2

boston market

Does your local market host vintage car shows? Mine neither. Even if there were car shows here, the weather in the UAE is so hostile that I wouldn’t have bothered going anyway.

The historic Quincy Market in Boston, however, is the sort of place I wouldn’t mind visiting every week. Along with Faneuil Hall, North Market and South Market, Quincy Market is set around a cobblestone promenade where jugglers and musicians entertain the passers-by. The unique array of shops, restaurants and outdoor entertainment have made it a favorite destination for both locals and tourists alike.

quincy market

In 1742 Peter Faneuil, Boston’s wealthiest merchant, built Faneuil Hall as a gift to the city. To better accommodate the merchants and shoppers, Faneuil Hall was then expanded in 1826 to include Quincy Market, which was designed in the then-popular Greek Revival style.

The Faneuil Hall was home to merchants, fishermen, and meat and produce sellers. It is where colonists first protested the Sugar Act in 1764.

Today, the first floor is still used as a lively marketplace and the second floor is a meeting hall where many Boston City debates are held. The fourth floor is maintained by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

On July 4, the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony of Faneuil Hall to commemorate its first reading on July 18, 1776 (typically at 10 AM).

Before I share pictures of the vintage cars, I wanted to show you this live statue, which I found quite entertaining:

live statue at quincy market

Notice the water bottle? Yes, that’s for when this fellow gets thirsty. I’m not quite sure who he is supposed to be. Paul Revere, perhaps?

It’s a tough job.

The Vintage Car Show

Located at the West End Promenade at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market, cars were on display just steps from the best shops and restaurants in Boston’s Marketplace. It was really fun to be able to see them up-close, talk to the owners, and touch the vintage cars. Owners were happy to discuss the histories of their vehicles.

1960s Ford Galaxie Wagon

DSC_1873

1977 Lotus Esprit S1

DSC_1869

That look on the boy’s face is priceless.

The Lotus Esprit was unveiled at the Turin motor show in November 1972. Designer Giorgetto Giugiaro had wanted to call the car Kiwi, but Lotus management was intent on a name beginning with the letter E, as is Lotus tradition.

Interesting Fact: The Lotus Esprit was made famous in the 1977 James Bond film ‘the Spy Who Loved Me’. Roger Moore drove the Esprit in to the sea, where it then turned into a submarine.

1971 MGB GT

1971 mgb gt

Manufactured and marketed by the British Motor Corporation (and later British Leyland), the MGB is a two-door sports car as a four-cylinder, soft-top roadster from 1962 until 1980.

The MGB GT was not only a good looking car of its time, but it offered saloon car comfort levels with a sports cars performance.

1964 MG MGB

1964 MG MGB

This MG Model B was produced from September 1962 until July 1980 at the Abingdon Works when the last MG B rolled off the production line.  The Plant was closed by Margaret Thatcher as part of the British Government’s Privatization Plan.  The “B” was the successor to the MG A, and because of the popularity of the car became synonymous with the definition of sports car.

Nels Anderson’s 1963 Land Rover Series IIA 109 Station Wagon

Nels Anderson's 1963 Land Rover

the green bean

Mr. Anderson is the director and webmaster for the Boston Area MG Club. The Green Bean, as it is also known, is the type of classic Land Rover that features strongly in the general public’s perception of the Land Rover, from its many appearances in popular films and television documentaries set in Africa throughout the 1960s, such as Born Free.

There were several other cars as well, but instead of taking pictures I took a short video:

I love how these vintage cars are so well maintained. For those interested in knowing when and where the Boston Area MG Club members are going to host their next gathering, you may check their website for updates.

Posted in Boston | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
6

“When it’s three o’clock in New York, it’s still 1938 in London.” ― Bette Midler

Masood and I spent three days in London, way too short to truly get to know this beautiful city. My sister, her husband, and their precious daughter live there, and our days there went by in a blink of an eye. With hardly any time for proper sight-seeing, the lovely couple drove us around the city and showed us as much as possible.

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

trafalgar square

This structure was established in 1824, which means this building is 191 years old! Trafalgar became the location of choice so that the gallery could be easily accessed on foot by lower classes from London’s East End, and by the wealthier classes arriving by carriage from the west. The Gallery’s mission was to make art free and accessible to all ( and not just for privileged classes).

Perhaps the most famous painting in the National Gallery collection is Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, painted in 1888.

