Category: Random nonsense

Some podcast recommendations …

OK, so I’ve not done much blogging for a while, but now in isolation I feel the need to share some thanks to, and recommendations for, the podcasters that are helping to keep me sane.

So before you read any further a word of warning … I walk a lot listening to podcasts and I also listen to them while in the gym or the kitchen at home. The list below is quite long and some of the podcasts are not currently “live”, but I include them because their back catalogue is well worth a listen. So here we go then, mind the step.

“Live” podcasts:

The Peter Attia Drive Great podcast for health and medical advice recommended by a doctor friend of mine. Good coverage of COVID-19, but some excellent episodes on the importance of sleep, drugs in sport, that marathon record, new running shoes and recovery.

7am Great for up-to-the-minute independent reporting and analysis of current affairs and politics.

Hunting Seasons Explores a season of TV in each episode. Quite long episodes. I only listen to them if interested in the series.

Crime Writers On … These guys started by reviewing early episodes of the famous Serial podcast (see below), but now review other (mostly) crime-related podcasts and pop culture. I never miss an episode. 

The Beetoota Advocate For the best analysis of Australian politics and current affairs (and a good belly laugh).

Crime in Sports Perhaps an acquired taste and another long podcast, but these two comedians give a great analysis of what seems like an endless list of true(!) professional sports crimes. Almost unbelievable.

True Crime Obsessed Another true crime comedy podcast (yes, I’m addicted). I love these guys. Always funny.

Conversations This is Richard Fidler’s and Sarah Kanowski’s ABC radio show podcast. I listen when interested in the person they are talking to.

The Male Gayz From New Zealand. I love these guys, but again it may not be for you. I really love their theme music! Typically down-to-earth Kiwis, but both have the talent to keep you listening while they just talk about rubbish.

Health Report From the ABC with Dr Norman Swan. Almost required listening these days. I’ve been listening on and off for years.

This American Life From US National Public Radio and hosted and produced by Ira Glass who is probably the foremost expert on podcast storytelling and one of the brains behind Serial. I listen to selected episodes when they appeal to me. Each week they choose a different theme and story.

Extreme Vetting with The Chaser Great for a ROFL moment, this podcast puts selected comedians, writers and politicians through the ringer. Maybe start with the Tony Martin ep from 23 March 2020.

Nordic True Crime This one is a bit dark, but as I’m also obsessed with Scandinavia Noir TV series, movies and books, I love it. Sometimes covers truly horrific crimes, so don’t say you’ve not been warned.

The Gays Are Revolting These guys usually release their eps on a weekly basis and cover contemporary issues and events that are relevant to the queer community. The usually have guests in for interviews. They’re trying to continue while some have been stood down from their jobs

Coodabeens Footy Show Another show that I never miss, but it is only on during (AFL) footy season. Now on ABC radio and in their 40th year on the air. May be a little hard to understand unless you’ve lived in Melbourne or are a keen AFL fan. I love the songs, talk back characters, the general banter and Sam the Sub’s regular segment. Two hours well spent each week.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review From the BBC. I’m only a relatively recent listener and I’d probably not yet qualify as a “member of the church”, but this is another one I never miss now and I’m slowly working my way through their available back catalogue. Fantastic! They regularly review big stars of the screen(s) and they’re persevering from home while in isolation in England.

Espionage I guess this is another acquired taste, but the stories are usually well worth listening to.

... These Are Their Stories: The Law & Order Podcast Hosted by Kevin and Rebecca from Crime Writers On, each episode concentrates on reviewing one episode of the TV shows Law & Order, SVU or Criminal Intent with a special guest. Very funny!

Hawk Talk Podcast OK, I’m a Hawthorn FC fan and club member. I’m totally devoted to Nick and Tizz, two die-hard Hawks fans who produce a great weekly podcast during footy season.

Bring a Plate Well there hasn’t been a lot since April 2019, but Peter and Bec are both very funny writers and I find them great listening. But wait! There’s more. A new episode was released on 7 April!

*** LATE NEWS! They’re back!!! Roy & HG: Bludging on the Blindside Yes, Roy & HG are back on the ABC again. All is right with the world, or at least it soon will be.***

Not currently “Live” podcasts (some have completed their run):

Accused Host Amber Hunt does a simply brilliant job on this podcast. The third series just wrapped at the end of January 2020. I’ve listened to them all. One of the top three true crime investigative podcasts ever. Beautifully made and presented. Not to be missed.

