Manhattan’s sleep no more

Crazy seven days on Manhattan is over. I am sitting in New Jersey airport and my flight has been cancelled few hours ago. And, I have to admit this was the longest week in my entire life. Probably the lack of sleeping, too much activities or an energy rush I got as a Christmas gift.

– You have to live every minute here in New York. Don’t sleep. – Barista from the hotel told me.

The third time in NYC and probably is the best experience here. How do I feel about the trip I often asked by friends? I do feel myself on Manhattan like a child in a candy store. Or I do feel accepted everywhere I enter. Well, I have never felt myself here as a tourist, what makes this place really much different from the others. But this time I felt like I was soaked in with the high interest from different people of different ages and races. I was filled with their emotions, catching eyes here and there. I knew what they are about and seems I finally taught how to manage with that strange feeling getting recharged but not exhausted as I did before.

We were not that lucky to come to New York when it was totally frozen. Our trip has started with buying a pair of UGG boots for my hubby from the nearest store. I found we were not alone here who hasn’t got proper boots. Then we ran to the Little Thong Noodle shop I picked from the Instagram I am following. The place was nice but freaking cold. I found many places on Manhattan are not for the weather like that. “Feels like -25C” – my phone said. I didn’t feel my feet remembering my Russian childhood. When was the last time I felt something like that?

5 a.m. nicely jetlagged: I wanted to get out of my bed but its still dark and cold. Hot shower made me feel better. I curled up in my bed again waking up my husband. We stayed a bit more waiting for the first breakfast places to open. Afterwards, we went to the place nearby and I felt crazy hungry and freezing cold. We had several hours waiting for our friends to arrive. After that, all days merged in one endless party.

Snow and ice in Central Park, freaking cold: We had to drink everywhere just to keep warm and fill up with coffee to stay in until late. But that didn’t help me to get rid of jet lag and I awoke about 5-6 a.m. every day not depending on how late I went to sleep.

I was looking for strange or interesting places to go, as this was the third time I was in NYC and had seen a lot before. We went in the bar saying we came to another place to the guard. He talked to someone on the radio and followed us to the secret door. Cold stair and we got in very dark but cozy old style room. Originally the location was used as a corrupt bank firm in the 1920’s. To remind guests of the building’s exciting history, a functional bank vault door is used as the entrance into the wonderful Gatsby-style speakeasy. The atmosphere was nice but it was pretty boring for the company of us, so we moved to well known “Dead Rabbit”. As I found later it is still the best bar on Manhattan and I believe that’s true.

Among all the activities, warming drinks and coffee we visited Sleep NO MORE show. The idea is an experience that tells Shakespeare’s tragedy (Macbeth). I read before we go but I didn’t catch the performance. It took place in the McKittrick Hotel that has been turned into a multi-level set for the production. You walk through 4 floors of intricately decorated rooms or halls and past scenes. All spectators were worn in masks what made it very intriguing way.

By the way I found too much beautiful decoration and spaces but too little action was going on there. All I wanted after one hour running over the hotel was to dress up with a piece of clothing hanged here and there and perform my own action. But I was a good girl not doing anything like that and not ending evening in jail=) After that “action” we moved to Small Live Jazz wearing masks in the taxi (most fun part of the day) ended up very late night in the hotel.

The next morning I had the worst hangover ever but we had booked early breakfast at Rockefeller center with ice skating and all this pop tourist stuff. Despite noone wanted to awake we all did well and at 8 a.m. we were sitting in the café in front of each other discussing our marriages in connection of “a first date” couple sitting the table next door. We did great at least because I was several times asked if we are on the honeymoon. Nope, wait, I have to think, seems we have been a couple for more than 18 years from our mid teen ages… we are just so good. The Rockefeller Ice Rink is the worst ice I have ever tried. Really. I just needed to check it but it didn’t worth to get up so early or ever come. Just another experience and we kept going through 5th Ave to the hotel to see off my friends and fall asleep in a while.

