An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 5, 2010


Amongst ourselves, we Southerners are often expected to hold New York City in mild disdain. This may be a reaction to one too many portrayals of slow-witted, moonshine drinking stereotypes being kept in line by fat sheriffs with bad accents. Even so, I want to go on record as saying "I love New York" - not quite enough to ever want to live there, but certainly enough to visit every so often. Though vacationing there can be expensive, when you factor in all that there is to do and see, with enough options free or nearly so, it can be more of a bargain than given credit for.

Atlas at Rockafeller Center

Atlas at Rockafeller Center

Central Park

Central Park

The U.S.S. Maine Memorial

Maine Memorial (2)

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Saint Patrick's (3)

Joe Pye visits the Battery

The Battery (3)

South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport (3)

South Street Seaport

Some of Donald Trump's trees

Trump Tower Trees

Sycamore at the Battery

The Battery (8)

The Brooklyn Bridge


As fortune would have it, we were able to stay at The Chambers, a very nice boutique hotel just off of 5th Ave., near the Museum of Modern Art. Keeping in mind its location, the lobby, the halls and each of the well-appointed guest rooms are decorated with original contemporary art. Our suite had a bedroom, living room, plus a fantastic terrace. If it were not against the laws of physics, I would have packed the bathroom in my suitcase to take home to replace ours. In the spirit of full disclosure, the hotel's manager is a good friend of ours, and in fact it was through him that my wife and I first met. He was also responsible for our considerable room upgrade, and my brother paid the tab as a joint birthday present for my wife and myself. We are most thankful to both of them for a great trip.

Chambers Bed

The terrace...

Chambers Terrace

...and its view

Chambers View

(more pictures here)


  1. WOW ! Great photos, thanks Les.

  2. Hi there, just read your post and gotta that you have really nice pictures! :)

    I'm from Québec, and I loved going to NYC too! It's a lot like Montréal here, but at a larger scale. If I could move there, I would for sure.

  3. It's a great life if you can get it...

  4. Fantastic pictures, Les. Happy birthday indeed! And this lifelong Southerner loves NYC too.

  5. I've been to NYC a few times, courtesy of my mom, and was always so impressed with the service and beauty in restaurants. Crisp white table linens, candles, very good manners and service plus the food was excellent everywhere we went. I recall though, that no one smiles there EXCEPT the tourists on the sidewalks. I basically lived ta the MET for two days , to drink in the fabulous artwork. I would not want to live there either, too loud, can't see any trees hardly in the city or sky...too much concrete and traffic. But the Met and other museums make it worth it. Plus we have to go see the Yankees play up there. It is VERY expensive though, great pictures, Gina

  6. Your NYC posts are so timely. We're going for the first time in October -- for only two days! Studying your photos carefully for what to see in two days...

  7. Happy Birthday!

    As a Yankee who has now lived in the South for 15 years, I can safely say that most of America feels that way about's the most horrible place and the most wonderful place, at the same time. Not sure I would want to live there unless I was extraordinarily wealthy, but feel very grateful that I grew up just four hours away.

  8. What a very nice birthday present. Love your photos. I've spent a bit of time in NYC-tip of Manhattan. It wasn't the sights or the people that made me want to leave, it was always the smell. Maybe 5th Avenue is not the same though. NY sure has tons to offer. I'd love to go to ground zero one day but don't see it happening any time soon. You had a super view and wow on the terrace!

  9. Oh how fun. I love NY too, and haven't been in far too long. I love your room - but was wondering why you didn't show images of the bathroom that you wanted to pack in your suitcase... I know you have them. :)

  10. You are my best blog friend. You are an awesome blogger, person, and I adore you. My nose is very brown and getting browner, because that's a nice hotel room in a nice part of town!

  11. Jan,

    I appreciate the comment.

    We were going to vacation in Québec this summer, but things happened around here that cost a lot of money, so perhaps some other year. Merci!

    We don't get it all the time, but do enjoy it when it happens.

    I knew I was not the only one.

    We spent our whole first day at MoMA, and I could have used more time. Last time it was the Met.

    My favorite parts of this trip were The High Line, MoMA and the day spent at Union Square.

    I know what you mean. Oz is a great city, but it is good to go home too.

    I have about a 3 day limit to my trips to NYC, after that I get anxious for some open space, devoid of people.

    If you click on the link you can get a picture of the bath. It had duel sinks, a tub that I was able to completely stretch out in and a rain shower. Every surface was tile or concrete so that to clean it you only needed a hose.


  12. I too love NY. But as you, to visit not to live there. Too much hustle and bustle for my southern bones, hee hee... We were there on a birthday gift to my hubby by his family. His sister and her NY native boyfriend took us on a tour of the city! It was awesome to say the least. We only had a long weekend and barely saw a drop in the bucket so to speak! But we went up on the Empire State Building, took the Ferry to see Statue of Liberty, view ground Zero, etc. We hit the hot spots but did not get to tour Central Park. So much to do so little time to do it.

    Paxon Hill Farm looks wonderful with all the grasses in place. High Line Gardens looks interesting as well. I have never heard of them before but would enjoy them as much as the Empire State Building for sure!

    The opening of Epi Oxy was a great film by you! Great time lapse photography there :-)

  13. So glad you were able to have the experience of NYC that way Les! What a great gift. What no bathroom photos? The noise must have been pretty intense ... no? NY does have a constant hum! Great photos! Great city! ;>)

  14. Haven't been to New York in years, but remember how exciting it is. What a great trip you had! Great photos as usual.

  15. Well said...I've found that NYC holds a special allure for Americans, whether we'd like to admit it or not. It really holds a special place in our national conscious...we're so exposed to it in movies, tv, music. I was never particularly excited to go there, but once I finally made it, I was a convert...I just LOVED it...there is really something amazing about it!

  16. What a nice hotel room & terrace! I would love to visit NY sometime soon. It looks like a really interesting place with lots to see and do. :)

  17. I've never been there. Fantastic photos, I love the one inside the cathedral.

  18. Fabulous photos of my hometown! I couldn’t understand the text due to your accent or were you drunk? Ha! You were very polite to leave out what most people think of New Yorkers.

    The hotel sounds lovely. I’ve never stayed at one (except first night of my honeymoon) since my parents still live there. Still, people ask me for recommendations so good to see your friend’s place.

  19. Les, I love NY, too! Your entire series of photos is wonderful~and yes, I could see that hotel bathroom in my house! gail PS excellent, really excellent photos!

  20. Nicely written and wonderful photos of that wonderful city NYC. What a joy to spend your birthday's there and in that lovely hotel room!

  21. We had a great time on our last trip to NYC where we gorged ourselves on museums. We stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel before it got upgraded into condos and boutique hotel. As a result we got to enjoy a walk round Gramercy Park which guests have access to. It is the last private park in the city — historic, lovely and home to some great trees and sculpture. Your pix of the city are as good as they get — lovely!

  22. Skeeter,
    Thanks for coming by to "catch up" with all that has been going on.

    It wasn't too noisy, more like a hum as you said.

    We did have a great trip.

    It is our Emerald City.

    I saw an add today for a bus/shopping trip leaving the Southside, $65 is all.

    You really should go, at least once.

    Yes - drunk with an accent. While I have been there at other times, this trip we encountered no one who was rude, in fact quite the opposite.

    Now at home, I get depressed when I see our bathroom. I have decided just to keep the lights off.

    Yes it was a great birthday.

    We love the museums there, and can never seem to find enough time to see them well.


  23. Nice pictures indeed! We were in NY at the same time for the Tennis matches. Did manage to get over to take a look at the High Line garden that you featured previously. It is something special. Somehow I managed to leave the camera in my room :(.