Posts Tagged With: New York City

Christmas (Or: Trees around New York City)

Continuing the tree theme of the previous post, I also took a few pictures of various decorated trees in New York City.

The first photo was from a distance as I had to get to the consulate. But it is the Macy’s Christmas tree at the main entrance. The “yellow blob” is actually the word “Believe”, which could be seen in the Macy’s parade for Thanksgiving Day.

Macy's Christmas tree in NYC

Taking this picture when I went to the consulate also helped out last Friday, since I popped out of the subway on the other side of this street. But as I saw the Macy’s decorations to the left of me, I knew to go left down to the street to get back to Penn Station.

The second tree was on 39th street and 3rd. There were actually 4 lighted trees, although I was only able to photograph one of them.

winter tree on 3rd avenue in NYC

The morning itself was dreary…as you can tell from the wet roads. Drizzling on and off most of the morning.

Another good tree to see is the one in Bryant Park, with blue lights. But that is another day. And of course the tree in Rockefeller Center…

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Lower Manhattan (Or: On my way to Penn Station)

So on Friday I went into New York City to pick up my Dutchies from the Penn Station, as their flight was coming in from JFK. I ended up hitching a ride with a coworker who goes into the city every weekend to take care of her mother-in-law.  We left home for the city at 5PM.

The interesting thing was we made it into the city fairly quickly – maybe a half hour or so. But we ended the city via the George Washington Bridge, so near 180th street or so. But as we needed to get to Chinatown (near the southern tip of Manhattan) we had a-ways to go on the Henry Hudson Parkway. The traffic was definitely the heaviest near the top of Manhattan, but the views of the Hudson river and New Jersey on the other side at night were spectacular. (For that matter, George Washington Bridge also looked pretty when lit up.)

After about 90th street or so, the traffic eased up slightly. By the time we got to 34th street, traffic had begun to move at a mostly steady clip, only slowing down for the various exits. Although I was headed for 34th street & 7th avenue, it is too much of a pain for her to exit at that point when she really needed to go to Chinatown instead. So she ended up exiting on Canal Street and heading east to Chinatown, letting me off at 5th avenue.

After about 5 or so minutes getting my bearings, I began to walk north through the named streets (not even at 2nd street yet). When I hit 4th street, I found my way blocked by the Washington Square park, so I decided to cut across it rather than going around. I did get a nice picture of the Christmas tree there, from a distance:

Christmas tree at Washington Square NYC

I kept walking north until 14th street, before I headed west to 6th avenue. I took the F/M orange line to 34th street, and then walked west to Penn Station. (All of those Rangers games over the years definitely helped me get my bearings! Thanks Roger! ♥)

After that, it was just a matter of waiting around in the NJTransit area for about 10 minutes before the Dutchies arrived. Just in time too – we had about 6 minutes to get the next train. This was the last train to get before we would have had to wait an hour at the transfer point. But we made it!

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Fridays (Or: The Dutchies arrive…)

It seems like only yesterday since I saw Marco (early October), but he and Roger are returning again today! I suppose that’s the benefit of scheduling uneven breaks between trips: April to October, and then October to December.

But it is a break from routine in some respects: they have to fly into JFK on Aer Lingus rather than into Newark on Delta, so that I could secure a one way ticket to the Netherlands on an Aer Lingus flight. That airline sells cheapish one way tickets. Unfortunately this means landing at 6:20PM or so rather than 1 in the afternoon. No more getting back home by 5PM!

Because of this, we’ll be meeting at Penn Station as it seems a good not-quite-halfway point for all of us. I was able to get a ride into the city with a coworker, so I don’t have to battle the crazy bus traffic that crops up on a Friday afternoon.

Regardless of when we get back home, it’ll be fun to be back in the company of the Dutchies again. Even if my apartment is more of a mess than it usually is when they arrive…

flight from Dublin to JFK

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Dutch MVV (Or: A slight delay)

So… today I went to New York City to pick up my MVV sticker. But it seems in the end it is not that simple. I should have known, after the first trip…

But we’re not in trouble at all – I just have to go back next week. AGAIN.