74 Seconds This podcast received a Peabody Award in 2017 and tells the tragic story of the first police shooting to go on trial in Minnesota. Really well made. 

Bear Brook Another great true crime podcast from the US. A really engaging presentation. and great storytelling.

Bowraville Dan Box from The Australian (newspaper) did a great job on this, exposing an unsolved killing in Bowraville, NSW. Another tragic true story.

Breakdown Now with seven seasons online, this comes from Atlanta, US and the latest season covers a police shooting of unarmed veteran Anthony Hill who was struggling with bi-polar disorder. I found it pretty interesting and very tragic.

Crimetown Currently in their second season, Marc and Zac have attracted a big following with this podcast and deservedly so. Start with Season One about Providence, Rhode Island and the corrupt public figure Buddy Cianci.

Done Disappeared A great send up of Up and Vanished, this is really hilarious, but perhaps you should try a bit of U&V first?

Hunting Warhead Well this one isn’t what the title sounds like. It is an investigative podcast about hunting down online child abusers. Pretty gruesome content.

In the Dark I found both Season 1 about young Jacob Wetterling’s abduction and Season 2 about Curtis Flower’s probable wrongful conviction riveting. Right up there with Accused and 74 Seconds, this podcast is not to be missed. Madeleine Baran, Samara Freemark and their team do an outstanding job with this podcast.

OFFSHORE  They’re now working on their fourth season, but until that drops there are three great seasons online. I feel like Hawaii is almost my second home, so really enjoyed the first two seasons about a killing in Waikiki and the sacred mountain Mauna Kea. With any podcast the host is particularly important and Jessica Terrell does a wonderful job on OFFSFORE.

Open Mike This show features interviews between AFL journalist Mike Sheahan and some of the AFL greats. Some are funny and others very moving (like the recent ep with Brian Lake). I’ve not listened to them all.

Phoebe’s Fall A very good Australian investigative podcast from The Age newsroom in Melbourne about the tragic death of Phoebe Handsjuk.

Serial There have been three full seasons of this famous and game-changing podcast. Best to start with Season 1, which at the time was the podcast equivalent of Game of Thrones in terms of popular interest. It put podcasts right up there with mainstream TV series. The first season investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school senior from Baltimore. Was Adnan Syed guilty or not? In the second season host Sarah Koenig continues, but this time the story is about Bowe Bergdahl as US soldier who had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years before his release in May 2014. I really enjoyed both seasons.

SBS True Stories I subscribed for Season 3, a five-part 2015 investigation into Adelaide’s gay-hate murders by journalist Mark Whittaker. More horror and tragedy. Sorry.

The Ballad of Billy Balls This one is quite unusual. iO Tillett Wright (host & producer) presents this tale of the 1977 death of Billy Balls, whose girlfriend Rebecca is iO’s mother. It is very well presented and like nothing else you’ve ever heard. 

The Eleventh Yet another great ABC podcast that recently concluded. Journalist Alex Mann delves into the sacking of the Whitlam government in 1975, interviewing several people who were involved in some way at that time.

They Came to Play Yet another AFL footy podcast presented during footy season. Nothing since their post-Grand Final ep in late September 2019, but I hope they continue when the footy starts again (gotta be optimistic!). The best thing about this show is that one of the hosts, Lehmo is a Hawks supporter. I never miss it during footy season, especially if the Hawks won and both Footscray and Richmond lost.

The Sporting Probe with Roy & HG This one finished at the end of 2018, but if you like Roy & HG’s humour you can catch up on all 88 episodes.

Tony Martin’s SIZZLETOWN I really miss this one and hope they start it up again. Absolutely hilarious. They even have merch.

Trace A great investigative podcast about the unsolved murder of a Melbourne mother in a suburban bookshop. Great work by the ABC’s Rachel Brown.

Uncivil This podcast is another Peabody winner from 2017. It presents the stories left out of the official and accepted version of the history of the US Civil War. I studied the US Civil War at undergraduate level and I learnt something new each episode. A shame it ended in late 2018.

Uncover I just finished season 6 of this Canadian investigative podcast, so there’s a great deal of listening here for you. I’ve enjoyed Season 3 on the Toronto serial homicides and other unsolved deaths and the history of the LGBTQ community in Toronto and Season 6 on the 1980s panic about Satanic cults in Martensville, SK.

