A Travellerspoint blog

April 2013

DAY 7 The Empire State Building - a magnificent building!!!

A grand old building looking as good as new

The day started as another grey and overcast day but soon brigtened and the sun came out and the skies cleared. This morning we set off for The Empire State Building. The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet (381 meters), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high. Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State.

The Empire State Building 1 - street view 34th Street

The Empire State Building 1 - street view 34th Street


The Empire State Building observation foyer

The Empire State Building observation foyer

The Empire State Building going to the observation deck

The Empire State Building going to the observation deck

It stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the US or the world). The Empire State Building was once again demoted to second-tallest building in New York on April 30, 2012, when the new One World Trade Center reached a greater height. The new tower has now reached its full height as of yesterday and is 1776 feet high.

The Empire State Building is currently the third-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States (after the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower, both in Chicago), and the 22nd-tallest in the world (the tallest now is Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai). It is also the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas.

The Empire State Building cost $40 948 900 dollars to build and was built in a still unbeaten time of 410 days. The building is serviced by 73 lifts.

The Empire State Building during construction 1929-1931

The Empire State Building during construction 1929-1931

The Empire State Building displays during construction 1929-1931

The Empire State Building displays during construction 1929-1931

The Empire State Building displays during construction

The Empire State Building displays during construction

The Empire State Building displays

The Empire State Building displays

The Empire State Building - 86th floor in very fast time

The Empire State Building - 86th floor in very fast time

VIEWS TO THE NORTH

‪View from The Empire State Building - Central Park is in the background

‪View from The Empire State Building - Central Park is in the background


‪View from The Empire State Building - northern view

‪View from The Empire State Building - northern view

VIEWS TO THE SOUTH

‪View from The Empire State Building - view south showng the new One world Trade Centre (with cranes) and the Statue of lLberty and Ellis Island

‪View from The Empire State Building - view south showng the new One world Trade Centre (with cranes) and the Statue of lLberty and Ellis Island

‪View from The Empire State Building - view to the south showing The Flat Iron Building 1901 and once the tallest building in New York

‪View from The Empire State Building - view to the south showing The Flat Iron Building 1901 and once the tallest building in New York

VIEWS TO THE WEST

‪View from The Empire State Building  - view west showing the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey

‪View from The Empire State Building - view west showing the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey

‪View from The Empire State Building - docking Tower on top of The Empire State Building

‪View from The Empire State Building - docking Tower on top of The Empire State Building

‪View from The Empire State Building - view west to New Jersey

‪View from The Empire State Building - view west to New Jersey

VIEWS TO THE EAST

‪View from The Empire State Building  - view east to Queens in the north to Brooklyn in the south

‪View from The Empire State Building - view east to Queens in the north to Brooklyn in the south

‪View from The Empire State Building - It is a long way up here!

‪View from The Empire State Building - It is a long way up here!

‪View from The Empire State Building  - view over East River to Queens and Brooklyn

‪View from The Empire State Building - view over East River to Queens and Brooklyn

‪View from The Empire State Building - south east view

‪View from The Empire State Building - south east view

The amazing thing is that this island of Manahattan is now 30% bigger than when the Dutch "bought" it from the Indians in 1624. This has happened through rubbish being dumped along the shores along with the dumping of fill from the building sites of the Skyscrapers over the years. Very soon parks will be continuous along the waters edge.

Posted by Kangatraveller 15:45 Comments (0)

DAY 6 Downtown to Brooklyn

Downtown route to Brooklyn and a night at the Basketball

This morning we woke to a grey sky but this didn't worry us in the beginning as we were taking the Downtown Tour on the Hop On Hop Off bus. We were issued with several rain ponchos both to sit on and wear. By the time we got to Times Square we were both freezing and damp. No problem, we moved downstairs, it was dry. We changed to the Brooklyn bus and once again endured the cold and wet. You would think at our ages we would know better than to sit out in the elements.

