Culture, Europe, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – A dog’s dinner

No, I’m not complaining about the fare I’m being served up here during lockdown… I’ll leave that to the Son and Heir.

It’s just that my dog-mad extended Irish and American family have been preparing for the reopening of restaurants by flagging up how their pets have been coping in lockdown.

Well, is the answer if Harry and Coco are anything to go by.

Few are as barking about their pooches as the Americans and the Japanese but where they lead (sorry) the way we have followed.

So here’s my five top of the pups (there’s more of this!).

New Bark, New Bark

Paws for thought. Credit: Jenna Murray/IGC Hospitality

The Wilson NYC, New York: And where I first encountered puppy pampering and pedicures down on the block on Rockville Center in Long Island when I first visited the Big Apple in my first summer after school.

And only in America as they say because puppies never got their nails painted in Glasgow!

I’m glad to say that the New Yorkers still treat their pets as Top Dogs.

And Halloween gives them the perfect chance to dress their pups up as Superman, Batman and other superheroes down on Battery Park.

This Chelsea favourite sees the maitre d’ (for dog) put your pet up at the high table and treat them to a distinct dog menu.

With fancy options like a 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak for $42, pan-roasted salmon for $28, and grilled chicken breast for $16.

All on the restaurant’s side patio and front terrace, where their pet humans order their own steak off the regular menu. See https://thewilsonnyc.com, http://www.nycvb.com and Old New York: Hamilton.

Indian pup trick

Puppychino, New Delhi: The Indians have a religious love for their animals which is endearing but surprising for those not brought up around animals.

Such as my Dear Old Dad who baulked at the bus driver who stopped the No. 52 while a cow ambled across the road. Before getting off his coach to do a dump in the street and get back on.

This is Puppychino and it is one of many cafes and restaurants around India where the animal is put first, rather than in some establishments I’ve been in where you’re treated like an animal.

See https://www.zomato.com/ncr/puppychino-dog-friendly-cafe-1-shahpur-jat-new-delhi, http://www.incredibleindia.com and Yoga-dabba-do – International Yoga Day.

Japanese growl

Your table’s ready, Sir

Mame-Shiba, Cafe, Harajuku, Tokyo: Now Japan’s culture of low tables and sheer eccentricity lends itself admirably to dog cafes and restaurants.

And these guys are in doggie heaven…

The entry fee covers entrance, a drink and a time slot of 30 minutes with your favourite furry friend. Get there early to avoid long queues. See http://brangista.j-server.com/BRAOWLCATF/ns/tl.cgi/http://owls-cats-forest.com/free/mameshiba-harajuku?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=0&XCHARSET=utf-8&XJSID=0 and https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html and https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/.

Don’t mess with Le Toutou

You big softie

Le Toutou, Brussels: So Le Toutou means doggie, but you knew that, right?

And there’s no distinction between doggies and humans here.

With both being treated to a choice of dishes from pasta or rice to vegetables, beef or chicken, all being high in fibre and low in salt.

The pooches though get their own beer, as they should, Red Dog.

It’s an energy beer which is described as the ‘subtle taste of bone marrow’. Visit https://visit.brussels/en and In Flanders fields.

Old Barkie

Dog-tired

Edinburgh Chihuahua Cafe: Billing itself as Scotland’s first dog cafe its owners are barking about two things…

Cakes and dogs, and chihuahuas to be precise.

They advertise that resident Chihuahuas will roam freely amongst guests.

For you to pet, cuddle, play with, take photos or simply observe and enjoy.

Just what Edinburgh’s most famous doggie, Greyfriars Bobby, would think of the Chihuahuas getting all this pampering…

Don’t worry though Bobby, you’re still No. 1.

Bobby and Jimmy

And we’ll never stop patting you, although kissing his nose has left it to wear away!

See https://edinburghchihuahuacafe.co.uk/product/thanks/ https://edinburgh.org, http://www.visitscotland.com and Edinburgh – an old friend and Putting these statues on a pedestal.

America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Hat’s the way to do it

We’ve long forgotten that it was milliners Dunn & Co who came up with the brand ‘If you want to get ahead get a hat’ in the 1940s.

But it’s the enduring appeal of the power of a slogan that it endures,

It has also become something of an unconscious personal mantra.