Undisclosed This podcast requires a bit of commitment as it goes into so much detail. Rabia Chaudry, Colin Miller and Susan Simpson investigate wrongful convictions and the US civil justice system. There are 17 seasons! Those I’ve gotten into include the stories of Adnan Syed (of Serial fame, two seasons), Joey Watkins, Jamar Huggins, Freddie Gray, Dennis Perry and Keith Davis Jr.

Unravel This podcast has had four great seasons: 1. Blood on the Tracks about a suspicious death outside of Tamworth in 1988; 2. Barrenjoey Road about the disappearance of Trudie Adams in 1978; 3. Last Seen Katoomba on the disappearance of young Blue Mountains mother Belinda Peisley; and 4. Snowball, the amazing story of how the swindler Lezlie Manukian stole more than a million dollars from host Ollie Ward’s family in New Zealand. Gripping.

Wrong Skin This is a really illuminating and beautifully presented podcast from The Age. It is about a relationship banned under traditional (indigenous) law. Two young lovers disappear and almost a year later only one body is found. Not to be missed.

So that’s about it. Yes, there are others in my podcast library, but those above are the podcasts I’d regularly download and would recommend to others. Enjoy!

And finally, my sincere thanks to all those who have brought us the podcasts above. I love your work!

Sydney Film Festival 2017 – My List


I’m going to the Sydney Film Festival again, despite the fact that Event Cinemas in George Street offer the most disgusting seats you can find. So here is my list of selections for 2017. There are many more I’d like to have seen, but one has to be realistic and make some choices.

The films below are offered in date order and usually I give you, dear reader, a brief reason for the film’s selection.

Ana, Mon Amour – European drama with bonus sex scenes

The Ornithologist – homoerotica from Europe!

Ellipsis – it’s about my home town, Sydney & stars Benedict Samuel (Australian)

Una – a drama from the UK, seems interesting

God’s Own Country – more homoerotica, this time from the UK (& I was taken in by these words “frank nudity, explicit sex scenes …”)

I Am Not Your Negro – yes, it is a documentary. I’ve read some of James Baldwin’s work.

Game of Death – no film festival can be complete without a decent splatterfest (from Canada & France)

Wind River – I love a good intelligent crime drama that is filled with action and violence (from the US)

Call Me By Your Name – a gay romance from Italy & France (What else does one need?)

Pulse – an intriguing mix of sci-fi, teen angst, queer drama and some body swap action thrown in for good measure (from Australia)

In The Fade – a thriller from German & France. Also, Diane Kruger was brilliant in the US TV series The Bridge.

Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films – 10 short films

Maliglutit – an Arctic thriller from Canada (a remake of John Ford’s classic western The Searchers)

Once again, I will write up some dreadful film reviews in due course (if so inspired).



Rectify S4, Undisclosed S2 and Serial S1: Parallels

Ghosts in the Surf 1
I’ve been watching the beautiful TV series Rectify for four seasons now. In Australia it has been programmed late at night on our Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). SBS seems to have extraordinarily good taste in selecting foreign drama series, but they’re not promoted or scheduled that well so many people seem to have no idea about the late-night gems they are missing on this free-to-air service. Fortunately, many such series can also be viewed via SBS On Demand, their wonderful free streaming service.

I’ve really enjoyed Rectify. It progresses at a gentle pace that is very well supported by a strong cast, great acting and writing, brave direction and superb music. The pacing allows us to see the multiple dimensions of the impact of criminal convictions and to see how so many things can change with time. The lack of special effects makes it very very different from most US TV series. I’m not, however, trying to present a review of the series here. Instead I want to just list a series of observations that dawned on me during the wonderful finale to Series 4.

While watching this episode I kept thinking of the many parallels between Rectify and at least two of the crime podcasts I posted about here True Crime Podcasts: Serial S1 (about Adnan Syed and the murder of Hae Min Lee) and Undisclosed S2 (about Joey Watkins and the killing of Isaac Dawkins). Through its key character Daniel and his family, I think that Rectify effectively tells many of the stories about the convictions of both Adnan and Joey that have been covered in so much detail in these podcasts. So here are the parallels that I’ve observed:

  • The many people who become “victims” in these cases and how their own lives are changed (adversely).
  • The sheer incompetence and bias of so many legal authorities and office holders.
  • The fact that “beliefs” can actually change over time as truths are revealed. People can also forgive.
  • The conspiracies of the guilty and the lying of so-called “witnesses”.
  • The eventual acceptance of their fate (if not their guilt) by the convicted and sometimes by their families. In Rectify, Daniel portrays superbly what I’ve gleaned of both Adnan’s and Joey’s attitude from the two podcasts.
  • The patience and determination of the convicted, their families and their legal support teams. The pace of real justice and legal change (like retrials) is very slow.
  • The loyalty and belief in innocence of the families of the convicted and some of their friends.
  • The bitterness of those wedded to their lies or twisted by their own guilt. Is there actually some Karma in this world?
  • The cautious approach to hope by the convicted and their families.

