A small part of Sweden in Wilmington, USA


The two first Swedish ships – we know of – to arrive in America, were the Kalmar Nyckel and Fågel Grip. In Wilmington, Delaware, USA, docks a sailing replica of the Kalmar Nyckel, where the first settlers landed.
Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

Kalmar Nyckel calm beyond reeds.

The Kalmar Nyckel replica is a smaller cousin in design to the Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg III replica.

We visited the Kalmar Nyckel at what seemed to be at its most quiet and resting period. Beneath the apparent quietness however, were all kinds of repairs and upkeep being done inside and out, with parts of the rigging being indoors undergoing new lacquer treatments. Over the whole area lingered the sweet fragrance of linseed oil and tar.
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Things I love about Philly!

The Philadelphia Museum of Art at Fairmount

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the USA. Still, when asking for directions in Philadelphia people might not immediately recognize what the huge building at the small hill near the river is, but if you ask about the “Rocky” stairs … aha!


An ongoing exhibition here that is not to be missed is on Italian fashion designer Roberto Capucci: Art into Fashion that goes on until June 2011.
Photo: J E Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

Far from being a cliché, running up and down the “Rocky Stairs” is exactly what people do up until today in Philadelphia. That, and posing in front of the Rocky statue for pictures.
Continue reading “Things I love about Philly!”

Postcards from Philadelphia, USA

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson, Philadelphia, March 2011.

In Chinatown, just outside the restaurant Penang in Philadelphia, USA. It was colder than usual for this time of year in Philly with temperatures hovering around 0C. In this picture on me, a beige wool coat from Patrizia Pepe, a mole coloured wool knitted scarf by Isabel Benenato, both Italian designers. Brown denim jeans from Warehouse, a deep pink wool sweater by Karen Millen. Boots are from Clarks.
J E Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

Cherry blossoms were supposed to be in full bloom during this time of year that is end of March in Philadelphia, USA. In fact, Washington DC is right now celebrating its Cherry Blossom Festival, but where I was in Philadelphia, it was chillier than usual with temperatures hovering between -3C and 3C.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson, University of Pennsylvania, UPenn, USA.

The University of Pennsylvania or UPenn has got remarkably beautiful grounds. In fact, their school’s Quad is featured in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2009.

I was in Philadelphia on conference as one of several invited speakers, to be part of a panel discussion on Singaporeans living and working abroad. The conference was held at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, where I thought the univeristy grounds were breathtakingly beautiful, despite the chill.

Philadelphia warms my heart. And I’ll be back in short, with why.

All-American bacon and cheese burger at Chili’s, New York

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A farewell all-American bacon and cheese burger, at Chili’s in New York, served up with a tequila mind boggler!

It was during the 1980s that the catch phrase, “Where’s the beef?” became popular in the United States and Canada due to the television commercial for Wendy’s hamburger restaurants, by Joe Sedelmaier. Since it was first used, the phrase has also become an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event or product.

Well, when in New York, we never got the chance to visit Wendy’s, but we did go into Chili’s at the airport just prior to taking off, where we had our very last all-American bacon and cheese burger.

If Singapore has its chilli crabs and chicken rice, Sweden has its meatballs and lingon berry jam, then the United States has its beef burger – in all variations. We ate burgers for most of our meals in New York and when we deviated from the burger, we found that the meal hadn’t satisfied all that much. It was a quaint realization that the all-American beef burger, with all sorts of toppings, was my favourite meal when in New York. We even had burgers for breakfasts.

My absolute favourite burger served is found at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House NYC, along 23 Vanderbilt Ave, New York 10017, at 44th St – Grand Central Terminal. They served up 10 oz (283 g) burgers and 14 oz (396 g) steaks that were grilled to perfection! Being a beef person, Jordan’s Steak House made it an even easier choice of a juicy beef steak over fish anyday!

The classic burger.

We’re not letting go of our burger experiences and here, you’ll find a favourite breakfast burger recipe that is quick to prepare and beats fast-food burgers:

170 grams of ground sirloin beef meat mixed with some salt and black pepper.
Slow fry in butter until as rare as you want it.
Put on toasted hamburger bread on a bed of salad, tomato slices and a pickled cucumber.
Add a helping of melted flavoury cheese (Gouda or Cheddar) on top of 4-5 slices of crispy fried Bacon and a pineapple slice. Add a helping of mushroom stew. Serve with deep fried potato wedges on the side and maybe a fried egg.

Serves one.

Coke or a cold beer on the side.

Should keep you warm and fuzzy until lunch.

