9/11 Tribute Museum, America, Big Apple, Brooklyn Bridge, Bryant Park, Cafe, Christmas, Christmas Markets, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Ellis Island, Food, Katong Kids Inc, Kids Activities, Photography, Playground, Review, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Times Squarwe, Travel Blog

New York Travelogue – (Part 2): Brooklyn Bridge, Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Washington Square, Times Square and Bryant Park

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center. Beautiful view of the city’s skyscrapers at the skydeck. The hotel’s snack bar has unlimited flow of canned soft drinks, coffee, nuts and snacks for guests.

The hotel was located near to the 9/11 Memorial and the vicinity was not as congested with human crowds as Times Square. The skydeck overlooking the reflecting pools.

And so we took a 3km walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

Popular pop-up food stalls in New York City.

The kids soaking themselves in the sights and culture on each stop.

Travelling to New York on a budget. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip if you kno whow to avoid paying too much money. Avoid pop up stalls selling simple food we thought it was expensive. Instead of signing up for guided walking tours, we thought it would be better to explore by ourselves using google maps.

At the start of the bridge walk. The bridge is a quite popular tourist attraction the best time to be here is early in the morning so that we can avoid the crowds later in the day.

There was a bike lane at the bridge in which a steady steam of cyclists never fails to utilise that lane. We were blessed that the weather was about 15 degrees else we would be sweating by the time we finished our walk.

This is the best place to catch sunrise and sunset. Photo-taking was a challenge as the crowds began to build. We chanced upon a camera team recording MTV.

Just to note that the pedestrain walk is made of wood. Reality is often different from what you see from social media where tourists dressed in tip-top costumes and high heels just for sake of taking the insta-worthy pictures. Hope the heels did not get stuck! We would suggest to forgo vanity for practicality when walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan, New York City. It is the symbol of the US Stock Market.

The jetty was a short walk from the Charging Bull. With the tickets we purchased from 9/11 Museum, we would be taking ferry to the Liberty Island.

It was freezing cold! Visitors could opt to sit at the balcony or the sheltered basement.

Getting closer to the Statue of Liberty..

It was not a wasted trip. We thought of the possiblity of viewing Statue of Liberty from the mainland but decided to pay a visit to the island. It wasn’t expensive and by getting near here would mean we could take decent pictures.

It was also a perfect place to view the Big Apple from another angle.

To our pleasant surprise, we did not know that our tickets also included a visit to the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

We learned about the history of early immigrants. Actually we were not big fans of museums.

Once we returned to the mainland, we hopped onto the subway to Washington Park.

This place was basically an outskirt from the busyness of the city. Not much attractions but it would be a charming place to immerse ourselves with the life of locals.

And we were being interviewed by the college students who were doing a social experiment.

We tried McDonald’s 🙂

Some said NYC is a city of endless possibilities. We were amazed upon reaching Times Square. It was so beautiful!

Located in the heart of New York City, Times Square is home to some of the most famous attractions New York has to offer.

We were just trying to find sweet spots for photo-taking.

Exploring the stores.

Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City.

Big M got what she has been looking forward to.

Amazon Books located on 34th Street (Manhattan).

The prices were not cheaper than online. In fact they were priced the same.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. We did not go up as that would mean paying for expensive tickets.

Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, the Madison Square Garden is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. If one were to wonder why it is so famous, this is the home ground of the famous New York Knicks.

Up next is the Bryant Park. Surrounded by skyscrappers, Bryant Park is Bryant Park is visited many people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in NYC.

The ice skating rink would come to life during Christmas. What an atmosphere!

There’s no better place to chill out other than Bryant Park.

Next to the Bryant Park was the Whole Foods Market which offered a full range of high-quality and natural food. It is overlooking the beautiful Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.

At 43,000 square feet, the store has two levels of retail space that will host a full range of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as the “News Agency,” a coffee and juice bar, which will pay homage to the look and feel of the city’s classic newsstands. Here’s our order. Microwave ovens were provided for diners to warm up their food.

We love the Big Apple!