You know, I am feeling a little bit bored with restaurants in general. I more likely would try to eat some wild or weird than to go to another pouch place. I am so in about food: made some culinary classes, having best ingredients from different countries at home, lived in France for a while and we had great experiences in so many places, that I wanted something special.

So another speakeasy place we supposed to go is the Bohemian restaurant. It is one of the highest-ranked Japanese restaurants on Manhattan Yelp, but no phone number is listed, and a visit to the restaurant’s cryptic Web site,, notes, “that the location and contact info is not open to the public.” Located at the end of a long, narrow hallway, Bohemian looks less a restaurant than a friend’s apartment (what made me feel interested) — there’s a buzzer for entry then a men behind the curtain opens the door. According to the restaurant’s Web site, Andy Warhol once owned the space, which was also the home and studio of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. And of course I wanted to be in. Even through I didn’t have a referral who gave me the number or recommendation either I was so short on time making reservation two days before we go, what, if believe in gasps was quite impossible.

The whole place was packed when we came in. We had to wait for a while, checked the restroom, which remembered me the restroom at NASA station on the top of Mauna Kea. Then we were invited to the table. We couldn’t take the degustation menu because of my gluten free diet, so we just checked different food from menu. I ordered very strange matcha-tea cocktail, which was really bitter as I was warned about. I don’t want to review the food too much. Some was interesting, some just more usual to me. If you are interested in speakeasy places, love Japanese food as I do, you could try this place. As for me, I more opened to rougher experiences at the moment.


My first time in NYC we visited the Blue Note Jazz and really liked it. We have to check something new – I said, and we went to Smalls Jazz Live, what wasn’t even close by spirit to Blue Note. So we made another attempt to Blue note after 5 years and it still was cool.

The only thing that mattered was that all guests sit very close to each other within very small tables (I would say table for 2, but you are 4). We sat near older woman with her grown-up daughter. They spoke French. A girl was loudly sipping her cola what made me feel disgusted. She couldn’t be French. “Are you from France?” – I asked. They were from French speaking part of Canada. The show had begun and all noises went down. I was totally seized with sounds.

The last couple of days were getting warmer and warmer and we were walking a lot. Firstly crossing the Brooklyn Bridge with sunset continuing on Manhattan Bridge, which was even more interesting than the first one and leaded to China quarter. I really enjoyed those walks when you just need to do nothing than being in the moment. I bought a dragon fruit from Chinese people on the street. Days and nights were so merged to me, so I just rolled out from night China quarter to another jet lagged morning in the bed faced to Manhattan skyscrapers eating the fruit and desiring to get some coffee.

Night China town and dawn dragon fruit

There are 3 ways of coffee in USA: huge brewed unlimited drink, which isn’t coffee at all, ‘Starbucks’ style coffee which isn’t that bad, but still sucks and small coffee shops which make really cool coffee. I have two favorite on Manhattan: Blue Bottle and Joe’s. If you need just strong coffee the first one is better, to get some snack check the second one. They added to assortment few gluten free snacks, what made me feel not just a tough girl who drinks no sugar strong black coffee while the others enjoying cakes and all those sweet stuff.

Our little pig travels with us as a silent reminder

The last day I finally woke up a bit later but we spent some time just staying in bed until again I was crazy hungry to do anything but looking for the food. Last couple of days we had the same breakfast in Cadillac shop, which occasionally had Joy’s coffee shop inside.

It was so unbelievably warm in the city: people wore shorts, snow has been disappearing every second. We went to China again going through it to Williamsburg Bridge in hope to get to the place I found on the picture of NYC photographer. We had to be there but the bridge leaded us far away by side. I wasn’t that keen to walk through Williamsburg all way, so we took a ferry going to Brooklyn Heights. The place was on Washington Street and it had that view I stacked in. I wondered how did we miss it before.


Winter sunset with Manhattan view, crashed ice in the river, lost ferry and very long night again – that was the point.

We bought some really freaking street food from Chinese old lady just to try something new. While passing Williamsburg Bridge, I found there is no better place to have lunch. I sat on the ground uncovering banana leaves and put my face into that strange food. People passing by were staring. I like teasing people by different strange ways, that’s my nature from the early childhood and I know it. So if you want to have some fun, join me, but I don’t promise your safety and comfort. Btw the food was terribly strange. Unfortunately I forgot my cognac in the hotel, so we had to manage with that.

