Happy Thanksgiving to All!

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving at the home of Gloria and Bill Nielsen, who were the perfect hosts!

The table looked so festive!


We were four couples:  the  Nielsens, Pat/Gan Avery, Karen/Bob LeClaire and us.

The gentlemen looked quite comfortable, and we enjoyed being with each other.

Once seated at the table, we toasted with champagne!

We opened our Thanksgiving “crackers” (thank you, Gloria), put on our hats, read the jokes and played with the toys inside the crackers.

The usual Thanksgiving feast was delicious:  turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, Colcannon potatoes (the Irish version of mashed potatoes), creamed corn, cranberry relish, and more.  YUM YUM! This plate is a mere sampling of some of the delicious choices:


Pat made an incredible dessert (it took her SEVEN hours to create).  It was an enormous three layer cake (three different cakes: pumpkin-spice, bourbon-pecan, and cranberry-ginger), fashioned from the photo at right.  It was delicious!


Next year, we may be invited to enjoy another Thanksgiving Feast at the Nielsens’ new home (which is under construction now).  Can’t wait!

We wish all our friends and family a Happy Thanksgiving weekend!



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Other Activities in NYC

We’ve had lots of fun in NYC – doing a variety of things!  Here is a video showing the lights and hustle-bustle at Times Square.  (Click on video below.)

One day for lunch we ate Carmine’s (famous for their huge portions and their exciting atmosphere).

Although this photo does not really do it justice, this Caesar Salad (platter on the left) could have served 8-10 people!

The following short video shows the lively atmosphere.  (Click below.)

Lest you think that all we did was eat, we spent an educational afternoon at The Metropolitan Museum!  There was a special exhibit of French painter Delacroix, as well as the Impressionist Wing of the museum.

We went to see the new Bryan Cranston play, NETWORK, and had dinner with Tanya/Jaime as well as Gloria/Fred Niebisch.

Another delicious dinner at Il Tinello, a recommendation from our friends the Reillys.


Of course, it was off to Rockefeller Plaza… to see the skaters!  (Click on the video below.)

The famous Christmas tree will not be lit until the day after Thanksgiving; however, you can get an idea if its enormous size  by all the scaffolding around it!


Merry Christmas from NYC!

We are going home for a rest and serious dieting…before we set off on our final trip of 2018 (over Christmas and New Years), our 17-day cruise from Miami to LA, through the Panama Canal! 


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For something different, we visited a Miniature Museum, called Gulliver’s Gate (thanks to Gloria Nielsen, who had told us about it)… (We are holding “keys to the sites” in our hands.)


It’s located in the theatre district, and had this humorous sign at the entry.  (Remember, no large objects, such as blimps, are allowed !)


Since we had just visited Washington, DC, these miniature models were quite familiar:


The museum is organized by locations (and continents) in huge rooms… and there are many recognizable sites.


There are explanatory signs by each site, with interesting facts.



The following is a video of Niagara Falls – activated by the turn of our “key” which we given.  (Click on the video below.)


We were able to “visit” many sites of our past travels — nice memories!




Here’s a video of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen – just click below.


There was a huge exhibition of The Panama Canal.  (This was rather cool… since our next trip over Christmas and New Years is a cruise through the Panama Canal!).  The waterway encircles many other exhibits in a huge room!  


Below are two videos showing a ship going through the locks.  (To give you an idea of scale, the model ships were about 3 feet long.) The water level rises and lowers as the locks open and close.  (Click below, as usual.)



And, to be totally up-to-date, the new second canal (larger, to handle huge container ships) was also operational!


Here are two videos if this also, with a model container ship passing through!



The last (and newest) room was an airport!!


The planes and runway lights are all functional- two videos are below.  (Click on videos, as always.)  If you want to “figure out” how the airplane takes off, you’ll just have to visit the museum!



It was a nice way to spend a COLD afternoon in New York City!

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The 9/11 Museum

Even though we missed our 9:30am reserved museum tour (remember, we were sleeping after our late arrival to NYC?), we did visit the museum in the afternoon.


The museum is enormous, going down 5-6 stories underground, and showing very moving exhibitions as we walked down the long ramps.   Here are some photos (photos were not allowed in many areas):


Amazing how original items were displayed:


There was a very interesting display of three motorcycles, created after 9/11, as tributes to heroes of that day.  Below are photos, with an explanation of each.  They are very intriguing works of art




Part of The North Tower’s antenna was on display:



A fire truck was also on display:


Of course, there were amazing photographs of that fateful day.


