Archive | January 8, 2016

Novotel Times Square, New York — Good, BUT Poor Room Design Choices.

by Anura Guruge


Click any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

You can’t beat the location. Just a couple of blocks north of Times Square. [The hotel is to the top left, if you haven’t spotted the vertical sign as yet.]

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You can’t beat the view either. This was our views from a “Time Square View” room on the 31st floor.

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This is what I could see, from our window, with my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 at 400mm zoom.

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At 800mm zoom it was just like being down there with ‘them’.


We spent 3 days in New York City, prior to 2016 New Year’s Eve, staying (2 nights) at the Novotel Times Square Hotel. I booked and paid for a ‘Times Square View‘ room with 2 Queens. When we visit New York City the kids and I like a room with a ‘Times Square View’ (notwithstanding the higher cost). Deanna always says that it is a waste of money but then again always agrees that the view is ‘wonderful’ once we get to the room. In previous visits we had stayed at the Marriott and DoubleTree, both in Times Square. Having lived in Paris and with my adoptive parents having lived there from 1978 to 1992, I was no stranger to Novotel. I first stayed in a Novotel, as it happened in Paris, in 1983 when I was over there to do a seminar and my adoptive parents were in Sri Lanka.

Overall the Novotel Times Square is a great experience, modern, bright, very-hip and airy — with exceptionally friendly and helpful staff.

We could not complain about our Times Square VIEW from the room they gave us on the 31st floor (two floors from the top, in that it has 33 floors). Moreover, they gave us this room at 11:30 am when we turned up (with our baggage) though the nominal check-in is slated at 3pm. We fully expected to check-in our baggage and come back later for a room. Not so. VERY FRIENDLY. Very nice. They saw the kids. They chatted with the kids. They gave us a room on the 31st floor. Cool.

So overall NOT bad at all. We would stay there again.

The PROS
1. Great location. 3 blocks max. from Times Square and easy access to Radio City and Rockefeller Center. There is, furthermore, a McDonald’s and (discount) convenience store on the same block — which is great when you are travelling with kids.

2. The view from our “Times Square View” room definitely was of Times Square, and from the 31st floor it was quite spectacular. The view of the Hudson from the windows by the elevator was also cool.

3. Friendly, helpful and ever cheerful staff, some of them French and others that could speak French, which meant that there was a French flavor that permeated the lobby area because you would invariably hear French being spoken or that unmistakable French accent.

4. Very compelling, very modern lobby/bar/restaurant area.

5. Very fine breakfast buffet, with hot American fare and a delectable selection of European cold cuts and cheese. (Also see below.)

The CONS
1. No coffee maker (let alone a microwave) in the room. [Luckily the girls agreed that they could go and get us coffee from McDonald’s. That worked out well.]

2. The room, with two queens, was small, not cramped BUT with four of us you felt that you had to hunch your shoulders to make yourself small.

3. The lighting bathroom — from BUT one ‘low energy’ light frame around the bathroom mirror — was woeful and TOTALLY inadequate. See picture in gallery below. You can’t miss it. This was beyond a joke. It was DARK in the bathroom. You were constantly reaching out to see if there was another light switch. This was stupid.

4. The Wi-Fi was adequate BUT each time you signed-in (which was quite often) they tried, hard, to sell you an upgrade for $15/day. When I am paying $500/night for a room it kind of feels insulting to be asked to pay more to get better Wi-Fi.

5. Lobby is NOT on street level and one cannot get from room to street WITHOUT changing elevators. The Lobby is effectively 7 floors up from the street. 2 slow elevators Lobby <-> street. There were lines for these 2 elevators. To get to the stairs, you had to go OUTSIDE (in the rain) — and they were service/emergency stairs, badly maintained. That was a hassle (though I took the stairs, for the exercise, a few times).

6. Paucity of drawers, especially by the beds! Yes, very modern shelves BUT no drawers and what was infuriating was that there was clearly plenty of space, below the shelves, to fit in some nice, useful drawers. I like to have a drawer by my bed to put my wallet, glasses etc. That was again stupid. See the gallery below to see what I mean.

7. The breakfast buffet as mentioned above was very good, but at nearly $29 per adult (before tip) is expensive THOUGH the kids (under 16) eat FREE made it worthwhile for us (with our 2).

8. $1 an item check-in fee for baggage. Not unreasonable and I normally give this as a tip anyway, BUT seems ‘cheap’ to ask guests to pay this just after they have paid $1,300+ for a 2 night stay.


Click to ENLARGE.

Inside the room.


The Hotel.


More views from the room.


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by Anura Guruge

WordPress.com Again Having Problems With The Stats.

by Anura Guruge


wordstatsjan82016

Click to ENLARGE and view here.


Essentially the same problem we, i.e., WordPress.com bloggers, were having mid-December 2015 — and I talked about here. It was a server problem then and most likely that is the same problem now.

Notice it says I have had ‘1’ Visitor and ‘164’ Views.

Yes, of course, that is possible and on my ‘Orgasm blog’ I do see such patterns on a daily basis with some visitors doing 30, 40 or more views per visit.

But this is how I can PROVE, irrefutably, that the ‘1’ Visitor number is wrong. Just look at my ‘Views by Country’ — and for reasons of space I only show the first 6 countries.

The SAME one visitor cannot be from MULTIPLE countries. Right? You do get that. QED.

If it only listed one country then the ‘1’ visitor could have been right.

The stats are wrong and have been for the last 48 hours. As I have said before I have a fairly good feel of my stats (and I have thing about numbers and stats).

Unlike in mid-December I do NOT have a way of getting this confirmed by WordPress.com. I am not getting their “Can I be of help?” prompts of late. They cycle through their HUGE user base with this. So my window is gone for now.

Just wanted to give you a heads up. Very frustrating.


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by Anura Guruge

‘6 images for the day’ — January 8, 2016 + 6 Bonus From New York City.

by Anura Guruge


Taken with my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000.
Straight out of the camera.

Refer to this post for image resolution details.
NO post-processing whatsoever.
Straight JPEGs from the camera.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.








We went to New York City & Philadelphia for a week
December 28, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
Appears I took 2,618 pictures with the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
not counting those that I took with the Sony RX100 MkII and 
the thousand or so taken by Deanna and Devanee with their cameras.

Over the next few weeks I will share some of these images with you
as bonus pictures.







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++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

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