The last day was critical. It has been raining cats and dogs all the time. We checked out to Museum of Natural History to finish watching the exhibition I started 5 years ago in 2012. It had some new stuff – huge dinosaurs found in 2012 in Peru. It was as huge that they even don’t have a space for him so the head was looking out to another hall.

I was a bit nervous about to get to the airport on time that I fell asleep in a taxi.  We drove that long in rainy traffic but the flight was delayed and finally cancelled right in front of the gates. I rushly ran to the counter for rebooking and was the first one. About 250 people were behind me. I was rebooked after an hour to Zurich instead of Vienna. We were late to Zurich and lost another plane to Prague, so we made it to Frankfurt instead. We came back with 8 hours delay but for any reason I was so happy that it didn’t bother me at all.

I need to tell a special word about the hotel. I wasn’t that happy on the first sight finding it more likes a kind of pouch hostel but I was so wrong. Well, we were changed with the room first (clocks in the old room were broken, you see=) and got another with a king size bed facing right in the window.

The building had so many windows around and that made me feel too much excited. The room was small but enough for two who just sleep in there. It had a shower and wc in a glass cube just inside the room. If you are shy enough you probably will be uncomfy with that fact, but me neither.

I tried three different living experiences on Manhattan: living in the apartment with locals somewhere in 90th West (they were opera singers and it was crazy), renting the entire apartment with friends at 90th East (it has nice rooftop and the fact excused any other disadvantage) and the hotel in Soho with an interesting view. All are so different and it made the puzzle done!

Stay tuned, stay curious!

30 days in USA: day 24 – the South Point and Green sand beach

Looking for a morning coffee in Kona… Kona is a coffee town, isn’t it? But I couldn’t find my coffee there. Green Flash – yucky, Lava Java – watery. Seems I stop to drink any coffee with milk in Kona. Well damn, if its hot and has a coffee flavor, let it be. We are sitting in the center of Kona, having breakfast with a sea view with Ali Drive by one hand and the ocean by another.

I believe I start to understand why Americans shocked about European, especially Italian coffee. First thing might be, where is my coffee and what is that thimble about?  But trying that deep thick aroma you can’t stay indifferent. There are good coffee shops in USA also but mostly they look like an insider’s shops, garages or small rooms whereas you get such a good coffee even in a gas station in Italy. Food theme in USA is very strange to me and I have much more to say about it. Probably, I’ll get back to the theme later.

We drive to the South point and Green Sand beach today. Calm nice road is ahead. South Point is the southern point of the USA (really, its not Key West) and a national historic landmark.You can spot a wind farm close to the point.

I made a small video about the trip.

It does feel as the end of the Earth, even thou that wind you can feel a vitality of nature’s power.

By the way the point is one of Hawaii’s most popular and bountiful fishing place. You definitely meet a lot of fishermen.

_DSC5364-18Jul2015And cliff jumpers as well. I wish I could jump. But I didn’t. Continue reading

Day 23. Captain Cook trail. Honaunau park and coconut hunting.

This funny film where I am snorkeling and cracking whole coconut speaking Russian.

And the day 23 – trail to Captain Cook monument.

You have to be scared before the trail. Not all trails in Hawaii are like that but we chose challenging ones. It the trail is not as missed workout, it doesn’t worth doing. This one is short but good. Even to go downhill is challenging enough. My husband fall on the rocks and miraculously didn’t get crashed himself and the camera. After that he put in in the backpack and we don’t see any pictures from this trail until the very end.


The only I have from my camera. 1/3 of the way is in high grass, which you can spot on the video above. Its disgusting enough, so you’d better wear long sleeve AND long shorts, which I didn’t have.


Continue reading

Waipio Valley and Kona. Big Island. Day 22.

Ok, I was naive enough to think I would translate all my Hawaii and USA posts later but it had never happened. I even didn’t finished “USA month” yet. So from day 23 I decided to write it here directly.