I’d even go as far as to coin my own slant: ‘put on a new hat, put on a new you.’

Hatta boy!

So an entirely unscientific trawl through five hats on my travels and why when I put them on I’m transported right back there.

The tail of Denver

Remember the Jimbo

Davy Crockett hats, Denver, Colorado: And a reacquaintance two years ago with an old friend, a raccoon hat in Denver www.denver.org and Go West.

I got a reputation for myself in my alma mater, chilly Aberdeen Aberdeen – a light in the north for wearing said hat.

Forward fast to San Antonio, Texas, and the Alamo town www.visitsantonio.com hosts the US Travel fair www.ipw.com in 2023.

And I’ll blend in with all the other Davy Crockett impersonators.

Does this car look big in me? The Cote d’Azur

In the Cannes

Trilby hat, Cote d’Azur: Well it is Cannes and it’s what they’ve come to expect of me out there.

A classic Fiat 500 is obligatory too. Visit www.mandelieu.com and The Boat D’Azur.

Sailor boy: In West Hollywood

Sail away in California

Hello sailor, West Hollywood: It’s nautical but nice and in Pride Week in camp WeHo you have to make an effort.

I strutted like a peacock after getting a compliment from a queen.

I was on my morning constitutional www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/

Buen Camino

Camino hat, Santiago de Compostella, Rome, Tenerife, the Austrian Tyrol: And if you’ve walked the Camino then it’s important to tell everyone after.

It also keeps the sun off your head but that’s secondary.

Visit www.CaminoWays.com, www.FrancigenaWays.com. www.CanariaWays.com and www.tyrol.com. www.topflight.ie and www.topflightforschools.ie.

And A pilgrim’s prayer, Small roads lead to Rome, A walk through the ages… Tenerife.

If the hat fits

Cowboy Jimmy

Cowboy hat, Washington DC: Like a Greystones cowboy, riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo.

It was given to me by my Portland, Oregon https://www.travelportland.com friends and I showcased it with a glittery beard in DC https://washington.org and Easy DC.

And on the hottest day of the year carting luggage around New York https://www.nycvb.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/amp/.

MEET YOU IN A HAT

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Europe

Covid-day Snaps – Canarian ‘safe’ passports

Nobody likes their passport pic, particularly now we can’t even smile.

Mine’s looks like it could have been taken more than 100 years ago when they were first introduced.

But we don’t even flinch at being asked now for it and I suspect we’ll quickly get used to the technology being rolled out by the Canary Islands to get us back travelling.

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation have agreed a flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian firm Hi + Card

I can just taste that Tenerife Shakespearean wine Malvasia.

CanariaWays www.CanariaWays.com will make you earn it with their walking holidays but it’s worth it. Also see https://www.hellocanaryislands.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5dWNgOam6QIVCLLtCh2C-AsBEAAYASAAEgLfaPD_BwE

My other family

Family business:: I feel I know these LA folk

If your family is driving you up the wall you may be taking sanctuary in a TV family… me, I’ve been a fly on the wall at the Pritchards and the Dunphys in LA.

Our first introduction to American cities was througb the gogglebox… The Streets of San Francisco https://www.sftravel.com, Cheers in Boston https://www.bostonusa.com, Miami Vice https://www.miamiandbeaches.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/fort-lauderdale-and-miami-a-tale-of-two-sittings/.

Colorado rocks

Denver’s Dynasty www.denver.org Go West and Mork and Mindy in Colorado www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen Pawn Stars in Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic and House of Cards in Washington www.washington.org and Easy DC.

And New York www.nycvb.com where my Uncle Petie became a superstar in my eyes when Kojak filmed in his bar.

From Missouri to happiness today: Cam and Mitch

I always make a point of annoying the Scary One by pointing out that I’ve been there which is probably why she doesn’t watch Modern Family…

The climax of which is playing out in a two-parter.

Gay parents Mitch Pritchard, an uptight lawyer and Cam Tucker, a hillbilly football coach steal the show.

Hello sailor: In West Hollywood

But it is time for them to move to Cam’s Missouri and leave behind LA https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and I dare say to West Hollywood, the chillest, gayest part of LA https://www.visitwesthollywood.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

Where I was complimented on my sailor’s hat and bandana combo.

And if we you feel like the only news you’re getting out of the Oo Es of A is bad then I’ll redress the balance.

