Saturday, October 18, 2014

a visit to New York City

The sounds and sights of New York City have been seen and documented in so many ways, but like most of the famous cities in this world, there is nothing to compare with spending time walking the streets and seeing those for ourselves!

One World Trade Center stands above the rest of New York City
New York City consists of five boroughs, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island but we spent most of our time in Manhattan.   The total area is 33.7 sq. mi. but Manhattan Island is 13 mi long and only 2.3 miles wide, 22 square miles with a population of 1.6 million people.  Sure is amazing to see all that can be in that small area, it is brimming with amazing sights.

Our Manhattan neighborhood
We were staying in the Upper West Side on a tree lined street in a ‘brownstone’ ,  a neighbourhood with  the subway entrance and Central Park on one corner of our street and restaurants, drugstores, grocery stores, shoe repairs, laundromats, and anything one might need was down at the other corner.   We could not have been in a better location.

Rockefeller Center in New York
We began our New York holiday by taking the open decked tour bus, always a great way to learn and hear the history or stories about the sights.  These tours have a “hop on hop off” so that you can get on and off at any of their stops if you wish to spend more time there.

Cabs of New York
The traffic in New York is a sight to watch and definitely makes one appreciate what the bus drivers and cab drivers deal with every day, let alone the bicycle riders.  When they say there are lots of cabs in New York, they are so right, over 13,000 counted in 2012 all within that 33 square miles!  All streets are filled with them and people do walk out into the middle of the street waving down a cab, just like in the movies.  Pedestrians do not heed the crosswalk traffic signals, seems they have the ‘right of way’, but lots of warning horns can be heard.

United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA
We walked for hours every day for two weeks and surely did not see it all but we did spend our time enjoying the most famous landmarks, heritage buildings, museums, ferry rides, and so much more.  We also spent time in the subway stations, but waits were short and the rides were, as well.  It was an easy system to learn, although our first ride was with a helpful New Yorker, Micki and we found New Yorkers were quite willing to enlighten us when necessary.

Central Park, Manhattan, USA
Central Park is world famous and the largest park in New York.  We were staying within one half block of Central Park and enjoyed many walks, but there are so many lovely places within the Park that I will share more on another page.

Statue of Liberty
If I had to name the highlight of our visit to New York City, I would have to say that it was seeing the Statue of Liberty out in the harbour.   Our first good sighting was from a tour boat that was not making stops on Liberty or Ellis Island so we had the opportunity to go back another day and see it up close and hear the story behind the statue.

The lights of Times Square, New York
Times Square might be considered the heart of the city.  I had expected it to be a “square” but it actually covers several blocks and includes the theatre district.  It lights up best at night and the brightest sights are the billboards that line the main corridor of the Square at Broadway and 7th Avenue.  These billboards rent for millions of dollars a year, the most expensive in the world, seen by the 330,000 people who visit this area daily!

View from top of Red Stairs in Times Square
The northern end of Times Square is Duffy Square and the home of the red stairs where people are gathered at any given time.  The stairs (shown in photo collage above) are actually the roof of the TKTS pavilion where discount Broadway tickets can be purchased.  The novelty of the stairs invites one to climb up but the view is even better from there.

Broadway plays
We would not visit New York without seeing a Broadway play.  It was not easy making a decision as there are many to choose from but it had been recommended to see Wicked.  It was based on the witches of Oz and a great musical to see in the Gershwin Theatre.   The theatre seats 1900 and there were very few empty seats to be seen on a Monday night in September.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There are so many museums to visit with quite a variety to choose from.  We visited more than we planned to but found some to be surprisingly fascinating, from famous art to dinosaurs and more.
Most of the buildings themselves are a work of art.

Parks of Manhattan
It is surprising the number of green spaces scattered around the city.  There are several that have trees, gardens, benches and fountains to sit and enjoy, and many playgrounds for the kids to play.

National September 11th Memorial
We couldn’t visit New York without spending some time at Ground Zero to show our respect to all those who lost their lives in that devastating event on September  11, 2001.  The National September 11th Memorial was built on the land that the twin towers once stood.  The two granite pools, one for each tower cover 2 acres with a 30’ waterfall.  The infinity pool is surrounded by a bronze panel border inscribed with names of every person who died on that fateful September day.  It is a sad but tranquil place to visit.

New York City, known by many names such as “the Big Apple”, “the City that never sleeps” and “the Capital of the World” due to the size, wealth and being the location of the United Nations Headquarters, is the largest city in the U.S. by population with over 8.4 million people.  It is a spectacular city and one that offered us a wonderful visit and was a very special place to celebrate our 50th anniversary.



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