Finally, I would like to add my hope that if Adnan and Joey are innocent, their convictions can be overturned as soon as possible.

True Crime Podcasts

I started again with podcasts because my music collection was starting to bore me and I walk just about everywhere listening to either an iPod or something on my phone. I bought a new Alfa recently and my phone automatically connects via Bluetooth, so I try to keep the latest podcasts ready to go for driving too.

I blame Sarah Koenig and Serial (see below). I just could not get enough of it and I’ve enjoyed both seasons released to date. I’m slightly obsessive-compulsive, so after the second season of Serial I needed to find all the podcasts about Serial and that led me to many other true crime podcasts of a similar ilk.

And so dear reader, here is a listing of those I’d recommend for you. Just you, not that dull bloke sitting behind you in a blue shirt. But first, an unrelated image:
Super Moon 3

These podcasts are all available in iTunes:

Criminal – one of the major crime podcasts that really got it all going and set a bench-mark in production quality. It is hosted by Phoebe Judge and like her colleagues, she has a background in public radio. This podcast tells stories of “people who’ve done wrong, been wronged or gotten caught somewhere in the middle”. I’m really enjoying it and they now have over 50 episodes online.

Up and Vanished – I’m really enjoying this podcast by young documentary film maker Payne Lindsey. The sound editing is superb and I really enjoy his voice. Payne investigates the unsolved disappearance of Tara Grinstead 11 years ago in a small town in Georgia.

… These Are Their Stories: The Law and Order Podcast – this is devoted to that long running TV series and all its spin-offs – Law & Order. It is presented by Rebecca and Kevin from Crime Writers On and they usually have a special guest for each episode which focuses on an episode of either L&A “original recipe” or one of the franchise varieties, like SVU. All of the episodes I’ve listened to so far have been pretty funny and they deal with all kinds of matters like Lenny Briscoe’s best wise-cracks or Olivia’s acting, make-up or hair styles or the various actors that have been featured as guest stars or long running characters. Very entertaining.

Undisclosed – this one can get very detailed and might be best left until you’ve listened to a few of the others, including Serial as that is what inspired this podcast. It investigates wrongful convictions and the US criminal justice system, sometimes finding new evidence that did not make it to court. In Season 1, the focus was on Adnan Syed from Serial Season 1. In Season 2, which I am just starting now, they look into the conviction of Joey Watkins who is serving a life sentence for the killing of Isaac Dawkins in 2000. This case came to them from the Georgia Innocence Project. His conviction does seem to be unfair on the face of it.

Accused – this is a superb podcast on the unsolved killing of Elizabeth Andes in her Ohio apartment in 1978. Police quickly focus their attention on her boyfriend Robert Young and he was coerced into a confession by local police, but he was acquitted at two successive trials, so did they ignore critically important evidence and also ignore other suspects?

Offshore – presented by reporter Jessica Terrell this is another well-produced and thoughtful podcast that investigates injustice and exposes racial tensions in the underbelly of Hawaii. It tells of the tragic killing of Kollin Elderts by off-duty State Department agent Christopher Deedy and also a killing that happened 80 years earlier when another native Hawaiian, Joseph Kahahawai was brutally murdered by a Navy officer, Lt. Thomas Massie and his eccentric mother-in-law.

SBS True Crime Stories (season Three) – this series was inspired by the Deep Water series including a drama, documentary and online investigation of a series of gay-hate murders in and around Sydney in the late 1980s and 1990s. The podcast focuses on Adelaide’s gay-hate murders that stretch back to the 1970s. It is a very disturbing series.

In The Dark – Most of the podcasts in this listing are about unsolved crimes or wrongful convictions. This podcast was to be about an unsolved child abduction, but just before they started the podcast the abductor and murderer turned himself in and confessed that he was guilty of this crime. So the presenter, Madeleine Baran instead focuses on how law enforcement authorities mishandled this case and how that failure in part led to national anxiety about stranger-danger and sex-offender registries. Really well produced and the tragic tale gets you in on so many levels and from very different perspectives – victims, victims’  families, offenders who have done their time, offenders who are never caught, and law enforcement.

