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Cape May and the South Jersey Shore

Washington Crossing and Cape May then the playgrounds of Wildwood and Atlantic City

sunny 29 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

After experiencing the big city bustle of New York we drove south and passed over the Delaware River on a steel truss bridge (very common on the US East Coast) at Washington Crossing.

The memorial on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

The memorial on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing


Crossing the steel truss bridge (built in 1904) over the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Crossing the steel truss bridge (built in 1904) over the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Washington's Crossing (or Taylorsville as it was called then) was the site on Christmas Day 1776 of George Washington's famed crossing of the ice flow laden Delaware River during the American War of Independence. The following morning he led his army on a successful attack on the Hessian garrison six miles to the south east at Trenton. Prior to this the American Continental Army had suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the British and there were serious doubts whether it would survive the winter as a fighting force.

A monument recreating Washington's crossing of the Delaware River

A monument recreating Washington's crossing of the Delaware River


Looking back at McConkey's Ferry Inn and the truss bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing

Looking back at McConkey's Ferry Inn and the truss bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River at Washington Crossing


Other later historic buildings (and a nice bike!) at Washington Crossing

Other later historic buildings (and a nice bike!) at Washington Crossing

New Jersey's Atlantic Coast is more commonly referred to as the Jersey Shore and is a popular 217 mile (349 kilometre) long holiday riviera, traditionally with New Yorkers to the north and Philadelphians to the south (for Brits think of somewhere like Blackpool and the Sussex Coast and you wont be far wrong!). The plan for the day was to visit the southern part often referred to as the Southern Shore and Atlantic City.

Founded in 1620, Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is the only place in the state where the sun both rises and sets over water. Famed for its historic Victorian houses, Philadelphians began holidaying at Cape May in the mid 18th century and it's recognized as the USA's oldest seaside resort.

Downtown Cape May

Downtown Cape May


Victorian houses leading down to the beach at Cape May

Victorian houses leading down to the beach at Cape May

The Cape May Fire Department built a cute colonial style museum to permanently house for its pride and joy a 1928 American Lafrance fire engine but unfortunately it wasn't there the day we visited.

Cape May Fire Department Museum

Cape May Fire Department Museum


Inside the Fire Department Museum - minus its 1928 American Lafrance fire engine <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Inside the Fire Department Museum - minus its 1928 American Lafrance fire engine :(

Located at the tip of Cape May is the Lighthouse built in in 1859, it is 157 feet (48 metres) high with 217 steps to the top. On a clear day it has views to Wildwood to the north and Cape Henlopen a 17 mile (27 kilometre) ferry ride west across the bay in the US State of Delaware.

The Cape May Lighthouse

The Cape May Lighthouse


The final steps up to the Lighthouse's rotating lens

The final steps up to the Lighthouse's rotating lens

Cape May is also a well known bird migration spot and beside the car park by the Lighthouse there are a couple of class rooms and a row of five bright white bird houses perched about 15 feet above the ground and obviously very popular with the energetic Purple Martins that nest in them. On the beach near by is a World War II Bunker constructed in 1942 to house four 155mm coast artillery guns; when built it was on high ground 900 feet from the ocean covered in grass sod but since then coastal erosion has meant it is now on the beach and two 6" gun turrets a bit further out to sea have disappeared completely.

Purple Martin nesting boxes at Cape May

Purple Martin nesting boxes at Cape May


The view east from the Lighthouse with the WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach

The view east from the Lighthouse with the WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach


The WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach at Cape May

The WWII Gun Emplacement on the beach at Cape May

Carrying on with the World War II theme, close by there is Fire Control Tower No. 23; built in 1942 it was one of 15 lookout towers constructed as part of the coastal defence of Delaware Bay known as Fort Miles. The fort was never completed as by 1943 advances in amphibious warfare had made them obsolete. From the top of the tower looking west across Delaware Bay can be seen the wreck of SS Atlantus, the most famous of a dozen concrete liberty ships built in 1918 at the end of World War I. She was used to bring back American soldiers from France and then to transport coal in New England. The intention had been to use the SS Atlantus and a couple of sister ships as a dock for the Delaware Bay Ferry but she ran aground during a storm in 1926 and nobody was able to free her.

