Viewing the Macy’s Floats

Do you plan to visit New York around Thanksgiving? Do you want to see the floats up close before the Macy’s parade? There is an opportunity to do that.

In the afternoon and evening on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving you can go to between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue between 74th and 82nd street and see the floats blown up and waiting to be used. The actual streets the balloons are on are around the Museum of Natural History. This year the winds are supposed to be bad the day of the parade, so they may not use the floats.

Ronald McDonald
Pikachu
CBS NYC at the site
Crowds walking by the view the floats
You get more of an idea of the scale from this distance. You can see the people in relation to the floats.

It would be hard to get a cab to this location. They close down Central Park West near it and several streets running into it. You can access it via subway/underground. A lot of walking is involved, so if you have issues walking, I do not recommend this. You walk a couple of blocks slowly at night with a large crowd until you arrive at the bag check. After that you walk another block or so to see the floats. I have been able to do this previously in the early afternoon. I highly recommend going then instead of at night. There are less crowds in the afternoon.

If you think you may not pick the best spot to view the parade, this is an option to add to your itinerary. It is a New York City pre-Thanksgiving tradition.

For more information: https://www.visitmacysusa.com/article/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-balloon-inflation

Great Blue Heron

These were taken on the Hudson River on a cloudy, November day near the time the sun would set. The people in the village I viewed him from named him Fraser. I was told he is there everyday. In a period of about 15-20 minutes I saw him catch four little fish. I am sure he will be flying south soon to a warmer locale. He may be the same bird I saw last year.

Tiny fish in his mouth
Got one
The fish fought for his life, but the heron won.
Off to a better fishing hole

The Shambles

Would you like to see one of the best preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe? Are you a Harry Potter fan and are interested in seeing a street that is an inspiration for something in the novels? Then head to the Shambles in York, England.

Shamble is an old word for an open air slaughterhouse and meat market. The pavement is raised on both sides of the street to form a channel or ditch where butchers could wash away blood. The street was intentionally built narrow to keep sunlight from hitting the meat that was hung by hooks outside the shops. The buildings on the Shambles in York date back to between 1350-1475.

I have not taken a course in Photoshop or Lightroom yet. I think removing the van is beyond what I know. Even though this street is pedestrian only and I was there about an hour that van was sitting there the entire time. So I never viewed the street without it.
Film Location

The Shambles is thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films. Today there are a few shops related to Harry Potter on the Shambles, one of which is The Shop That Must Not Be Named.

The Shambles doubled for 18th century London in Knifeman. It also appeared in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Are you interested in medieval architecture? Do you fancy visiting Harry Potter filming locations and scene inspirations? Visit York and see The Shambles.

Milky Way Over St. Michael’s Mount

Are there some places you would like to go to or things you would like to do, but haven’t because you want to do them with another adventurous person? One such experience I tried this summer was getting a photo of the Milky Way over St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England.

St. Michael’s Mount at low tide.

St. Michael’s Mount is an island that can be reached at low tide by foot. There is a castle and medieval church on the island. The site is maintained by the National Trust. During the day time, one can walk over and see some of the rooms inside the castle. At high tide there are boats that can ferry you across. The St. Aubyn family live in the castle.

Tour

I would never never attempted to do this alone, even if I had stayed in Marazion, the Cornish town on the other side of the causeway. Instead I completed a day tour with Photograph West Cornwall. Ken Whalley took me to scenic spots on the Cornish coast by day, then later at night we attempted to get these shots at St. Michael’s Mount. Ken is a outstanding landscape photographer who leads tours in Cornwall in villages south of Port Isaac. He is knowledgeable about the time tables for tides, events in the sky, and weather. He informed me long before I arrived this may be a possibility if the sky cooperated. The added bonus was Ken and his wife treated me like an old friend.

If you are interested in seeing Cornwall south of Port Isaac through the eyes of a landscape photographer, book a tour with Ken Whalley and Photograph West Cornwall.

For more information look here: http://photographwestcornwall.com

To see some of his work, this is the Facebook page for his business: https://www.facebook.com/Photographwestcornwall/?eid=ARDnpqg1FH1Z_9FJl7n9hpMLWiY1rwqqq6cJbdlM_GAms6Yy_R9fC8WNOgHeg07My1ngT6Tow8kFVluQ&timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=100004050793544&fref=tag

People of New York

Do you ever see interesting people on your travels you would like to have a conversation with? Are certain people a fixture in a neighborhood? I recently stopped to chat with one such person.

Louis Mendes I have seen quite often on 34th Street near the corner of 9th Avenue in New York City. Since I love taking pictures, I see him when I visit my favorite camera store in the city, B and H. Louis is never without his camera. For street portraits he uses a 1940s Speed Graphic camera that he turned into an instant camera by rigging polaroid gear on the back.

Louis has taken many photos over the years of famous people. Some of those names include Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, and Hillary Clinton. He also has photographed some of the jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He is from New York, but also he has liked visiting New Orleans to take photos. These days he makes money by taking photos of people on the street in New York.

Louis is an interesting person to talk to. He does move around, but I have seen him quite frequently on 34th. If you are visiting Manhattan and get down in the neighborhood of 34th Street and see him, say hello. Louis is truly an icon of New York.

Louis has a Facebook page that is maintained by a friend. You can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/LOUIS.MENDES.ICON/

You can find out more about Louis here: https://twitter.com/nypost/status/980894638205800448

Meow Parlour NYC

Have you ever been in a coffee shop that shares its space with cats? Do you want to experience a relaxed setting where you can play with cats and kittens up for adoption? Perhaps your building does not allow animals and you want to spend time with a furry buddy. If any of this interests you head for Meow Parlour on Hester Street in Manhattan.

One of the younger kittens available for adoption.
How Does it Work?

Go to Meow Parlour at 46 Hester Street on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. They have a window where you will make your appointment. Then you head next door to the Macaron Parlor Patisserie featuring Harney and Sons tea, macaroons, scones, muffins, cookies and other baked goods. Order your food and sign the online form releasing responsibility in case you get scratched or bit. Then wait to be called. I only had to wait about 15-20 minutes. You can take your food with you when you hang with your feline friends.

When you return you take off your shoes. They have plenty of toys to tempt the cats with. There are areas in the store for cats to sleep in. There are sitting areas for the humans. When I visited there were some older kittens and younger ones as well as one cat that appeared to be full grown.

This gal is named Coffee Mate. She is in the window watching the action on the street.
They had boxes with see through tops and entrances shaped like cats that were used for cat naps.
Older kitten watching the humans at the window.

You pay on the way out. The cost is $8 for thirty minutes. This helps them pay their heating and electric costs for the premises.

Decor

The location is filled with cat related items for decoration and some for sale. There are books on the shelf you can sit and read while you spend time there, all about cats of course. There are children’s books such as The Cat in the Hat and others.

Cat decor

They also sell cat related items such as t-shirts.

Hours
Purpose

Meow Parlour partners with the shelter Animal Care Centers of NY. The kittens and cats that are at this location are up for adoption. There are opportunities to foster as well.

For more information look here: https://www.meowparlour.com

If you are looking to adopt, foster, or just spend time with a feline friend, travel to Meow Parlour. Its the cat’s meow.

National Cathedral Gargoyles

Gargoyles and grotesques of long ago were frequently scary images of monsters and mythical creatures. Today as some places replace ones that are wearing down in the elements, they may put in place ones based on real people or even characters from stories. One such place that is doing that is that National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Darth Vader is very high up. He is on the dark side of one section.

I heard they had a Darth Vader grotesque. I asked the guards at the Cathedral where it was located. They answered look on the dark side. They didn’t seem so sure of its exact location themselves. I had to ask someone wandering around. It is high up on the dark side of northwest tower of the cathedral. It is very high up and one would need good binoculars to locate it.

For help locating the Darth Vader grotesque look here: https://cathedral.org/what-to-see/exterior/vader/

Gargoyles

Gargoyles have pipes going through a section of their body, usually the mouth. The purpose is to lead the water away from the building.

Monster with curlers?
Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Two heads are better than one
Man-like creature with big eyebrows
Stick a fork in it- fishlike?
Definitely scary
Grotseques

Grotesques are like gargoyles, except they are more for decoration. They do not have a pipe protruding from a mouth.

A more traditional one
Making fun of the cathedral visitors?
Part man -part hooved beast
Appears to be a bagpiper
Angel rat

Many go to the cathedral to see the interior. If you plan to visit, bring a good pair of binoculars or a zoom lens. It is worth looking up.

Taylor Farm

More and more farms have to get creative to stay afloat in the age of mega farms. There are less and less small family farms. One such small farm that is getting creative is the Taylor Farm in Londonderry, Vermont.

They have chickens, horses, and cows.

You can get up close and personal with some of their animals. Among their animals are chickens and cows. They have a piano next to the cow barn, so if you are talented enough you will get a four-legged audience gathering behind you. I did not take a picture of the piano because a youngster was sitting at it trying to play scales repeatedly while I was there. Not interesting enough for our animal friends.

They have a farm store on the property with a variety of items. Outside they have a wood oven. They sell wood-fired bagels in the morning. You can add a variety of toppings including guacamole, their own cheese, and other choices. They will stick the bagels back in the oven to melt the butter and cheese for you. It appears they sell wood fired pizzas in the afternoon. I saw a sign on the road for that while I was there.

Wood-fired bagels. They made plain, everything, and maple the day I was there.

If you are traveling through the area, make a stop at Taylor Farms. It is a nice location for a break in your travels.

Autumn Horses

I believe these horses were in Vermont. Otherwise they were in NY near the Vermont border.
I have stopped at other farms to try to get horse pictures, but these horses were more photogenic. They were very friendly. They came right up to me to say hello. I was standing roadside. A third horse was more shy.
The building behind him is rather dilapidated, but it makes for a more interesting photo.

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