Serial – This is the one that started it all for me. It is hosted by the wonderfully unique Sarah Koenig and produced by Sarah and Julie Snyder. It is so good that this podcast has many podcasts about it (such as Crime Writers On and Undisclosed) and its own thread on Reddit. The first series was about the murder of a young woman, Hae Min Lee in Baltimore by her boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who has been in prison ever since and who has just had his conviction vacated as a result of this podcast. The second series was about a US serviceman, Bowe Bergdahl who wandered off-base in Afghanistan only to be captured by the Taliban and held prisoner in terrible conditions for several years. He was eventually released in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees, but now faces military charges for desertion and possibly treason. A third series in in the works now. It is one of the most downloaded podcasts ever.

Crime Writers On … – These guys started doing a podcast on the Serial podcast, but now they cover other journalism, crime and crime writing, pop culture (hit shows like The Night Of, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things) and just general junk. They are pretty funny and also review other podcasts, so through them I was encouraged to listen to things like Accused, In The Dark, Phoebe’s Fall, Offshore and Up and Vanished.

Phoebe’s Fall – This is another sad and very brutal tale that I didn’t really want to get hooked on at first. It is well presented and produced and  there is something just not right about the circumstances of her death: managing to get herself into a high-rise garbage chute and then plunge 40 metres, feet first down the chute before progressing through the compactor and then bleeding out.

Bowraville – Dan Box from The Australian newspaper investigates the unsolved murders of three children all killed within five months and all living on the same street. Very good journalism and well produced sound. Didn’t want to get hooked but I did and very quickly.

My sincere thanks to all the people making all these podcasts.

My place in time – photo project

Featured image

So I ran across this project via the twitter and decided to give it a go: Currently I’m posting my images to Tumblr via Flickr (as I didn’t want to re-caption the Flickr originals).  In order to keep track on my progress, I’ll progressively add links to the content I’ve uploaded against Kell’s list below: The list.

  1. The price of fuel/petrol.
  2. A mode of transportation.
  3. Teenage wasteland – use your common sense when photographing kids that aren’t yours.
  4. A small business.
  5. A view you pass on your way to work. And here too.
  6. Construction And here too.
  7. Destruction
  8. Something that was here 10 years ago.
  9. The corner shop or deli – basically anywhere you run to if you need something late at night.
  10. Where I go to relax.
  11. I can’t believe the news today.
  12. My favourite restaurant.
  13. What arrived in the post.
  14. A local service – think delivery/post/bin collection/ranger.
  15. People playing sport.
  16. An outing with friends (with the background in shot).
  17. Somewhere I used to visit as a kid.
  18. A handwritten note from someone I love.
  19. Something that was here 20 years ago.
  20. The end of the day. And here too.
  21. What I can see from my window. And here too.
  22. A river view.
  23. The price of a cup of coffee.
  24. Something I’ve never seen before – this can include a place.
  25. How we communicate.
  26. A view with train/rail lines in it.
  27. My favourite thing to drink – make sure the label is in shot.
  28. The receipt for something I bought today.
  29. Three O’Clock in the afternoon.
  30. How I tell the time – I know most of us use our phones these days. Be creative!
  31. Graffiti – If you can see the artist’s name please credit them. And here too.
  32. A sculpture.
  33. Nothing but trees.
  34. This sign makes me laugh.
  35. The view from somewhere high up.
  36. One kilometre from my house.
  37. The view from the end of my street.
  38. I’m in a supermarket.
  39. A ticket.
  40. A trip to the movies/cinema.
  41. What’s showing at the movies.
  42. This week’s music chart.
  43. Something old.
  44. A busy intersection – Do not take this whilst driving!
  45. Authority – Police, security, someone in a position of power. Be respectful and don’t get in the way.
  46. On my way to work/school.
  47. I wish this place had never changed.
  48. Ten dollars in my currency – this will be more interesting if you use change.
  49. I had to stop the car and take a photo.
  50. Somewhere I used to live.
  51. Someone outside your family/group of friends that you would miss if they were gone.
  52. This place has been here for my whole life.
  53. If I had kids I would want to take them here.
  54. Somewhere I visited with my first love.
  55. Out on a date – if you are single then photograph a date with friends or family.
  56. Power / electricity.
  57. A neon or electric sign.
  58. A concert or show poster.
  59. Somewhere I visit every day – not the toilet!!!
  60. A postcard – why not buy it and send it to a friend?
  61. Postage stamps from my country.
  62. Postage stamps from another country.
  63. I wish I didn’t have to pay this bill!
  64. A car I would love to own. And here too.
  65. The car I do own (or bike/scooter etc). And here too.
  66. Where all the cool kids go.
  67. It’s show time – interpret as you wish.
  68. Somebody’s special day.
  69. A photo from the coast.
  70. To market, to market.
  71. Fresh produce.
  72. A local playground – Again, use your common sense. Photograph your kids or a friends or wait til nobody is there. Don’t be creepy.
  73. Education.
  74. If I had a permanent marker, I would correct this sign.
  75. Road work.
  76. Somewhere I belong.
  77. Somewhere I don’t belong.
  78. My local library.
  79. Waiting for a bus.
  80. This week’s trashy magazines.
  81. I bought a Lottery ticket.
  82. An old painted sign on the side of a building.
  83. The view from the passenger’s seat. And here too.
  84. Some groceries I bought this week.
  85. Where I was at 11:11 am.
  86. Where I was at 11.11pm.
  87. A car numberplate.
  88. A shop that’s no longer open.
  89. This place is for sale.
  90. Coca-Cola. – It’s been around for most of our lives. Let’s see how it looks around the world.
  91. The price of a Big Mac at McDonald’s.
  92. On the way to the airport.
  93. Out on a bushwalk / hike. And here too
  94. Only in my country.
  95. Absolute junk.
  96. Street lights.
  97. Friday afternoon.
  98. How I spend Sunday morning.
  99. Someone I’ve just met.
  100. My place in time – any photo at any time of the day that describes how you feel with life.