WWII Lookout Tower at Cape May

WWII Lookout Tower at Cape May


The wreck of the SS Atlantus (made from concrete) from the WWII Lookout Tower

The wreck of the SS Atlantus (made from concrete) from the WWII Lookout Tower

Having done the history and wildlife at Cape May we then drove up the southern Jersey Shore to the coastal resort of Wildwood with its famous Boardwalk originally built in 1890 following the success of the original boardwalk built a few years earlier in Atlantic City just up the coast. A "boardwalk" is a raised wooden walkway running parallel to the beach originally conceived as a way of preventing sand being trampled through hotel lobbies but then became magnets for holiday goers and shops in their own right.

Trams running along the Wildwood Boardwalk

Trams running along the Wildwood Boardwalk


Someone dressed up as a Yogurt Carton on the Wildwood Boardwalk

Someone dressed up as a Yogurt Carton on the Wildwood Boardwalk


Police cart outside an amusement arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk

Police cart outside an amusement arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk

The Boardwalk at Wildwood is 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometres) long and lined with amusement arcades, food outlets and gift shops with 1950s neon light lit "Doo-Wop" style motels just behind (several of which are now heritage-listed). There was also a classic style roller coaster on the beach at Wildwood called "The Great White" although at the time of our visit it was closed for refurbishment.

50's style burger restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk

50's style burger restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk


One of many t-shirt shops along the Boardwalk at Wildwood

One of many t-shirt shops along the Boardwalk at Wildwood


The 'Great White' classic style rollercoaster on the beach at Wildwood

The 'Great White' classic style rollercoaster on the beach at Wildwood

The big pull however are the three large amusement piers along the Boardwalk owned by the Morley family. These are incredibly popular, especially with teenagers who can buy day long passes giving them unlimited access to the amusement park rides and the two waterparks with their large water slides.

Entrance to Morey's 'Mariner's Landing' Amusement Pier at Wildwood

Entrance to Morey's 'Mariner's Landing' Amusement Pier at Wildwood


A blend of old and new amusements on the Mariner's Landing Pier

A blend of old and new amusements on the Mariner's Landing Pier


The Ghost Ship Ride on the Mariner's Landing Amusement Pier at Wildwood

The Ghost Ship Ride on the Mariner's Landing Amusement Pier at Wildwood


The waterslide at the Raging Waters Waterpark at the end of the Mariner's Landing Pier at Wildwood

The waterslide at the Raging Waters Waterpark at the end of the Mariner's Landing Pier at Wildwood

About an hour north along the coast is Atlantic City, the US East Coast's answer to Las Vegas. The city boomed as a holiday and gambling resort in the early 1900s because of its excellent rail links to Philadelphia along with some innovative marketing ploys from its hotel entrepreneurs.

The Expressway sweeping into Atlantic City beside Lakes Bay

The Expressway sweeping into Atlantic City beside Lakes Bay


Casinos clustered next to each other as we approach downtown Atlantic City

Casinos clustered next to each other as we approach downtown Atlantic City

Atlantic City declined after WWII with the advent of cheap jet flights to places such as Miami and the Bahamas but then attempted to revitalise itself by legalising casino gambling. Although on an overall smaller scale to Las Vegas, Atlantic City now has about a dozen mega large combined casino, entertainment and hotel themed 'resorts'.

The Golden Nugget (until recently the 'Trump Castle' ) hotel, casino and marina in Atlantic City

The Golden Nugget (until recently the 'Trump Castle' ) hotel, casino and marina in Atlantic City


Harrah's flagship hotel and casino in Atlantic City

Harrah's flagship hotel and casino in Atlantic City


Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City

Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City

In addition to having the first seaside boardwalk in 1870, Atlantic City has been the home (apart from 2006-2012 in Las Vegas) of the Miss America beauty pageant since it was founded in 1920 and was the inspiration for the original Monopoly Board Game in 1935 (the London version popular in the Commonwealth appeared slightly later).