The old brownstones and nicely kept neighbourhoods provide plenty of interesting sites. We travelled via the Manhattan Bridge which is 104 years old and looks its age. Interestingly it also carries rail traffic.
Entrance to the Manhattan Bridge

Entrance to the Manhattan Bridge

Welcome to Brooklyn

Welcome to Brooklyn

Manhattan from top of  the bus crossing Manhattan Bridge - scary stuff indeed!!

Manhattan from top of the bus crossing Manhattan Bridge - scary stuff indeed!!

Brownstones in Brooklyn

Brownstones in Brooklyn


Brooklyn street scene

Brooklyn street scene

Grand Army memorial - Civil War

Grand Army memorial - Civil War

Brooklyn street scene

Brooklyn street scene

At the end of the tour, in order to warm up we visited the Fraunces Tavern in the Finance District again.

Tonight we went to our first ever professional basketball game. It is the first round of the finals playoff. Chicago Bulls vs Brooklyn Nets. Before the game tonight Chicago was leading 3-1.

The Brooklyn Nets are a professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. They are a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is one of two NBA franchises that play home games in New York City; the other is the Knicks.
An original member of the American Basketball Association (ABA), the Nets were founded in 1967 and initially played in Teaneck, New Jersey as the New Jersey Americans. After 35 seasons in New Jersey, the team returned to the state of New York in 2012 to play in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the Brooklyn Nets.

The Chicago Bulls are a professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team was founded in 1966 and won six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats. All six championship teams were led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson. The Bulls won an NBA record-72 games during the 1995–96 NBA season and are the only team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season.

The game was competitive but the one sided crowd got their wish for a home side victory.
Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

The atmosphere was electric. The sound and geeing up of the crowd through music, light shows and between quarters and time out was simply engaging. The half time entertainment was superb. Here are a couple of examples. A performance artist painted this picture which being quite gymnastic in tune with rap music.
Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

The game itself was wonderful. We think we might maintain our interest in Basketball. As temporary citizens of New York, we barracked for the Brooklyn Nets.
Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

Barclay Center Brooklyn

We returned back to the hotel on the subway. The exit was fast and orderly for 19,000 patrons.

Posted by Kangatraveller 21:02 Comments (0)

DAY 5 Uptown Bus Route and Cruise

Trip through Uptown, Bronx and Cruise

It was a little hard getting up early on a Sunday but we did it. On the bus by 8.00am and off to Uptown through Upper Westside, Harlem and The Bronx.
Apartment buildings in Upper Westside

Apartment buildings in Upper Westside

On the way we came across Central Park West and the sights and sounds of a busy park.
Central Park

Central Park


Manhattan seems to be a place where many movies and television series are filmed. The Museum of Natural History was a setting for Night at the Museum. This museum is popularly known as the Dinosaur Museum as it has the largest collection of dinosaur bones in the world.

There was plenty of evidence of movies being filmed on location.
Another movie being shot on location

Another movie being shot on location

I was interested to come across The Julliard School in New York as one of our Queensland Academies was loosely modelled on this institution.

Along the way we came across the Dakota building which fronts Central Park West where Yoko Ono still lives. This is a very desirable address. John Lennon was shot dead outside the building.
Dakota Building - entrance where john lennon was shot dead

Dakota Building - entrance where john lennon was shot dead

Dakota Building - entrance where john lennon was shot dead 5

Dakota Building - entrance where john lennon was shot dead 5

Travelling north of Central Park we entered Harlem which is a far more gentile neighbourhood than we expected. Apparently in the last twenty years, in line with the rest of New York, it has become a very law abiding place. We were amazed at the lines of worshippers snaking around whole blocks awaiting entry to Gospel Churches.
Harlem - Mosque where Malcolm X worshipped

Harlem - Mosque where Malcolm X worshipped

Harlem hospital

Harlem hospital


Street scene Harlem

Street scene Harlem

We crossed over the bridge to the Bronx, home of Yankee Stadium.
The Bronx

The Bronx

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

Babe Ruth Plaza, Yankee Stadium

Babe Ruth Plaza, Yankee Stadium

Babe Ruth Plaza, Yankee Stadium 1

Babe Ruth Plaza, Yankee Stadium 1

The new Yankee Stadium seats 50,000 and is located across the road from the old Yankee Stadium that seated 58,000. The Yankees success in the early 1900s was largely due to the legendary Babe Ruth who was a pitcher but a better known hitter.