Library Chat » Episode 8 – Mal Booth – Culture, Creativity, Play, Meetings

Library Chat » Episode 8 – Mal Booth – Culture, Creativity, Play, Meetings.

This a podcast of an interview that I did with Corin the Librarian (@corinh) in Auckland. It was done a while back and I’ve only just had a listen to it. I’m amazed at how coherent it is. Maybe it is all due to Corin’s editing, or maybe it was someone else impersonating me!

On becoming extraordinary

Becoming extraordinary from Mal Booth

I found this recently, so thought I’d share the slides from this online talk that I did for QUT’s Information Studies Group (@qutisg) in mid-2012. There are no speaker’s notes, but most of the ideas presented are pretty self-explanatory.

Thanks to Chris Gaul for his design work on these slides.

A New York Holiday

Downtown Manhattan
No four wheel drives, no fishing, no birds (although there was one squirrel), no campervans as large as small suburbs, no dirt roads and no peasant class flights (Qantas had a business class sale & I was a bit tanked when I booked). And no cyclones (I got out a week ahead of that muck). Sorry for the long post.
My (first) New York visit, October 2012
I tended to catch the subway somewhere and then usually walk back so as not to miss any sites. Every second day I ran about 40-45 mins early in Central Park and I did that one day, but then forgot to eat until late in the PM and by then I had bonked and my legs packed it all in. I think I was not really walking too far, but the slow standing around and wandering in museums does not help in terms of time on one’s feet. I usually found that I had done so much during the day (starting early) that all I could do at night was eat and collapse on the couch in the apartment after that. I wasn’t with friends so there was no real incentive to go out late I suppose.
I stayed in E 54th St, just off Park Ave in Midtown East, so it is pretty central to most things I wanted to do and close to three subway stations to allow for travel further afield. I booked the apartment through Airbnb  so it was not even half the price of any NYC hotel. I bought a weekly MTA card and used it a fair bit – it seemed very good value.

Here is a day-by-day report on my wanderings …

Wednesday (Day 1 really):
Just shopping and wandering as I was very tired & weird in the head from the trip and date line changes. Stores – Bloomingdales (clothes & shoes), Niketown (running shoes as I did not bring any with me), B&N (Nook reader for Mum), Mont Blanc (fountain pen). At Bloomingdales you get a voucher in the NY City Pass book for 15% off (one day visit) and that is about the best bargain shopping you’ll get in NYC. It isn’t really a bargain shopping place.