View along Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City

View along Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City


the Roman facade of Caesars Atlantic City

the Roman facade of Caesars Atlantic City


Bally's Wild West Casino in Atlantic City

Bally's Wild West Casino in Atlantic City

An amusing billboard in Atlantic City advertising a dating agency website

An amusing billboard in Atlantic City advertising a dating agency website

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged beaches bridges birds boats lighthouses forts theme_parks war_memorials us_east_coast Comments (0)

Mount Vernon

A trip down the Potomac to visit George Washington's country estate and tomb

sunny 26 °C
View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

When I said I wanted to visit Washington DC for a few days lots of people recommended that if I should try and do an excursion out to George Washington's country estate and tomb at Mount Vernon while I was there. It sounded a great idea so I began my second day in Washington with a 90 minute boat trip down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon in northern Virginia.

Our last view of the Capitol Building as we set sail down the Potomac for Mount Vernon

Our last view of the Capitol Building as we set sail down the Potomac for Mount Vernon

On the east bank we soon sailed past the hangars of the Anacostia Naval Air Station - home of "Marine One", the call-sign of the Marine Corps helicopters that ferry the US President to and from the South Lawn of the White House. Meanwhile overhead domestic passenger jets were flying over us to land at Ronald Reagan National Airport on the opposite shore of the river (international flights use Dulles Airport 20 miles further out of town).

The hangars at Anacostia Naval Air Station - home of 'Marine One'

The hangars at Anacostia Naval Air Station - home of 'Marine One'


A passenger jet coming into land over the Potomac River at Ronald Reagan National Airport

A passenger jet coming into land over the Potomac River at Ronald Reagan National Airport

It was a relaxing cruise down the Potomac during which we past the Cherry Blossom, a recreation of a 19th century Victorian Paddle Steamer moored up on the Alexandria Old Town waterfront. We also sailed under the "bascule" (i.e. opening or drawbridge) span of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge carrying the south eastern section of the Capitol Beltway, the interstate freeway that rings Washington.

The Cherry Blossom Paddle Steamer moored up at Alexandria

The Cherry Blossom Paddle Steamer moored up at Alexandria


The bascule span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge carrying the Capitol Beltway Interstate across the Potomac River

The bascule span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge carrying the Capitol Beltway Interstate across the Potomac River

The final landmark we passed was Fort Washington on a promontory on the east bank; originally built in 1809 it was the only defensive fort protecting the city although it was abandoned to the British during the War of 1812 without a shot being fired. Mount Vernon itself then came into view picturesquely sat on a small hill on the west bank and our boat headed for the shore and tied up at its wharf.

Fort Washington on the north bank of the Potomac River

Fort Washington on the north bank of the Potomac River


George Washington's House at Mount Vernon as seen from the Potomac River

George Washington's House at Mount Vernon as seen from the Potomac River

On the 20 minute walk up to the Mansion through the woods we stopped at Washington's Tomb. George Washington was the first US President 1789-1793 and when he died in 1799 the original plan had been for him to eventually lay to rest in the crypt under the dome of the Capitol Building. However his preference had always been to be buried in a new family vault at Mount Vernon replacing the existing deteriorating structure and this is what eventually happened in 1837 when his remains were placed in his current marble sarcophagus beside 23 other members of his family.

George Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon

George Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon


Crowds gathered around George Washington's Tomb

Crowds gathered around George Washington's Tomb

The Washington's were slave owners and close to his tomb there is the slave burial ground where 50-70 slaves are buried in unmarked graves and now have their own large memorial.

The Slave Burial Ground and Memorial close to Washington's Tomb

The Slave Burial Ground and Memorial close to Washington's Tomb

George and Martha Washington moved to Mount Vernon when they got married in 1757. George's father built the original simple farmhouse in 1735 but George then extended it over the five decades he lived at Mount Vernon into the three story 21 room mansion we see today.