On the way back to Midtown we stopped off at the Guggenheim Museum. Of particular interest to David was the retrospective in the Sackler Gallery of arguably the greatest American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His drawings for the Usonian house and pavillion which he build on the site were on display. These buildings were dismantled in 1954 and he designed the Guggenheim to be built on the site in 1958.

Frank Lloyd Wright drawing for Usonian House and Pavilion

Frank Lloyd Wright drawing for Usonian House and Pavilion

Frank Lloyd Wright drawing for Usonian House and Pavilion

Frank Lloyd Wright drawing for Usonian House and Pavilion

Guggenheim  Museum

Guggenheim Museum

We had a longer visit to the Metropilitan Museum of Art which has absolutely fabulous collections from around the world. We had our first American hot dog from a vendor at the bottom of the stairs. An interesting take on what we know as the hot dog.

We travelled back through 5th and 7th Avenues. Lots of interesting sights along the way.

Oyster Bar on Fifth Avenue

Oyster Bar on Fifth Avenue

We travelled back to Times Square where we learned some of the history of the dropping of the ball at midnight. Each New Year this spectacular is viewed by more than a million people in the rather small square. The very first in 1904 was to celebrate the opening of the Metrorail (subway).

The photo below is of the one of the original 27 subway stations and this one oddly enough was above the ground.
Original subway station 1904 Harlem

Original subway station 1904 Harlem

Next stop was the Circle Line Cruise from Pier 83. This was a two hour cruise which went past the Lower Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island where millions of immigrants got their first experience of the US, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and around to the United Nations Building. We started out on the top deck but by the time we arrived at the United Nations, it was so chilly, we abandoned our top spot and headed below to warm up.
Russian billionaire's yacht

Russian billionaire's yacht

Circleline Cruises

Circleline Cruises

Aircraft carrier Intrepid with Prototype of Enterprise at Air and Space  Pier 82

Aircraft carrier Intrepid with Prototype of Enterprise at Air and Space Pier 82

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Colgate Clock at New Jersey

Colgate Clock at New Jersey

Manhattan skyline

Manhattan skyline

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

United Nations Building 3

United Nations Building 3

United Nations Building 2

United Nations Building 2

Posted by Kangatraveller 19:46 Comments (0)

DAY 4 The Hop On- Hop Off Bus around the Big Apple

Downtown - Exploring the sights of this vibrant city

While wandering around Greenwich Village yesterday, I noticed a plaque on a wall of an old house. It marked the house where Thomas Paine died in 1809.Thomas Paine was an influential 18th-century writer of essays and pamphlets. Among them were "The Age of Reason," regarding the place of religion in society; "Rights of Man," a piece defending the French Revolution; and "Common Sense," which was published during the American Revolution. "Common Sense," Paine's most influential piece, brought his ideas to a vast audience, swaying (the otherwise undecided) public opinion to the view that independence from the British was a necessity.
Thomas Paine died here in 1809

Thomas Paine died here in 1809

This morning we set off on a Hop On Hop Off Bus-$59 each for 4 days over four routes.

You get to see some quite strange street signs from a bus.

Street signs - don't block the box 1

Street signs - don't block the box 1


More NY Taxis

More NY Taxis


This gentleman from China found the sun a little too much for him.
Escaping the sun

Escaping the sun

Here are some street scenes and famous names of shops we saw along the way.
Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co

Saks on Fifth Avenue 1

Saks on Fifth Avenue 1

Saks on Fifth Avenue

Saks on Fifth Avenue

Macy's near Empire State Building

Macy's near Empire State Building

Magnolia Bakery - features in Sex in the City

Magnolia Bakery - features in Sex in the City

Central Park seems to be extremely well patronised. Central Park is a public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City. The park initially opened in 1857, on 778 acres (315 ha) of city-owned land (it is 843 acres today). In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan. Construction began the same year, continued during the American Civil War, and was completed in 1873. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States.