So hold on and I’ll let you know how among others my Native American and my Deep South pals are meeting the challenges and prevailing.

We’ll wait for you, Princess

Cruise liners were a sitting target for their critics when the virus first visited.

But they have shown a self-sacrificing responsibility and a willingness to change and I believe they will come back stronger.

Princess www.princess.com has announced the cancellation of select 2020 summer sailings.

And this is a reminder of what we’re all missing and will enjoy again https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/30/cruiseday-tuesday-the-princesss-medallion-man/amp/.

We stayed open

Health is wealth: At the Buchinger Wilhelmi

Our European friends pride themselves on their spas and scientific holiday retreats.

And the Buchinger Wilhelmi http://www.buchinger-wilhelmi.com medi-spa, which overlooks Lake Constance and the Alps and prides itself.

On its therapeutic fasting and integrative medicine, has stayed open through this crisis.

They have a ten-day fasting programme from £2340pp.

And it includes two consultations with a doctor, daily nurse, check-ups, food/drink, fasting provisions and daily activities.

Now, I love an oul’ spa and retreat and my friends, the Czechs know them better than most… www.czechtourism.com and Hope springs eternal.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine, Ireland

Hungry and Thursday – New York’s Irish Cottage

A little corner of Queen’s, New York, will forever be Co. Donegal.

For 60 years ex-pats and people who aren’t called Pat but love their craic have chosen The Irish Cottage as their place of refuge.

From the humdrum and their troubles at home.

Here Danny and Kathleen McNulty would make them feel part of their family and as close to being in Donegal https://www.govisitdonegal.com as you could be… 5,000kms from Ireland.

An emotional moment: At the Irish Cottage

Full disclosure here, Danny and Kathleen McNulty are my uncle and auntie.

The force of Nature that she was, Auntie Kathleen, passed onto the great Irish Cottage in the sky last month.

Where Uncle Danny would have been waiting for with her favourite drink.

I first visited the Irish Cottage in 1983 before I could even legally drink but it didn’t stop Auntie Kathleen have me moving kegs out back.

All the cousins were employed there to varying degrees over the years.

The canopy was lowered on a Queen’s institution – Steve Buscemi (of Boardwalk Empire) is a patron – last month to mark Auntie Kathleen’s passing.

I have a wealth of memories of the Irish Cottage.

Particularly the last occasion we broke (soda) bread there.

And the McNultys got the greater family out from Long Island.

And we had their famous Surf ‘n’ Turf… I could still be trying to finish it now.

Visitors to New York https://www.nycvb.com will obviously and rightly take in the iconic sites…

The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty. the Rockefeller Center, Broadway er al.

Me, the history buff that I am walked in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/28/old-new-york-hamilton/.

If you have time (and if you don’t, make it) then head out to the borough of Queens.

And Flushing Meadows https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/flushing-meadows-corona-park.

Where the US Open tennis https://ustanew2.gotennissource.com is a unique experience and where another famous Scot (Andy Murray) rocked NY when he won the men’s title in 2012.

You should also check out the New York Hall of Science https://nysci.org, the Museum of the Moving Image http://www.movingimage.us and Rockaway Beach.

While I’ll also pay a visit and dwell and think about the most famous residents of the Irish Cottage at 10807 72nd Avenue, Forest Hills.

MEET YOU IN NEW YORK

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Murty’s further adventures of Tintin (or Jim Jim)

So what do I have in common with Boris Johnson? The art of scribbling, of course, but also Hergé’s The Further Adventures of Tintin.

It transpires that the most famous ginger boy journalist in history has been keeping the convalescing British prime minister’s spirits up.

Because rather than poring over government papers and that pesky bug the premier has been gorging on Tintin adventures.

Encore Tintin

In French obviously!

More Tintin… this time in English

Maybe though he’s looking for inspiration on how to beat the bug because this coronavirus really could be a script out of a Tintin book.

Un pour Boris

One for Boris

Tintin and the Curse of COVID-19

The one where Tintin and Snowy head for Wuhan and the white fox terrier is captured by wet market traders who want to sell him for food.

And he also exposes a laboratory which is harvesting viruses.

We all need a scientist

All the gang come out, or are there already…

Thomson and Thompson are on a lecher tour, while Bianca Castafiore is performing to adoring Chinese ausiences.

