New York City – November 2017 – Tourist Day in Manhattan

With a day to spend in Manhattan with nothing special planned we wandered the city and checked out some of the non tacky tourist spots (i.e. Time Square)

 

Bryant Park Ice Rink and the Main Library

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Entrance to Rockefeller Center

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Statue and Flags at Rockefeller Center

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The Oculus

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Central Park West View

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A stop at the Met.

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Ornate apartment building on Fifth Avenue.

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Where do they put the prisoners?

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Driving in India – November 2017 – Bangalore and Hyderabad

Having the opportunity to spend a week in Bangalore and Hyderabad India I took the opportunity to get some photos of the everyday life on the streets of the cities.

It should be noted that while it is very different from North America and Europe in terms of driving/walking ‘protocol’, it seems to work for India. I saw amazingly few dented cars despite the constant tight traffic.

 

Why take the walkway when you can dodge traffic.

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Home Depot was apparently out of trucks.

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The random high rise cow.

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In 120km of riding around the city I saw 1 traffic light, which can explain some conflicts at the intersections.

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Hang on buddy.

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The no horn sign is easily the most ignored sign in all of India.

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What is the record for people on a scooter, why 4. Although the 3 on the other scooter is a close second. It should be noted that they have a helmet law for drivers – but not apparently for children or adult passengers.

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Drive thru fruit stands.

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I was amazed at the side saddle riding balance.

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Cincinnati – October 2017 – Cyclocross

A ‘cyclocross’ (cross country bicycling racing) was held on a cold Sunday in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield. The event took place throughout the streets and fields of a park.

With teams from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and beyond the pits were filled with an impressive collection of tents, trucks and bikes while the technicians readied them for the races.

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There were numerous classes, including this one the start of a multi-group female race. This race had under 23s and over 35s.

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Miles of blue tape outlined the course up and down throughout the park.

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Some racers were more bundled for the cold weather than others.

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Famed baseball player Satchel Paige had a quote ‘don’t look back someone might be gaining on you’ – clearly she didn’t head his advice.

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A sand pit results in some small jumps, although nothing like a BMX track would yield.

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It did however cause some of the racers to get a bit off course.

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Given Halloween is near a couple of riders dressed for the occasion, like the human taco.

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A few got hung up on a small hill and had to dismount.

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Racing to the finish.

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Joliet & Pontiac, Illinois – October 2017 – Route 66 begins

While officially Route 66 started in downtown Chicago it isn’t until you get out of town a bit to Joliet before it really is emphasized by the local communities.

Downtown Joliet has the unique position where Route 66 crossed the first major trans-continental road, the Lincoln Highway.

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Joliet is also the home of old Joliet Prison, home of the (fictional) Joliet Jake Blues – of Blues Brothers fame. Now closed the day we were there an Illinois Department of Corrections van and officer was in the parking lot – to keep people from breaking into prison!

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The Blues Brothers are celebrated throughout town – on the ice cream stand…

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An auto parts store…

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And a replica Bluesmobile high above a truck stop.

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Further south along Route 66 is the town of Pontiac, where they have a nice museum celebrating the history and impact of the road on Illinois.

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Also throughout town are mural/billboards. The town was once home to a ‘Walldog’ festival. Walldogs are the names of the group of artists who paint these impressive murals. During the 3 days they had the festival in Pontiac, 19 of the murals were painted.

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Inlcuding one that celebrates Route 66 across Illinois.

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Also throughout town are smallĀ  artistic cars and trucks.

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Finally in an alley we found another fabulous mural.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event where over 200 buildings open up for free tours. Most of the buildings aren’t normally even open to visitors, so it is even more special to get to see inside.

We spent two very long days touring as many as possible.

 

Our first stop was the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a money museum.

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Next door is the Chicago Board of Trade, featuring a large vault in the basement housing safe deposit boxes, including one was used by Al Capone.

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The lobby of the Board of Trade Building is magnificent.

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Further up South LaSalle Street we were able to go up to a 22nd floor outdoor seating area of a financial firm.

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The lobby of 231 South LaSalle Street is very ornate, although cluttered with the Cubs ‘W’ flag because of the playoffs.

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One of the few lines we encountered was at the famed Rookery Building. On this day we could go up to the spiral staircase.

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The view from below leading up the staircase is equally impressive.

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The lobby at 1 North LaSalle Street continues with the Art Deco style of most of the buildings on the street,

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Another basement, another safe deposit section. This one was massive.

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One of the newest buildings is 150 North Riverside, with it’s tapered bottom.

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The position of 150 North Riverside at the corner of the branches of the Chicago River offered great views in all directions.

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Back on the ground for a panorama of the area.

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The Builders Building also has a great lobby.

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The Michigan Avenue lift bridge was open with views of the gears and the opportunity to go up to the tower.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 2

Part two of the tour starts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The tour indicated you could go on stage, which I was expecting a large concrete pad. Instead it was a beautiful wood stage with the risers for the orchestra behind it.

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Outside was the famed curved metal of the pavilion.

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Not officially part of the tour we went past the tourists at the Bean.

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The Maclean Center Grand Ballroom is the home of an art school.

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The famed Railway Exchange Building had an architectural firm open on the fifth floor, giving a rare view above the skylights.

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Along with a nice view of Millennium Park.

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111 West Monroe Street was the home of another architectural firm who had some great models that they have designed and built.

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Yet another firm down the street in the National Building had a visually interesting work on the entrance wall.

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While not open we passed by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

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Also not officially part of the tour, but always open and interesting is Union Station.

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Our final stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood is the Ravenswood Events Center. Once a sign factory someone has purchased it and restored it to show off their exotic cars.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 3

The Open House tour continued in the Logan Square neighborhood with Metropolis Coffee. This small business roasts specialty coffee, using some vintage coffee roasters.

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In the West Loop area is Big Monster Toys. Situated in an old trucking terminal, they specialize in creating new toys to license to the major manufacturers.

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Also in West Loop is the Publisher Bed and Breakfast. Originally a publishing house, then a casket company, then a museum, the building now houses a very nice B & B

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Near Skinner Park is the Columbian Model & Exhibit Works. Here they do amazing work building architectural models. This was one of my favorite stops of the weekend.

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Further out on the West Side is the original Sears Tower. Built in 1906 it was the administration building for the vast Sears warehouse area that served the catalog sales for over 80 years. Today the 3 million square foot warehouse is gone, but the administration building has been re-purposed for community service.

 

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Across the street is the former powerhouse which has been converted into a high school.

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Zap Props is located in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the south side. Home of thousands of items, many have been used in the TV and movie filmings that have occurred in Chicago.

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Also in Bridgeport is Stockyards Brick and Timber. Here they specialize in reclaimed building materials.

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Just around the corner is the Decorators Supply Company. Expecting a sales office, we were pleasantly surprised to find a high end plaster trim and detail manufacturer.

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Continuing in Bridgeport we stopped at the Ling Sheng Ching Tze Buddist Temple.

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Our final stop was at the Chicago Maritime Museum

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Without a doubt Open House Chicago will be an annual event for us.