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Pics & Prose

NYC: Day One (written on Two)

A series of photos from my first day in NYC 2016

Instead of cab­bing it—an expens­ive proposition—I made my way from Newark, NJ (EWR) to Man­hat­tan via a series of trains, man­aging the trans­fers with Derek, one of the lads on this jazzy, NY week­end. The Air Train to the RAIL Path to Pen Sta­tion where we jumped on the E line to West 4th sta­tion. Shortly there­after, as we were check­ing in at the Larch­mont, Brian and his brother Mike arrived. They’d been in town since earlier in the day and were com­ing back from hav­ing a few drinks.

I dumped my bags in my room (which is even big­ger than last year!), grabbed the cam­era and took off for a 2-hour walk, stop­ping for a burrito in the Vil­lage. Feel­ing a bit parched, I found a gro­cery store where I picked up some water, bana­nas and apples; I figured as my diet over the next few would tend to lean on the rich side, I should at least attempt to be good with snacks.

Back at the hotel, I did plan to write a blog post but uploaded a photo instead, then closed the lid of my laptop and took a nap. By 5:30, three of our group were off on what turned out to be a 40-minute trek to our first des­tin­a­tion of the even­ing, Spritzer, for drinks. New York is a sim­ilar to Paris in that it’s a great walk­ing city and, des­pite hop­ping on and off trains, you end up clock­ing some miles on foot.

Even­tu­ally, we made our way to din­ner at Ken and Cook, off the Bowery, man­aging to while away a couple of hours before set­ting off again. Brian sug­ges­ted stop­ping by the loc­a­tion of the famed CBGB’s, which I’d never been to; sadly, the venue has closed and the loc­a­tion is now a men’s cloth­ing store. We then hailed a cab and raced midtown—quite lit­er­ally—for our final des­tin­a­tion of the day: Bird­land. This jazz club, estab­lished in 1949, was named for Charlie “Yard­bird” Parker, one of my favour­ite sax­o­phon­ists. We arrived just after 11:00 with a few minutes to spare before the band, fea­tur­ing Steve Kuhn, Steve Smith, Eric Alex­an­der, Jaleel Shaw and Lon­nie Plaxico, struck up a set entitled Col­trane Revis­ited. It was a pretty spe­cial.

We fin­ished the night with a train ride back down­town.

Today’s Photo Trip­tych: West 4th Street | Shadow Escapes | Whole Grain

I’ve Missed You

Watching life go by

To start, a photo. More to come, later.


Looking at the activity on Church Street in Greenwich

Not sur­pris­ingly, Lon­don too pho­to­graphs well in black and white.

Hellos & Goodbyes

Simon stares out at Grenadier PondThis past week­end, Cath­er­ine intro­duced us to Ross who’s in Toronto, vis­it­ing from his nat­ive England. The two spent some time together, trav­el­ling through parts of Europe while she was liv­ing and going to school in France.

Ross also hap­pens to be our friends Kelly and Gareth’s eld­est son; you might remem­ber we had the good for­tune of meet­ing up for lunch with them in Cov­ent Garden dur­ing our own European sojourn. Jen­nifer and I had planned to host a din­ner on Sat­urday night but, as is often the case, life saw fit to dash our plans. Instead, we settled on post-dinner drinks, then hooked up again on Sunday for a pic­nic in High Park.

Ross was quite charm­ing and funny and, like myself, a fan of movies, so I think we got along splen­didly. Mar­ina, of course, liked the accent.

The week­end also ushered in an excit­ing farewell, as our nephew Simon sets off on his return trip to New Zeal­and; this time for a year-long (or longer) adven­ture. It’s always a bit­ter­sweet affair to say good­bye but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that a rather large part of myself is excited for Simon, if not a little envi­ous.

The world is a beau­ti­ful place. We should see as much of it as we can.

The Last Weekend of Summer

Images taken at Crawford Lake
We man­aged to pack in a lot of activ­ity this week­end, all without plan­ning to. The one thing I was keen on, for sure, was to go for a hike; so we did this first, on Sat­urday morn­ing. We headed toward Milton, to the edge of the Niagara Escarp­ment and stopped at Craw­ford Lake. The hike itself was only four and-a-half kilo­metres, with the last couple of Ks on rough ter­rain, but it was a beau­ti­ful walk non­ethe­less. It was inter­est­ing to see how eas­ily Lucy could nav­ig­ate the ter­rain which is, appar­ently, a char­ac­ter­istic of her breed. The lake itself is crys­tal clear, with the green­est of water along its edge, and is a meromictic lake, mean­ing it’s deeper that it is wide.

