Archive for New York

Day 15 (Wednesday 26 May) New York

A change of pace today. We took a tour of Harlem this morning  visiting a local church and participating in a local gospel service. The singing was very uplifting. After the service we had a tour of area and given a commentary on the area. Today the population of Harlem is now 30% white and other nationalities and the remaining 70% consists of African and African-Americans. The area is now becoming a sought after location for many people to live as housing is more affordable here.

We then returned to the city and had a further look around visiting Saks and Macy’s and I visited the Girl Scout shop. We are now in the process of packing up as we leave New York early tomorrow morning as we travel to Washington. So on that note we will sign off and our next post will be from Washington. Bye for now. N&W

Day 14 (Tuesday 25 May) New York

Well today was certainly a day and a half! We were up at 6:00am and after an early breakfast started out for the subway! A couple of false starts initially and then we were right. We went to South Wharf and caught the ferry to see the Statue and Ellis Island (so many people – and it was early!) in the end we decided not to tour Ellis Island instead opting for the subway again and a trip to Brooklyn. We came out near the Brooklyn Museum and found a small Greek cafe called Teddy’s where we had something for lunch. Then we walked around the outskirts of the Botanical Gardens and the Prospect Zoo until we came to some strip shopping and some fantastic brownstone residences/apartments (where people in Brooklyn live). The street numbering here is similar to New York proper 1st, 2nd, 3rd Avenue etc. We walked down a part of 7 th Avenue and back up 5th Avenue and then got back on the subway and back to Manhattan Island – we then decided to visit the Rockefeller centre and take a look at the city skyline (the photos taken unfortunately were not as good as I had hoped as I needed to use the video camera as the battery on my camera had run out! and don’t bother asking how this happened – this question has already been raised here – as brilliant as I am sometimes I have a lapse in concentration!!!!!!) anyway it was still great to visit. We then walked back to our Hotel and had half an hour to freshen up before heading back up to Broadway to see Mary Poppins. The show was fantastic (amazing stage settings, props and technical work) and the performers were brilliant.

So all in all a great way to spend my 52nd birthday (and one I am sure to remember!). I am a bit tired now (Norm has nodded off) so goodnight from here (and more things planned for tomorrow!) Love N&W

Scenes from New York and Brooklyn

Day 13 (Monday 24 May) New York

Well today Norm and I visited Kathy Cloninger  (CEO) of Girl Scouts of the USA at their Head Office. It was great to catch up with Kathy and Lynn Cothryn. During my visit I was able to meet with a number of their senior staff; this was a great opportunity to discuss a number of issues and it was interesting just how similar some of the issues we are facing in Australia are to the ones that they are currently addressing.

After my visit – which lasted around 4 hours – I met up with Norm who had been out and about organising our next adventures, and we had a further walk around 5 th Avenue. At the end of the day we met up with Kathy and Lynn and had a very pleasant social get together. They are both off to Washington tomorrow where Kathy will meet with the First Lady (Michelle Obama) with other  senior people from major nonprofit organisations to discuss issues facing young people today. Michelle Obama is the equivalent of the President of Girl Guides Australia.

It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to catch up with Kathy and to meet with a number of her senior staff. So all in all another great day! Signing off for today. N&W

Meeting with Kathy Cloninger, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA

Day 12 (Sunday 23 May) New York

Well another day of walking – I think my knees are feeling it most! We started out at around 10:00am and arrived back at our Hotel at 9:00pm. We walked to the Financial District which is Downtown – saw all of the sights including the Flatiron Building, City Hall, Ground Zero, Trinity Church (where we heard a local youth choir sing some lovely songs) and Wall Street; we walked through Soho and Greenwich Village and visited Bloomingdale. We also walked the Brooklyn Bridge. We had dinner at a lovely little French restaurant in Soho on our way back to the Hotel. 

Norm has obviously picked up all of the local habits of walking against the lights (something I must say that I am struggling with!) but he persists and I follow – as he keeps telling me if we waited at all of the lights it would add an extra hour to our walk if we were to cover the same distance! Norm also wants me to put up more photos and video!!!!! – as I have explained to him it actually takes a bit of time to out put this together so you are only getting a smattering of what we are collecting. Hopefully it gives you a bit of an idea of what we are up to. That’s enough for today.

One last thing – I wasn’t overly descriptive yesterday about what we saw – we did see Grand Central Stationand Norm wanted me to put up a piece of video he took while we were there. I don’t think it is going to win any prize for best amateur video etc but to humour him I am putting up this clip from yesterday.  Signing off now. N&W.

Some of the sights from today's adventure

Day 11 (Saturday 22 May) New York

Oh Boy! What  a day. Norm had the whole day mapped out (thank goodness I wasn’t much into planning what we would do. We have walked most of the day and taken in about 90 blocks.

We took a carriage ride around Central Park with Tony the Italian coach driver who has lived in New York for 35 years. It was great. taken lost of photos and video but am just in between activities. Having a quick shower next before going to see a show on Broadway (A Little Night Music) – am really looking forward to this.

When I get a chance I will post some photos and video. Bye for now. N&W

Day 10 (Friday 21 May) Harvard & NY

Well last day at Harvard – it was great! The last presenter was absolutely amazing – she was inspiring and passionate (but words are difficult to describe her impact).

I have some new ideas and new contacts and have done some soul-searching – what more can you ask for! (Not sure I am any wiser though).

I have now joined up with Norm after taking the train from Boston. Norm has taken me for a walk around the centre of town and checking out Times Square. Time to sign off for today; more tomorrow. N&W

Norm & Wendy in Times Square

Day 9 (Thursday 20 May) Harvard & NY

Well we had farewell dinner and have just come back to my room to attempt some miraculous packing feat! I don’t know everything is completely out of control.

 The course has been excellent from a number of different perspectives and I have enjoyed the time out to think about a whole range of issues (it is a bit – like a retreat but not necessarily the silent type – you actually cannot keep around 40 women quiet for any real length of time!!!!! and anyway why would you?).

Norm has really become a part of the NY culture and is looking forward to showing me around “his” city.

Was planning a less strenuous day today but still covered 60+ blocks.
Went to Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Rockerfeller Centre, checked out Empire State for next week, etc.
Had an extended stay in Central Park and watched the world go by.

That’s all from both of us tonight – I need to some reading and wrestle with my suitcase and then tomorrow is my last day here. Bye for now. N&W

Day 8 (Wednesday 19 May) – Harvard & NY

The course is going well – the time is really flying! about 75% of the class went out to dinner tonight and were a force to be reckoned with. The waitress at the restaurant did a wonderful job. She even allowed the bill to be split in a variety of ways (something not always welcome at our restaurants). Our taxi trip back was informative – the Boston Red Soxs beat the Yankees 3-2 tonight (it was played here in Boston) and the Boston Basketball team the Celtics are into the playoffs (I am getting into the sport here!).

More work required tonight for tomorrow’s classes so need to  hit the books shortly.

I have the following update from Norm (see below) – he is still enjoying New York  and finding out lots about it.

Still surviving. Stopped raining – mainly sunny all day – weekend supposed to be very good.

Still on foot – haven’t used bus, subway, etc. – covered another 100+ blocks today. (blocks are mainly shorter than home)

Where to today?
Downtown – via Broadway ( this street goes the whole length of the island)
Thru SOHO, past City Hall – before SOHO the areas were fairly depressed.
SOHO  = retail, similar to Chapel St / South Yarra.
Lots of schools and apartments
School kids are walking everywhere
Visited St Paul’s chapel at Ground Zero.
Ground Zero is being reconstructed but progress very slow – supposed to finished 2011 – no way.
Then on to Wall Street – the Dow immediately rose when I entered the trading room at the NYSE.
Had another hot dog.
The financial area is very up market.
Saw the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River – then to Battery Park – ferries leave here for Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island.
Then to the Smithsonian Institute for American Indians – there are lots of S I in New York & Washington.
On the way back I saw the Flat Iron building
Overall the day was fantastic (one of your words) – saw many different “suburbs” along the way.

Well that is all for today. Back tomorrow. N&W

Day 7 (Tuesday 18 May) – Harvard & NY

Norm phoned last night – he is completely in control of New York (would we have expected anything less?). He seemed really excited about the things he has seen so far and is doing lots of walking and orientating himself. He will be completely on top of things by the time I get there on Friday.

I have just received the following from Norm:

Started raining early and only got worse – rained heavily all day.
Lucky all my North Face gear proved to be waterproof.

On way back dropped into Broadway to see if any shows to see next week.
Back at hotel early – about 5.00

Places I visited included Madison Square Garden, bottom of Empire State building, Girl Scouts office, J P Morgan & UBS offices, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Rain got that bad I walked about 20 blocks to the Museum (from the picture) – excellent but big crowd.

Saw parts of NY at their worst – lot of infrastruture problems – roads, buidings etc. People are incredibly polite.

It is really full on at Harvard. Hopefully I will begin to shift through some of the information and organise it in my head. So much to think about!

The women on the course are very inspiring and each with a different story to tell. In many ways we are different but equally there are many similarities. I am off to dinner now and some thought gathering after that. Bye for now. N&W

Day 6 (Monday 17 May) – Harvard

First full day at Harvard – it is great very challenging but great. The diversity of the group certainly makes for interesting discussion and debate. The course is developed around using case studies. We prepare between 3 and 4 case each day and put ourselves in the shoes of the people depicted in the cases and we are challenged to take a stand on how the case should be handled and then justify our reasoning. This in turn is then translated into how we incorporate this learning into the way we operate.

Each morning we meet with our Board of Advisers made up of 4 of us plus a Harvard facilitator (the person facilitating our group is a trained coach and is very good). We meet for 2 hours from 7:30am – 9:30am and we each provide ideas and support to each other to resolve a personal challenge that we have each identified. At the end of the course we develop an action plan on how to move forward – I love this stuff; sometimes it is good to challenge your values and to see yourself through the eyes of other people.

I have heard from Norm – here is his update on his first day in New York:

Had a very full and excellent day.
Decided to see all on foot – walked 120 blocks or more.

As you all know Norm is a man of few words!!!!!!!

Expecting a phone call soon with a fuller update. More insights tomorrow. Love to all. N&W

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