A few weeks ago, Marco received the approval letter (in Dutch) from the IND. After this, I expected a letter from the Washington consulate (in English), as that is what the last official correspondence had said – when I was approved, they would send me a letter by mail.

But that letter never arrived. After a week, I called the Washington consulate. The lady on the other end was confused (I think she believed I was the Dutch national calling for the American referent) but we eventually sorted it out. I asked her if I needed the letter or if I could go pick up my MVV sticker from the NYC consulate. She said that as long as I made an appointment and brought along the items requested (and I think this is where I made my fatal mistake of thinking she made items specificed in the Dutch letter Marco received) I could go there and pick up my MVV sticker

I had an appointment for 9:20am. When I got there, I was told I needed other documents then I was expecting. Specifically, I need to do the following things again:

1) fill out an MVV application form (already done)

2) bring along a passport photo (already done)

3) show my original single status record and hand over a copy (already done)

4) show a copy of Marco’s passport (already done, but we were told to expect this one, so I was prepared with that)

The passport photos is what caught me – why would I expect to have to hand over another set? Didn’t I already give them a form? Why didn’t they just have my fill out two forms and turn over two photos instead of one? Why didn’t they ask for multiple copies of things back in September? So that was another $15 for the photos down the drain. (I guess this was all explained in the letter I never received)…

They also actually physically took my passport. Apparently they don’t do MVV stickers at the NYC consulate (although they said it was just a visa sticker – I don’t get the MVV sticker until I get to the Netherlands I was told). So the passport needs to be mailed to the Washington consulate, and then back to New York City… that takes about 5-6 business days. So early next week. Still time – no problem.

But still – what kind of logic is this? Sheesh.

Categories: Forms, etc. | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Election 2012 (Or: Rockefeller Plaza)

Today is Election Day, and Rockefeller plaza is all decked out! Click the image to be taken to the blog post, with many more images (including this photo in a much larger size).

One of the coolest things that Rockefeller Plaza does is draw a map of the United States into the world famous ice rink. As each state’s winner is determined, that state is colored either blue or red (see a 2008 example).

Rendering of what the area will look like, including the map of the United States not yet colored in. Official website

Flickr/Andrew Dallos. Click on the image to see the photographer’s page, as well as download a larger size.

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Sandy (Or: Dutch marathoners help out)

Marco pointed me to a news story where a group of Dutch runners decided to help with the relief efforts after finding out that the New York marathon would be canceled. Here was a tweet from the Newark, New Jersey mayor:

News article (Dutch | English)

As reports had stated that 40,000 of the 47,000 expected runners were already in the city when the marathon was canceled by Mayor Bloomberg, it does make sense. (Although the logistics of moving around that many helpers is something you would need to tackle as well.)

The title sponsor of the marathon, ING, said it would donate half a million dollars to the relief effort, while Poland Spring (a bottled water company) said it would donate the 200,000 bottles of water which were to be used during the marathon itself.

Other stories of New York marathon runners helping out:

Running Staten Island to deliver essentials (their Facebook page)

World Vision marathoners distribute food

Race2Recover – Donating hotel rooms for the relief effort (and requesting a hotel room)

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Chaos (Or: NYC traffic and gridlock)

I wonder if other Americans are still getting non-stop news coverage of Hurricane Sandy cleanup (besides 8-10pm primetime television)? Or is it only because I am so close to NYC? I have no idea.

Traffic is absolutely insane if you’re trying to get into Manhattan. They implemented HOV (high occupancy vehicle) rules on all bridges except the George Washington Bridge. This means that you need to have three or more people in your vehicle to get into Manhattan if you are traveling by car. To implement these checks, they have created checkpoints where the traffic must go down into one lane and each car is individually inspected. Some of the bridges have backups of over 9 miles, and some people were reporting times of over 3 hours waiting to get into the city.

