated the Davidows right too--John hooked us all up with the makings for an excellent beach bon fire! It was the perfect weekend on the boat! (side note: the Davidows did GREAT on the boat ie sleeping. They were the first couple we have had sleep on the boat and the bed they were on isn't exactly the largest... they seemed to love it though!!)

We spent Sat and Sunday on the water and then Monday (Tom and I also had the day off ) Diana and I headed into the city again to hit the Village boutiques and do some shopping on the Upper West Side. Love it there--never get tired of the city. We had a great time and met up with the guys later who toured the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier thats on the Hudson.

We hope they come back before summer is over! Keith is a great photographer and he took all the pics for the weekend. I am posting some now!!!

Come back soon K & D!!!


* pic of the Intrepid the guys visited

* Davidows at the Top of the Rock on a HOT HAZY day.

*Tom and Keith enjoying some beach snuggles. ahhh friends!

* tom & di enjoying some boat snuggles

*Di and Lisa "fishing". Looks like Tom doesn't think we are really fishing. Odd...

*the boy

*girls from our marina hanging on the beach

*the girl

*Keith and Diana at the beach


jello legs

As Tom and I continue our vacation on LBI we also continue to have fun and manage to get in some exercise too-- regardless of the HEAT and HUMIDITY!! Yesterday, and to write this even makes me hurt a little, we rode our bikes to Barnaget Light--the tip of LBI. Round trip it was 35 miles. That is officially BEYOND my limit on a bike in 80 degree weather( or really in any weather...) and the only thing that kept me going was chanting to myself "skinny jeans" for about half the ride back.
When we made it back to the boat I asked Tom in all seriousness if it was odd that I felt like crying.

After showering and having a cool drink I realized what I knew all along--the ride was awesome. We passed thru all of the beach towns on the island including Spray Beach, Brant Beach, Ship Bottom, Surf City, Harvey Cedars and Love Ladies and finally made it to Barnegat Light known for its historically famous lighthouse "Barney" that was just "re-lit" in recent months after a long dark spell.
When we got to Barnegat Light we allowed ourselves to rest a bit while drinking coke from bottles (imported from Mexico!! My fave drink--who'd think I'd find it here!!) and we saw dolphins swimming very close to shore--beautiful. This was the first time we had seen dolphins in Jersey.

We ended our day with relaxing at the boat and a nice lobster dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Today we took the dinghy out a few times and cruised the areas and oooh'ed and ahhhh'ed at the amazingly large homes down here. We did take a shorter bike ride--just 8 miles (and neither of us sat much during the ride if you know what I mean) and headed in the opposite direction as yesterday to the other end of LBI--Holgate.

Our time here is winding down--sadly. We head back home tomorrow to get ready for work on Monday. I will post some pics over the next few days as well as post on our friends the Davidows that visited last weekend.

Celebrity Sightings

I realized that I have never done a post on this subject--- but for good reason as its only been recently that I have even seen any celebrities in NYC. When I first moved here, I'd head to the city and not TRY, but try to look for some celeb sightings yet I always came up empty. The real disappointing part was when I'd get home I'd hop onto one of the many gossip websites and see where celebs were spotted just blocks away from where I was (ie George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, etc).

Before I name names, its important that I give my readers the low down, so when you visit this fine city you are prepared:

NY is different than LA. In LA, celebs are out and about and from what I hear, they WANT to be seen. They make themselves visible and some even go to places that many celebs hang out at so to guarentee that their picture is taken. In NY, celebs want to just fit in. Many of them live here and perhaps even the same ones that go to LA to be seen, come to NY to just be.

So--for that reason, if a celeb is sighted in NY--it is so NOT cool to go up to them and a) gush; b) ask for an autograph; c) tell them you are their biggest fan; d) ask for a picture with them. While I am good at all of them but (d), I am getting better... I am not on the West Coast anymore and I must act accordingly. (side note: I have yet to see Jon Bon Jovi or David Beckham in person and if I do, all rules go out the window as I WILL do all of the above).

So the top 3 (in my opinion that I choose to highlight in this forum) I have seen in the past couple months are in order of appearance as well as a bit of commentary and some photos from the web that are all readily available:

1. Kiefer Sutherland. Sat in front of me on the plane from Seattle to NY. He is short and thin. He was wearing skinny jeans. He did look though like he could have saved us all from a dire emergency if necessary as he is Jack Bauer (24).

2. Elvis Costello. Saw this classic music man in Soho walking amongst the locals carrying some shopping bags. He was cool So cool.

3. Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor (Ben Stiller's wife or Marsha from the Brady Bunch remake movies): On 5th Ave right outside Tiffany's. As with Keifer, short, very very short and crazy wild gray messy hair... but still Ben Stiller and he looked just like a normal guy and his wife--gorgeous.

There you have it... thats it thus far.

Yes, truthfully I can't believe I am saying that out loud-- but it is a statement I stand behind and unless you have been here, I understand if you don't believe me... but the Jersey Shore rivals any beach in California (and remember, I am FROM the West Coast and have spent many many days in Cali and on the beaches).

Tom and I (and the dogs) are spending some of our much deserved vacation days on Long Beach Island which is 75 miles south of NYC and 55 miles East of Philly and approx a 2hr boat ride from our home marina in Point Pleasant. LBI is a Shore area made up of various beach communities that see most action in the summer months (as with all places on the Shore, securing summer rentals here are quite common for families or groups of friends from all over the East Coast). There is some fall activity as well including the famous Chowder Fest and in the off-season, all the hotels etc are very dog friendly so quite the community still gathers (Ang--you guys must come down and bring Bessie for sure).

We got up this morning and headed south in the boat. It was HOT and still is--and very humid! The dogs and I took our normal positions on the front of the boat laying out for the entire trip while Tom captained us perfectly into the Beach Haven Yacht Club (where we are staying for just a few nights). In case you are wondering, the dogs LOVE the boat and they love to lay on the front while we go full speed ahead. If it gets too windy I just cover them with a towel and all is good.
Beach Haven is my favorite spot on LBI. (Faithful readers, you may recall that Lisa and I came her last summer by car to take in the sights and do some shopping). This is Tom's first visit to LBI and we brought the bikes and this evening we have already rode into town (not far) and hit some of the many quaint beach boutiques and surf shops (and the BEST pet store ever). Tom isn't the shopper I am so I likely will bike in on my own tomorrow which is fine with me.

The weather is gorgeous and the view from our slip is so relaxing. I will post more as the days progress and add pics when I get home on Sunday evening.

For now--here is a map shot and some fun facts (I am SO into facts lately)...

ps: we had some of our great friends in town last weekend and I am waiting to get some pics from them so I can post them. Stay tuned on that.

* The movie (and book) Jaws is based on the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, a real life series of shark attacks which began on Long Beach Island.

*The scallop boat "Lindsay L", docked near Viking Village in Barnegat Light (on LBI), was used in the movie The Perfect Storm.

... you have some competition now!

The Naked Cowboy is running for Mayor! For those of you that are not familiar with NYC politics (and really, why would you want to be?), Mayor Mike Bloomberg--ultra rich kabillionaire Mayor that he is and...fairly well liked by most of the citizens--has bucked the system and worked to get law passed so he could run for a 3rd term (rather than keep with the current 2 term regulation).

This upset many people including other politicians that had been carefully planning their campaign to run for Mayor. Some hopefuls that had intentions of running have pulled out as they know the likelihood of anyone but Bloomberg winning is slim to none.

BUT--- now that the Naked Cowboy is running (and giving up his day job of strumming a guitar and posing for pics in Times Square)... maybe Bloomberg has met his match. :)

NC even has a website.
Check it out as well as these pics. Who knows--maybe one day my cousin Jennifer and I can say that we knew the Mayor way back when... :)

did you know?

Well, since this so far is the coldest summer on record in NY, its only fitting that I write to let you all know that TODAY might shatter that record!! Last year every day in July was like this: 85 degrees + with HIGH humidity--the type that makes you sweat just for being.

This small fact on the weather made me think of what other interesting facts are out there about New York...

Here are 9 others we found:

1. New York City has 722 miles of subway track.

2. The "New York Post" established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton is the oldest running newspaper in the United States.

3. The first railroad in America ran a distance of 11 miles between Albany and Schenectady.

4. The Catskills are the home of the legend of Rip Van Winkle, brown trout and flycasting.

5. Gennaro Lombardi opened the first United States pizzeria in 1895 in New York City (note: I've eaten there!)

6. On July 28, 1945 an Army Air Corps B-25 crashed into the Empire State Building at the 79th floor level.

7. The Big Apple is a term coined by musicians meaning to play the big time.

8. Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Olympic Parks combined.

9. New York has over 70,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Orange County NY

Only about 40 min outside of NYC is Newburgh, NY in Orange County, which is home to small strip malls and not much else---until Orange County Choppers built their headquarters there right off the highway! Tom is a motorcycle guy for sure and he and I have enjoyed many road trips to Banff, Alberta and Lake Tahoe on our bike in past years.