Horse and carriage is one way to travel around the park.
Horse and Carriage near Central Park

Horse and Carriage near Central Park

Central Park 4

Central Park 4

Other interesting sights apart from very tall (okay, we'll include) skyscrapers are places like the oldest park in New York, Bowling Green Park.
Bowling Green Park - oldest park in New York

Bowling Green Park - oldest park in New York

Empire State Building  2

Empire State Building 2

Brooklyn Bridge 1

Brooklyn Bridge 1

Rockefeller Centre - flags of the fifty states 1

Rockefeller Centre - flags of the fifty states 1

Pershing Square

Pershing Square

Radio City - MTV Awards

Radio City - MTV Awards

We returned to St Paul's, the church where George Washington worshipped, including on the day of his Inauguration in 1783. The Church sits adjacent to the site of the Twin Towers. In 2001, it escaped damage from the falling buildings and was used by the 3 000 recovery workers as a place to R&R briefly before their return to their tasks.
Flag of honour at St Paul's Church

Flag of honour at St Paul's Church

Bell of Hope - presented to city by Mayor of London and Archbishop of Canterbury

Bell of Hope - presented to city by Mayor of London and Archbishop of Canterbury

Just in case you missed the Empire State Building before (it was the larger building in the background) here it is again.
Empire State Building 1

Empire State Building 1

Another building that I found fascinating is known as The Flat Iron Building as it resembles an old fashioned iron.
Flat Iron Building 2

Flat Iron Building 2


Federal Hall - Washington was inaugurated

Federal Hall - Washington was inaugurated

The United Nations is headquartered in Manhattan. The area around the main building houses individual nation's missions to the United Nations.
United Nations Building 3

United Nations Building 3

United Nations Building 2

United Nations Building 2

We saw the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was difficult to get a good photo as it was hidden behind fencing while there is some renovation in place. The hotel was built there when two individual hotels The Waldorf and The Astoria were removed from their former sites to make way for the building of the Empire State Building.
Waldorf Astoria Hotel 1

Waldorf Astoria Hotel 1


The Waldorf Astoria accommodates the President when he visits New York. Apparently the floor the President stays on is fully booked by the government as well as the floor above and the floor below.

Tomorrow, we are off to a tour of Uptown and The Bronx.

Posted by Kangatraveller 19:29 Comments (0)

New York - Day 3

The New York Greeter

Last night we really enjoyed Stomp. If I had known in advance it had 8 performers who used percussion involving everyday objects such as brooms, garbage cans and paper and not a single word was spoken I would have been reluctant to attend. In fact, it was all these things but was energetic, humorous, clever and very entertaining.
Stomp

Stomp

Cast members from Stomp

Cast members from Stomp

Returning home late on the subway was not a problem. It was safe and there were crowds of people around. They say it is a city that never shuts down. We were amazed by the piles of black garbage bags and rubbish stockpiled on the footpaths for later collection. Where does all this rubbish go?

After a wonderful performance of Stomp last night at the Orpheum Theatre, this morning we met up with our Big Apple Greeter. Big Apple Greeter is a non-profit organization that matches visitors with friendly and enthusiastic New Yorkers who are happy to share the city they love with families, friends, and individuals traveling solo. A visit with a Greeter leaves a lasting impression of the city, the warmth of its people, and the energy and diversity of its neighborhoods, which each visitor carries forever and communicates to others.