Roughly half of the subway lines are running with free fares through 11:59PM Friday, with delays or service changes (some lines can’t go below 34th street). Some are still completely suspended. Buses also have free fares as well through the same time frame.

Hurricane Recovery subway map (not sure how long the link will remain active as it is for today only – look for an updated map tomorrow)

Free shuttle buses are being offered in a few places. One of those places is the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, new home of the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. Buses every arriving every minute, but there is still a long line of people (over 3,000 and growing!) waiting in line to get onto a bus to get into Manhattan. Within the last half hour they consolidated the two waiting lines into one by having the line wrap around the arena.

And then you have to think of what the commute home will be like…

Other news:

Comcast is offering free wifi to customers in affected states, even if you are not a Comcast customer).

AT&T and T-Mobile have (in effect) merged their networks in New Jersey and New York so that customers can access either network – whichever one has better signal strength.

At the moment the NYC Marathon will still be held Sunday, but the Nets game tonight against the Knicks is postponed (pushing the grand opening to Saturday against the Raptors).

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Hurricane Sandy (Or: I am spared)

[Note: I am absolutely fine. I lost power from 8:30pm to 3:30am, but that’s it. The winds have really died down. Though I will admit to being a bit afraid at times last night around dinner, since the wind was so loud.]

With that said..

Holy crap. Maybe I should have just stayed in bed. Poor New York City. 😦

Here’s a quick rundown link of everything I missed while asleep.


pictures of the HMS Bount ship sinking (image 1, image 2)

pictures of a lone carousel (lights still on) surrounded by flood waters. As this was taken hours ago it is almost definitely gone. It’s in Brooklyn. Here’s a reference picture taken a while back (on Wikipedia) to understand why it’s now underwater.

waters entering a PATH station through an elevator shaft (subway will be out of service for at least 4 days)

Latest word was 6.5 million without electricity.

*                                      *                                  *                                         *

Obviously I haven’t really been outside. But I did take one picture, as a way of comparison. Eight days ago I posted a picture of the beautiful red leaves on the tree right outside my door.

Admittedly some of the leaves had already fallen off, but now it just looks sad. I took this last night as the darkness stared.

I also wasn’t expecting the noise of the wind when I opened the door long enough to take this picture. And the extra bit of strength I had to give to close the door again!

Not sure if I can try the sleep thing again, as I am wide awake. But we’ll see.

Need to send this. Power flickered again…

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Fridays (Or: Two months to Penn Station)

Fridays are a glorious thing. I might even sleep in until 7AM tomorrow! (shocked look). I also have exactly 8 weeks of work left. Odd to realize.

The search committee has been set for my position. The library director, the vice president of the college, two professors, and me. The two professors were handpicked as persons who are both involved with the library and active (so they won’t sit back and not ask any questions). Three of the five interviews we want to conduct have been scheduled, out of 32 received resumes. So far there are interviews on Nov 8 and 9 in the late afternoon.

Early next week I will start brainstorming some questions, based on the quirks I have found for this job… should be interesting.

But did you know what else this means?

It’s only (roughly) two months to Penn Station. Back to New York City once more, with the awesome duo. Time to plan all our events …

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Jackets (Or: Statue of Liberty in October)

The air is getting cold here. (Well, we’ll ignore the fact that it is forecast to be pretty warm Sunday, comparatively.)

I didn’t wear a jacket today. (But I definitely pondered one.)

I didn’t want to put the heat on. (But I did.)

At some point during my videochat with Marco today, I was reminded of the October 2010 trip with Marco. He visited me while I was studying at Rutgers and we went to New York City a few times. Including my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty.

Of course, I forgot how much colder it is out on the water. Marco asked me if I wanted a jacket a few times, but I said no. And then we got up on the ferry…

and yep, I sheepishly asked if I could borrow his jean jacket (and he said yes!) So I spent most of the ferry ride wearing an oversized jacket. It was nice, if I do say so myself.

And here is a view of the New York skyline from the ferry. Good times.

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