A Pictoral Fairytale of New York

A Pictoral Fairytale of New York

I’m not ready for Christmas to be over.  There is such a long lead-time towards the big day and then ‘poof’ it’s over.  The British at least have Boxing Day the day after Christmas day itself to drag out the celebrations a bit longer.

A Fairytale of New York - recycled cups creating a snowman

The British also have the Pogues song ‘Fairytale of New York‘ playing on endless repeat on the radio.  In fact it is the most played Christmas song in the UK in the 21st century.  I realised in New York City, Fairy Tale of New York is not as popular as in the UK.  Maybe it’s too bleak to be a real fairy tale.  Americans like their anodyne fairy tales. Plus, some of the language is questionable for children to hear.

I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

New York City is for dreams, especially at Christmas.  The city that never sleeps sparkles and shines like at no other time.  A siren song for the young and the ambitious, New York will dash the hopes of many against its steel and glass towers.  I followed the call of New York in my 20’s but now I’m simply happy to be one of the tourists that visit.

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me.

Wandering around New York City last week, I tried to capture the magic of the city at Christmas.  Here are my efforts:

Fairytale of New York

The tree at Brookfield Place overlooks World Trade Observatory

Fairytale of New York

The Saks Fifth Avenue window displays reflected the theme of Winter Palace

fairytale of new york

Fifth Avenue tarted up for the holidays

giant candy canes in Manhattan

Giant candy canes hanging off a building – magical!

Fairytale of New York

A gingerbread house at the Plaza Hotel

fairytale of new york

The old and the new coexist.

fairytale of New York

The only angels that exist in Manhattan.

The Pogues’ song veers between sentimental and bittersweet similar to the feelings of the couple referenced in the lyrics.

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you.

I think it is a fitting tribute to Christmas.  A whole lot of sentimentality with an undercurrent of disquiet.  No one has a perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas even though the pressure is there to have one.



15 Reasons to Love Venice Beach Boardwalk

15 Reasons to Love Venice Beach Boardwalk

Did you know that Venice Beach claims to be the number 1 visitor attraction in Southern California?  Yes, even more so than Disneyland or Rodeo Drive.  We walked the Venice Beach boardwalk on a Sunday and I can attest that was heaving with people.  The Venice Beach boardwalk is about a mile and a half long with the beach on one side and all sorts of visual candy on the other side.

15 Things to Do on the Venice Beach Boardwalk

The town of Venice California was created by a real estate developer who was fascinated with bringing the sophistication of Venice in Italy to the California sun. The original vision is still alive and well in the Venice Canals District.  The boardwalk part of Venice though has turned into more of a Coney Island (New York) or Blackpool (England) sort of experience.  If you don’t take yourself seriously, it is still a lot of fun in my opinion.

15 Things To Do on the Venice Beach Boardwalk

What is there to do in Venice Beach?  Frankly, pretty much anything goes from what I can tell.  And, this list is by no means exhaustive of things you can get up to in Venice Beach.


The best part of Venice Beach is the people-watching.  This strip is a street photographer’s dream.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Street art

On and off the Venice Beach boardwalk, there is fantastic street art.  The artists in the area have really made a grungy place look cool.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Venice Beach Chorus Line by noted muralist Rip Cronk

Venice Beach Boardwalk


Venice Beach Boardwalk

Interesting Design

If this private residence looks this wacky from the outside, can you imagine the inside?

Venice Beach Boardwalk

I’d love to see the inside of this private residence.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

See a doctor

Don’t worry, medical help is nearby.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

I wonder if Dr. Weed went to one of those dodgy Caribbean medical schools for his degree.

Go shopping

There are traditional types of beach shopping as well as lots of artwork for sale.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Be a culture vulture

Lots of artists display their wares.  This vendor has recycled metal craft made to look like robots.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

One person’s junk is another person’s art.


Join up with local sports

You can see plenty of people shooting hoops, skateboarding and surfing (not at the same time!).

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Psychedelic coloured skateboards to go along with any other trip you may take.

Go Cycling

The bicycle path gives you a nice and easy ride.  Just remember not to crash into anyone/anything as you gawk at all the sights.

15 ways to enjoy Venice Beach Boardwalk in California

Take in a show

After watching American Horror Story, I thought Freak Shows were a thing of the past.  But clearly not here on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

A Freak Show just sounds like such unPC branding for California.

Support local entertainers

Venice Beach Boardwalk

I can’t believe a busker actually brings a piano to the beach.

Get a commemorative tattoo and/or piercing


Engage in a lively debate.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.

Grab a coffee

Hang out in the sunshine, get something to eat or drink and watch the world go by.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Gawk at hardbodies

It may not be your cup of tea, but this sort of body takes some serious effort to achieve.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Big guns at Muscle Beach. Image credit: Lin Mei

Enjoy beach time

And, finally, how about just relaxing at the beach? Only with the Venice Beach Boardwalk nearby would such a beautiful white sand beach become almost an afterthought.

Venice Beach boardwalk

Venice Beach lifeguard stand – sadly didn’t look very Baywatch.

Visiting Venice Beach Boardwalk

The Venice Beach Boardwalk is located at Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, California 90291.  Admission is free, but the spectacle is priceless.

When we visit Los Angeles, our favourite place to stay is the Terranea Resort located by the ocean. We rent a car through Hertz rent a car through Hertz, our usual choice of rental car in the United States.

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