A Stopover in New York

Between London and Florida

September 27-30, 2003

Saturday, September 27, 2003

We arrived in New York an hour before we left London. Of course, going westbound at Mach 2 this can be done quite easily. Though the Concorde is an ancient mare that is going to be put out to pasture next month, it still can beat the sun in a race across the sky. It's just that it doesn't make its owners any money while doing it.

Watcharee enjoyed it as it was quick!


PS: In the seatback-pocket BA has provided its flying readers with a helpful guide on how to survive a Concorde crash. A waste of paper! For in the 27 or so years that Concorde has been flying not a single person has ever survived a Concorde crash (*). Parenthetically (and this applies to all commercial planes), there have been almost no survivors of a sea ditch ... so, if your pilot announces that he is going to 'land' on the water ... well, forget about that 'brace position'; just grab for anything you can find on the drinks cart.


* True, there was only one crash: the French Concorde that pretty much took-out a fringe Paris hotel (and a guest or two) along with the plane's 100 passengers and its 9 crew members.


PPS: Is there anything strange looking about this Concorde?


Sunday, September 28, 2003

It has been about four years since I was last in New York. At that time I met my former Russian girl friend, Anna, for some 'old time's'. The PlazaAmong other things, we spent one pleasant afternoon way-way downtown at an art gallery that was exhibiting works by famous 'nuts' (*). The Twin Towers were still casting twin shadows in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, while riding into the city in one of NYC's friendly yellow cabs, it seemed that the only thing that changed was the skyline of the city. Everything else was frozen in time: the car horns that honked 'randomly', the ease and impunity with which 'the finger' was exchanged between drivers, and all the other things that make the place a worthy target.

But, even before leaving JFK, it was apparent that the old city was still herself: rude US Immigration officers, indifferently attended taxi stands, and an International Airport Complex that is worthy of Calcutta on a work-stoppage day.

The Plaza! Yes, the hotel made famous by a children's book...and the background site for the tear jerking moment when "Big" said good-bye to "Carrie" (in Sex and the City, 3rd year ... or was it the 4th?) ... anyway, the old lady looks sad and acts even sadder. Pop The Plaza into almost any decent Asian city and it would soon become a 'curtain' hotel: useful for clandestine 'joinings' and not much else.

This from today's CNN's web site:

MOST HATED SPORTS (**)

  1. Dogfighting
  2. Pro Wrestling
  3. Bullfighting
  4. Pro Boxing
  5. PGA Tour
  6. PGA Seniors
  7. LPGA Tour
  8. NASCAR
  9. Major League Soccer
  10. ATP Men's Tennis

Source: The Associated Press


* "Art Of The 'Insane' "....something like that. Click HERE to see it.

** Would transvestite elephant polo make the list of most 'hated' OR 'loved'?


PS: More photos from yesterday's Concorde flight.


PPS: I take it all back! I love New York! Just one 20-block walk down 5th Avenue turned me into a true believer. It's all such a wonderful fantasy! No other city could do it so well. Forgive me, New York, for doubting you!


PPPS: And the City can be just plain fun, too.


PPPPS: What did you expect from tourists?


Monday, September 29, 2003 (pre-coffee journal)

Early this morning my Bangkok nanny ... [most likely this old girl knows damn well that we are in New York City; and she is probably fully aware that we are about to fly out of LGA on an American Airlines flight] ... anyway, she longwindedly said, in effect: "Don't tell me later that I didn't warn you!"

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

WORLDWIDE CAUTION
September 26, 2003

This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated September 10, 2003. It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat that they may be a target of terrorist actions, even after the anniversary date of the September 11 attacks, and to add the potential for threats to maritime interests. This Worldwide Caution expires on February 25, 2004.

The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens are cautioned to maintain a high level of vigilance, to remain alert and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. We are seeing increasing indications that Al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad. Looking at the last few months, Al-Qaida and its associated organizations have struck in the Middle East in Riyadh, in North Africa in Casablanca, and in East Asia in Indonesia. We therefore assess that other geographic locations could be venues for the next round of attacks. We expect Al-Qaida will strive for new attacks that will be more devastating than the September 11 attack, possibly involving nonconventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents. We also cannot rule out the potential for Al-Qaida to attempt a second catastrophic attack within the U.S.

Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may also involve commercial aircraft and maritime interests, and threats to include conventional weapons, such as explosive devices. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. These may include facilities where American citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches. U.S. citizens should remain in a heightened state of personal security awareness when attendance at such locations is unavoidable.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest American embassy or consulate.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its consular information program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. In addition to information on the Internet, U.S. travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.


U.S. Embassy Bangkok American Citizen Services Unit:
Window Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 - 11 AM and 1 - 3 PM
Tel: +66-2-205-4049
E-mail: acsbkk@state.gov
U.S. Department of State travel website: http://travel.state.gov
U.S. Embassy Bangkok website: http://usa.or.th


PCJ (Post-coffee journal):

Who is she? Is she carrying a camera? A journalist? Is she too beautiful to be part of the working press? There are so many unanswered questions in this city by the Hudson. (*)


* Anyway she was seen marching down Madison Avenue ... near a float.


PS: This afternoon we visited the site of the 9/11 ravage:


PPS: We had a sushi lunch in lower Manhattan before heading back uptown [is it really insensitive to be hungry after visiting something terrible? (*)]

...Oh, and we saw one of those curious signs found only in New York City. Dial it. Leave a message.


* "Well, if it had been Pearl Harbor....."


PPPS: Our last visit of the day (at least the last one in Greenwich Village) was to visit the birth place of David: St. Vincent's Hospital.

"Jesus, Alf!"


PPPPS: The Statute of Liberty still looks pretty good. French origin, you know!

PPPPPS: The next day ... in a message dated 9/30/2003 10:11:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, a commentator from bullworks.net wrote:

"I think Statute is much more fitting than statue!"


Tuesday, September 30, 2003 (pre journal)

An ignominious end or a nice bit of recycling?

PARIS (AFP) - A nose-cone in the garden, a pilot's padded seat in the study, or maybe a Machmeter as the perfect executive toy? Fans of Concorde will have a rare opportunity when parts of the decommissioned airliner go on sale in Paris in November.

Air France, which flew its last supersonic service in May, has asked Christie's France to auction a number of pieces and mementos of the historic jet in order to raise money for a children's charity that it runs.

Among the items to go on sale on November 15 are two Olympus 593 engines, which powered the airliner at speeds of up to 2,200 kilometres (1,275 miles) per hour and are widely considered as a triumph of engineering.

A radome -- the 3.5 metre cone at the end of the plane's nose -- is regarded as the centre-piece of the auction with an estimated price of 10-15,000 euros (11,200-16.800 dollars). Various fins and ailerons are also on sale.

From inside the aircraft collectors can snap up parts from the instrument panel, including the Machmeter or speedometer, as well as crew seats and kitchen items including sets of designer porcelain used for in-flight meal service.

The sale also includes several scale models and photographs charting the airliner's 27 years of commercial flying.

Air France and British Airways (BA) -- the only two airlines to fly Concorde -- are stopping supersonic flights because of doubts about their economic feasibility as the aircraft age. BA will fly its last service later this year.

In July 2000 an Air France Concorde crashed outside Paris killing 113 people, and a technical flaw in the wing-based fuel tanks was blamed.


PS: The flight from LGA to FLL was all that one could hope for: uneventful.

Next: Florida

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