Tag Archives: New York

NEW YORK – is the Bronx going soft?

Maybe I’d fit in here if I got myself a tat or two.


Getting lost in the South Bronx is no picnic.

You get what you pay for with those phone apps and my downloadable New York tourist map cost less than a dollar. My cheap app decided the Bronx didn’t count as New York, as if nothing north of Manhattan could be of interest to cheapskates.

So shortly after the D Train crossed the Harlem River my phone’s screen went blank and left me mapless. Continue reading

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10 SLICES OF LIFE

Zeeland, The Netherlands. The shirts read ‘Blijf Jong’ (‘Stay Young’). I’m trying, I’m trying!



Time for another collection of my snapshots of life from our travels around the globe. The world is an amazing place.

My theory is that you can point the camera at pretty much any collection of faces, crop the photo judiciously, and end up with something interesting.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Continue reading

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AIR BnB – a way to afford Paris

Looks brilliant, Jerome, but a bit big for the two of us.

Mevrouw T and I need somewhere to stay in Paris. Somewhere affordable. Must be central. Without rats. Or bedbugs. Oh, and if possible no flights of stairs between bed and bathroom.

It was a slightly depressing quest. Even a one- or no-star hotel would cost us EUR100+ a night and most of the ones we looked at had only fair to poor reviews on booking.com and TripAdvisor. So we switched our search to www.airbnb.com. Continue reading

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MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE– Astoria, Queens, New York

Ancient projectors

‘You’re from Australia?? What are you doing here?’ the waitress in the Queens Comfort Cafe wanted to know.

Well might she ask. Astoria, Queens is not a part of New York that attracts many visitors. It’s a place where New Yorkers live. Lots of them.

And one of them happened to have an affordable apartment to rent to visitors through the Air B&B website.

I’ll have more to report on the Air B&B experience in a later post, but for the moment, let’s have a look at Astoria.

It’s a lively, multi-cultural area, with the feel of a working-class suburb that is becoming gentrified. It reminded us of Marrickville in Sydney, only bigger, brighter and a lot busier.

The Golden Arches, Eyebrow threading, interesting haircuts – you get the idea of Astoria. Not glamorous, but anyone can feel comfortable here.

The Queens Comfort Cafe had only recently opened, and deserves to do well. Comfortable it certainly was, decked out in retro diner style, and serving excellent burgers. (They were the only ones we ate for the whole trip. Here in Queens it seemed only right to eat the local cuisine.)

A delightful bonus was meeting a waitress with whom I could discuss the Shetland Islands Folk Festival. She’d been there, I want to get there sometime.

We wish the Queens Comfort Cafe every success.

But I digress…

Apart from being a nice place to live, there at first appears little to attract visitors to Queens. However, thanks to Mevrouw T’s research on the excellent smartphone app ‘Wikihood’, we found a hidden treasure of a museum. Continue reading

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FOUR HIP, FUN AND CHEAP(ISH) NEW YORK HOTELS

The Ace Hotel – funky and friendly

Unfortunately as the writer of The Book of Everything I didn’t qualify for company-sponsored accommodation in the Big Apple. Fair enough, my job had been done, so Mevrouw T and I were just there to have fun and bask in some reflected glory as the show went on at the New Victory Theater. The upside was that we had to be inventive about finding affordable and interesting accommodation in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

Some hotels were able to offer us a free night, which was much appreciated, others gave me a special deal in return for writing about them (not necessarily nice things, mind you). I did make another rule, though – no generically pleasant hotels. Each one had to have something interesting and unusual about it.

So here’s where we ended up staying… Continue reading

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HAS THE BRONX GONE SOFT?

The Bronx – tattoos, eyebrow threading and ‘butt boosting jeans’.


Nobody we’ve met on this trip wants to be from Manhattan. It’s almost acceptable to live there in some down-market neighbourhood, but to COME from there suggests a cossetted, privileged background.

Everyone is quick to tell us they’re from the ‘boros’, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. (Yes, a few people live on Staten Island too, but we haven’t met them yet.)

‘Nothing soft comes out of the Bronx’, says the advertising for Everlast, the company that began manufacturing boxing gloves and punching bags back in 1910. In fact, Everlast themselves threw in the towel and left the Bronx a few years ago, and went elsewhere to make trendy street shoes for those who will never need a mouthguard.

Al Pacino comes from the Bronx, so do hip-hop and break dancing. So in the interests of research, Mevrouw T and I went into the Bronx to see how tough it really was. Continue reading

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