Saturday, 30 November 2013

007 Travel story: New York (UNITED STATES) 2012

USA: New York, from 26th June to 1st July 2012.

Pirita's and Mika's own trip for two

Airline: Finnair, flights Helsinki - New York - Helsinki, 448.00 € / person
Flight time: 8 h 45 min

Hotel St. James, 109 W 45th Street, New York City, USA
473.00 € / 4 nights, no breakfast included , booked via

Le Parker Meridien Hotel,119 W 56th Street, New York City, USA
248 € / 1 night, no breakfast included, booked via hotel's own site.

Bond to New York. Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and Bond (Roger Moore)
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

"New York, New York!"

For the first time in the United States, and at the same time we were again in the footsteps of James Bond.

Tuesday 26th of June 2012

While we were waiting for our flight to take off at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport we went to eat at sports bar O'Learys. Baggage drop, security check and double- checking of passports went surprisingly quickly. Our Finnair flight left in the afternoon, it was co-operated with American Airlines. The aircraft was equipped with a good entertainment technology including movies, music and games. The flight went well. In the Roger Moore's 007 movie "Live and Let Die" Bond arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (formerly known as Idlewild), and so did we.

Pirita & Big Apple

Bond arrives JFK
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

There was a passport control, and we had to look into the camera and our finger prints were scanned. The clerk wanted to know are we a couple, is this our first time in NY and our professions. In the movie Bond was waiting arranged driver, we went by taxi from JFK to Manhattan.

"From the moment when the BOAC's Stratocruiser slid into Idlewild International Airport, James Bond was treated like a royalty"
 (Ian Fleming: "Live and Let Die")
Everywhere there were taxis, as well as the NYPD guys. 

Officers had tommy guns, and the U.S. Army guys had assault rifles, they guarded the subway stations. We checked in to the St. James Hotel (James!!!), room 1107, it was in the 11th floor.

Our breakfast place Dunnhill next to our hotel St. James

Our hotel was located about a three minute walk from Times Square. The folks at home were watching us from the computer via Live cameras. In Ian Fleming's book, "Diamonds Are Forever" Bond walked towards Times Square, watched earrings through the Diamond House's windows. Earrings had a golden plate with a text "Diamonds Are Forever" .

Times Square

On the same evening we found the Gray Line office, and got our pre-ordered tickets to the Empire State Building (27 $ / person.) After that we went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum (36 $ / person), there was some of the same characters as in London.

Daniel Craig & Pirita

Mika & Louis Armstrong who performs the theme song "We Have All the Time in the World"
in the George Lazenby movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"


Mika and Alicia Keys, who sings the theme song "Another Way to Die" with Jack White 
in Daniel Craig's "Quantum of Solace

Mika and Madonna, who sings the theme song in Pierce Brosnan's "Die Another Day"

Mika and Tina Turner, who sings the theme song in Pierce Brosnan's "GoldenEye

Mika and The Beatles. Paul McCartney & Wings performs the theme song in "Live and Let Die"

Wednesday 27th of June 2012
To Dunhill for breakfast, next stop Empire State Building, no queues, we were able to go straight in. Views were spectacular, especially Chrysler Building. It is also seen in Sean Connery movie "Entrapment".

Empire State Building & Chrysler Building

Pirita and Mika @ Empire State Building

A view from Empire State Building

Chrysler Building

Today's other locations (some from inside, some from outside):
* Madison Square Garden (promoted Nightwish gig)
Here at Felt Forum has been filmed "Thomas Crown Affair" (Pierce Brosnan), MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art), lounge scene.

* Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station): In Ian Fleming's book "Goldfinger", Bond took a taxi from this station.

"Bond had taken her to the station and had kissed her once hard on the lips and gone away. It hadn't been love, but a quotation had come into Bond's mind as his cab moved out of Pennsylvania station. "Some love is fire, some love is lust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust".

Neither had had regrets. Had they committed a sin? If so, which one? A sin against chastity? Bond smiled to himself. There was a quotation for that too, and from a saint - Saint Augustine: "Oh Lord, give me Chastity. But don't give it yet!"

(Ian Fleming: "Goldfinger")

* General Post Office: Post office is open 24/7. We sent lots of cards.

* Port Authority Bus Terminal: This is one location for Sean Connery movie "The Anderson Tapes".

* 5th Avenue: "Oh, the sky is blue on the 5th Avenue ...", the Finnish band Lovex sings in their song  called "U.S.A."

We went to the Plaza Hotel on the 5th Avenue, visited the hotel lobby and shops.

