Two Neat Things To Do In NYC

This is a post from the past. But I think that these two activities are in the category of pretty neat things to do in New York City. In one day or apart. The Brooklyn Bridge is a fascinating structure with interesting cable patterns. The Cloisters is a step into the past, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Try them both!

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed suspension bridge in NYC. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River. The bridge has a main span of almost 1600 feet and a height of 276.5 feet above high water. It is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the country and was the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge.

It was built over 14 years beginning in 1869. The towers are built of limestone from Essex County, NY,  granite from Maine, and Rosendale cement. The bridge was built with numerous passageways and compartments in its anchorages. The city rented out the large vaults in order to fund the bridge; the vaults were used to store wine as they were always at 60 degrees!

An enjoyable hour or two can be spent strolling across the bridge on the pedestrian walkway, enjoying the views and admiring the bridge construction. Or take a bit longer, stroll across to Brooklyn, have lunch and then cross back to the city.


The Cloisters

The Met Cloisters, which opened to the public in 1938, is the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Located in Fort Tryon in northern Manhattan, on a spectacular four-acre lot overlooking the Hudson River, the modern museum building is an ensemble arranged in chronological order. Elements from medieval cloisters and from other sites in Europe have been incorporated into the fabric of the building.

Much of the sculpture at the Cloisters was acquired by George Grey Barnard, a prominent American sculptor and avid collector of medieval art. The generosity of John D. Rockefeller enabled the conversion of the collection into a modern museum structure which opened in 1938. Rockefeller donated some 700 acres along the palisades to preserve the spectacular view from The Met Cloisters.

Willow City Loop

A big event in the Spring in Texas are the outburst of wildflowers in many parts of the state. We all have Lady Bird Johnson to thank for these often splendid displays of bluebonnets, poppies, Mexican paintbrush, gallardia and several other species. Many enjoy driving through the  hot spots including Brenham, Hill Country, Ennis and many other areas of Texas. Some seasons are just OK, a few can be spectacular.

I have been visiting Austin for about 18 years, and living here for ten. Most springs we get to drive around viewing the wildflower displays at least once or twice. My perennial favorite area is the Willow City Loop. This is a 13 mile scenic drive that showcases the beauty of the Hill Country. Along Willow City Loop, gently rolling hills give way to textured rocks, deep canyons and phenomenal vista views. The rough road then drops down through expansive fields dotted with an assortment of old trees. Native live oak, pecan and mesquite trees can all be seen from the road.

The Loop is most stunning during wildflower season, which runs from March until May. Grassy green fields are transformed into sheets of color, populated by over a dozen different wildflower species. The location is along Highway 16 north of Fredericksburg to Willow City, where the Loop begins. It rejoins Highway 16 about ten miles further north towards Llano. Visitors are highly discouraged from stopping, parking and exploring as the road runs through privately owned ranch lands and property. Most of the photos in this blog were taken in 2019, with some from earlier years.


Willow Loop SceneAs Far as the Eye...Blues and RocksClaret Cup CactusWillow Loop SceneTexas SceneGallardia

Arizona Wildflowers


This is peak wildflower season in Arizona. I know I no longer live there. I know I took no pictures there – this season. But I did live there and took hundreds (or more) photographs between 2004 and 2008, and they look very similar. We lived in Carefree, and had easy access to my two favorite spots. One was on the west side of Lake Pleasant along Castle Creek Road and Pipeline Canyon.

My other favorite was along N. Castle Hot Springs Road adjacent to Bartlett Lake, a few miles east of Carefree.

And one other spot – the Superstition Mountains on the southeast side of Phoenix.