Have a Blessed Holiday Season!!

This Holiday Season..From us to you

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So you may not celebrate Christmas or Chanukah(Hanukkah) or Saturnalia or Winter Solstice, but thats no reason it can’t be a happy day for you. Stay Blessed!!

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Ginger Bread Lane

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Who do you think lives in Ginger Bread Lane?

Down by the station and up on the hills

Old Mother Goose? Little Boy Bill?

ginger bread lane

The bookstore is run by Dana and Ben,

They could be elves or really small men

Those people at the shop that sells authentic Yule logs

They speak French, but I’m sure they are frogs!

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Chef Steve they say, is the sweetest imp

You’ll know him when you see him, he walks with a limp

I once heard the witch at the ribbon shop say

She can roll pierogies better than Faye

Those Construction Co. goblins are never upto any good

They never do a job as well as they should

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Mrs.Penguin who runs the skating rink

Loves to dress up in satins and pink

The Bear at the carousel is a carefree chap

With a flower in his buttonhole and a feather in his cap

Hotel Plum Pudding is the nicest place to stay

When you visit Ginger Bread Lane this holiday!!

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Sugar plum roofs, Peppermint panes

Doors with knockers made of candy cane

It’s a special stop on the Holiday Train

Let’s go, let’s go to  Gingerbread Lane!!

I made the long trip to Queens to see the Gingerbread Lane exhibit at the New York Hall of Science. Housed  along a circular corridor on the upper level of the building, this exhibit is a treat. Gingerbread Lane is complete with lovely homes, an ice rink, a carousel, a police station, a railway station, a fire station and a whole lot of delightful shops. The inhabitants of this quaint lane-town must be tech savvy  e-communicators, because I didn’t see an old fashioned post office there.

The exhibit is on display till 1:00 pm on January 11, 2015 and then these houses will be given away on a first come first serve basis ( 1 house per person).

Lights!Sound!Action!!

It was last holiday season while looking for fun holiday things to do I read about these homes somewhere between Stamford and New York which put up something of a ” Christmas lights show”. It so happened that we didn’t go. This year friends of ours mentioned a street right behind their apartment complex where a few houses where superbly decked out for Christmas. “We were the only two standing outside those houses admiring the various little nuances, everyone else was enjoying it from inside their cars”, she said. “That’s because they probably have a radio station to which the lights are synced.”, I jumped in. That’s what it was. When they got into their car and tuned into the station listed on a garden sign there, they found out first hand why everyone else chose to enjoy the show from inside their cars.

Sorry about the quality of the pictures. I took them with my phone

Holiday Magic

It didn’t take us long to put two and two together. We went there this year. We hadn’t planned to go. The plan was just to stay over with them after dinner and drinks and maybe go bowling the next day. My camera was in my bag, and I took it out thinking.. I guess I wasn’t thinking. We reached quite late at night. The lights were spectacular. The longer you looked, the more you saw. The more you saw, the more you admired the effort that had gone into it.  It was a wonderful show and it’s all free! free! free!. Park on the street and have fun. They switch the lights off at 11:00 pm, so make sure you go before that. One of my pet peeves in the United States is that shops leave their lights on all night long. I don’t grudge Christmas lighting, but I do appreciate their switching it off. It not only saves electricity, it also reduces the risk of an electrical mishap. If you are around New York City, do take some time to enjoy these lights. It’s the best way to get into the holiday mood.

*Sorry about the quality of the pictures. I had to take them with my phone.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market has always been on my list. Finally I dropped by last week to say hello to my favorite socially conscious enterprise – eight thousand miles.

This lovely store is the brain child of born in Bombay- worked in NYC- travelled the world architect-mom Shweyta Mudgal.  In this tiny ode to free spirits, traditional Indian block prints jostle for space with fun animal prints. Vibrant colours are mixed and matched with black and whites.  Each print is handpicked by Shweyta. Some of these unique prints are specially designed by her for eight thousand miles. Equal love is put into selection of fabrics, all of which are pre-washed and pre-shrunk.

Eight Thousand Miles, it's as social as it gets

Eight Thousand Miles, it’s as social as it gets

Eight thousand miles partners with  the tailoring section of Aadhar Skill Development Trust (ASDT) in semi-urban India to bring their (eight thousand miles) wonderful creations to life. ASDT trains women from the  lesser privileged sections of  society  in the fields of tailoring, montessori education, beauty services and manufacturing food-products,  to make them self – reliant and economically independent.  When eight thousand miles met the women at Aadhar, they were stitching very basic clothes like sari blouses. Working on eight thousand miles designs, often with guidance from eight thousand miles has  considerable increased their skill set and confidence levels. To meet the ever increasing workload from eight thousand miles, ASDT has had to employ additional women. Tailoring has gone from being a source of side income for these women to a steady secondary source of income for their families.

So drop by at Booth B25 and pick up some unusual holiday wears (pun totally intended), and while you are there don’t forget to check out the stall opposite and the one right next door to eight thousand miles. You are sure to find some interesting gifts. In other corners of the market you can find vegan ivory and living (plant) jewelry.Make your gifts special.  This holiday market,as the name says, is at Columbus Circle. You will see it as soon as you step out of the 59th street subway station. The red and white canopies are hard to miss.

Hurry up!! Ho!Ho!Ho!

Istanbul

Blue Mosque at last Light of Day

*photo courtesy Flickr

By now, some of you know and some of you would have guessed that we will be exploring Istanbul next month. On the way to India, we are breaking our journey for a couple of days in this historical city. After a lot of research I’ve come up with this plan and am looking for suggestions to improve it.

 

Day 1, Wednesday – Our flight lands in Istanbul at 4 pm. Check into the Best Western Premier The Home Suites & Spa, (Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Küçük Ayasofya Cd No:60, 34122 İstanbul, Turkey)

7:30 pm – Attend a Whirling Dervishes performance at the Orient Express Train Station (Sirkeci Event Hall–Istanbul Gar). We need to be there by 6:45 pm. It is a 90 minute performance.

9:30 pm – Dinner Reservations at the Khorasani Restaurant

 

Day 2, Thursday

9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Grab a bite at the Pudding Shop, Check out the Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque. Check prayer timings, as mosque is closed for prayers

1:00 pm – Have lunch at the Yerebatan.

2:00 pm to 5:00pm – Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Grand Bazaar

8:00 pm and beyond – Grab dinner ( restaurant suggestions welcome) and hit Kadife Sokak. It seems to be the place to experience Istanbul by night.

 

Day 3, Friday

9:00 am to 5:00 pm – Grab breakfast, Go see the Suleymane Mosque, Topaki Palace and Archeology Museum. Check Friday prayer timings for the mosque

1:00 pm – Grab a bite at Fez Cafe

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Spice Bazaar

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Cross the Galata Bridge and climb up the Galata Tower

8:00 pm and beyond – Dinner at  Antiocha,Go to a Meyhane (Demeti and Feraye have live music)

 

Day 4, Saturday

9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Luxuriate in a Hamam. I have heard  Ayasofya Hamam is very good and is one of the oldest. Plus it will be close to our hotel. Any other suggestions?

Take the Bosphorus  cruise

1:00 pm – Lunch at Çiya Sofrasi

2:00 pm to 4:00pm – Anything that got left out

4:00pm – Check out

7:00 pm – Fly out

 

A special shout out to Anthea of antheaschronicles for her help with this.
*Original photo can be seen here. If this picture belongs to you and if you have any objections to my using it, please let me know and I will take it down. If not, thank you for letting me use it.