Winter Storm Jonas 2016

Snow:New York :: blue:sky

What gets me going is when the city “shuts down” over a bit of snow. As a New Yorker that has been here for a good 20+ years, blizzards and winter storms aren’t my first rodeo. So here comes Winter Storm Jonas and everything comes to a standstill. Broadway? Shut it down! Mass transit? Shut it down (albeit only above ground EL service)! Roads? Shut. It. Down! No one should be traveling on the roads, your government has decreed it. Who cares if you have to get to work or come home from work? You should be glad that the government cares enough about you to tell you what to do and stay home (don’t expect them to compensate you for any loss wages, however). It’s for your own good, remember that.

The only good thing is that walking around was not banned, but recommended that you not go outside. Not one to shy away from snow, of all things, we opted to walk around the neighborhood and check just how much plowing went on (not much). We were out for a good 4 hours, and NOT once did we see a DSNY plow or salt truck. The air was crisp, the snow wasn’t heavy, and traipsing around made me feel like one of those foxes in the Nature specials, jumping in the snow for field mice.

While at some junctures, the snow did come up to my knees, it really was no threat nor obstacle for my overprepared self. Nothing like a good set of layers and good pair of boots (Bugaboots by Columbia, what is cold?) to help you tackle Mother Nature’s wintry fury.

 

It wasn’t the worst blizzard I’ve walked in, but it was pretty enjoyable for a day off and something to do. Take in the sights and frolic in the snow like a kid again.

The Titanosaur!

Much like many things in New York (1 World Trade, Empire State Building, Manhattan Bridge…) we do things large and in style. Our museums are no different. Grand, magnificent displays, intricate and detailed dioramas, classic descriptions of the days old, the American Museum of Natural History have unveiled their latest and greatest display– the Titanosaur.

The Titanosaur– a dinosaur so enormous that it does not have a proper name– is now the newest resident of the museum’s fourth floor, right with its other dinosaur brethren.

Disclaimer though, the skeleton currently on display does not contain the actual bones, but a fiberglass replica, as the fossil bones were too heavy to be mounted. They do have an original bone, a femur, for a limited engagement at the museum that is on display. The display itself is awe inspiring. The Titanosaur is so big that its head sticks out of the entrance. A very apt welcoming indeed.

According to the display information (click here for more information from the AMNH), the Titanosaur spans an impressive 122 feet across, and in its heyday, weighed 70 tons.

To put that into prospective, for example:

  • An elephant weighs 11,000 lbs, or 5 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 14 elephants, roughly.
  • An Orion VII transit bus weighs 42,540 lb, or 19 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 6 Orion VII buses.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge weighs 14,680 tons. The weight of 210 Titanosaurs would equal the weight of the Brooklyn Bridge

Boggles the mind. That and the fact of the existence of this gigantic beast. It drew a huge crowd on its debut, so I wasn’t able to take many pictures but I did manage to get some nice ones as seen below. The exhibit floor was pretty dark, they were showing a movie as well at the time. Lucky for spotlights and the occasional flash.

20160115_141519_Pano

Panoramic of the Titanosaur (click to expand)

20160115_142833

Hello there!

I will definitely be making a return visit hopefully with a better camera and get more pictures of the Titanosaur.

Lights from Dyker Heights

I forgot that I had these on the computer still, but in the spirit of Christmas cheer, here they are!

I heard of this place in Brooklyn called Dyker Heights way back when but never really paid it any mind, as I never really was one that ventured into Brooklyn often so imagine my surprise when a friend of mine invited me to go take some pictures there. ‘Sure, why not,’ I thought. Until he told me that we would be going out at night (understandable, Xmas lights never look that great in the daytime anyway) and that it was going to be deathly cold. Note to self: always overdress when hanging out with Simon.

Dyker Heights is a beautiful neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s renowned for their Christmas decorations. Some houses I saw employed a company to lay out the decorations and some I would assume probably did it themselves. Most of the house lights were off though by the time we got out there (around 1AM so next time we aim to be there earlier) but the ones that stayed on were gorgeous.


I had used my 50mm lens and while I did not get to plant myself and just zoom into certain things to get a shot, I did enjoy the fact that I had to use my feet. It forces you to think a bit before you take a picture willy nilly. I just wish I had brought a more stable tripod (so… many blurry pictures).

Some things to remember for next year:

  • Layered clothing
  • Warmer gloves
  • Stable tripod
  • Boots

Roads and Wildlife at Kissena Park

Instead of learning how to crochet, I felt the need to update the blog. I mean, I could have really made my 5th granny square, but blogging is so much more fun!

(5th square in my dreams… if anyone was curious, I did make 4 chains, and 2 double chains and then got lost, but totally besides the point!)

So where were we? Ah yes!
Kissena Part — part deux (if you recall, I had visited this park earlier this year where had one remembered extra batteries, there would have been more bird pictures…). I went to visit a friend whom I had not seen for quite some time so it was very nice to reconnect. She had given me a mini tour of Flushing and a part of Kissena Park I had not seen (the less woodsy & apocalpytic area) where I saw some very nice sights and BUNNIES <insertwantfacehere>!

After what seemed like a lot of walking (great for my pedometer, bad for my shins) we arrived at the park. It was nice and empty– one of the few pros of Wintertime– except for a few people, their dogs and the rare jogger. We had came upon this area that had a little monument for the veterans and fallen of the Korean War. It was very nice, seemed like something right outside of Washington DC. I really loved the top part of the monument with the little figures carved right into (bronze coated cement?) it.

There is a lake there with a few ducks and lone swan braving the winds but their feathers were probably much better than my coat.

Whatsitsface forgot it couldn't swim...

Whatsitsface forgot it couldn’t swim…

Did I mention that it was a bit chilly?
We walked around the lake, and came upon this tree. Facetree!

Peekaboo with Whatsitsface

Peekaboo with Whatsitsface

Although it’s great having the park to yourself, one of the cons of Wintertime is that it gets dark like that. A half hour later, it was time to make our exit. Making our way back up the winding path, we came across two adorable bunnies that most likely were abandoned by negligent idiots. Fortunately they seem to be thriving.

Whatsitsface loves bunnies

Whatsitsface loves bunnies

When it gets warmer, I will definitely have to make a trek back there to see the rest of the animals (and trees).

Tatzu Nishi’s Discovering Columbus exhibit

I was meaning to post this last week, so better late than never.

Originally I had tickets to see it in early November, but Hurricane Sandy stopped by our little city and put everything to a standstill. Luckily we were given a chance to reserve tickets early, so I ended up with tickets to see it during its last week of installation.
For the most part, I did enjoy seeing it although there were so many people (many of them staying past the allotted time) that it just felt claustrophobic. There were so many people crowding over the statue, it was rather hard to get a good shot of it. I regretted not bringing my wide angle lens.

The exhibit itself was I suppose, a typical modern living room (if by typical you have a gigantic statue of Columbus, sure) where people go and read their morning paper. Pity that they didn’t have refreshments though…

 

Watersports fun at Somerset – Bermuda’s West End

While I’m on a blogging roll, here’s my recap of the West End. Oh just thinking back on that ship food as I eat my body weight in rice, it makes me want to swim over there… if only I knew how to do anything other than sink in water.

The West End of Bermuda is more or less a tourist haven because the cruise ships (outside of HAL’s Veendam) all dock at the Royal Navy Dockyard. At the Dockyard, you have the Clocktower Mall, which house many shops that you would find in Hamilton such as A.S. Cooper & Sons Ltd. and Crissons as well as many trinket stores. Basically it’s pretty much the mirrored version of the shops at Hamilton. We were more there to check out the Dockyard’s surrounding scenes rather than shop, but you can definitely shop to your hearts content without really leaving the Dockyard that’s for sure (of course it’s recommended that you do take the opportunity to explore the whole archipelago).

Clocktower Mall at the Royal Navy Dockyard

If you’re not into shopping, there are also places where you can enjoy and have a good time. The West End is home to places where you can rent jet skis and boats to sail on. We went to Somerset Bridge Watersports (took the #7 bus) where we rented a 13′ Boston Whaler for the day (~8 hours) to explore the outer edges of the island. Yeah. I don’t know which was more dangerous in retrospect, crossing the road in Bermuda, or flying 3 feet high in deep waters. The latter was more fun, once I got over my fear of death. The day overall was fun, although we had a few hiccups throughout. By the way, if you’re curious to know, when you get off the bus for Somerset Bridge Watersports, you have to cross the smallest drawbridge in Bermuda (and the world).

Smallest Drawbridge in Bermuda

First of all, if you’re a novice on boating (I say as if after this I turn into some sort of super mariner), the Boston Whalers are pretty simple. Hop in (that’s much easier said than done when it’s bobbing and you have the balancing characteristics of an egg), pull the engine cord and roar off. The owner of the place, Tony, gave us a brief rundown of what to do, what not to do, showed us the map and sent us off on our way. Surprisingly it wasn’t as frightening as I thought it would be. If anyone reads this and goes to rent a whaler, give his guestbook a sign and tell Tony “Mel & J from NYC says hi!” More pictures and words ahead!