Fol­low­ing the hike we ven­tured into the Wendat vil­lage nearby. It is a recon­struc­ted Iroquois vil­lage based on years of arche­olo­gists’ research. The last time we were here, Mat­thew had to miss out as he was suf­fer­ing from a case of chicken pox and Jen­nifer thought it best he not mingle near any other kids. We joked that this time he’d have to wait out­side with Lucy while we went it but the dog was wel­come as well. A guide was able to walk us through some aspects of the abori­gin­als’ life­style, the most inter­est­ing of which was how they util­ized a turtle’s shell. Each shell is com­prised of 13 sec­tions call plas­tral scutes which, for the First Nations people, rep­res­en­ted the phases of the moon. Each sec­tion along the edge of the shell rep­res­ents a day. Mul­tiply these with the plas­tral scutes and you come up with 364 days in a year. Using a turtle shell, they were able to determ­ine the sea­sons and plant­ing sched­ule.

On Sat­urday night, Sophie and her boy­friend Taylor stopped by with Cath­er­ine for a short visit. We ven­tured down Ron­ces­valles to devour a massive plate of nachos at the Inter­steer before drop­ping the young couple off at the bus sta­tion down­town and Cath­er­ine at home.

Sunday, I star­ted the day with a shortened run; yet another 4.5 kilo­metres which I fol­lowed up later with a bike ride. Jen­nifer, Mat­thew and myself moun­ted our bikes and headed toward the lake to hook up with a bike path which snakes along the Hum­ber River (Mar­ina opted to stay home and was even­tu­ally picked up to spend the night at a friend’s). We stopped by Lake Ontario to watch the Snow­birds per­form a bit before scoot­ing under the Gardiner on our way up Route 15 North. We’d never biked between the mouth of Hum­ber and Old Mill, up near Bloor Street. The trek was quite nice and on our way we encountered a rather large coyote, stop­ping to let him walk by. He looked quite rough and con­fused, but he didn’t appear aggress­ive. After he passed me by, the coyote meandered on, con­tinu­ing along the path. We saddled up and went on our way, even­tu­ally hook­ing on to a path we’ve walked many times before.
Bike path sign

Bey­ond Dun­das Street West we crossed the Hum­ber over a rick­ety wooden bridge in the shad­ows of a much lar­ger rail bridge; yet another won­der­ful site we’d never seen before. This lead us into a beau­ti­fully dense wood­land trail until even­tu­ally, we stopped at Scar­lett Road and Eglin­ton Avenue and turned back. The ride home was equally as lovely although the hills were a bit tougher to nego­ti­ate. We rewar­ded ourselves with some ice cream at the Chocolat­eria, fin­ish­ing a 26 kilo­metre bike ride in the sweetest of ways.

Later in the even­ing we hooked up with two couples whose girls play on Marina’s soc­cer team. We met at our local brew­ery, the Ban­dit, before walk­ing down Ron­ces­valles to Bar­que. Both Jen­nifer and I would have pre­ferred a dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hood, but our guests were eager to visit Ron­cey. We ended the night with much laughter and per­haps a little too much Scotch. At least, that’s what my head was telling me this morn­ing.

Today we took it a little easier. Our first inclin­a­tion was to take Lucy for a walk down by the Lake after pick­ing up Mar­ina from her slee­p­over. How­ever, we ran into a hellish bit of traf­fic due to some parade that was in pro­gress near the CNE which was already a mess. After crawl­ing for 30 minutes, we made plans to delay the pickup and veered right to take Lucy to High Park instead. About 90 minutes later, we were able to retrieve the Wee One via a dif­fer­ent route, man­aging to avoid a vast swath of the south­ern West End. Later on, both Jen­nifer and I spent another hour or so try­ing to find an open gro­cery store, hav­ing missed our oppor­tun­ity to do our shop­ping yes­ter­day.

There’s just been
too many things to do.

It’s Time

Shaving package for the Boy