The New Yorkers who serve as Greeters are all volunteers, come from varied backgrounds and can welcome visitors in over 20 languages. Greeters and visitors are matched according to language, neighborhoods requested, and interests, when possible.
We were extremely fortunate to be allocated Gordon Suber a New Yorker of 25 years. What Gordon doesn't know about New York isn't worth knowing. Gordon said he has a choice of who he greets so he exercises this option.
Big Apple Greeter Gordon Suber and Colleen

Big Apple Greeter Gordon Suber and Colleen

Gordon met us at our hotel and from there we went to Columbia University at Upper West Side then downtown to East Village. We took the subway Uptown to 116th Street where we walked around the village and walked though the grounds of Columbia University.
Subway 42nd Street

Subway 42nd Street


Street scene 116th street outside Columbia University

Street scene 116th street outside Columbia University


Columbia University Library

Columbia University Library

High ground near Columbia University used by George Washington as headquarters against the British Army

High ground near Columbia University used by George Washington as headquarters against the British Army

Along the way, we came across the restaurant made famous through the Seinfeld series.
street scene Greenwich West Village

street scene Greenwich West Village

street scene Greenwich West Village

street scene Greenwich West Village

Gordon and Colleen admiring two of the oldest houses in Greenwich Village

Gordon and Colleen admiring two of the oldest houses in Greenwich Village

old off Broadway theatre in west village of Greenwich Village

old off Broadway theatre in west village of Greenwich Village


Smallest house in NY - 9 feet wide sold for more than 2.2 million

Smallest house in NY - 9 feet wide sold for more than 2.2 million

After lunch in a small pizza place which has won best pizza in New York for the last three years we went to Chinatown and Little Italy. This Pizerria has been voted the best pizza for the last three years in New York. The walls inside were adorned with many celebrities who had eaten there.
Bleecker street Pizerria - best Pizza in New York

Bleecker street Pizerria - best Pizza in New York


Scene that greets the visitor leaving the subway for Chinatown

Scene that greets the visitor leaving the subway for Chinatown

Chinese supermarket fresh fish

Chinese supermarket fresh fish

Chinese supermarket - the tubs in the foreground hold whole frogs which are soon to be seperated from their legs

Chinese supermarket - the tubs in the foreground hold whole frogs which are soon to be seperated from their legs

Chinese Pharmacy complete with abacus and scales

Chinese Pharmacy complete with abacus and scales


It seems people do drink tea here in Manhattan

It seems people do drink tea here in Manhattan

Empire State Building seen from Chinatown

Empire State Building seen from Chinatown

We then went to Ground Zero and the near completed One World Trade Centre Building.

One World Trade Centre nearly complete with St Paul's Church on left

One World Trade Centre nearly complete with St Paul's Church on left


One World Trade Centre nearly complete

One World Trade Centre nearly complete


St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church Graveyard

St Paul's Church Graveyard


Dark building was under construction in Sept 2001 beside Twin Towers

Dark building was under construction in Sept 2001 beside Twin Towers

We visited the Financial District also known as Wall Street.
Wall Street, Financial District

Wall Street, Financial District

narrow streets around Wall Street

narrow streets around Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

George Washington was inaugurated here on Wall Street

George Washington was inaugurated here on Wall Street

Generator trailers still used in buildings being restored after Super Storm Sandy

Generator trailers still used in buildings being restored after Super Storm Sandy


Garden area on Broadway

Garden area on Broadway


Colleen and Gordon jay walking in Financial District

Colleen and Gordon jay walking in Financial District

After stopping for a beer/coke at Fraunces Tavern we then caught the subway back to Times Square.
Fraunces Tavern scene of George Washington's farewell to his army after war with British

Fraunces Tavern scene of George Washington's farewell to his army after war with British

Fraunces Tavern scene of George Washington's farewell to his army after war with British

Fraunces Tavern scene of George Washington's farewell to his army after war with British

The Whisky Bar at Fraunces Tavern

The Whisky Bar at Fraunces Tavern

We can't wait until the hop on hop off buses tomorrow so we can explore these neighbourhoods in more depth. Thanks, Gordon for a wonderful day of sightseeing in New York.

Posted by Kangatraveller 18:23 Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 18) Page [1] 2 3 4 » Next