Maybe not so huge posts but still something and of course a lot of pictures.

First of all I have short videos for each day, well, almost each day in Hawaii. And a lot, lots of pictures below.

This day we had to move from our jungle house in nowhere to Kona. This house was close enough to Waipio Valley, so we packed everything and went out to find it.

I read many warnings not to leave anything in a car while you are on a hike, so I was pretty nervous about that fact that we have all our stuff in the Jeep. On the parking close to Waipio was a booth with a guard, who was kind enough to promise to look after the Jeep. But still we packed our notebooks and camera and all passports backpack with us. Mine was ok, but my husband had on his back about 15 kg (28lb).

Of course, we knew that the road is steep but you know what we didn’t knew, it is the steepest road of its length in USA, for example.

The valley floor at sea level is almost 2,000 ft (610 m) below the surrounding terrain. A steep road leads down into the valley from a lookout point located on the top of the southern wall of the valley. The road gains 800 vertical feet (243.84 m) in 0.6 miles (0.9 km) at a 25% average grade, with steeper grades in sections. This is a paved public road but it is open only to 4 wheel drive vehicles. It is the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world. The shore line in the valley is a black sand beach, popular with surfers. A few taro farms are located in the valley. Several large waterfalls fall into the valley to feed the river which flows from the foot of the largest falls at the back of the valley out to the ocean.

The warning sign which meets you at the start of the hike_DSC5147-15Jul2015And stunning view from the very beginning. I want to cry when I see this pics now in winter in Europe. Its freezing and gloomy and I wish to be there._DSC5207-16Jul2015Hiking lower_DSC5205-16Jul2015 Continue reading

Oahu. Part 1: Lanikai Beach, Pillbox trail, Waimanalo Park and Sandy Beach.

Let me skip first two days for one simple reason – we didn’t take our camera and relaxed with snorkeling and walking around. The third day my husband was totally sick with his throat and nose and fever so I had to tell “Good Bye” to my dreamy Olomana trail and turn to the beach.

The Lanikai beach was nice and very calm as recommended in Lonely Planet guide for families and snorkeling. But I wanted to have an adventure.


You can take a kayak to the islands in front of the beach or even swim there. I was afraid to swim alone but it didn’t seem too far.


Once I saw people climbing somewhere not far from the beach. And I said myself, if Olomana is not an option for us today, I can take this hike alone. My husband was bored and decided to join despite of his health condition. The trail named pillbox trail wasn’t very hard, but you need to have good shoes. It is muddy and many people fall.

Can be dangerous after heavy rain


Watch some people climbing on the picture below.


A piece of ridge and the view to Lanikai beach front_DSC4303-08Jul2015

Lanikai beach and many many kilometers of water. Amazing!


The view from the other side of the ridge


Wonky stairs to the pillbox. Many people make pictures there.


And finally


Running down is an option. Maybe the one safety option.


Sandy beach is told as a beach for brave. And that is true. i wouldn’t ever enter even with a bodyboard.


There were a lot of rainbows there. Several tropical rains were passing by during that time.


My favorite picture


Selfie lovers. As you may guess they were washed in the water by waves. they were happy to get out quickly._DSC4391-08Jul2015-2

I would stay here forever


In the mirror


Trying to pose according to my beach mood board collection. It wasn’t as easy as it looked indeed.



TOP 10 What I Did In New York This Summer #5

5. Grand Central Terminal New York

I have always thought it was not a deal to go sightseeing on a train station. But that definitely wasn’t that case! Not only we saw it in many films and pictures (now I could recognize the place!) but about the history of the station.

