Durga Puja 2007 - Kallol of New Jersey

Fall Colors - Catskills Park, October 6, 2007

Chuang Yen Buddhist Monastery, October 6, 2007

With friends at home, October 3, 2007

Empire State Building Observatory, September 29, 2007

Circle Line 3-hour Cruise, September 16, 2007

Circle Line provides an excellent day trip adventure for the New York City tourist - and there's no manual effort (walking, going up and down subway stairs, figuring out directions) involved. We had taken the 75 minute ride earlier - this time we took the 3hour full island cruise, and found it to be much better than the short one. For $30, they give you a seat on a ferry, and take you completely around the island - downtown, Statue of Liberty, east side, Triborough Bridges, Harlem, upper west, and back to Midtown.

The parking lot at the ferry terminal is as expensive as in Times Square, so I dropped everyone off and parked at my favourite spot - the Edison Parking at the Hippodrome. Of course, considering what the building used to be in its glory days, cheap parking was probably not the future the buliding aimed for.

Walking back to the 12th avenue proved to be more difficult than originally anticipated - there was a street fair somewhere, and the Times Swuare area was closed off for a movie shoot. Makes you wonder how much movie companies shell out for a day of shooting, when the City has to come up with all these traffic redirections and police and cordoned off areas and impatient people.

We got on board the ferry at noon - and the day was as glorious as you can hope for. Being sun-shy, we seated ourselves in the covered area - while the sun-thirsty tourists moved back to the open space. Right at start, we could not help notice the two huge cruise ships from the Norwegian and Carnival lines docked in the piers next door. Someday we would definitely like to get on board one of those!

The ferry took us straight downtown - this is what the tourist would want the most, I guess. Our tour guide started off on a constant and well informed chatter on the history of neighborhoods and NYC trivia, something he would continue for the next 3 hours - incredible energy and patience. We crossed ground zero and Battery Park, and took a short loop towards the Statue of Liberty - the French gift that Americans love as their own - before heading up the East Side. This is where it got a lot more interesting for Soma and I, since the west side is easy to see - we saw plenty of that when we stayed in Jersey City. We went under the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges - lofty constructions from years past that hold up to the modern demands in transportation. The United Nations building came up next - still planning to check out their tour someday soon. A short while from there, we were in the Upper East area - crowded residential houses and busy looking streets. After crossing the Gracie Mansion, we moved off Manhattan to Harlem - a noticeable drop in busy-ness and steel-and-glass. Going under the Triborough Bridge and the battery of turntable or vertical lift bridges that follow was a new experience. Overall, the tour took us under 19 bridges, and went through 1 - which is so low that nothing can pass by the river without it being open.

Once we crossed the low bridge, it was time to go down the West Side. This ferry is probably one of the best ways to see the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington bridge. Soon after, we were cruising down midtown west, and were docked and done.

Bronx Zoo, July 7, 2007 - Corporate Weekend

I have been going to the Bronx Zoo once every summer for the last few years - the corporate weekend, with free admission, has proved to be an excellent perk provided by the Wall Street giants.

Soma and I had been there last year by ourselves, and we managed to cover the zoo pretty much in its entirely. This year, with Soma's parents being here, we had to restrict our trip to the lower one-third of the zoo. As anyone who has been to the Zoo would know, this place is huge - and very crowded - and very hot!

There's nothing much to write about a zoo trip - so hopefully the image captions will provide you with enough guidance on what we did.

Garvies Point Museum, June 14, 2007

Its been more than 2 years since we moved to Long Island, but still we know surprisingly little of things to do and places to see - and spend most of our free time rushing off to the City. Thanks to the book Long Island Alive and dad's enthusiasm to read coupled with ample free time, we got to know of this gem of a place - the Garvies Point Museum

Now under the Department of Parks, Recreations and Museums, the museum was museum is located in 62 acres of pristine forest preserve. Unlike museums in New York City, this was crowd-free, and actually possible to cover end to end in one day without getting exhausted. A world-sized serving of a museum amidst all the American sized ones, if I may.

The exhibits centered around the history of Long Island, starting from the Ice Ages that formed the island in the first place, and going on to when the first native Americans lived and roamed around the land as their own.

We found the exhibits to be adequately detailed, educationally labelled, and very well maintained. Instead of barging into a room with a quarter of a million exhibits which no one would possibly be able to read - let alone absorb - each item here seems to be carefully planned, and holds the interest of the casual museum-goer.

As a plus, this did feel like a relaxing weekend trip - and felt a lot less like work.

We did not get a chance to roam about in the forest preserve surrounding the museum - maybe next time.