Of course, on our road trips we rode on a BMW cruiser which came complete with an awesome stereo, stability that allowed me to not even have to hold onto handles or Tom as I sat behind Tom and, my favorite, seat warmers (which came in VERY handy as we traversed up Mt Hood one very cold night). The BMW bike is nice and in reality, if an Orange County Chopper rider was to pass us on one of these road trips whilst I possibly could have been holding a latte and wearing my regular safe helmet and matching jacket (rather than the Chopper "skull hat" and leather vest uniform) while meandering through the scenic mountain pass, they may have not even acknowledged my obligatory "wave" that all motorcycle riders give to each other... a virtual secret handshake if you will. And, I always wave.

Regardless---a motorcycle is a motorcycle (sort of) and we love the OCC show (Paul Sr., Paulie and Mikey) and their bikes and when we passed the headquarters on the way home from Vermont--we had to stop!
It is a huge shopping store with every article of clothing you could imagine branded with the OCC label. Many of the Choppers they build on the show are on display and they are so cool looking. There is also a large access area to the shop so you can watch the bikes get built and watch the show get filmed.

It was a neat stop on our road trip and one that will be on our list for visiting tourists that are into that kind of thing (my brother, Tom's brothers, our dads, etc).

A couple pics for your enjoyment... and check out the website!

... otherwise known as Vermont!

Tom and I took a long weekend and took a road trip up to Vermont to visit with our friends who have a cabin up that way. Our friends now live in Florida, but Vermont is such a draw--they still came up and invited us along! The drive for us was about 6 hours--and it was gorgeous. The scenery reminded me a lot of Washington State-- just with shorter, much shorter, mountains. The majority of the roads were non-highway and every turn brought picturesque scenes that were postcard worthy! We stopped a few times along the way to snap some shots and just enjoy the trip! After 4 hours of arm out the window singing along to the tunes road-tripping, we opted to spend the night in Rutland, Vermont--just outside of the Adirondack Mountain range (that we drove through while in upstate NY).

This town was small, but big enough to have a Main Street complete with a street fair, organic shops and great restaurants to chose from. For those of you in Seattle--the town was a cross between Chelan (a bit bigger than Chelan) and Bellingham (a bit smaller than Bellngham). The weather was nice-- and more than just the nature scenery reminded me of "home"-- it was pretty granola ie: vw bus driving--Birkenstock sporting--fleece wearing--organic food selling-- ski and mountain bike bumming... and Tom and I loved it!! While parts of Jersey and NY also have their "natural" sections that remind us of home-- being in Vermont was the first time since we have moved to the East Coast that we really felt like a Seattle person could move here and fit right in. It was awesome... and did I mention gorgeous!

In Rutland we ate at the trendy yet homey Table 24. We dined on delicious meals that were half the cost of what we are used to and just to represent properly--we had wine from Walla Walla, Wa. After dinner we walked the street fair, shopped the local shops and enjoyed the fresh air!

The next day we got an early start to our destination: Stowe, VT (and made only a few short stops to take some pics and stop at the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Headquarters--yum).

Stowe is an extremely popular ski town and in the summer-- a hiking/mountain biking town. It is smaller than Rutland but still compact and close knit like Rutland (or Chelan, WA). Tourism is clearly the industry here as in most ski areas.

We met our friends, at their condo at Smugglers Notch (also the name of a beautiful, narrow, nail biting, boulder filled road in the area).
Mike and Virginia have 3 boys, Alex, Jack and Christopher who also had a friend, Jason, up with them. Smugglers Notch is a famiy resort (no dogs allowed :( ) but Tom and I--we fit right in--the boys were calling me Auntie by the end of the trip (ahhh I loved that--great boys). We visited, shopped in Stowe (Farmers Market, cute shops etc), rode the water slides with the boys and relaxed. We had such a nice time and only wished we had more time to spend with them and also to do some hiking---there are so many trails and gondolas and resorts---

We intend to go back soon (hopefully sooner than later)!

Here are some pics:

-us at one of the picturesque hiking spots

-Virginia and the boys waking up early to tell us goodbye...

-new resort in Stowe (Spruce Peak) with one of the ski mountains behind it

-picturesque birdhouse across the street from the Farmers Market we roamed

-Gondola at Stowe

-Us at one of the many covered bridges

-area of Stowe

-Tom looking over the creek (it looks dirty, but it isn't)

-The boys at the condo (Christopher is the poser on the rock, Jack is holding up his $$, Jason is next to Jack and Alex is to the right.

-Diana at Ben & Jerry's