Many films also did location shooting in Grand Central Terminal. Films featuring Grand Central include:

  • Amateur
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Arthur
  • The Avengers
  • The Bone Collector
  • Broad City
  • By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
  • Carlito’s Way
  • Cloverfield
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • The Cotton Club
  • Duplicity
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Falling in Love
  • The Fisher King
  • The Following
  • The Freshman
  • Friends with Benefits
  • Gossip Girl
  • Hackers
  • The House on Carroll Street
  • Hugo
  • I Am Legend
  • K-PAX
  • Little Nicky
  • Loser
  • Madagascar
  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  • Men In Black
  • Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Midnight Run
  • North By Northwest
  • One Fine Day
  • The Out-of-Towners
  • The Perfect Score
  • The Prince of Tides
  • Revolutionary Road
  • Superman: The Movie
  • Step Up 3
  • The Taking of Pelham 123
  • Unbreakable
  • Winter’s Tale

Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it covers 48 acres (19 ha) and has 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. Its platforms, all below ground, serve 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100.

The Main Concourse is the center of Grand Central. The space is cavernous – 275 ft (84 m) long, 120 ft (37 m) wide and 125 ft (38 m) high – and usually filled with bustling crowds. The ticket booths are in the Concourse, although many now stand unused or have been re purposed since the introduction of ticket vending machines.

A lot of weddings make their photo shooting in the main concourse of the station. An even though we didn’t have a wedding, we did too.

It is full of events as well.

We spent more than two hours having fun and making pictures along Just married couples.

It is said that the Terminal had a secret 45th platform, which was used for president Roosevelt to get him to Waldorf Astoria Hotel.


Dinner at Oysters bar wasn’t so impressive. Some articles say that The Oysters Bar is the best fish restaurant in NY. If so, poor you, I would say. But the place is worth visiting. I feel sad I ignored it before.

And that was a place when I wished my children were there with me.

I would recommend those books. I love old pictures of modern places.


TOP 10 What I Did In New York This Summer #4

4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s New York

While I was lying in a bed after a surgery I tried to entertain myself different ways. Many hours were spent surfing in the Internet regarding my upcoming USA trip.

Once I was boring, looking through some photo shoots and found an old picture from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” film. I had added “to have breakfast at Tiffany’s” in my NY to do list. Then when I came up with the details I found that there was no right café for the breakfast and if I really wanted to follow Audrey Hepburn heroine I had to come to 5th Avenue with a sandwich and coffee.

“Not bad idea!” – I thought. I decided to make a modern casual style of Audrey. To tell the truth, I had an idea to make my hair done but I did run this day very early morning and I was so short on time that I had to quit. I wore all black except the white Nike running shoes. Yes, modern Audrey in Manhattan would have worn running shoes definitely and we went out. The weather wasn’t nice but we had a lot of fun posing in front of Tiffani store on 5th Ave. Then we came in, tried out some earring, bought nothing and went to explore Waldorf. I will tell you about it soon.


#2 TOP 10 What I Did In New York This SummerExploring The High Line  – most original urban park in America
#1 of TOP 10 What I Did in New York This Summer – sunrise on Manhattan’s fire escapes stairs
TOP 10 What I Did In New York This Summer #3 – One  World Observatory (opened 29th of May 2015)

TOP 10 What I Did In New York This Summer #3

3. One World Observatory (opened 29th of May 2015)

While I was planning my trip, I hadn’t been even opened yet.

One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the USA, and for that matter, the entire western hemisphere. The skyscraper ranks third tallest in the world, behind Mecca’s Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which measures some 1,972 ft (601 m) tall, and Dubai’s mammoth 2,717 ft (828 m) Burj Khalifa.

Building Facts

  • Opened October 2014
  • Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (David M. Childs)
  • Tallest of new WTC Complex
  • 104 Stories / 1776 feet high
  • 3 million rentable square feet of space
  • 55 foot high office lobby
  • 54 High-speed destination dispatch passenger elevators
  • Life-safety systems far exceed NYC building code
  • Bound by West, Fulton, Washington and Vesey Streets
  • 55% leased to tenants including Condé Nast

One World Trade Center is the new icon of New York’s skyline and the most recognized and desirable office address in the world.

There are places available

Screenshot 2015-09-23 15.23.20

Watch this amazing video. According to EarthCam’s YouTube page, the team cut together hundreds of thousands of high-definition images captured between October 2004 and Memorial Day 2015 to produce the stunning two-minute video of the building rising into the sky.