Rockefeller Center: the Eiffel Tower of New York

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Though it’s not yet Christmas, it’s all the same magical, to view the Swarovski Rockefeller Star topper that adorns the Rockefeller Christmas tree each year.

I hadn’t expected the visit to Rockefeller Center to have been any different from the visit to the Empire State Building. But it was. For one thing, not all visitors were forced to have their pictures taken for souvenir purposes, and one could choose to by-pass all picture taking and head straight to the top.

The weather had let up some and the skies though cloudy, were azure as the eye could see. The view from the Observation Deck of Rockefeller Plaza or the Top of the Rock, proved more beautiful than that of the Empire State Building, with a more open, less cagey design. There were friendly staff on the Observation Deck to help with your queries and take pictures for guests at a minimal fee.

The Observation Deck, at Rockefeller Plaza.

Wooden benches with name plaques engraved with names of those who donated the benches, were placed alongside the wall of the Observation Deck. And because it was such wonderful weather, we took the opportunity to sit, relax and simply enjoy being at Rockefeller. It wasn’t as if there were no others there, but the generous layout and space around the Observation Deck meant that one could have their privacy to take a languid unwind, as others walked by. Continue reading “Rockefeller Center: the Eiffel Tower of New York”

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum

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Outside the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Since its opening in early May, the Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum has drawn quite some media attention with numerous write-ups, press conferences and an opening night gala dinner, where all invited were supposed to dress to the superheroes and fantasy theme. My favourite evening wear for the night was an elaborately padded silver gown by Chanel, donned by Anna Wintour.

I couldn’t well pass up on the chance to view this exhibition at the Met, when in New York. Continue reading “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum”

Starbucks at Trump Tower, New York

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At one of many visits to Starbucks when in New York.

Starbucks has been a staple in Singapore since 1996 at Liat Towers, smack in the middle of Orchard Road. Singapore being it’s third international country of expansion, I never quite understood the hype. The coffee they served at Starbucks Singapore wasn’t too fantastic and I thought the kopi-o, kopi-si, kopi-siu dai at most local coffeeshops, at half the price of Starbucks, lent some serious competition.

So I wasn’t planning on making Starbucks a staple stop for coffee when in New York. But that was difficult to accomplish since Starbucks was literally, everywhere. Just walk a couple of hundred meters and you’ll find a brewing outlet.

The first Starbucks outlet visited was the one on the 2nd floor of the Trump Tower. I don’t quite know why it is – better staff, better coffee blends, better roasts? But I think the coffee served at that particular outlet beat most other Starbucks outlets in terms of taste.

Picture taken at Starbucks, Trump Tower. The logo that shocks and offends some.

I was also very taken with their split-tailed mermaid (technically, a siren) logo. I absolutely loved it. Though not everyone is smitten with it, as the BBC News reports.

As someone who has tried Starbucks coffee in New York, I would say that their coffee is good. I think the Singapore Starbucks need to bump it up in terms of coffee brewing because the impression given from a Singapore Starbucks doesn’t give much credit to the parent organization in the USA.

And I hope they sort out their current downswing and that they survive the steep competition.

Cars that go BOOM

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At around 07:30 hrs, Stephen Korte, myself and his Dodge

It was such dreary and cold weather to begin the day. Walking down the street half frozen and half awake, I expected nothing to happen, at least not before the first triple vente whole milk latte at the first Starbucks. And then I heard, an unexpected hip-hop beat in the far distance. At 07:30 hrs in the morning?

As I walked, the street beat got louder and louder. It was catchy. So catchy, I began to walk to the beat of the music, not caring if the DKNY black patent coat looked displaced in the hip hop genre. Perhaps it was a club that forgot to turn down their music from the previous night? Continue reading “Cars that go BOOM”

New York by Horse

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At New York’s poshest address, where 5th Ave meets Central Park South, you are invited to take a 19th century horse carriage ride through Central Park.

These horse carriages, which define New York City as much as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, can be found parked along the oval roundabout almost directly in front of the toy store FAO Schwartz.

The city sight at this particular spot where the skyscrapers tip the doorstep of nature, is fantastic! Standing with hands outstretched where the horse carriages are parked, you can almost touch with your fingertips, Trump Tower, FAO Schwartz, Cartier, Saks 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Continue reading “New York by Horse”

The Empire State Building and Macy’s

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Empire State building from the corner of Broadway and 34th west street

It’s easy to slide between fantasy and reality when walking around in New York. The city has featured in so many movies that you begin to recognize places you’ve never actually visited in real life, places that render you a feeling of déjà vu, when really, it isn’t. Continue reading “The Empire State Building and Macy’s”