In the book "Diamonds are Forever " Bond met Felix Leiter in the front of the hotel.

"He spent the morning on Fifth Avenue on Broadway, wandering aimlessly, gazing into the shop windows and watching the passing crowds. He gradually assimilated the casual gait and manners of a visitor from out of town, and he tested himself out in a few shops and asked the way of several people and he found that nobody looked at him twice."

(Ian Fleming: "Live and Let Die")

* The New York Public Library: visited only one section. Some of the books are hidden in the archive downstairs.

* Bryant Park: We needed the shade under the trees when it was too hot.
* Grand Central Terminal: We had milkshakes and after that were hanging out in front of Oyster Bar. In Ian Fleming's Bond book "007 in New York", Bond recommended this place .

Oyster Bar

"He saw no chipmunks during his few days in New York, but it was
then that he discovered oyster stew – in the Oyster Bar on the suburban level of Grand Central Terminal. It struck him as the greatest dish since the bouillabaisse he ate with Marthe de Brandt in Marseilles before the war."
(John Pearson: "James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007")

* Chrysler Building
* Ed Sullivan Theater: We tried to get to the Late Show with David Letterman as the audience, but he was out of the town this week, not on Broadway, as we expected.

(Did you know: Roger Moore collapsed during a matinee performance of the broadway comedy "The Play What I Wrote", but finished the show after a 10-minute break. Moore was playing the part of the mystery guest star, which the cameo role is filled by celebrities, when he fainted toward the end of the second act. He was taken to the hospital after the show. The following day he was fitted with a pacemaker - something he had been previously told he would eventually have to get.)

* Rockefeller Plaza / Rockefeller Center: We hung out and took photos.

In front of Rockefeller Center

"Over the past few years, I've killed two thugs. First was in New York - the Japanese cipher master who unlocked our secret codes in Rockefeller Center's RCA - building on the 36th floor, where was the Japanese Consulate."
(Ian Fleming: "Casino Royale")

* Radio City Music Hall

* Trump Tower (is splendid both inside and outside)

* Tiffany's: There are several floors full of diamonds.

* Dinner at a restaurant called BOND 45. We ate meatball pizzas! It was close to our hotel, and a kind of Theater District landmark. And name of course suited for us, even though it has nothing to do with 007.

Thursday 28th of June 2012

Today we have been on guided bus tours by CitySights NY (four tours $ 54 / person).


On Downtown tour Greenwich Village was the most memorable place. There was the 9/11 hospital  where the first victims were brought. The hospital has since been discontinued due to lack of money. We also saw the fire station, its 17 firefighters lost their lives on that awful day. During the tour we noticed also a day-care center. Its fence was full of drawings made by children. The drawings were dedicated to the victims of 9/11. :(

We saw the Flatiron Building, Carrie’s house from “Sex and the City” and Monica Lewinsky’s house.

Flatiron Building

Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.


We also went to the ferry ride, saw Downtown Manhattan Heliport, Pier 17, ("Thomas Crown Affair) and of course the Statue of Liberty seen from the Hudson River.

Downtown Manhattan Heliport

Statue of Liberty

Uptown tour took us to Harlem (which was said to be too hostile location for movie "Live And Let Die”. Only one fight scene was shot here.)


(Did you know: In December 1972, production was divided between interiors in Pinewood Studios and location shooting in Harlem. The producers were reportedly required to pay protection money to a local Harlem gang to ensure the crew's safety. When the cash ran out, they were "encouraged" to leave.)

On the night bus – tour we filmed the lights of Manhattan, which looked amazing. WOW .

After the tour, we went to check Hard Rock Café, Disney Store and Toys 'R' Us.

Friday 29th of June 2012

We woke up to the loud thunderstorm, which, too, is bigger in the States. Probably by due to the fact that the skyscrapers gave some echo. Breakfast at Starbucks and after that we continued our Downtown tour, visited 9/11-construction site, where we saw that the new twin towers were already quite high, and one of the towers has recently exceeded the height of the Empire State Building.

We also went to St Paul's chapel to light a candle to the WTC victims. Chapel survived miraculously from 9/11 events, although it is located just next to Twin Towers.

Uniform of deceased fire fighter of 9/11 seen in the chapel

Today, we had also the Brooklyn tour. We saw many bridges on the way. In addition, the Brooklyn Heights is in the Pierce Brosnan movie "Remember Me" and this movie is also associated with the 9/11 events.