One World Observatory on the upper floors of New York City’s new One World Trade Center building opened to visitors May 29. There are absolutely new views to Manhattan from the top floors. Visitors can walk around the floors to see different views – from the southern Battery to uptown and beyond.

I was afraid of huge lines as to Empire State building but there was almost no line at all.


_DSC2713.jpg _DSC2691.jpg _DSC2689-3.jpg

The Main Observatory on the building’s 100th floor offers an “interactive skyline concierge” that helps to explain what landmarks and neighborhoods you’re seeing from on high. Here you can step onto a 14-foot-wide disc called the Sky Portal to look directly down and see what’s 1,250 feet below.


Even the elevators (called Sky Pods) that whisk you up to the top are decked out with high-tech walls that re-create the city’s skyline from the 1600s to today. So interesting but very very fast just 60 seconds. I felt ear pressure when we were lifting up and down.

I found elevator video on YouTube and was happy to watch it again without a mess.


The See Forever Theater on the 102nd floor shows a two-minute video of aerial views of the city.

What was really new – The Statue of Liberty and all those small and big ships.


A view of New York City from over 381 m (1,250 ft) high


#2 TOP 10 What I Did In New York This SummerExploring The High Line  – most original urban park in America
#1 of TOP 10 What I Did in New York This Summer – sunrise on Manhattan’s fire escapes stairs

I would recommend this book about how it was built.

One World Trade Center (How Did They Build That?)

TOP 10 What I Did In New York This Summer #2

2. Exploring The High Line  – most original urban park in America

_DSC2547-26Jun2015I found this place in the internet when I was surfing and looking for “something not very popular and special on Manhattan” but it was popular indeed. A lot of people were walking there at the same time. Anyway, I still recommend the place. It is really unusual, especially for those who love trains.

They have many events which you can find on The High Line website. They have Blue Bottle Coffee shop what is also nice. In June it was cold coffee, but I believe in autumn it is even better to enjoy a cup of hot espresso.

And as for now this is amazing to see how it looked like in 1930’s in their blog. If you are going to visit the High Line, check the old pictures before and try to spot those places. i could not do it now.

Screenshot 2015-09-22 13.11.43

Screenshot 2015-09-22 13.07.42

The High Line (also known as the High Line Park) is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. Inspired by the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway), a similar project in Paris completed in 1993, the High Line has been redesigned and planted as an aerial green way and rails-to-trails park.
The High Line Park uses the disused southern portion of the West Side Line running to the Lower West Side of Manhattan. It runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street – in the Meatpacking District, through Chelsea, to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street near the Javits Convention Center. An unopened spur extends above 30th Street to Tenth Avenue. Formerly, the West Side Line went as far south as a railroad terminal to Spring Street just north of Canal Street; however, most of the lower section was demolished in 1960, with another small portion of the lower section being demolished in 1991.


With the opening of the High Line Park, many films and television shows have set sequences there. In 2011, the television series Louie used the High Line as a setting for one of the title character’s dates. Other works to set scenes on the High Line since it opened include the HBO series Girls, the Simpsons episode “Moonshine River“, and the film What Maisie Knew.


Jumping on the rails450615_900

The trail is made of pebble-dash concrete walkways that swells and constricts, swings from side to side, and divides into concrete tines that meld the hardscape with the planting embedded in railroad gravel mulch. Stretches of track and ties recall the High Line’s former use. Portions of track are adaptively re-used for rolling lounges positioned for river views.


The High Line’s design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf. The design is inspired by the landscape that grew on the High Line during the 25 years after the trains stopped running. The various species of grasses, perennials, trees, and bushes were all chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species. In many places, the High Line’s railroad tracks are returned to their original locations, integrated into the planting beds. Seating elements in – clude the park’s signature “peel-up” benches and riverview sundeck chaise lounges.


  Some cute private small gardens which you could spot while walking on The High Line_DSC2594-26Jun2015

Check the previous one

#1 of TOP 10 What I Did in New York This Summer – sunrise on Manhattan’s fire escapes stairs

I would recommend this book
High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky