Copenhagen walkabout

29
May
2011

Josh and I made an epic walking tour of Copenhagen today, seeing many things we did not in our first go-round yesterday. I made a map below with a line that shows our 8 mile path through some really fascinating and beautiful parts of the city. Click on it to see it up close and look at the whole album of today’s pics. We are a bit exhausted, but it was well worth it for all we saw.

At home in Hudson Yards

20
Mar
2010

I took a quick walking tour of my building and neighborhood over the past couple of days. The building is really fantastic with all its amenities and public spaces. And the neighborhood is not bad, but clearly still in need of a lot of development. This neighborhood is referred to as Hudson Yards, and it is really one of the last areas in Manhattan to be developed for residential. Previously it was fairly industrial, and you can easily see in the neighborhood the mix of uses. In terms of restaurants, shops, grocery, etc (the things really necessary to support a vibrant residential community) the neighborhood is already way better than it was a few years ago, and it should improve dramatically in the next few years with so many residential units coming online. That said, it currently pales in comparison to many other city neighborhoods. One is also hopeful for closer subway links, but the planned 7 line extension is having all kinds of money problems, and so the planned station at 41st and 10th looks like it may not happen. Other things I notice about the neighborhood is that there seems to be a lot in the way of convention space (Javits Center, etc) as well as a lot of gallery/art space. And if you were ever wondering where all the taxis went to fill their tanks with gas, wonder no more. 10th ave is the place. I also notice how much blessedly quieter things are at night compared to my old hood. This is due to a combination of far better isolating windows, distance from the street, and that 10th ave is not the fire engine/ambulance corridor that 8th ave clearly is. Below is a slideshow of the goods.

Another look at downtown

22
Sep
2008

Joaquin, Ricardo, Christian and I went strolling in El Centro yesterday, and saw a number of interesting things. We stopped by the bar that invented the Pisco Sour (to have a Pisco Sour, ‘natch), visited a number of old city houses (that are now museums, including one with a fascinating Tola exhibit), and wandered through the older streets of Lima admiring the architectural details that are signatures of Lima (such as tied wrought iron work and enclosed balconies).

We also stopped by the fascinating Iglesia de Santa Rosa, where she lived and practced her very odd forms of worship and self sacrifice. Today we would say this woman was disturbed, a masochist and probably schizophrenic in great need of help. Back then, they thought she was pious and sainted her. Thousands of people come every year to worship and leave wishes in the well at the site. It is fascinating to me how context changes the interpretations of things. The same actions that seem the mark of insanity in one culture are venerated in another.

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Charleston

24
Jul
2008

Bob and I went down to Charleston yesterday, and took a tour of the historic town center and several of its buildings. It was fascinating, there is a very distinctive collection of buildings that are some of the oldest in the country and most of them are restored. Charleston was lucky (in a sense) that it suffered such a long period of economic decline, or these buildings  would probably have been razed and replaced. But because they never had the money or much economic activity through the 20th century, the architecture remained intact, somewhat frozen in time until the city could be reborn as a tourist destination to see these very buildings.

Evidence of past glory and wealth (largely based on slave labor) was everywhere. We also learned a few new interesting details while touring some of the homes. For example, what was called the “Georgian” style of architecture (after King George) was renamed after the War of Independance to “Federal” style. The war was also why the Episcopal Church was so named (breaking with the Chuch of England). So the US clearly has a long history of renaming to show their “independance” from things. And lest you think the level of the silliness reflected in such idiotic terms as “freedom fries” is a recent phenomenon, you should know that in World War I there was a move in the US to rename “sauerkraut” as “liberty cabbage” (I kid you not).

Coyoacán and San Ángel

25
Jan
2008

Mo and I took the Metrobus down to the end of the line in San Angel, had lunch at the well known Saks restaurant, then had a leisurely walk over to Coyoacán. Both these neighborhoods are stunningly beautiful and an absolute pleasure to walk around in. From there, we caught the Metro back up to Roma and walked home. I have to admit the public transit systems here are a breeze to figure out and cost almost nothing to ride (about 27 cents for the Metrobus and 18 cents for the Metro).