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London Travelogue – (Part 3): Big Ben, Westminter Abbey, London Eye, St James Park, Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

A visit to London is never complete without sighting the Big Ben. Well, we knew that London’s Big Ben has stop chiming as it is undergoing major renovations from now till 2021. But still, it is a mandatory stop for every tourist.

 A brief walk down appears the Westminster Abbey, London church that is the site of coronations and other ceremonies of national significance. It stands just west of the Houses of Parliament in the Greater London borough of Westminster.

We did not enter though as sunset was nearing and we had a fair bit of itinerary to cover for the day.

Caught the view of London Eye from the other side of the river. London is fairly concentrated and there are many visitors at these major attractions. When taking pictures or pausing by, it is best to find a ‘safer’ spot as you never know when pickpockets will appear.

It was an never ending stroll to Hyde Park to immerse ourselves in the christmas market and amusement park. Stopping by along the way of interesting sights.

St James’s Park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, and is surrounded by landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall.. It is a beautiful place to take a breather and for kids to get up close and personal with nature and creatures.

Big and Small M are growing up and akin to their peers, they are thrilled to achieve the insta-worthy shots.

The animals were so tamed, making the experience so surreal. When did we see birds and squrriels coming up to you for treats in Singapore?

The key takeaway for us about Buckingham Palace is that it is recognised around the world as the focus of national and royal celebrations as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony.

The Buckingham Palace flower beds, also known as the Memorial Gardens, were created in 1901 as part of Sir Aston Webb’s overall design for a memorial to Queen Victoria after her death that year.

Situated in London’s Hyde Park, which spreads over 630 acres in the centre of the capital, entry to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is free. It is located in close proximity to London underground tube stations including Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch and Green Park.

We did a lot of walking just to reach here and did not go away disappointed. This place was really, really huge and it would be wise to remember prominent spots in case you get lost.

The weather wasn’t that cold but the firepit did add to the christmas atmosphere.

The kids were just like “WOW” everywhere we went and they did had their share of fun in riding the roller-coaster. On a fair note, while the park was huge many of the entertainment and rides were actually replicates.

Visiting this free-to-enter event in winter, you will have lots of fun and you can do many activities there, including ice skating, ice bar, circus shows, an observation wheel and a traditional German Christmas market. Check out this place when you drop by London during winter.

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Habitat by Honestbee: Uniquely Shopping and Dining Experience for Family

Just by word of mouth is enough to draw us to explore Habitat at Honestbee. The newly-opened supermart prides itself as a multi-sensory, tech-meets-food grocery and dining experience like no other. See, smell, hear, touch and taste fresh flavours and food items from across the globe – all in one habitat by honestbee.

When we arrived, many curious and eager shoppers were crowding at the entrance, opening or setting up their “Bee Pass” to enter/exit habitat. Yes, first of its kind experience. You do not need to bring any physical wallets and there are no ATMs to be seen as well. Just your “Bee Pass” will do.

Potted plants for sale after entering Habitat.

We read that Habitat occupies the space of slightly larger than a football field. Upon stepping into the compound, we were greeted with so many shoppers (probably their first time).

A long queue was forming at the coconut stall. Amazing, each fresh trimmed coconut was selling for only $0.95! No wonder they are the best sellers. We thought it’s a worthy buy, at least not spending more than $4 on bubble tea.

Big & Small M made a beeline to take a mandatory photo with the friendly bee when it came by.

Exploring the section near the entrance before our hunger pang strikes. According to Honestbee, the produce were sourced directly from farmers and established producers from across the globe.

Cute cup noodles from Korea and Japan.

If you are observant enough, you get to see peoples’ orders are packed quickly and transported by these conveyor belts.

 Dining here is akin to having design thinking, digital marketing and digital awareness coming alive right in front of you.

And so, we had our lunch here. To order our food, we can’t order direct from the stalls. The only way to order is through your Honestbee app under “Habitat”. E-receipt is emailed to you and via the app, you can track your order and receive notification that your food is ready to collect.

Honestly, Habitat wasn’t as big as we thought it was. Probably much of the space was taken up for storage or collection/packing. It would be good if Honestbee can introduce stationery or some electronic items in the future to make the shopping experience more fulfilling.

Finally managed to find seats after waiting for quite a while. This is Little Neck Clams and Bacon.

