Sunday, May 31, 2009

Philadelphia: History's Home

Philadelphia is a special city, too. Not the same intensity as New York, yet it's got its own kind of antique-y/historical vibe goin' on. It's cobblestone streets are filled with the cutest little rowhouses, with window boxes filled with flowers. Huge shade trees line every road, and it's surrounded by water on two sides. And Ben Franklin is as much a celebrity there today as he was 200 years ago. As far as fashion--not so much. Seems like three out of four people were wearing Phillies baseball shirts. But the buildings are fabulous. Here's a sampling:
This is City Hall from the window of our hotel --the 25th floor! This clock tower is just the topper on a beautiful white wedding cake of a building. It is a sight to behold.

This little building, sheltered among the trees is the meeting place of the Continental Congress, as in George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin. This is where our forefathers made the weighty decision to stop paying taxes to England for services they weren't receiving, and revolt against nasty old King George. It's a little jewel of a building.

This big old guy is the home of the second bank ever established in our country. It's marble columns are 300 years old and eroding, but it still feels dignified and protective.

And this brick masterpiece is the star in the crown. This is Independence Hall, the place where our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, plunging us into a war against England and committing themselves to years of personal sacrifice to launch a fledgling nation. It is quite moving to be here--holy ground for all Americans.

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Philadelphia's Phlowers

Caladiums and Ivy against a wrought iron window grille.

We walked from our hotel down to the Historic Area, about 16 blocks. Along the way we saw the most beautiful flowers and flower boxes under the windows and along the streets. (This could have been a lot more pictures, but I'm having mercy on my male readers.)

Petunia Pots on the lampposts near lacy window curtains.

Impatiens and Ivy and Arbor Vitae in a wrought iron box

Arbor Vitae, Hydrangeas, and Orange sprays in a high gloss black wooden box. Notice the hardware on the shutters; these are real working shutters, not the fake plastic ones.
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A Pop Quiz for Mauiians

Can you guess who this is? (I just love my camera work here. I've never photographed a sports event before. I felt like a pro with these action shots!)

Number 8. He grew up on Maui. Went to St. Anthony's.

Do you see the tip of the neon Liberty Bell across the field?

Okay, I know you all guessed it. Our own Local-Boy-Makes-It-Big, Shane Victorino, of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies!!

They won against the Washington Nationals today and are in first place so far in the season.

If all that wasn't a good enough reason to be here today, we have a sentimental reason. Our son Joey played Little League on the Phillies as he was growing up, and they won first place 3 seasons in a row!
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I Couldn't Stop Myself

I cannot, under any circumstances, resist chocolate covered strawberries. Oh, maybe if someone's life depended on it, I could. But only then. I have to say, these were gorgeous and juicy and mouth-watering. Sorry for stirring up your salivary glands.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Top of the Rock

I have seen so many fantastic chandeliers in this town, and here's yet another one in the lobby of Rockefeller Center. It is 3 stories high and I have just captured a glimmer of it's splendor. So much glamour, bling and glitz!

This beautiful building was built by John Rockefeller during the Great Depression. He put thousands of people to work building this spectacular hub of NY communications. It continues to be a gathering spot in the city, and the NBC studios are inside with the sets for Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan (from which he has been promoted to the Tonight Show.) I've also heard that Dwight Schrute haunts the hallways.

This is where the journey to the top of the Rock begins. We are flying up 67 stories to the top to see the 360 degree bird's-eye view of Manhattan.

See how fast that was. We are now at the top looking out toward the north and Central Park. The large lake in Central Park is the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir. To the right of the park, is the Upper East Side where the very wealthy, with their chauffeurs and nannies, live and schmooze. On the left side of the park, still very expensive, just a little more artsy--John Lennon and Heath Ledger's neighborhood. If you could fly beyond the northernmost end of the park, you would be flying over Harlem and then Yankee Stadium. I'm name-dropping because I'm in New York, and that's what you do.
Imagine the fortitude of this fragile butterfly making it up to the top of the Rock! So high on those tiny wings. She's the Little Butterfly that Could. Beyond the butterfly, you can make out the silver strand of the East River and Brooklyn past that.
After a few days in NY, you start to really love these skyscrapers. They are like gentle giants surrounding you, each with it's own story and personality. My hubby points to the Empire State Building, actually about 15 blocks to the south. Under his forearm are the little rectangles of the financial district where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. The skyline is not the same without them, and the hole in the spot where they stood, and in our hearts, remains.
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The Markets at Grand Central Station

In the city, on your way home from a day's toil, and before you catch your train, you stop in the market and grab something to take home for dinner.

It's beautiful in here. And it smells dee-licious.

You also grab a bouquet of flowers for your wife, who's been home in the suburbs all day taking care of kids, dogs, and laundry.

You should buy some veggies, too, even though the bread and the desserts are more enticing.

But the prices!! Oh, my!! These are New York prices!! Tiny little packages of very expensive produce. One little cherry costs 30 cents!
Back to the bread stall.
Grab yourself a muffin and a cup o' joe for the train ride home.
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Grand Central Station

A Great Depression Public Works Project
It is a thing of beauty that also enabled men to feed their families during a difficult time.

Soaring interior spaces.

The constellations are painted on this aqua green ceiling.

Busy people rushing through to catch their trains home. It's organized simply and beautifully.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Magnificent Met

Art lovers on a quest for truth and beauty

In a massive gallery filled with treasures

that cause you to look within and to look up.
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Go Van Gogh

Our favorite corner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Self-Portrait



White Roses
Wheat Field
Van Gogh lived such a tragic and tormented life, and yet his art just sings praise to the Creator and the beauty of the creation. I am looking forward to meeting him in Heaven all healed and full of joy. His father was a pastor and Vincent, himself, was also a pastor for part of his short life. They were strong Dutch Christians. But epilepsy and deep depression were Vincent's undoing and he committed suicide when he was just 37 years old. We're blessed that his art lives on.

In Love

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Friday, May 29, 2009

We Interrupt This Travelogue...

...for an important announcement:
Congratulations to my beautiful daughter JoAnne, Realtor Extraordinaire, who just closed her first escrow!! We are so proud of her.
This girl (and no one will dispute this) is lovely, kind, thoughtful, generous and a gifted businesswoman. She left the sacred halls of higher education last year, and while rearing one and a half hormonal teenagers, and tending to the care and feeding of one American Soldier, she also got her realtor's license, joined Seashore Realty, and sold a house!! Amazing!! She is also a very gracious hostess who's patiently shared her home off and on with her disoriented parents for the past six months. You can't help but love this girl! She is a joy to everyone who knows her.

Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Times Square in the Rain

Dreams of Stardom

The Wait Staff at Ellen's Stardust Diner. All aspiring actors and singers, dreaming of Broadway careers, serving tables between songs, till they make it to the big time.

"Play that Funky Music, White Boy"

An aria from some opera, by far the best performance of the night!!

Send this guy to Broadway now!!

An Olivia Newton-John/ Grease sound-alike. Very good!
What a talented bunch--and they carry plates!
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