Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another trip to New York

Most of my loyal readers, three or four of you, know that I take trips to New York every couple of months to visit my family. Now, when i say New York what i really mean is that I usually fly over or near above mentioned city and land just across the river in the fine state of New Jersey. I call these trips "going to New York" for the same reason I never say "I hail from Glenview Illinois". It takes too long to explain that Glenview is approximately seventeen miles north and a little west from the downtown Chicago, that is why I simply say I am from Chicago. The same reason applies to my trips to New York. I don't want to spend time explaining which exit of the Turnpike my parents live at.

Anyway, I usually don't get to go to the city, as it would take too long to drive over. This time around it was a little different. Instead of flying to Newark we flew to the LaGuardia airport in New York. This gave me a unique (or a rare one) opportunity to go on a car tour in downtown Manhattan. I also wanted to show my kid some of the places she haven't seen before, and that hold some meaning for me in New York.

Armed only with my trusty Android phone I've tried to take a bunch of pictures. Some were successful, most have not been, I've been snapping from a moving vehicle(s).

We were approaching from the southwest of the city, over the Verrazano Bridge connection Staten Island and Brooklyn.

Flying over Brooklyn for LGA approach. Manhattan, Ellis and Liberty islands all visible. The tallest building is the new tower being build.

Just a view from BQE to mid-town Manhattan.

Manhattan Bridge going from Brooklyn to Manhattan's Chinatown


View of the new Tower from the West st.

Much closer. The building is huge.

1 Liberty Plaza. My first place of work at the LTCB of Japan.

The Bull on Wall st.

Hot dog vendor. Unfortunately I couldn't see any falafel or kebob vendors ont he street.

This across Battery park. What is interesting that the building with a black side poking through is where New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) located. A place where most of the immigrants went through in the 90's.

Southport with tall ships.

My and my brother's Alma Mater, PACE University.

So this is not the best image, my hand jerked as I snapped the shot and then we were past. The building all the way on the right with white columns is our old apartment at 305 Ocean Pkwy.

My High School on the 20th st in Brooklyn. FDR High School. Interestingly enough it's neighboring a huge Jewish cemetery where my grandparents are now resting.
 I love visiting New York. I love to see Brooklyn, where very little changes with years. The next time I am going to be there is probably in several months. We are planning to hit Brighton Beach, maybe I can take some more pictures.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This post is simply for history books.

There is a link that my wife found on StumbleUpon (thank you!) that shows all rare photos from the production of StarWars. All of the characters, actors, movie staff about the production sets and on breaks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How much wine do you taste before it counts as binge drinking

Neither me nor The Awesome wife are dedicated wine drinkers. She can't hold her alcohol much and I prefer beer most of the time. I like myself a good crafted ale or an amber. Of course, if I let myself develop a habit of drinking good beer every night I will stop fitting through doors pretty fast. That is why me and The Awesome wife decided, that it wouldn't hurt us if we could enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. For health purposes of course. As I said before we are not into wine too much. I drink wine when the occasion calls for it, a dinner with friends who are more or less educated, or a good Italian place. I would always drink something dry, and my wife prefers a lighter and sweeter fare of white wines. But we are always at the mercy of strangers when it comes to wines.

Several months ago we purchased a GroupOn that allowed us to go and enjoy one hour of wine tasting at WineStyles. We actually have two or three in our suburb and the suburbs nearby. After careful planning and several unsuccessful attempts and reschedules we finally went to taste some wine.

Now, I am a cynic. Big one. When people talk about big bold tastes, and fruity essences, and oaken finishes, and floral aromas I believe they are talking bunch of non-sense and usually are full of crap. A normal attitude of one uneducated in finer points of wine enjoyment. However, I wanted to learn, I wanted to know what others know about wine. So we went with open minds to try some wines.

We were met by a pleasant individual, a cross between Trader Joe's aficionado and a coffee house barrista. He was not snobby, nor was he snooty. He was fairly down to earth, and tried his best to explain to us the differences between different types of ones, and how the characterisations actually taste. We've tasted quite a bit along the way. Started with a chardonnay and happily moved along to a blend of two whites, I can't remember what they were, possibly Sauvignon and Chablis. After that we've tried a pretty good rose wine from somewhere in Napa. Finally, as if the alcohol plank wasn't high enough yet, we went to reds, trying a blend of something something red and heavy, and finishing off with a nice dose of Malbec.

Since our plans for the evening involved a Comedy Club I couldn't stop there and still drank a healthy pint of Blue Moon. Oh! Happy days.

I can't claim to understand the wines better now, after the tastings, but I am pretty certain that if I go to a wine or spirits store I can describe exactly what I feel like drinking. I won't pretend to tell a good wine from a cheap imitation (I learned rule number one, don't look at the price tag, read the label). I will be able to discern the difference between the types of wines and the probable taste of an unknown bottle.

We brought back two bottles home with us. A bottle of that Malbec for me, which I really liked. My wife brought back a bottle of a very crisp and fresh Spatlese wine with a German name that I can't even pronounce. Both bottles have been making us very happy these last couple of evenings.

Thank you Joe from WineStyles!