View of the front of the Mansion from across the Bowling Green

View of the front of the Mansion from across the Bowling Green


The queue through the Servant's Hall into the Mansion

The queue through the Servant's Hall into the Mansion

Entry was by timed ticket through the one and half story Servants' Hall that flanks the front left of the Mansion and is mirrored on the right by a similarly shaped building housing the Kitchen. Photography wasn't allowed inside the house which felt grand but simple with bits added over time giving it character. George Washington died of a severe throat infection in the rather simple looking main bedchamber in December 1799.

The archaeological dig underway by the exit from the Mansion into the Kitchen

The archaeological dig underway by the exit from the Mansion into the Kitchen


The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

The Kitchen at Mount Vernon


The view of the back of the Mansion from the riverside lawn

The view of the back of the Mansion from the riverside lawn

George Washington laid out his estate so the outbuildings were spread along the lanes leading to the left (north) and right (south) from the Mansion. To the south was the coach house, stables, laundry, smokehouse and various store rooms.

The Washington's coach in the Coach House

The Washington's coach in the Coach House


The stables at Mount Vernon

The stables at Mount Vernon

The operation of the farm for the Washington's was run by their overseer whose accommodation and office is on the North Lane which also included a spinning room, blacksmith shop and yet more storerooms.

Inside the overseer's accommodation along the North Lane

Inside the overseer's accommodation along the North Lane


The Spinning Room along the North Lane

The Spinning Room along the North Lane


Making nails inside the Blacksmith's Shop

Making nails inside the Blacksmith's Shop


The Salt House along the North Lane

The Salt House along the North Lane

The head gardener also had his own house and we were also to see inside a 'necessary', which was the polite term for the outside privy. It had 3 seats so going to the toilet could obviously be a communal activity!

The head gardener's office at Mount Vernon

The head gardener's office at Mount Vernon


The 'necessary' (toilet) at Mount Vernon

The 'necessary' (toilet) at Mount Vernon


Inside the 'necessary' there were 3 seats - going to the toilet could be a communal activity

Inside the 'necessary' there were 3 seats - going to the toilet could be a communal activity

Mount Vernon has a couple of walled gardens. The Lower Garden containing vegetables for the Kitchen is on the south side of the Mansion while the showcase Upper Garden with its Greenhouse was used for fruit and nuts. Next to the Greenhouse were the Women's Slave Quarters; the Washington's had 317 slaves and about a quarter of them lived here while the rest lived down on the farm. George Washington had growing misgivings about slavery during his life and emancipated all of them in his will.

The Greenhouse and Upper Garden at Mount Vernon

The Greenhouse and Upper Garden at Mount Vernon


Inside the Women's Slave Quarters at Mount Vernon

Inside the Women's Slave Quarters at Mount Vernon

Rather than arriving at the Wharf, the more usual way to arrive at Mount Vernon is through the rather impressive Museum and Education Center. The Museum itself contained various artifacts from his life however a lot more interesting to me was the Education Center which contained various displays explaining his life including several wax models recreating what he would have looked like at key events during his life.

Model of George Washington (45 years old) leading his army at Valley Forge (1777-1778)

Model of George Washington (45 years old) leading his army at Valley Forge (1777-1778)


Model of George Washington (57 years old)  being sworn is as the first US President (1789)

Model of George Washington (57 years old) being sworn is as the first US President (1789)

Despite being a General and the first President of the USA George Washington primarily considered himself a farmer and this reflected in the 4 acre Pioneer Farm (he actually cultivated more than 3,000 acres) located by the Wharf on the Potomac River. I was interested in the explanation for the different types of fencing used around the farm; tightly woven wattle fencing to protect poultry and small animals, post and rail fences to permanently mark boundaries and most interestingly zig-zagging split rail fencing around fields of crops (their main advantageous was they could be easily laid around trees and other obstacles).

The Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon with split rail fencing in the foreground

The Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon with split rail fencing in the foreground

Pride of place at the Pioneer Farm is a reconstruction of the 16 Sided Barn that Washington designed for treading wheat; the way it worked was that the wheat was laid out around the first floor and horses walked over it loosening the grain out of the straw so it fell through the floor to be picked up below making threshing the wheat a lot easier. Also on the Pioneer Farm is a reconstruction of a Slave Cabin which is more typical of how the majority of slaves lived.

Washington's innovative 16 Sided Barn on the Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon

Washington's innovative 16 Sided Barn on the Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon


Slave cabin on the Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon

Slave cabin on the Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon


Cattle on the farm at Mount Vernon

Cattle on the farm at Mount Vernon

The hooter of our boat moored on the Wharf then sounded recalling us to take us back to Washington. The current wharf was built in 1880 and restored in 1991 but the Washington's also had a Wharf and a thriving fishing business - in 1772 his fisheries reaped 1.3 million herring and more than 11,000 shad used to help feed the plantation as well as being an important source of income.

Our boat waiting at the Wharf to take us back to Washington

Our boat waiting at the Wharf to take us back to Washington

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged bridges boats museums tour washington solo helicopters us_presidents us_east_coast Comments (0)

Lower Manhattan

A ferry ride to visit New York's Business and Financial District

sunny 27 °C
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It's the last Sunday of my around the world trip and time for the last big item on my bucket list - Lower Manhattan. I had already explored Mid Manhattan and the Empire State Building the week before and it was now time to explore New York's business and financial district at the southern most tip of the island. To get there we boarded one of the famous free orange coloured ferries from Staten Island, initially passing to seaward the double decked Verrazano-Narrows Suspension Bridge that links Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The Staten Island Ferry arriving to take us over to New York

The Staten Island Ferry arriving to take us over to New York


View of New York as we are about to leave Staten Island

View of New York as we are about to leave Staten Island


The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island

We then excitingly on the portside of the ferry got a close up view of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and Ellis Island where millions of immigrants to the US landed between 1892 and 1934. I would loved to have landed and visited them but unfortunately they were both still being repaired from damage they sustained during Hurricane Sandy on the 28th October 2012.

The Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

The Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry


Ellis Island from the Staten Island Ferry

Ellis Island from the Staten Island Ferry

After a voyage of about 25 minutes across one of the largest natural harbours in the world we passed Castle Williams constructed between 1807-1811 on Governors Island on the starboard side before arriving at the Ferry Terminal on the southern most tip of Manhattan.

Castle Williams on Governor's Island from the Staten Island Ferry

Castle Williams on Governor's Island from the Staten Island Ferry


Our ferry closes in on Lower Manhattan

Our ferry closes in on Lower Manhattan


The Staten Island Ferry Terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan near Battery Park

The Staten Island Ferry Terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan near Battery Park

From the Ferry Terminal we made our way up to the Financial District a short distance away where the bronze Wall Street Bull was surrounded by tourists queuing up determined to have their picture taken holding its horns - most frustrating when you are trying to getting a clean picture and eventually I had to give up.

Tourists crowd around the Wall Street Bull

Tourists crowd around the Wall Street Bull

We then made our way up Lower Broadway, the famous "Canyon of Heroes" down which the famous ticker tape parades are held. They use to happen quite often (for instance for visiting heads of state) but are now quite rare and only held to celebrate great sporting occasions such as the NY Yankees winning Baseball's World Series or the NY Giants winning American Football's Super Bowl. They also now use shredded paper rather than outdated ticker tape!