Milk Made: Frozen shakes & bakes.

Tiger Beer battered fish & chips.

Crumble Vairhona Chocolate.

Poofy Pancakes served with vanilla chantilly cream, maple syrup and fresh berries.

Australia Grass-fed Flank Steak. Served with roasted chat potatoes, roasted plum tomatoes, herb salad.

Cute and shiny utensils. They are actually made of plastic 🙂

We have a soft spot for fresh bakes.

Free tasting at the Lazy Loaf counter.

Exploring the remaining sections. Fresh seafood are a hit with shoppers. The best part was that you can pick your seafood and the masterchef will cook it for you.

While almost everything is automated, we still need human assistance to help us figure out how to complete our purchase.

Scan our order and the trolley will check out and be automatically rolled into the packing area.

In case you are wondering whether you need to “rush” to the collection point after checking out your trolley, there is no need to. You can still dine or shop additional items and when ready, just proceed to the collection point to collect your honest purchase.

At the collection point, served by robot courier!

Shuttle bus is also available between Harbourfront to Habitat at Honestbee.

Address: 34 Boon Leat Terrace S(119866)

Bus: 10, 30, 30E, 51, 143, 175, 176, 188, 188E

MRT: Labrador Park, Pasir Panjang

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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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Old Siglap Flats: Goodbye Yesterday, Hello Tomorrow

Four blocks of low-rise HDB flats (pictured) at the junction of East Coast Road and Siglap Road are set to be demolished under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Officially opened in 1964 by Siglap assemblyman Rahim Ishak, the flats were built to house residents whose homes were destroyed by a fire in 1962. It was learnt that  the fire was sparked by firecrackers near the then-famous Siglap Market (now rebuilt into Siglap Centre) during the Chinese New Year celebrations of 1962.

Capturing the photographic memories before the estate is demolished to make way for new development.

One of the ten commercial shops that once, used to serve many residents here. This traditional barber shop had operated for more than 40 years.

There are a total of four blocks which are made up entirely of two-bedroom units. Do you know that these HDB blocks have no lifts and each block is only served by a single staircase.

Most of the 117 units are two-bedders, with a third comprising rental flats.

Walking in, you will notice a neighbourhood preschool. The little ones who had attended the school would have been grown up by now.

Searching high and low for some outdoor activities to motivate your kids? Surprised to discover an outdoor playground, still in good condition, at the back of the estate.

With the advent of modernisation, the old Siglap HDB flats and its decaying surroundings have not escaped from the throes of urban redevelopment. Being a popular residential location, it looks like construction will continue to take place in Siglap, building onto its existing popularity. This trip has been fruitful, bringing back these precious pictures to archive in my photo library.

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Family Friendly Activities: Explore Qian Hu Fish Farm

This was our first trip to Qian Hu Fish Farm at the far west of Singapore. This place offers a beautiful, rustic feel that provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. When we arrived, there were many families here to get an insight into farm life and have some fun.

If you are not aware, Qian Hu is an integrated “one-stop” ornamental fish service provider where fish lovers  can buy ornamental fish as well as aquarium accessories.

The sound of air bubbles and sight of fishes have such therapeutic effect where it makes one feel happier just by gazing at these ‘water friends’.

Qian Hu Fish Farm also provides group tours as well which you can check out here.

Reminisce the good old kampong days.  Remember when families got together and children were out playing and enjoyed netting fishes from the canals and streams?  Bring your kids down to Qian Hu and let them experience the same excitement and joy of catching their own fishes, bringing them home and caring for them.

Longkang fishing over here for your little ones? A fun activity for families and children where kiddos sprint into action to scoop fishes from simple fishing nets.

Catch of the day! These fishes are live-bearers.

For those who are interested to buy some fishes back, head into the Fish Gallery.

Stacks and stacks of ornamental fishes displayed neatly along the aisles.

Beautiful albino guppies!

Different varieties of cichlid fishes.

Betta corner. A good choice for those who do not want the hassle of setting up fish tank and filtration system.

Bettas, also known as “Siamese fighting fish”, are popular pets recognized for their aggressiveness, interactivity, and low cost for care and maintenance. You do not need air pump to maintain them. They are sturdy and beautiful to look at. The better grades do not come cheap though.

Open-net fish farms.

Clumsy-looking Ranchu Goldfish is popular throughout the world. It originated in China and was further developed in Japan in the late 1800s. With its round, broad body and large bulbous head, it is also known as the Buffalo-head Goldfish, especially in Asia.

Little corners for families and kids to chill out.

Qian Hu Fish Farm Trading
仟湖鱼场贸易 

71, Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah
Singapore 698950
Tel: 65-6766 7087 (10 Lines)
Fax: 65-6766 3995
Contact: Andy Yap
Email: fishexport@qianhu.com 
Website : www.qianhufish.com

 

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7 Cool Things to Do with Your Girlfriend in Singapore

Someone says that Singapore is a technology miracle, another one claims that it is the front window of Asia because it is an energetic and inspiring place, which has managed to become one of the best. Singapore is many-faced and magnificent like Ukrainian girls. You can choose many different epithets for the island-city-state of Singapore, but all of them will surely be vivid and not ordinary. Singapore remains one of the greenest cities in the world, having so many astounding futuristic buildings and attracting a big number of people from all over the world. So, what can you do with your girlfriend in Singapore?

1. Look to the Future

The future of science fiction movies will come in Singapore very soon when the first spaceplanes start landing in the airport Changi, and robots say, “Next in line, please!” You should surely look at the steel baobabs of the Gardens by the Bay. In the evening, the lights are turned on, and the magic garden begins to shimmer with colored lights, just like in the Avatar. At an altitude of 22 meters, supertrees are connected by the sky bridge, from which the domes of futuristic greenhouses are visible.

Image Credit: Great Eastern

2. Relax on the Beach

When the brain melts because of the heat, you can escape from the stone jungle to the beaches of the tropical island of Sentosa. You can visit each of them during the day because a free tram runs along the coast. If both of you prefer a relaxing holiday in the hammocks under the palm trees, go to Tanjong beach, and if you want to suf and play volleyball, go to the beach of Silos. You can also visit the mangrove thickets of the island of Pulau Ubin. In this Singaporean village, you can ride a bicycle through rubber groves, eat grilled shrimps and look out for rare birds from wooden bridges.

Image Credit: tanjongbeachclub.com

3. Update your Wardrobe

In Singapore, you can find ten boutiques per square meter because local people like brand-name things. Good dressers with packages of Chanel and Louis VUitton go from one showcase to another. If you do not have enough money to buy a Prada handbag, go to Bugis Street, and you will buy the same but from Chinese masters. tripadvisor.jp

Image Credit: tripadvisor.jp

4. Shake the Paw of the Lemur

The Singapore Zoo is one fo the most advanced in the world. More than 300 species of animals walk freely through the rainforest. Here, you can have breakfast with organutans, feed the giraffe or dwarf hippo during lunch, and watch the dinner of predators in the evening. Both of you will be excited like kids.

Image Credit: visitsingapore.com

5. Take a Photo on the Edge of the Abyss

Only a lazy person did not see the pictures of the hotel Marina Bay Sands on the Internet. Three 200-meter towers, crowned with a gondola, perfectly fit into the landscape of Singapore’s space harbor. Many people go here to take a photo in the famous swimming pool on the roof, here the water seems to pour over the sides to the abyss. What a stunning view of the bay you will be able to enjoy there!

Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk

6. Look at Singapore from a Height

To see whole banana-lemon Singapore at your feet, don’t miss a chance to ride the Ferris Wheel. From the height of a 55-storey building, you will be able to distinguish even the Indonesian islands on the horizon. In the evening, the city lights up with millions of light bulbs, and you feel like superheros on top of the world. If you have a special evening, you can book a separate booth with champagne and dinner for two.

7. Try “Star” Noodles on the Street

Chinese rice with slices of duck is friend in soy sauce on every corner of Chinatown, but you need to stand a kilometer line to try noodles with chicken from the street chef Chan Hong Menga, his street tent has been awarded a Michelin star. If you are fond of spicy chili, go to the Indian city block.

Image Credit: tripadvisor.com

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