Such an incredible museum – we may go back again (some day) as our time there was somewhat limited.




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Will’s daughter Tanya works at Bloomberg, and (after “sleeping in”, much needed!), we were fortunate to visit her there.


Security there was amazing: employees and visitors check in and out with badges.  

The entire building is beautifully modern: lots of glass and open areas for all desks (even Mike – that’s Michael Bloomberg- does not have a private office).  There are numerous “pantries” throughout, offering numerous choices at espresso machines, fruit, snacks, etc., throughout the day. (Mike wants to keep his employees happy.)


Eye-catching touches abounded: tropical fish aquariums, gold fish “ponds”, and historical charts and graphs.


We were most impressed and say “thanks” to Tanya for the guided tour!


After that, Tanya treated us to a delicious lunch at “The East Pole”, a nearby restaurant.  We’re off to a great start in New York City!

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We FINALLY arrived in NYC

I’ll try to give “the short version” of our travel woes…. Our flight from Washington DC to NYC at least occurred (many flights were canceled because of the snowstorms along the east coast of the US).  We boarded  five hours late (around 10:00pm), and then experienced a 45 minute “hold” on the runway in DC.  

Upon arriving in NYC around midnight, we had another wait (30 minutes) on the runway— no gates open.  After arriving at the gate, there was another 30 minute wait: it seems that no “gate attendants” were available to OPEN the door to the plane!  (I must add that all passengers were at their wits end by this time.).

The “icing on the cake” was an additional 2-hour (TWO HOUR) wait for luggage to be off-loaded from the plane.  (It seems that there were not enough workers to manage the luggage from the numerous delayed arrivals.)

Then a 45 minute drive into Manhattan (rather quick because there was little traffic at 3:00am).  We finally arrived at our hotel and were able to climb into bed at 4:00am.  

I guess that was not really the short version, but just had to share our travel woes with you.  No photos of any of this, for sure….

Stay tuned for more GOOD happenings in NYC…

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The US Capitol Building

What a morning!  We awoke to SNOW!  Here is the view from our hotel window:


Will took the following video!  (Click on video below.)


As we began our adventure (to arrive at The Capitol on time for our pre-arranged tour at 10:20), I was able to take more photos of the inclement weather…


The Capitol Building is enormous – it houses both the Senate (to seat 100 senators) and the House of Representatives (which holds 435 Representatives), each in a separate wing.  We waited patiently for our tour:


These photos were taken in the huge downstairs “Emancipation Hall” (commemorating the work done by slaves here in the late 1700’s), and the following photo is looking UP into a glass skylight, unfortunately covered with SNOW.  Normally, one could see the immense dome through the glass.


We began the tour by watching a very informative 15-minute video (in a huge theatre), then we proceeded to the beautiful dome … with the area below where presidents’ coffins (and those of other important individuals) “lie in state”.  (Most recently, it was John McCain’s coffin which lay here.)

Below is a video of the stunning dome and its artwork.  (Click below to see the video.)


If you look carefully below (at a close-up of the dome high above), you’ll see George Washington (with draping over his knees), sitting between two angels.  Opposite his head is a banner saying “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one), there are 13 figures in a circle, representing the original 13 colonies.


The frescoes which encircle the dome are stunning!


There are also huge paintings adorning the walls and depicting scenes from American historical moments.  (Notice the red/white/blue rainbow in one!)


There are also huge statues (either bronze or stone) throughout the Capitol.  Each state can display two statues (at a time), and they are changed periodically…as new ones are given as gifts from each state.   Below is Ronald Reagan on the left and Martin Luther King on the right.)


In the center of the dome (when there is no viewing and Congress is in session) is a roped off “path” for congressmen, senators, interns, etc., to use as they pass from one chamber to the other.


We then viewed several rooms, passed by The Speaker of the House’s office, and viewed, yes, more statues!  (You will also see a column with corn cobs on the top.)


The last main room we saw was the original Supreme Court area (prior to the building of  the Supreme Court Building in 1935).


Our guide was hilarious and added many a humorous story as she led us around.


We ended our tour at the Gift Shop (of course), where only totally American products are made.  Our guide mentioned that no umbrellas are sold there, because no one has ever created a TOTALLY American-made umbrella.  Good idea for someone to invent!  (And, many would have been sold today….)


Our tour of the Capitol is over….We now must find out if our flight to NYC will take off today.  The East Coast is experiencing huge snow storms today…. Never a dull moment for us!

Stay tuned for more…


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