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Monthly Archives: August 2010

I am too busy at work and at the new home to report on recent happenings.  So it is time to offload some posts that have been sitting around, let’s visit NYC, my fav place on this planet.

The New York City Waterfalls was unexpectedly a controversial public art project.  It was dismantled early because when there was wind, the salty and dirty water from the East River was blown onto a nearby park killing the plants, and raining on patrons at riverside restaurants.

In a TED conference, the artist responsible – Olafur Eliasson explains that the Waterfall in NY was not simply a matter of putting nature into the city.  It also provides one with a sense of the space of the city.  His explanation is interesting. He spent a lot of time outdoors in his native Iceland where there are lots of waterfalls. By observing the speed at which the water falls to the bottom, he can judge how far the waterfall is from where he is standing.

Out of sheer laziness, I missed the waterfalls and have to borrowed these photos from Wikipedia.   The project involved four towers of scaffolding, ranging from 90 to 120 feet, situated in NYC’s East River, including locations under the Brooklyn Bridge and on Governors Island.

The project’s website: NYC Waterfalls.

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Cartier

We have been living in a part of Switzerland that calls itself the “Watch Valley”.  Many famous brands are located here – only the factories.  We were not looking for these watchmakers but they stand out –  because they are housed in neat modern buildings in small, quaint towns or villages in the countryside. Most are found near Le Locle and La Chaux de Fonds which are close to the French border.  The pictures are a bit blurry because they were mostly taken while we were in a moving car.

Breitling

Patek Philippe

Ulysses Nardin

Chopard at Fleurier

Baume & Mercier at Les Brenet

Before I forgot about this place we visited in Easter, I’d better post it.

Campione d’Italia is a small village that is a part of Italy but is surrounded on all sides by Switzerland except the lake front.  Someone told us that it is a duty free zone and it might explain the massive casino built in the middle of town.  It is designed by Mario Botta who did many other big projects in the Ticino area.  It is so much bigger and modern than the other village buildings.  He did the same with an office building in Paradiso.  There was not much happening in this town except gambling.  While we were waiting for our boat, we wandered into a bar.  Practically the entire village was there to watch one of the quarter-final European champion football match.  Inter Milano beat Bologna, and everybody was happy since Milano is less than 100 km away.  We were cold and ordered hot chocolate instead of beer.

Since I am going to Washington DC next week, I might as well post the pictures of my last visit in the US.  I was back for a couple of days in June on business, in Richmond, Virginia.  We stayed at the Jefferson Hotel which has a lot of history.  It was built originally as a luxury hotel back in 1895, so it is not an old building which is adapted to be a hotel.  It has an impressive facade and a tower but the section of town in which it is situated is a bit bland.  We walked around after dinner and had a drink in a bar packed with kids from Virginia Commonwealth University just up the street.  College town atmosphere.

Inside the hotel, one of its highly decorative feature is the stained glass ceiling of the Palm Court.  In the middle of the Palm Court stands a statue of Thomas Jefferson –  a man of many talents – a 2-term US president, a horticulturalist, political leader, architect, archaeologist, paleontologist, musician, inventor, and founder of the University of Virginia.  There were some bronze alligators in the lobby too, apparently, they were kept in a fountain at the hotel to amuse guests up until 1940’s.  Not exactly my kind of style, but nevertheless interesting.

Palm court (above) and Rotunda lobby (below)

Looking back up towards the Grand Staircase.

Jetlag – couldn’t sleep – took this at 5:30 in the morning, see a sliver of the moon ?