Lower Broadway in the Financial District down which ticker tape parades are held

Lower Broadway in the Financial District down which ticker tape parades are held


Pavement plaque celebrating the ticker tape parade held on 5th March 1953 to honour the 50th anniversary of powered flight

Pavement plaque celebrating the ticker tape parade held on 5th March 1953 to honour the 50th anniversary of powered flight


Pavement plaque celebrating the ticker tape parade held on 21st October 1957 to honour a state visit by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

Pavement plaque celebrating the ticker tape parade held on 21st October 1957 to honour a state visit by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh

Continuing up Lower Broadway we passed the back entrance to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, the largest stock exchange in the world. The main façade with its 6 corinthian columns was actually around the corner in Broad Street. Being a Sunday New York's Financial District was quite quiet. A bit further along we walked past St Paul's Chapel with One World Trade Center emerging behind it. Built in 1766, St Paul's is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan.

The back entrance to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street

The back entrance to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street


One World Trade Center under construction behind St Pauls Chapel on Lower Broadway

One World Trade Center under construction behind St Pauls Chapel on Lower Broadway

We had timed tickets for the National September 11 Memorial and as we were slightly early we managed to also visit the nearby Irish Hunger Memorial opened on 2002. During my trip I've also seen other memorials to the million people who died during the Irish Famine between 1845 and 1852 but the one in New York with its landscaped plot (using specially imported Irish soil, vegetation and stones) incorporating an authentic rebuilt 19th century Irish cottage (from Carradoogan in the parish of Attymass in County Mayo) is my favourite.

The Irish Hunger Memorial near North Cape, Battery Park

The Irish Hunger Memorial near North Cape, Battery Park


Close up of the cottage ruins at the centre of the Irish Hunger Memorial

Close up of the cottage ruins at the centre of the Irish Hunger Memorial


The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from North Cove, Battery Park

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from North Cove, Battery Park

The National September 11 Memorial itself is surrounded by building sites, the most advanced of which is the One World Trade Center. Its top floor is the same height as the North Tower destroyed by the terrorist attack on September 11th 2001 with its spire above making it's official height 1,776 feet, symbolic of the 1776 US Declaration of Independence.

One World Trade Center and other construction work underway around the National September 11 Memorial

One World Trade Center and other construction work underway around the National September 11 Memorial

Despite the queues, with our timed tickets we got through the airport style security to the memorial in less than 10 minutes (when all the rebuilding is complete there will be open access to the memorial from all sides). The memorial itself consists of two 30 feet deep square pools on the footprint of the twin towers with waterfalls cascading down their sides and feels a very fitting and surreal tribute to those who died.

Looking north across the South Pool of the National September 11 Memorial

Looking north across the South Pool of the National September 11 Memorial


Looking north across the North Pool of the National September 11 Memorial

Looking north across the North Pool of the National September 11 Memorial

The names of the 2,983 people who died in the 9/11 and 1993 attacks are inscribed on the bronze parapets around the perimeter of the two ponds with their names carefully arranged to be adjacent to people they knew and worked with. The day we went was also New York's 56th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade so in addition to lots of brightly dressed Puerto Ricans on the subway trains there were small Puerto Rican flags placed by the names of the 21 Puerto Rican victims.

Looking back across the National September 11 Memorial from its north west corner

Looking back across the National September 11 Memorial from its north west corner


Me stood by the South Pool

Me stood by the South Pool

All but one of the trees surrounding the ponds are swamp white oaks; the exception is a Callery pear tree known as the Survivor Tree, which was the only tree to survive from the original plaza. It was reduced to an 8 foot tall stump by the attack and has been carefully nursed back to health and is anchored to the ground to help it re-root.

The Survivor Tree at the National September 11 Memorial

The Survivor Tree at the National September 11 Memorial

We then stopped for a quick lunch at the Village Pizza on 8th Avenue in Greenwich Village; I'm not normally a pizza fanatic but the slice of thin crust pizza we got from this traditional small (i.e. two table) hole-in-the-wall restaurant/take-away was the most delicious I've ever tasted. I now know why so many people crave about New York pizza!

Suitably fed we walked a couple of blocks to the 14th Street entrance to the High Line, an abandoned elevated freight railway line originally built in 1934 to avoid the frequent accidents that occurred when the railroad ran at ground level and last used (for a train load of frozen turkeys!) in 1980. In 1999 a local residents group began campaigning for it to be "repurposed" into a 1.45 mile (2.33 kilometre) long public park 30 feet above the streets.

