New York & Boston with Manya


For my third visit to New York, I chose Brooklyn as my home base, and for my first visit to Boston, I stayed in a private home in the quaint Hyde Park neighbourhood in South Boston.


I boarded the overnight Cathay Pacific Flight to JFK Airport. As an international flight, checked luggage fees are waived and a full meal is served. My special vegetarian meal of a tasty spinach lasagna, a small salad and fruit for desert was served promptly after reaching cruising altitude, which allowed me to settle cialis vs viagra en español for a short night onboard, before the regular meal service began. Clearing customs and immigration at JFK was quick and efficient. A uniformed officer directed travellers to separate lines based on country of citizenship. Getting to my hotel l however took a lot longer than expected, at a hefty price tag too. Rush hour in NYC seems to start early and lasts all day. Next time, I’ll take the train, a faster and less expensive option.

Brooklyn is fast becoming a most desirable place to live, and to visit. With its many cafes, bars and cultural attractions, Brooklyn is popular with the younger generation, in search of more affordable housing. Visitors of all ages will appreciate the diversity of its eclectic neighbourhoods and perhaps a slower pace of life than in Manhattan.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade along the East River banks offers stunning views of Lower Manhattan skyline, a glimpse of Staten Island in the distance with the Lady of Liberty standing on how much does cialis cost in mexico guard, of the many bridges that crisscross the city, and of the beautiful homes and gardens along the way.

Cobble Hill, Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) Industrial District, Boerum Hill neighbourhoods are equally vibrant and attract young families. They can be seen pushing strollers or sipping a latte at one of the many watering holes on Court Street. I liked the ethnic diversity of these neighbourhoods as well.

Except for a very few high rises, Brooklyn architecture is steeped deeply in the past. Historical walking tours are available to explore the many landmarks of Brooklyn and can be booked at the local Visitor’s bureau. Some of the many buildings worthy of a visit are, The Court House, the Brooklyn Fire House and my personal favourite Cobble Hill Cinema, with its red brick façade and painted images of actors of the early area of cinema.


Walking on the Brooklyn Bridge is highly entertaining with the many visitors and locals, cameras in hand, snapping the many picturesque vistas seen from the Bridge. At times pedestrian and bike lanes tend to blur into each other, until you hear shouts of “bike lane, bike lane”! from the many cyclists claiming their right to be there too. Highly recommended to walk the bridge at least once during your visit.

I stayed at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge Hotel in downtown Brooklyn, on Adams Street. The location is perfect to walk on the Bridge, and to access to the Court Street Subway station, almost across the street and the A line behind the hotel. My room on the 3rd floor conference level was quite large and comfortable, albeit a bit noisy .Unfortunately the standard of is viagra good for your heart service fell short of my expectations. It took many frustrated calls of complaints before my room was finally cleaned, on the last night of my stay!

One afternoon, while walking in Manhattan, at the corner of 55th Street and 7the Avenue, I came across an intriguing building with a golden dome and Moorish façade, looking like a Mosque. I learned later that it used to be the Mecca Temple of the Mystic Shriners, slated to demolition bust saved in the nick of time by then Mayor La Guardia in late 1930s and re-opened in 1943. . It is now home to The New York City Centre Theatre for performing arts with the most affordable ticket price in the city: $17.00 each! I was so excited to learn that Alvin Ailey Dance Company was performing that night, in a sold out house, that I paid $25.00 from a very distinguished looking older gentleman scalper outside of the theatre. Worth every penny for a 4th row center seat, and an outstanding performance of contemporary dance, I haven’t seen in ages.

The weather was beautiful and warm, and rather than spending time inside I settled for a visit to the Cloisters and gardens located in Fort Tryon Park in of Upper Manhattan.

Built by the Metropolitan Museum, the medieval buildings stand on a hill offering stunning views of the wooded areas on either banks of the Hudson River. Financed by John Rockefeller, the buildings consist of parts from several European abbeys which were dismantled stone by stone, and imported to New York, to be reconstructed in the medieval style it was intended to be. The architecture, the courtyards, the gardens are reminiscent of abbeys in Andalusia or in the South of France. It’s hard to believe you are indeed in New York and definitely worth the long subway ride.

On my way back from the Cloisters, I made a detour to Harlem for a very short walk around. Martin Luther King Avenue is the main thorough fare and on that Sunday morning, the street was buzzing with vendors of all kinds of souvenirs, t-shirts, CDs .I stopped at the famed Apollo Theatre and was disappointed to learn that the visits were cancelled due to a special event taken place on that day. So I took the A line subway back to Brooklyn.

My best lunch experience this time around was at the Neue Galerie Sabarsky café located at 86 Street and 5th Avenue. It is known for the best and most authentic German/Austrian fare outside of Austria. Popular with locals and tourists alike with its Viennese inspired décor and menu, one must arrive early and line up for a long time before being seated. My meal consisted of two juicy and plump smoked Bratwurst stuffed with cheese served on a bed of mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and Dijon mustard, followed by a delectable apple strudel for dessert. A cold Austrian lager completed this delectable lunch.

On my last day in New York, I took a leisurely walk on the new High Line. The elevated freight rail line on the west side of Manhattan has been transformed by the city of New York citizens into a beautiful planted public park. The 2 mile walk starts at 14th Street West and ends at 34th and offers lovely vignettes of the many Manhattan landmarks and of Chelsea and Meat Packing districts.