Opening hours: Daily 10am – 6pm, Friday 10am – 9pm

To protect paintings, copyright of loans, etc, photography is not permitted in exhibitions.

Just outside the National Gallery, you may run into Spiderman with hula hoops.

spiderman in trafalgar square

He doesn’t look so happy, does he?

fountain at trafalgar square

Trafalgar Square is filled with tourists, most of them simply sitting on the steps of the National Gallery or hanging around the fountains.

red phone box

Because you can’t be visiting London for the first time and not take a picture of this. Masood and I took turns taking pictures of us with the phone box. He had about 2 pictures taken of himself and I had approximately 20. Our photographer, my lovely sister, was as enthusiastic as us and kept taking pictures until, much to our embarrassment, a queue has formed. We apologized for keeping everyone and promptly left.

Spot a hackney carriage!

DSC_2093

It’s that cute, black car on the right. It’s also known as the black cab. The name ‘hackney’ was once thought to be derived from the French word haquenée—a horse of medium size recommended for lady riders; however, current opinion is that it is derived from the village name Hackney (now part of London).

Just last month, it was reported that black cab drivers have repeatedly complained they are losing earnings as a result of private hire cars and apps such as Uber, which they allege are not being subjected to the same licensing rules as black cabs. As a result, thousands of wives, husbands and families of Licensed London Black Cab drivers have planned to come together to protest on September 5th.

Her Majesty’s Theatre

her majesty's theatre in london

Her Majesty’s Theatre is situated on Haymarket in the City of Westminster, London, and was constructed in 1897, making this building 118 years old.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera has played continuously at Her Majesty’s since 1986.

Interesting fact: the name of the theatre changes with the gender of the monarch. It first became the King’s Theatre on the accession of George I. Then it became Her Majesty’s on the accession of Elizabeth II.

Royal Opera Arcade: the world’s oldest existing shopping arcade

royal opera arcade

This was designed by John Nash—the same dude responsible for designing the Buckingham Palace—and was completed in 1818, making this mall 197 years old!

The London Pavilion 

ripley's london

This building that houses Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is located on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street on the north-east side of Piccadilly Circus in London. This was established in 1859, making this structure 156 years old.

The basement of this building connects with Piccadilly Circus tube station and the rest of the Trocadero Centre. My sister and her husband were amazing hosts and spoilt us by driving us around the city so we did not experience London’s tube.

The Trocadero: where a new budget hotel is coming up

street in london

That building on the left was originally built in 1896 as a restaurant, making it 119 years old.

Today, this huge Trocadero building on Piccadilly Circus is to be turned into the West End’s biggest budget hotel. While the main façade of the building will remain intact, the hotel rooms will be compact windowless pods, a concept popular in Japanese hotels that aims to maximise space.

Work has already begun on the 583 room three star hotel, which will open in 2017 and where a night’s stay is likely to cost around £100 to £150.

Wait! £100 to £150 is budget?!

DSC_2108

The Admiralty Arch: to become a lavish hotel soon

the admiralty arch

This impressive structure was completed in 1812, making it 203 years old today!

In 2011, as part of the government’s austerity programme, the building became vacant and was put up for sale for a reported £60 million. In October 2012, the winning bidder—a Spanish fellow—decided to turn the property into a luxury hotel. The property was sold as a 125-year lease. When ready, a night in this luxury hotel will cost you £850.

The Buckingham Palace

the buckingham palace

This is the London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom since the 1920s, it’s balcony one of the most famous in the world.

I had seen pictures of this building and watched it on the TV since I was a little girl (I was going through the whole fairytale-fascination-with-prince-and-princesses stage) and, to be honest, I found it a smaller than I had imagined it to be. Don’t get me wrong – this place is massive; the palace has 775 rooms! It just wasn’t as huge as I had always imagined it to be.

The Tower Bridge: which I had always assumed to be the London Bridge

tower bridge

The bridge was inaugurated in 1894, which means it’s 121 years old today and still a busy crossing of the Thames! River traffic is now much reduced, but it still takes priority over road traffic. So, if you need to go through with your boat, a 24 hours’ notice is required before opening the bridge, and opening times are published in advance on the bridge’s website.

Interesting fact: normally, the bascules are only raised to an angle sufficient for the vessel to safely pass under the bridge, except in the case of a vessel with the Monarch on board in which case they are raised fully no matter the size of the vessel.

Also, a new glass walkway has recently been unveiled at London’s Tower Bridge which gives visitors a bird’s eye view of traffic.

City Hall: a modern London landmark

london city hall

Located on the south bank of the Thames, this modern structure opened in July 2002, making it 13 years old today. While it is the home of the offices for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, London City Hall is not technically the headquarters of the London municipal services or government.

The unique bulbous design was created with the highest demands of energy efficiency in mind by reducing its outer surface area and thereby requiring less energy to heat.

Parts of the City Hall is open to public Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30am to 6pm and on Fridays from 8.30am to 5.30pm. They host regular exhibitions here, usually on topics relating to London or that have been created by Londoners. All exhibitions are free and open to everyone to see.

DSC_2127

Have you been to London? What’s your favorite building or structure there?

Posted in London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments
0

“We will take you on a journey from turn of the century hand cranked music boxes to modern video arcade games. This is a trip down memory lane. It is a chance to show your children or grandchildren what you did for fun when you were their age. Before video games at home, perhaps before television, perhaps what you remember sitting in your grandparent’s parlor.” – Musée Mécanique

free museum in san francisco

musée mécanique

Musée Mécanique (Mechanical Museum) is said to be one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines.

Masood and I were at the Fisherman’s Wharf doing touristy things and had no prior knowledge about this museum that’s on Pier 45 at the end of Taylor Street. Both of us aren’t into arcade games and such, so I wasn’t really interested until I saw the Free Admission sign. Masood, on the other hand, didn’t care even if it was free. I grabbed his hand and pulled him in, insisting that I needed to blog about this museum.

mechanical museum

display at the mechanical museum

Stepping inside this museum felt like being transported back in time, somewhere eerie and mysterious. This place is home to a large collection of over 300 vintage arcade games, so I’m sure that those who are interested in these types of things would be highly fascinated. My honest opinion? It felt like entering a haunted house.

english executioner

They have the French Execution game too, if I remember correctly. The characters are all so very scary that I did not bother taking their pictures! The collection includes the frightening Laffing Sal, the eerie Corn Cob Gulch Clown, the chilling Opium Den, the spooky Organ Grinder, the creepy Royal Court Yard, amongst others.

Next time your grandparents bemoan the horrendous amount of violence in today’s video games, remind them of this post.

DSC_3093

These machines are all in working condition, by the way. While the museum is free, the games aren’t. Games range between 1¢ to $1, with most typically costing 25¢ to 50¢ so if you’re into 19th and 20th century arcade games, don’t forget to bring lots of quarters with you.

It was around eleven in the morning when we visited and, although it was warm and bright outside, it felt cold inside the museum. It did not help that I felt like constantly being watched, like several pairs of eyes were looking at every move that I made – what with all these creepy dolls and their unearthly smiles, nicely complimented by the sounds of some weird carnival music fading in and out from the activated amusements.

the carnival

I must admit that the details on some of the games are pretty impressive. One of the most impressive machines featured in this museum is this very large mechanized carnival from 1920—complete with running ferris wheel, a brass band, cotton candy maker, midway games, etc.

When you enter, you can use their change dispenser to trade in your dollar bills for coins. The various mechanical games include Stereoscopes, Love-o-Meters, mechanical marionettes, and a myriad of other characters and attractions which also, by the way, include burlesque peep show on varying themes – all of which come to life with a simple drop of a coin.

free museum in san francisco

the magic chair

After taking a few pictures, I started heading out of the building. Masood was feeling uncomfortable with most of the displays and he wanted to leave. I must admit, Laffing Sally was scaring me too.

DSC_3094

DSC_3095

DSC_3102

DSC_3101

I welcomed the fresh air and bright light once we stepped out of the museum, feeling relieved to be back in present time.

While this place can both fascinate and scare you, I suppose the best thing about this museum is that it lets you interact with every piece inside their doors.

Musée Mécanique

Open 365 days a year – Admission is Free – Open from 10 am to 8 pm

Pier 45 at the end of Taylor Street
Fisherman’s Wharf
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 346-2000

All the coin-operated games are available to play. Prices range from 1¢ to $1. Most games cost 25¢ to 50¢. Also, don’t worry if you haven’t brought your own quarters, they have change machines throughout the building.

Posted in San Francisco | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment