Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!

Nathan, my dearest grandchild, I know you have lots and lots of onesies but I really felt you need this one too. We'll bring it to you next weekend.
Before I get to today's photos, I have to dash Barb's wish to live in NYC. Here are some stats: the average rent in NYC is $3416/month. Soho is the most expensive with monthly rent averaging $8000/month. The fastest growing area of NYC is Brooklyn Heights and rents there have jumped 25% in the last year. Cost of living in Weyburn is looking good right now.
We started the day at the Bronx Zoo. It opened in 1899 and is the largest urban zoo in the world. I loved the old buildings, I loved the vegetation, and I loved that there were photos from the early years of the zoo ... ladies in Victorian era dresses looking at wild creatures were great.

We were there to see the animals though and this peacock was pretty impressive. I told Bob that if he would do the female peacock mating call, this boy would spread his plumes. Bob claimed he didn't know that particular call and then I remembered that it's my brother-in-law Marty who used to be able to do this.
In case you missed this photo on FB, I am repeating it here. I imagine this buzzard was looking at me and thinking, "hey, babe, you don't look that great either!"
The monkeys were really active and this youngster got the most oohs and ahhs as he played. At one point he jumped on his mom's back and she looked annoyed.
There was glass between me and this tiger! Thankfully! The zoo is very proud of their area called "Tiger Mountain" and rightly so. The animals have much room to roam and an excellent jungle environment.
The photo below is not indicative of how most of the Bronx is. This shows some urban blight but most of the ordinary part of the Bronx that we walked through was neatly kept projects.
Little Italy is now in the Bronx as Chinatown in Manhattan has swelled to take over most of what was Little Italy there. More about Little Italy in the Bronx in a few minutes, but first let's go back to Manhattan. Bob and I caught the subway back and headed to Riverside Church on the Upper West Side. It's a magnificent non-denominational church and we were there because we had seen in a guide book that you could take an elevator to the 20th storey of the bell tower (pictured below) which was correct. We also read that then you could climb 100-and-some stairs to get an amazing view of the city which was incorrect. The stairs were blocked off. So the picture you see of Manhattan is from the 20th floor. The building in the foreground is part of Columbia University. All of the stained glass in the church was beautiful.

Back at Times Square this Stanley Cup fountain was installed. Tap water is pouring from the fountain and you can put your cup under it and have a drink. Since I have been very anti bottled water for the last three years, I was happy to see this promotion of safe tap water. You can see the televisions mounted as well. You can watch the hockey playoffs right in the middle of Times Square.
Now back to the Bronx and Little Italy. We left the zoo and walked into the area that is Little Italy. In a guide book I had read recommendations of stores to check out. One was Teitel Brothers Grocery and this was their outdoor display. I can't imagine rebuilding it each day, but that's what they do.
We went into the Arthur Avenue Retail Market which had a number of vendors with their foods. Here you could buy tripe - if you aren't sure what tripe is, check a dictionary; I don't want to be blamed for spoiling your appetite by telling you what it is. In the foreground are pig knuckles, but I missed getting their price in the photo.
And here's some more food, and I use the word "food" loosely here!
A little farther along the aisle, there was food more to my liking ... good Italian sausage.
Here is some heavily salted fish in the same market.
We stopped at Arturo's Bakery and bought the following selection of cannoli, lobster tail, and almond biscotti. Glenda, this biscotti may look as pretty as yours but it isn't as tasty.
After Bob and I visited Riverside Church, we split up, him to walk in Central Park and me to check out a few more things I had read in guide books. I read that a visit to Fairway Fruits and Vegetables on Broadway was worthwhile if only to look at the mushroom section. Here it is.
All their fruits and vegetables were presented so nicely, stacked vertically; the stockboys must need physics lessons before they attempt to make the perfectly balanced presentations. Below are some of the fruits sold there that I'm not familiar with. I was hoping they would have passionfruit in stock but they didn't.
I also strolled through Zabar's and bought knish and rugelach. Yum!
Tonight was our night to see "The Best Man" with a number of stellar stars. Angela Lansbury's role wasn't huge but she played it well and her costumes were perfect. John Larroquette had the lead and his performance makes me wonder if he will get a Tony nomination for it. I preferred James Earl Jones in "Driving Miss Daisy" which we saw on another trip here. Candice Bergen was good too. After the show Bob and agreed that we prefer two genre more than comedies. Those two are musicals and serious plays which have issues we continue to talk about days after seeing the shows. Elizabeth, here we are talking about the type Live Five mount. With that said, I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that I saw Angela Lansbury perform.
We've made no decisions about what we will do tomorrow, but we know whatever it is, it will be fun.

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