Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Vacation in NYC and Washington, DC

Nearly all expats take a "summer vacation" back home.  They fill it up zig-zagging across the country to see relatives, doing college visits, taking kids to camp and generally getting their fill of good ol' Americana.

I spent 2 weeks by myself  in June, taking in Chicago, Pensacola, and Fairfax.  When John arrived we continued the odyssey, taking in DC, the Jersey Shore, and NYC. Later in the summer I will go back and add Montana and Seattle to my list.

Here are some of the spots we visited together:  (I didn't take too many photos, but had the camera handy for some fun shots and I apologize for the unfocused ones)

We were at the Jersey Shore (sorry, no photos :(  ) so decided on our anniversary to spend the day in New York City. We drove to Staten Island and hopped onto the FREE ferry.

which gave us perfect views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island:

And the new World Trade Center building in southern Manhattan:

Enjoying the view:

Even the New York Subway was celebrating our anniversary..

After visiting the TKTS booth at Times Square and getting tickets for a matinee, we sub-wayed it down to 5th Avenue and 23rd Street to get to Mario Batali's Eataly market/restaurants for lunch.

Guess what I found on the subway walls???  Yes, Mosaics!  It is a great series of hats labelled by the famous people of the stage who wore them.

Anniversary Lunch at the Eataly's Rooftop Birreria.  The hostess warned us that it would be hot up there, but it felt balmy to us Singaporeans!

Our matinee was, fittingly, Jersey Boys.  I especially loved seeing Matt Bogart, one of my favorite regular actors at Washington's Arena Stage (Camelot, Damn Yankees), playing one of the Four Seasons:

After New York and New Jersey, we went "home" to norther Virginia.  We saw some friends, did some work, spent time with our son Jimmy, and took a day to visit Washington, DC.  It is always thrilling to see this view as you drive down Constitution Avenue:

Our plan for the afternoon was to spend it at the National Gallery of Art, but on the way we remembered the Smithsonian Folklife Festival that takes place every summer in late June.  This year's featured countries were China and Kenya.  They bring in artists, musicians, cooks, storytellers, dancers, whatever the country specializes in, who spend the time there showing off their crafts.  It is always amazing!  Look for it next year!!
First we strolled through the Kenya tents and saw traditionally dressed natives who showed us their art:

We watched them carving wood, building a grass hut, showing off their textiles and carving stone.  I especially liked this Hly Family figure:.

The music tent has performances all day.  We happened upon a pop group that sounded Afro/Reggae/Jazz and fabulous.  It was hard to sit still!

Next section:  China

I didn't get a photo of the performance of Mongolian Throat Singing or Chinese Opera.  Wow.  But I did get:

Paper Cutting:

Patchwork Wall-hangings and Quilts:

 Girls in traditional dress weaving on simple string:

And this extraordinary art of embroidery.  The artists take a famous painting and copy it in silk threads.  This Mona Lisa will take her about 2 years to complete.  It is crazy:

After the Folklife Festival, we took our stroll through the National Gallery of Art. We got to see exhibits on Andrew Wyeth and Degas/Cassat.  The Gallery is always a highlight for me.

The afternoon finished and we met John's cousin and family for dinner on Capital Hill.  A delightful day!

More summer fun to come!

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