17 Jan 65 : New car, perpetual motion at the UN Headquarters, snowy Central Park  : New York, USA

This is a continuation of the letter dated 11 January 1965, which began…

Dear Mum, Dad, Carol, Nigel and Kipp,

Sunday (morning)

We awoke this morning to a clear blue sky and a very cold temperature still. The storm has passed however, so things aren’t quite so bad. Well, I haven’t much news to tell you so I will post this now.

I don’t know when I shall receive a letter from you, but there may be one at the place we are going to on Monday – I hope so anyway.

Cheerio for now, look after yourselves.

All the best, Tone xxx

A second letter begins below…

New York

Sunday 17th of January 1965

Dear family,

This afternoon we went out after lunch and picked up a hire car and simply by showing our credit-card, drove away minutes later with a 1965 Plymouth Valiant. It’s a beautiful car and is fitted with snow tyres, so we should be quite safe in the snow.

1965 Plymouth Valiant advert
1965 Plymouth Valiant advert

When we were in the ‘concrete jungle’ last time, we missed the United Nations Headquarters as when we went there it was shut.

So we decided to go this afternoon. For $1 you can go on a conducted tour, so we invested, and we’re very glad we did as it was very impressive. We were shown all the various Council Chambers and finally the General Assembly Hall.

Throughout the tour certain things were pointed out as gifts from different countries and people – for example a wall built of stone from Jordan, a replica of Sputnik 1 came from Russia, a statue from Greece, seven doors from Canada, an ivory sword from Hallie Selassie, a carpet from the Shah of Persia, to name but a few.

The most unique thing was a gift from Queen Julia of the Netherlands. It was in the entrance hall. It was a large golden ball swinging on a long wire (about 100 feet long). It was like a gigantic pendulum, swinging very long and very slowly by perpetual motion.

(Note: This refers to the Foucault Pendulum, a gift from the Goverment of the Netherlands.)

Beneath it was a large circular scale, and the whole point of it is that the pendulum never changes direction. The wire is attached to some sort of universal joint, and as the world (and the building with it) revolves, the pendulum remains the same.

When we saw it, it was swinging towards the length of the hall, but 12 hours later it will be swinging across the width of the hall. I thought it was fascinating and highly original.

Foucault Pendulum at the UN HQ in NY
Foucault Pendulum, UN Headquarters, New York

Each of the various Chambers we visited was donated, designed and furnished by a different country. During the tour we saw nothing from Britain – and afterwards I asked the guide what we had donated, and he took us to see a small but beautiful chamber with oak panelling and paintings, so we are represented in a truly British way.

The whole UN headquarters is built on 18 acres of international ground.

We then took advantage of having a car in New York and went for a drive, and saw hundreds of kids sledging in Central Park, and also ice skating.

The temperature is getting colder and tonight’s temperature may go down to zero according to the radio. For once I love central heating!!

To be continued…

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6 thoughts on “17 Jan 65 : New car, perpetual motion at the UN Headquarters, snowy Central Park  : New York, USA

  1. Dog with small brain found it very difficult to find the comment box! Saw your comment on the forum, I was the OP and am still getting several a day. Your comment made us click to see your blog and it all looks fascinating so we will follow and have a read. Hasten to add that we are a real follower, albeit a cocker spaniel, and not a weird one.

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    1. Thank you Teagan, you’re the first person (who’s not already a long-term friend 😀 ) to have commented on our blog, so that’s genuinely really appreciated! Will check out your blog now, sounds like it should be a fun one!

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      1. Aww we love comments and if you’ve taken time to read someone’s post then you’re usually thinking something and it’s nice to just write ‘something’, unless it was truly boring of course! My humans parents were always travelling and moving, only record of early travels was on cine 8 which then got transferred to video (complete with bad sound track of awful music and unrelated conversation) and more recently to DVD. She is currently trying to get granny to remember where and when but it’s a difficult job. *wags*

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