The UN Headquarters: Guided tour was also a great experience (16 $ / person).
There is also a 007 connection: at the beginning of the Bond movie "Live and Let Die", the British agent is killed in the UN session (headphones scene).

From the movie "Live and Let Die"
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

From the movie "Live and Let Die"
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

(Did you know: Roger Moore succeeded Audrey Hepburn as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF).

We also went to Ripley's Believe or Not (32,61 $ / person), that place was also cool.

Dinner was at Sardi's Restaurant. (good ventilation) table in the corner, as Bond did (Ian Fleming: "Diamonds Are Forever"), and we ate dinner and drank Martins with a piece of lemon peel . Bond ate upstairs and we went also to check this floor. There are pictures of actors and writers, whose drawn images can be found in the restaurant's wall.

"They moved out on the street, and Bond noticed that Leiter walked away with a heavy limp. “In Texas even the fleas are so rich they can hire themselves dogs. Let’s go. Sardi’s is just over the way. Leiter avoided the fashionable room at the famous actors’ and writers’ eating house and led Bond upstairs. His limp was more noticeable and he held on to the banisters. Bond made no comment, but when he left his friend at a corner table in the blessedly airconditioned restaurant and went off to the wash-room to clean himself up, he added up his impressions. The right arm had gone, and the left leg, and there were imperceptible scars below the hairline above the right eye that suggested a good deal of grafting. But otherwise Leiter looked in good shape.”
“There was a medium dry martini with a piece of lemon peel waiting for him.” 
(Ian Fleming: "Diamonds Are Forever")

Saturday 30th of June 2012

Checked in to our second hotel: Hotel Le Parker Meridien. Room 2707, floor 27.

Funny "Do not disturb" door sign

In John Gardner's book "Brokenclaw”', 007 went to the lobby to call from public phone. We're here to stay in this wonderful hotel.

"He turned left out of the apartment building and walked a block down to the Parker Méridien. Across the street Ed Rushia, in a chauffeur’s cap, nodded at the wheel of a stretch limo. Bond smiled to himself. Ed was certainly an operator. They had told him to hire a car and back up. He had obviously done just that and hired a stretch limo. The night porter was on duty outside the 56th street entrance to the imposing hotel, and as Bond approached him, he stepped forward.
“I help you buddy?”
“I need to use one of the public telephones.” He slipped a ten into the man’s hand.
“Oh, okay, sir. Thank you. You want I should get you a cap?”
“I’ll be just fine,” and disappeared into the bright lit interior. A minute later, he had swiped a credit card through one of the telephone booths and dialled the same local number as before." 
(John Gardner: "Brokenclaw")

Then we went to Central Park Rickshaw - ride (50 $ / one hour). We stopped in the center point of Manhattan, near the fountain, then walked from one end to Bow Bridge, which is seen, for example in the movie "Highlander" (Sean Connery) and “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (Pierce Brosnan), cooled down beside fountain from TV-series “Friends”, saw Marilyn Monroe's house, Bono's house, the Dakota Building, where Yoko Ono still lives, Ghostbusters house, and also saw the house which the Russian billionaire bought his 21 - year-old daughter. The apartment is Manhattan’s, if not the whole NY's most expensive apartment.

Center point of Manhattan

Bow Bridge

Fountain from TV sitcom "Friends"

"Ghostbusters" house

Central Park has a croquet lawn, and you can play only if you to become a member and meet the conditions: there must be in your bank account at least $ 100 000, you have to donate every year to the Central Park 20 000 bucks, and you always have to keep a white dress while playing.

We saw also Tavern on the Green, which is closed because the owner forgot to pay taxes. Tavern was used as a location e.g. in the movie “The Mirror Has Two Faces".
From there we went to Central Park Zoo (18 $ / person): the penguins were wonderful! (You can see them in children's program "The Penguins of Madagascar"). In the book "007 in New York," Bond has a meeting in Zoo’s Reptile House. (In Central Park Zoo, there is no Reptile House actually...)

"Bond had been instructed to make contact and he had arranged to do so, that afternoon at three o'clock, outside (the rendezvous had seemed time appropriate to Bond) the Reptile House at the Central Park Zoo"
"After the scrambled eggs in the Edwardian Room, everything went hopelessly wrong and, instead of the dream programme, there had to be urgent and embarrassing telephone calls with London head- quarters and, and then only by the greatest of good luck, un untidy meeting at midnight beside the skating rink at Rockefeller Center with tears and threats of suicide from English girl. and it was all New York City's fault ! One can hardly credit the deficiency, but there is no Reptile House at the Central Park Zoo."