And ‘blistering barnacles’ Captain Haddock is getting into all kinds of scrapes while Professor Calculus is researching a cure.

My journalist hero (no, not Boris)

Of course Tintin has been a hero for Fiftysomething journalists all over the world.

With the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardiner even retracing Tintin’s steps for a TV special.

Hergé, interestingly, never left Belgium and his grasp of the world came from a photographer friend.

A joke in every line

Which means that the settings were somewhat stylised and his characters stereotyped.

But the adventures were, and still are captivating, and inspired a love of travel in all of us.

His adventures

The first of his 24 books was Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets which he wrote in the Twenties and where Frank revisited. Which you should do… https://www.visitrussia.org.uk.

While Hergé, like many young men in the Twenties was transfixed by America.

Tintin in America saw the Wee Man ride off into the Wild West. Sure you have to… www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

While he also took on the gamgsters of the Prohibition era.

And you can learn all about the real ones at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas https://themobmuseum.org. Also visit www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic

Tintin in the Far East

And he rocks a kilt

Tintin does travel out to China https://www.chinadiscovery.com in The Blue Lotus and other exotic destinations Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Crab with the Golden Claws in Northern Africa.

I got a glimpse of Egypt which just stirred my passion to get out there (I had passed up on Sharm el-Sheikh a couple of years ago) from the Jordan side of the Red Sea.

See www.visitjordan.com, www.gadventures.co.uk and http://www.egypt.travel.

Hergé Museum

And I had the type of misadventure that Hergé couldn’t even make up, and which I might even reprise when I stir up some courage again… https://www.visitmorocco.com/en.

The best place to see Hergé, of course, is in his homeland, the Hergé Museum in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve outside Brussels https://www.museeherge.com/en.

These days we are all confined to barracks and in the case of Boris Johnson bed-ridden by COVID-19.

So why not, do like Boris and let Tintin take you around the world.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

Teddy Bears’ window to the world

Every bear that ever there was… is in somebody’s window.

And the children of my neighbourhood are checking them off in an Easter hunt.

Of course we have a ‘hug’, or ‘Roosevelt’ of teddies, if either if those is the collective noun, vying for space on our window sills.

We all know that the bear was named after the-then US American President.

Who refused to shoot a tethered bear in Mississippi.

 

A Lara, Lara love

The home of the Blues and Elvis and Medgar Evers, it truly is the state that keeps on giving The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings

But it’s news to me that Richard Steiff from Berlin https://www.visitberlin.de/en has a counter claim to Brooklyn, New York www.nycvb.com Morris Michtom as the inventor of the bear.

All of which silly, willy, nilly all stuffed with fluff is just an excuse…

To talk about my favourite bear Winnie The Pooh (don’t tell Paddy) and other Teddy Bears around the world.

Bear with us here. http://www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk/the-museum

First port of call is the Teddy Bear Museum https://www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk/the-museum in Dorchester, Dorset which is 30 years old this year.

First opened in 1990 as The Bournemouth Bears it moved to Dorchester five years later and is Britain’s oldest Teddy Bear museum.

We’re told that Edward Bear (his Sunday name) will welcome you.

And that you will be treated to a range of vintage bears.

From the earliest prototypes by The Ideal Toy Company.

As well as Steiff, Farnell, Merrythought, Deans, Chiltern, vintage Chad Valley and many others.

Including Winnie the Pooh, Rupert, Paddington, his Aunt Lucy and Sooty.

Furs and stripes

In America where Teddy was born the best place to go is Morris’s adopted New York State (he was born a Russian Jew).

And The Den of Marbletown, Kingston, Ulster County. Visit https://www.syracuse.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/03/eb88eaf1a6864/have-you-heard-of-the-teddy-bear-museum-in-the-hudson-valley.html.

Teddy Bears’ Tea Party

Owned and operated by Nan and Steve Ferri it boasts more than 5,000 Steiff teddy bears and animals, Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, and hand-carved wooden toys.

WunderBear

Of course if you’re a Steiff fan the best place to go is the Steiff Museum in Berlin https://www.steiff.com/de-de/steiff-shop-outlet#.

And here purists may baulk at it but as well as the Steiff bears there is Disney and Harry Potter merchandising here too.

Now Germans are known for their efficiency so just a detour here to flag up the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg https://www.miniatur-wunderland.de.

Catch of the day

Big in Japan

Back to the bears and the Japanese who are a soppy bunch too and daft as brushes have the Izu Teddy Bear Museum in Ito, Shizuoka.

My Japanese needs some brushing up.

But take a look at these pictures and when you’re next in the Land of the Rising Sun catch http://www.teddynet.co.jp/izu/. Also visit https://www.japan.travel/en/uk/.

Thai high Teddies

As a qualified Tedologist I’m obviously all over the Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya in Thailand http://Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya, Thailand. And see https://www.tourismthailand.org.

And Pattaya is a world of wonders.

With zones throughout including a China, Europe, Dinosaur, Inca, Underwater and Space Super Hero among others.

America, Countries, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – your adopted team

And when I dunked that foam ball into the desk basketball hoop this week I channeled my inner Curly Neal.

Curly having just passed to the great court in the sky.

For many Fiftysomethings on our shores, Curly, Meadowlark and his Harlem Globetrotters pals were our first introduction to basketball.

The Globetrotters had a virtual monopoly in the Sixties and Seventies here before we got the NBA on our TVs.

Not a hair out of place

And it wasn’t just excitable schoolboys the Globetrotters had in their thrall with their antics.

Pope Paul VI got the full routine with tricks, tickertape and holy water sprinkled on him in a private game back in the day.

All of which fun you can replicate from your home office… if you don’t have a desk hoop then you can adapt.

Of course as a schoolboy I wasted many an hour sinking balls of paper into a bucket when I should have been learning my trigonometry.

All of which stuff and nonsense is a replacement for the real thing.

Having a ball: In Memphis

And isn’t it often the case that the game isn’t on when you get to town in your travels across America?

And you are left larking about in Memphis when the Grizzlies are supposed to be playing The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings. https://www.deep-south-usa.com

American dream

Which brings us to the thorny question of which American sports team to adopt.

Because when you land up in town the quickest way to learn about how things are done is to find out about the local sports teams.

My sporting buddy: Mickey Mouse

Orlando FC were in their infancy when I first met up with Harry Potter, Homer and Bart Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/theme-parks/universal-studios-florida.

Taking the Mickey

And The Donald, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy Why I love The Donald and https://www.disneyworld.co.uk.

While Memphis saw me picking up their love of basketball, I was pitched straight into the Eastern seaboard’s love of all the Big Four American sports on another occasion.

Sports-mad Philly

I got to learn about The Curse of Billy Penn’s peak in Philadelphia Philadelphia Freedom and https://www.discoverphl.com/visit/plan-your-trip/visitors-guide/.

I was already aware of the rivalries between the Eastern cities and my New York cousins had tried to foist their teams on me.

Kings of Queens

But again there was a schism there which I settled by plumping for the Queens teams, the New York Mets and Jets.

And I picked up the odd souvenir on my peregrinations www.nycvb.com and Old New York: Hamilton.

Which have come in handy for the desk and house games just now.

Capital stuff

Of course the best place to be, even if you can’t catch a game, is the ball park.

A Nationals institution: In Washington

And I got to try out for the Washington Nationals Easy DC and https://washington.org

And hang out with the Bandanettes in Denver at the Broncos’ Mile High stadium … Go West and https://www.denver.org.

Now if you do get to a game then I guess that’s the biggest motivator.

Wild horses wouldn’t… At Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium

And so the Anaheim Angels https://visitanaheim.org and https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland/ are in contention for my vote.

Go Angels: In Anaheim

But so too then are the Toronto Blue Jays https://www.seetorontonow.com.

But while all of these cities have left their mark you never forget your first love.

Boston is full of beans

And that was Reggie Clemens and the Boston Red Sox on my summer working trip to Beantown after university.

I was in the midst of planning a visit out to Boston and New England for later this year with my hosts suggesting a tour of Fenway Park.

And a walk along the Green Monster left field wall.

My sports town: Boston Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

Home run! Visit https://www.boston.gov/visiting-boston.

And tell me which American sports team you support. Is it because you’ve been to see them, have relatives there, like the name of the team or the colour.

Let me know and we’ll share.