The 14th Street Stairs up to the High Line

The 14th Street Stairs up to the High Line


The High Line's urban theatre at 10th Avenue Square

The High Line's urban theatre at 10th Avenue Square


The High Line's Chelsea Grasslands above 18th Street

The High Line's Chelsea Grasslands above 18th Street

What an inspired idea! The first section of the park was opened in 2009 with the second section opened 2011 and has proved incredibly popular with New Yorkers. All along its length beside the path there are wildflowers, seating and specially commissioned art work. A third of the original rail tracks have been retained amongst the plants enhancing the park's unique urban character.

Old rail tracks amongst the wildflowers on the High Line

Old rail tracks amongst the wildflowers on the High Line


A piece of modern art from the 'Busted' collection on the High Line

A piece of modern art from the 'Busted' collection on the High Line


'Sailor kissing a Nurse' street art next to the High Line

'Sailor kissing a Nurse' street art next to the High Line

In addition to the views of the city skyline I was fascinated to see the elevated parking next to the High Line near West 18th Street where cars are positioned by a lift, it reminded me of the Multi Storey Boat Park I saw in Auckland. The final section of the High Line extending it from West 30th to West 34th Street is due to open in 2014.

The Empire State Building from the High Line

The Empire State Building from the High Line


The Elevated Parking next to the High Line near 18th Street

The Elevated Parking next to the High Line near 18th Street


The High Line's 23rd Street Lawn

The High Line's 23rd Street Lawn


The extension to the High Line at 30th Street under construction

The extension to the High Line at 30th Street under construction

From the High Line we made our way up West 23rd Street to Madison Square Park see the famous Flatiron Building. Built in 1902, the Flatiron Building was New York's first iron-frame high-rise and the world's tallest building until 1909.

The Flatiron Building by Madison Square Park

The Flatiron Building by Madison Square Park


Looking up 5th Avenue toward the Empire State Building from Madison Square Park

Looking up 5th Avenue toward the Empire State Building from Madison Square Park

Nearby we went to see the birthplace of Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt, the 26th US President (1901-1909). The original building was built in 1848, demolished in 1916 and then the lot was purchased and the house rebuilt in 1919 to recreate how it looked in 1865 when "Teddy" was just 7 years old; only in America!

Theodore Roosevelt's birthplace on East 20th Street

Theodore Roosevelt's birthplace on East 20th Street

It was then time to make our way back to catch the ferry back to Staten Island, with a minor detour to the Brooklyn Bridge after our subway train terminated early! The Brooklyn Bridge when it was completed in 1883 was the longest suspension bridge in the world and first one built using steel wire. It's one of the signature landmarks of city and walking across its pedestrian walkway above the automobile lanes is one of the "must do's" in New York.

The New York approach to the Brooklyn Bridge

The New York approach to the Brooklyn Bridge


The Brooklyn Bridge from the Staten Island Ferry as it leaves Lower Manhattan

The Brooklyn Bridge from the Staten Island Ferry as it leaves Lower Manhattan

We then re-boarded the New York Subway for a handful of stops and boarded the ferry back to Staten Island, buying the obligatory "I ♥ New York" T-Shirt from a street vendor on the way. Back in our car on the freeway on the other side we passed Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser Brewery which is such prominent landmark just outside Newark International Airport. I've seen it - but you wouldn't catch me drinking it!

My last view of New York from the Staten Island Ferry

My last view of New York from the Staten Island Ferry


Staten Island Ferries berthed up ready for the Monday morning rush hour

Staten Island Ferries berthed up ready for the Monday morning rush hour


The Budweiser Brewery next to Newark Airport

The Budweiser Brewery next to Newark Airport

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged buildings boats food new_york harbours city ferry videos breweries irish_famine us_presidents us_east_coast Comments (0)

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