Walking is the best mode of transportation while in Brooklyn or in Manhattan. However the subway is the fastest and reliable alternative if your time in NYC is limited. Do make sure to study the subway map carefully as it can be challenging at times, and buy your tickets as you go. I found that the Metro card very often faltered and doesn’t always display the “real” account balance. This can create embarrassing moments at the subway gates!


After spending 5 days in New York, I boarded the Amtrak train from Penn Station at 8:30a bound for Boston for my first visit to the beautiful city.

The smooth ride takes a little over 4 hours to reach Boston and definitely a better alternative to flying.

The train platform was called 10 minutes before departure and there was a mad dash to find the appropriate car. All seats in both cabins are on a first come, first served basis which explained why I ended up with seat by the bathroom, while the seasoned travellers settled in the best seats. It was later in the ride that could move to a better seat, when one was vacated. The cabin was very comfortable and Wi-Fi available during the whole duration of the ride.

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Boston is home to the prestigious Harvard (HAHVAHD) University, Cheers and is the getaway to Cape Cod. Just like any other American cities, Boston has several neighbourhoods each with its own character and history. With only a full day in the city, I chose to walk some part of the Freedom Trail to acquire a glimpse of what Boston is all about buy viagra from mexico and a stop in the fashionable Back Bay area. And a quick one hour tour of Harvard.

The freedom trail was create in 1951 to help visitors find Boston’s historical sites. It includes some of the most critical scenes in Boston’s struggle of Freedom from British rules, circa 1700s. It runs from the Boston Common all the way to Charlestown, across Charles River basin.

I started my walk from the Visitor Center at Boston Common and continued north .The trail is clearly marked by a red line of contrasting bricks, red paint or other signage which makes it easy to follow. Along the way, I came across the very poignant Irish Potato famine memorial. Created by Robert Shure, it consists of 16 plaques and statues depicting the arrival of starving Irish immigrants and how they survived and finally thrived in the city of Boston.

Faneuil Hall and old market hall marks the center of the old town and consists of Quincy market and North Market. This is where you’ll find one of the 2 Cheers bars in Boston. The original Cheers is located on Beacon Hill further away. The grasshopper weather vane on top of the hall is known as the symbol of the city of Boston. Referred as the cradle of freedom, today it is home to the Boston Classical Orchestra. Faneuil hall is also used for political debates.

The North End is slowly losing its reputation of an Italian immigrant dwelling to be replaced by hip and high end restaurants, bars and lodgings. But the Italian presence is still felt in the many pizzerias, churches, such as the Old North Church. One of the many historical attractions on the trail is Paul Revere house, in the centre of North End. He was a prosperous silversmith, and instrumental in the Boston battle for freedom in the 1700s.

After a quick stop for a pizza slice, I was on the subway to the upscale Back Bay Area. This neighbourhood is well known for its well preserved 19th century brownstone houses, its high end shopping streets such as Newbury and Boylston streets. This is also where you will find the Boston Public Library, with its impressive front entrance on Copley Square, grand staircase, it is a magnificent 19th century architectural landmark in Back Bay.

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Opposite the Library in and around Copley Square stand the Trinity Church, the John Hancock tower, and the Fairmont Copley Hotel. Copley Square is named after the portrait painter John

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Singleton Copley, of Irish descent who may have been born in Boston.

The prestigious Harvard University is a world of its own. The main campus is centered in Harvard Square in Cambridge, about 15 minutes by train north of Boston, across Charles River. Instead of traditional benches, colours iron chairs are available throughout the campus, adding a contemporary touch to the stately faculty buildings. The access to the immense library known at the largest library system in the USA is strictly reserved for students and faculty members.

The “tobacco” free environment is clearly visible on the many flags hanging throughout: “Let’s be clear, 100% tobacco free Harvard Yard”.

Despite the rain, there were lots of visitors and especially foreign students, posing in front the impressive John Harvard statue. It is believed that rubbing the left toe of the statue will bring those students success in their studies. Which explains why the left toe tip is brighter than the right.

Cape Cod road trip

Cape Cod is not a city but a cape or peninsula that looks like a fisted arm bend at the elbow,. That’s how the map looks like to me. It is surrounded by water to the south Nantucket Sound, to the North Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast. Cape Cod is a vacation destination for Bostonians, many of whom have their summer residences there. Travelling during summer months is not recommended as it gets extremely busy and very hot.

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After a hearty breakfast of eggs and pancakes at Route 28 Diner, we started on our leisure drive from Yarmouth all the way to Orleans on the Eastern seaborne. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm and the trees bursting with the brilliant fall colours. Route 28 that runs along the south coast of Cape Cod all the way to the Princetown at the North East tip of the Cape. We stopped several times to stretch our legs on the many stunning beaches on the south coast. In Chatham, we stopped at the famous light house which is set across the road from the beach, where the British Mayflower commercial vessel may have anchored centuries ago, in her search to reach the New World.

I loved the sand dunes and the wild breakers of the Atlantic Ocean at Orleans. It’s just breathtaking beautiful and wild!

That is where I would very much like to go back and stay a while.