MEET YOU AT THE BALL GAME

Adventure, America, Countries, Europe

Get on your bikes – cycling around the world

It’s obviously not how cyclists would have planned it but after years of being pilloried THEY now rule the roads.

Back when I was nearer Sir Chris Hoy’s age than Eddy Merckx’s I would cycle everywhere in Edinburgh.

And take my life in my own hands like the time I was cut up at the roundabout by an elderly driver.

I was cycling straight on while Mad Motorist was on the outside lane but decided to turn left.

Not a car to be seen in Amsterdam

Picking myself and my bike up from the ground I was met by s screaming pensioner telling me I should have signalled!!!

Or there was the time I was waterbombed by some hoodlums from a tenement flat.

Ridden off the road

While I was also sprayed in the face with party foam while cycling through Edinburgh’s New Town.

Mmmm… I’d like to see them try any of those stunts in Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam

Where you’d probably be pushed into the canals by locals shouting CYCLISTS!

But they have a culture there, properly wide and thought-through cycle paths, and lanes separated by small walks beside dual carriageways.

Dutch driving

Which makes it a pleasure for all to enjoy the city with your IAmsterdam city pass www.iamsterdam.com Pictures of Amsterdam and George Clooney and Amal’s Amsterdam hotel.

Le Tour de Murty: The Pyrenees

France prides itself as the home of cycling where families cycle together The Boat D’Azur and https://uk.france.fr/en.

Or if they’re holding you back then you can always climb the mountain to Le Pic du Midi.

Tour de force

Where cyclists either climbing or whizzing down the mountain have right of way.

The same applies in Scandinavia and Northern Europe where the bike is often the preferred mode of transport.

The best cycling culture in the world probably: Denmark

And where my old University pal New Yorker Tom turned up for our meeting by old Hans Christian Andersen’s statue on his bike.

Wonderful Copenhagen

See https://www.visitcopenhagen.com and fit a day in on your MSC Cruises trip around the Norwegian fjords https://www.msccruises.co.uk and https://www.msccruises.ie. The call of the fjords.

Tom’s own New York may not immediately strike you as a shining example for cyclists but we’re probably thinking Manhattan here.

Staten Island Bicycling Association http://www.sibike.org

And that’s another reason to explore the five other boroughs… for example Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.

American cycling dream

While when you do do Manhattan and The Bronx I’d recommend walking tours and here’s where you can get a start Old New York: Hamilton. And www.nycvb.com.

Look at the space you have to cycle

California is all about the outside life where cyclists don the latest fashions and pose on their two wheels.

On the Venice Beach www.venicebeach.com and Santa Monica https://www.santamonica.com/things-to-do/santa-monica-beach/… And My Weekend With Marilyn. And www.visitcalifornia.com.

With a Paralympic champion in Quinta do Lago

Sportugeezer

And my cycling experiences? Showing off on my Sporting break at The Campus in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.

And took a straight road too sharply.., https://www.quintadolago.com/en/sports-wellness/the-campus/. And SPORTUGAL

Remember too in these days of social distancing if you are a driver give cyclists some space.

America, Countries, Culture, Food, Food & Wine

Old New York: Hamilton

There is much more that’s old about New York than new.

It’s just that we don’t always see it.

Walk through Broadway as I did en route to my Kimpton Hotel in Little Brazil, or 130 W 46th Street and you can’t fail to notice the giant billboard for Hamilton.

It is, of course the hip-hop musical that has taken the world by storm and it is playing at the Richard Rodgers Theater.

It’s the hottest ticket in town and you’d almost need to be the President or Vice-President to get one.

Where dreams are made of: Manhattan

Veep Mike Pence did, and such is the status that the actors in Hamiton have that they felt empowered enough to lecture him on his politics.

His big pal, the Greatest Living New Yorker, wasn’t impressed and dissed their stand on Twitter demanding – hilariously – that they apologise.

Shame there’s no evidence he’s ever seen the production because The Alexander and The Donald have much in common.

Messing about on the river: On the Hudson

Both are big business, both half-Scottish and both ladies’ men, both egotists and both bestrode their age.

And yet just before the musical reconnected Americans with Hamilton, appartchiks were planning to have him replaced on the $10 bill.

It would have been a particular kind of humiliation for the man who saved the nascent Union from bankruptcy and set up the financial system.

The one that has served The Donald and countless others so well.

The city that Alexander built

And yet other than on Broadway and on the $10 bill where in New York will you find ‘The Greatest Ever New Yorker’?

The best place to start is Central Park.

Another Central Park celeb

You’ll see a steady flow of tourists stopping by to pay tribute to John Lennon who only actually lived here for a few years.

He was always going to go back to England anyway and wouldn’t have been any good in a war.

He’d be lying back in bed talking about, well ‘giving peace a chance.’

Where would the New Yorkers and the Americans have been with someone like him?

My relatives came by here

Hamilton, by contrast, fought bravely in the defence of New York.

And represented them proudly in government, both here when New York was the nation’s capital from 1875-1878.

And in Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Where is Hamiton, though?

He’d appreciate a visit.

His statue is in Central Park, on East Drive, opposite 83rd Street, on the way to Harlem.

And seeing as you’re in the neighbourhood and it’s a Saturday then why not sign up for Jimmy Napoli’s Outside In Hamilton tour http://www.hamiltonsnewyork.com in Washington Heights and Hamilton Heights.

But not on this ship: A submarine on the Hudson

And find out more about this larger-than-life character.

Visit the actual Morris-Juliet Mansion that Washington chose as his HQ at the Battle of Harlem Heights.

And where Hamilton was by his side.

Hamilton history

It was later the home of one-time Vice-President and our hero’s nemesis Aaron Burr.

And it was from here that Washington and Hamilton looked down the peninsula to Manhattan burning in the distance.

Some bigger buildings would block their view today.

Jimmy’s hour-long, one mile walking tour will take you to other important landmarks in The Great Man’s life, including the restored Hamilton Grange National Memorial.

The McNultys, my mum’s people (Irish and American).

If there’s anything he’s missed out – and there won’t be – you can always catch up at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 226 W 46th Street.

My VIP pal

Again you’d probably need to be pals with the President or Veep to get a ticket.

Good job I am.

The Commander-in-Chief has a pitch on Times Square, near the Naked Cowboy, but more appropriately near Hamilton.

And it’s a beautiful pitch… a beautiful pitch.

Travel facts

How to get there: New York is served by airlines from airline.
And you can get pre-clearance from Ireland. And by bus and trains if you are in the US. I took a Peter Pan bus from DC. It takes nearly five hours.

Where to stay: Kimpton Muse has an executive room, one king bed, two adults from the equivalent of €307.66 for the sample dates of Friday, August 4, to Saturday, August 5. See http://www.kimptonhotels.com. Also visit http://www.nycvb.com.

I’ll revisit New York, mine and my Irish family’s entry like so many others, to America in this blog.

This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail in 2017.

It is part of a series America’s Capitals that also includes Washington DC http://Easy DC and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/philadelphia-freedom/

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Bring us your tempest-tost to America

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door

Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883

And earlier in the poem dedicated for the new Statue of Liberty which would sit on the Hudson Bay, a gift from America’s old allies France…

‘Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand. Glows worldwide welcome.’

Today those same French must wait at least 30 days along with the rest of the European Union, or those in the Shengen free-travel zone.

Before they can re-enter America.

The UK, now out of the European Union, is exempt.

While Ireland is a special case.

Which will allow me (for now) to visit the Florida Keys in a week and a half… https://fla-keys.com.

But what will be when the American Travel fair, IPW, throws open its doors in Las Vegas I’ll just have to wait and see.

And hope that my friends who I meet up with every year in an American city will be there.

Swede Agnetha, who I first met in the Czech Republic www.visitczechrepublic.com and was the first journalist I met in Washington Easy DC and have seen every year since.

There was the coachload in Colorado The New Frontiersmen and https://www.colorado.com.

Of Chinese, German, Jordanian and a very annoying Australian Alpha Male although in the spirit of the New Colossus I’d let him back in

While I always look forward to seeing Dutch Martin, my Blues-loving pal from our Deep South odyssey… The Promised Land, The story of the Blues, The King of Kings.

Who I met in Los Angeles https://www.discoverlosangeles.com and www.visitcalifornia.com last year.

I know Lady Liberty has her arms outstretched for us all and let’s hope the 30-day suspension achieves its aim.

And that this tempest-tost traveller, and those like me, will all be toasting our favourite country with our favourite people…

In Vegas https://www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic, in June.