Run through Central Park (still v. tired, so much harder than I thought), back to apartment to shower, up to Abercrombie & Fitch for some clothes shopping, back to apartment and then most of the day at MoMA. It was a little bit disappointing really. You have to go though. It does have a great store. I expected to be wowed by the building and exhibitions and just wasn’t (sorry). Some good things, but the Met is far more impressive (and so too the Tate Modern). Enjoyed the store and bought some Xmas cards and gifts. Had a great early evening meal at Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant (7th floor) in a window seat, overlooking Central Park, drinking champagne. I had two meals here – both early dinners and really loved it. I loved just sitting there with champagne looking at the view. I had booked a window seat. Also bought a Xmas gift at BG’s for my sister & brother-in-law. Hideously expensive French wine cork screw thingy in bone. Photos

Went early to a disappointing discount department store (Century 21 – don’t bother) near the old World Trade Centre site and saw the new buildings going up down there. Then back to apartment and up to the Metropolitan Museum by subway. Loved it but only spent a lot of time in the galleries I liked. Great collections and a good Warhol exhibition (no photography allowed). Joined as a member as that helped me send two huge books back to Australia (one on Matisse’s Jazz Book and his cut-outs and the other an illuminated Psalter that was a great facsimile edition & they beat me back here!) and it also gave me 20% off for a great lunch in the members’ dining room (a must do really). Had virtually the whole day there. Walked back via the Whitney Museum of American Art, down Madison Ave (a really cool walk to do), but it was being renovated on the outside, so I don’t know what it looks like. They warned me that a lot of their collection galleries were not open because of the renovations so I did not think it worth the entry fee and declined. Enjoyed the PM walk back down Madison Ave. Photos

An early trip to Empire State building to avoid the crowds (very successful and surprisingly amazing views as people had told me not to bother). Then Macy’s large store (meh), Bryant Park (being renovated), NYPL (you have to go, but again, meh), St Pat’s Cathedral (being renovated), Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station (amazing).  I brought the large Canon 7D and a big lens and had been regretting not just bringing a lighter smaller camera until this day. It was well worth it from the observation deck of the Empire State (see shots here ), inside the cathedral and also inside Grand Central Station  I had a PM run in Central Park after this and really enjoyed it – lots of Saturday arvo people and a fun place to be when it is sunny.

Lonely Planet Guide walking tour of most of lower Manhattan (Soho, Tribeca, Noho, Nolita, West Village. Greenwich Village, Flatiron & Meat Packing then back thru Midtown East) I missed the Young Designer’s Markets in Nolita because the guide book said Sat & Sun, but they were only on for Sat. I also spent some time in the NYU Library – the Bobst as it was near Washington Square It was almost dark by the time I had walked back to the NYPL, so I ate at Andaz, right across the road and wandered home from there. (I ate twice at Andaz as I really liked it and it was on the way home for me.) Most photos yet to be uploaded to Flickr, sorry.

Guggenheim (stunning building and great Picasso exhibition in B&W – I loved his early figurative work) and then walked across Central Park Great Lawn to the Natural History Museum (meh – it was in my City Pass book of six attractions) I’d not done enough reading to find that the National Academy of Design (next to the Guggenheim did not open Mondays and then walked back across Central Park to find it was the same for the Frick Collection, so I needed to go back. Major shopping – more shirts at Thomas Pink’s. Photos

So now my last few days in NYC. I have heaps more photos to add to Flickr that cover most of what I did on these days (because it was mainly just wandering around taking photos of interesting stuff), but they all require some citing, tagging and naming of buildings, etc. I’ve just not yet gotten to it.

Was really tired, had a late and leisurely start. Had to do some washing and await a fedEx delivery of some cheap online shopping.
Then walked around lower Midtown – to the Rockefeller Centre and Times Square via the International Centre for Photography I wish I’d researched them a bit earlier as they had a lovely weekend workshop on street photography in Chelsea that I’d have done. Nice exhibits from time to time too.
Time Square is a big mess of advertising signs and lights, run down buildings and too many cars and people. But you have to go there. Not really my thing.
I then wandered back very slowly via Bryant Park and Madison Avenue.

Another sleep in. Exchanged a Mont Blanc that had a faulty nib at Bloomingdales, bought some make-up for Mum and then caught the subway north to take some pics of the Guggenheim under a blue sky. It wasn’t that successful as it clouded over again by the time I got there. I was going to go to the cafe at Neue Galerie, but it wasn’t open (aaarrrggghhh!) and then looked at the Frick Collection, but decided that I’d seen enough old art in Europe, so didn’t pay to go in. By then I think I was over-museumed too. Interesting Building, but it wasn’t worth the entry fee for my tastes.
I then had a more leisurely stroll again through Central Park to the West Side and took some better photos of The Lake and then the famous Dakota building (outside which John Lennon was shot). Then strolled down Columbus Ave to the Lincoln Centre and took some more pics there and visited the NYPL’s Library of the Performing Arts (which had just opened a Katherine Hepburn exhibition).
After that I looked through the massive Time Warner Centre on Columbus Circle, looking for somewhere decent to eat, but nothing took my fancy really.
So I walked back towards Fifth Ave (heading East) and called in again for a very late lunch or early dinner at Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant. I got a seat by a window again overlooking Central Park and had a second enjoyable meal there with great food and French champagne. It was great to take a load off and just sit for a while. I browsed some more shops on the way home but bought nothing.

An early start to get down to the Highline before the crowds. It is probably nearly two miles long, but not that wide and gets crowded easily during good weather. I walked the whole length and took heaps of photos of the surrounding buildings (old and new) and the plantings It is unique, amazing, inspiring and really enjoyable. So popular that it is probably a victim of its own success now.
Then I walked up to 42nd St and down to Pier 83 for the Circle Line 2 hour cruise round lower Manhattan. I wasn’t sure about doing this when I saw the huge crowds, but we all got on board and had seats and I was glad I did it. The boat offers a different perspective on Manhattan from the water that surrounds it and the tour guide was really entertaining. We left and headed south  viewing Downtown and Jersey City then on to Ellis Island and there Statue of Liberty before heading north on the Brooklyn side under four bridges including Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg. It was a good chance to sit down and be entertained for a couple of hours and well worth the effort.
Later I caught the subway down to the World Trade Centre and wandered around taking photos of many of the interesting buildings including City Hall, the huge Municipal Building, a Gehry designed tall apartment building and Wall St.

I just walked around Midtown again before it started raining and then headed into the Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. The first thing I did was to head right up to the top floor and book a seat by the window for lunch at Robert restaurant. Then I wandered through their galleries and exhibitions and met an artist called Trong Gia Nguyen  He had some beautiful work that focussed on libraries and books so I am now wondering whether we could acquire a couple of his Library works for display in the UTS Library. He was featured in an artists’ studio at the museum where you could see his work and ask him questions. A great idea!
When done I returned to the restaurant and had a fantastic lunch of Scottish Salmon, a beautiful carrot cake dessert, Pinot Gris and a beautiful espresso coffee, all for $70 including a generous tip. I had a fantastic seat by the window that looked over Columbus Circle and the West Side of Central Park and it was just so special I wished I had discovered it earlier. See
Afterwards I just walked back down West 57th St where there are many interesting buildings to look at. There is scaffolding everywhere though. Even Carnegie Hall is being renovated.

I had a late flight which is a bit of a problem when staying in an apartment under Airbnb as you have nowhere to leave your bags and by then mine were too heavy to lug all over the city.
So I delayed as long as I could and got the MTA card topped up for the subway trip to Suphin Blvd and then the AirTrain to JFK Terminal 7 – all for only $7.25! Cab fares are likely to be as much as $65-70 incl tip. (On the way in I got the Airport Express bus for only $7 or $10, but it took ages going to every terminal at JFK (all eight!) and I had a longish walk from GCT with my bags because it only drops off there and at two other big hotels.)
After breakfast I walked down Lexington Ave with my trusty camera to photograph the beautiful Chrysler Building again (it was a lovely day). I also took in the RCA/GE art deco building as it is almost as fascinating.
The other thing I discovered far too late was the Grand Central Terminal market hall. I’d missed it because I always came at GCT from the West side and this is on the East or Lexington Ave side. It is pretty amazing and perhaps best for my health that I didn’t see it earlier as it wasn’t a long walk from the apartment I had.

I ran out out time to do everything, but I was exhausted and could not really have fit in much more. Things for next time: Brooklyn, Staten Island Ferry, Jersey City, Yankee Stadium (for a ball game), Dia Beacon (I didn’t go because it is almost a day trip on the train and they don’t allow photography in their galleries), Long Island coast, perhaps Boston, etc.
Eating: Not to be missed is the Met members dining room. I thought it well worth the museum membership ($60), especially give the two huge tomes they shipped bad for me for hardly anything. I really enjoyed the food there. I’m not really into experimental menus, but all of those I went to seemed to have choices to suit all tastes.
For both Robert & B-G, you need to book a window seat ahead of time, but it always worked for me. I think  & are pretty widely used in NYC now.
Next time I think I’ll want a faster sim card than the T-Mobile 2G sim, but at least it was cheap. My apartment had free and fast wifi.
An American friend suggested taking out a weekly gym pass because I had several to select from nearby and all the running around Central Park got a bit stressful on the legs.
That’s all!