(Ian Fleming: "007 in New York" )

In the evening we headed to the MET Museum (25 $ / person). Its Egyptian sections were fabulous. MET is also an outdoor location in “Thomas Crown Affair” movie. MET is opposite of Stanhope Hotel, where Bond stayed in the book “James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007”. We hung out outside of this hotel.

In front of Stanhope Hotel

"It was the perversity of a puritan, loving and rejecting the richest city in the world – an attitude which Bond has always had towards America. During these few days in New York he stayed at the Stanhope, a five-star hotel opposite the Metropolitan Museum. Sir William Stephenson had recommended it. Its dignity and calm appealed to Bond, despite its cost."

(John Pearson: "James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007")

We also walked past the Carnegie Hall. We planned to go to the Russian Tea Room, but the price level and the menu not attracted us. (This was the place for 65th Annual Academy Awards). Instead we went to Trattoria Dell Arte to eat an Italian dinner.

Sunday 1st of July 2012
After breakfast we checked out and went to the horse carriage ride (25 $ / person). The driver told us that the drive is only until noon and then police sends them home with their horses because of the scorching heat, rides continue in the evening. Horse ride happened nearby the output the Plaza hotel. In the book "Diamonds are Forever" Felix Leiter recommended Bond to go to near the Plaza, where is the horse stall close to the drivers and proposed that Bond spends some time there, if he happened to be late meeting. Bond has then time to learn what a horse looks like. ;)

Other locations we saw, some from inside, some from outside:

* St. Regis: expensive hotel (Ian Fleming: "Live and Let Die")

"They drew up at the best hotel in New York, the St. Regis, at the corner of Fifth avenue and 55 street. A saturnine middleaged man in a dark blue overcoat and black homburg came forward behind the commissionaire. On the sidewalk, Halloran introduced him.
“Mr. Bond, meet Captain Dexter.” He was referential. “Can I pass him along to you now, Captain?”
“Sure, sure. Just have his bags sent up. Room 2100. Top floor. I’ll go ahead with Mr. Bond and see he has everything he wants.”
“Bond, the collar of his new raincoat up round his ears, was missed as he came out of the entrance of the St. Regis Drugstore on 55th Street, which has a connecting door into the hotel."

(Ian Fleming: "Live and Let Die")

* The front of St. Regis hotel near E55th St / 5th Avenue, was also a filming location in  "Highlander" movie.

* 21 Club, hung out in front of it. Bond place from the book "Diamonds Are Forever".

In front of Club 21
"I'm not going to sleep with you, said Tiffany Case in a matter-of-fact voice, - “so don’t waste your money getting me tight. But I'll have another and probably another one after that. I just don’t want to drink your Vodka Martinis under false pretences.” Bond laughed. He gave the order and turned back to her. “ We haven’t ordered dinner yet”, he said. “I was going to suggest shellfish and hock. That might have changed your mind. The combination’s supposed to have quite an effect."

(Ian Fleming: "Diamonds are Forever”)

* The Edwardian Room (Plaza)  the place where 007 wanted to read the newspaper in peace ("007 in New York" book)
"And then what about the best meal in New York - oyster stew with cream, crackers, and Miller High Life at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central? No, he didn’t want to sit up at a bar - somewhere spacious and comfortable where he could read a paper in peace. Yes. That was it! The Edwardian Room at the Plaza, a corner table."
(Ian Fleming: "007 in New York" )

* Essex House, was seen from our hotel window, as well as Central Park. Essex House is one of the location for the movie, "Love Affair" (Pierce Brosnan)

* Bridges: Manhattan, Queensboro, Brooklyn, etc.
* New Jersey, seen from Hudson River ferry

* SoHo
* NBC Studios Store, just shopping there, because we didn't have time for the Studio tour.

* The Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn (exterior only). “Highlander” filming location

* Silver Cup Studios (seen from taxi) "Highlander" – movie, end scene

* New York County Supreme Court, and the FBI's house from the outside. The first appears in the Pierce Brosnan movie, “Laws of Attraction."
Things we tried and tested:

+ Cheesecake

+ Hot dogs straight from the cart on the street

+ Hailing a taxi
Due to thunderstorm, we had to wait for the take off inside the plane for over an hour. Thunderstorm area was so wide that we had to change the route. However, the flight was good. Despite of jetlag, it was our dream vacation!

See the list of 007 LOCATIONS (visited), excluding 007 HOTELS (visited) and
007 RESTAURANTS (visited), which have sections of their own, please follow the links.