Posts under ‘Americas’

Squirrels in the Park

The parks and gardens of New York City are full of fury critters like squirrels and chipmunks, we take a look at some squirrels playing on the lawns.


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Our First Video

Check out our first video. This one is of New York City’s South Street Seaport.


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New York’s South Street Sea Port

Amongst the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan tucked in on the Lower East Side is the South Street Seaport, one of the New York City’s thriving heritage villages. The precinct was once an important trading port between the 1820 and the 1860’s but like most cities around the world modernisation and the need for more space moved the port facilities away from the heart of the city.

In 1967 the South Street Seaport Museum was founded and helped remind people of the important heritage and value of the area. Then in 1998 a 12 square block historic district was designated by Congress forming “America’s National Maritime Museum”.  This protects the area for ever and the South Street Sea Port is one of New York City’s great treasures.

The precinct now houses museums; libraries craft centres and dozens of galleries, boutiques and some great dining including bakeries, breweries and marketplaces.The centrepiece of the seaport is Pier 17 which is a huge shopping and entertainment complex with lots of tourist based shopping, river view dining and a large festival food court with great selection of cuisine.

In the area around Pier 17 there is a wonderful collection of historic ships, this collection is the largest privately owned historic fleet in the USA and has as its centrepiece the Peking which is a four masted barque built in 1911. Other notable sea craft include the Wavetree which is a rigged cargo ship dating back to 1885, the Ambrose a 1908 lightship a 1900 Tugboat called Helen McAllister.

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Catalina Island Casino

Catalina is a small island off the coast of Long Beach California, and its most famous landmark is the magnificent Art Deco Casino which sits on Avalon Harbor. The casino was built by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr, who owned much of the island in May of 1929. It was not a casino in the usual form with no gaming, it was actually a theatre designed for the first talking movies. The theatre has seating for 1154 people and there is also a ballroom which can cater for around 6000 making it the world’s largest circular ballroom, it has a whopping 55metre round dance floor. The interior of the casino was restored a few years back returning the building to its former glory with amazing fresco walls and murals, incredible plasterwork and ornate lighting. Read the rest of this entry »

The woodpecker column

Today we go to the Canadian city of Toronto to see a beautiful piece of artwork by artists Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi who work under the name of Fastwurms. The artwork installed in 1997 is called the Woodpecker Column and is built from fiberglass and steel. The column is 30 metres tall and has an amazing pileated woodpecker hanging off it. ther is another piece closeby with a yellow bellied sap sucker which is also quiet beautiful. The artwork is infront of teh Toronto Convention Centre and is beautifuly set amongst the trees expecially in the Fall when we took this photo with amazing orange follage.

The Star of India

The beautiful Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship and is the pride and joy of the San Diego Maritime Museum. Built in 1863 at the Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man the ship was one of the first built of iron and was originally called Euterpe. As the Euterpe it suffered a bit of tragedy with a mutiny, collision and a nasty cyclone off the Bay of Bengal. The ship was also used in bringing emigrants to New Zealand, Australia and the Americas from England, Scotland and Ireland. The vessel even had time as a salmon hauler working in Alaska. Today she is the second oldest ship what is still sail worthy and the oldest iron hull merchant ship floating. The ship has been declared a United States Historic Landmark and still sails a couple of times a year.

I left my heart in San Francisco

The old Tony Bennet song goes “I left my heart in San Francisco” well this is where artist Claes Oldenburg  and Coosje van Bruggen got the inspiration for this beautiful bow and arrow sculpture called Cupid’s Span. This place is where Claes  and Coosje symbolise the place in the song.  The 60 foot high and nearly 130 foot wide sculpture is made of stainless steel and fibre glass and sits in Rincon Park which is along the Embarcadero in San Francisco between the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge looking up Folsom Street.  Rincon Park is a two acre oasis with spectacular views of the bay and a very popular place for people to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This sculpture really ads a fantastic dimension to the park.

Wynn and Encore Resorts

We thought we would stay in Vegas again today and talk about the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas which are two of the most luxurious resort hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. These golden shiny towers are both part of the Wynn Resort which holds more 5 star awards than any casino resort anywhere in the world. The luxury and detail is second to none. The Wynn was the first hotel to open in 2005 and the Encore followed in December of 2008. Together the total resort employees around 5300 people.  The two hotels are connected by a luxurious shopping arcade with all the big brands including a Ferrari dealership where you can actually purchase a car. As well as extensive gaming facilities the resort has its own golf course, pools and some of Vegas’ best clubs and dining.  The hotel rooms are another luxurious feature of these two towers, all have huge flat panel TVs, marble  bathrooms and plenty of modern automation. The huge windows with great views of the golf resort or the strip are another feature which cant be bet anywhere in Vegas.    For more info on Las Vegas visit:  http://whatshotinvegas.com/

The Bellagio’s fountains

The Bellagio is one of the biggest and most luxurious of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip and features a huge eight acre lake in front of it facing the strip. The lake is home to an amazing water display which is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Las Vegas strip. The water display consists of more than 1200 nozzles and more than 4500 lights which combine to create a spectacular show night and day. The fountain show was estimated have cost $40 million to produce and takes place every half hour during the afternoon and every 15 minutes from 8 pm til midnight. The fountains are choreographs to various tunes, from famous Vegas Show tunes to classical arrangements. The largest nozzles can shoot water as high 140 metres in the sky which makes for one amazing show. For more on Las Vegas visit http://www.whatshotinvegas.com/

The first Jumbo Jet

Back in February on 1969 The city of Everett made history as the first Boeing 747 to fly. This aircraft was the first flying prototype to what would become one of the most successful aircraft in history with over 1400 of them sold over the last 40 odd years in various variants. The aircraft now lives back in Seattle only miles from where she was built in Everett. The plane is part of the wonderful collection that makes up the Museum of Flight at King County Airport just south of Seattle. The old girl is looking a bit tired and weary these days but the future looks bright although it may be a little time off. The Museum of Flight plan to build a new annex where a restored City of Everett will take centre stage regaining her former glory. Currently the Jumbo is parked in a lot open to the public with a 707 US Air force 1 Presidential Plane and Supersonic Concorde close by.