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Blue Moon rising over the Yankee Stadium

I get to see my soccer team Manchester City play against Chelsea in New York and then experience the 2013 Cicada swarm in New Jersey

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View 2013 Round the World Trip on FrancisRTW's travel map.

I have supported Manchester City since I was kid, at the time they had a striker called Francis Lee and as my namesake he became my hero and City my team after I got teased at school that my name Francis was a girl's name. I knew City were in the USA playing a series of exhibition games against Chelsea but never in my wildest dreams expected a chance to see them. So when my cousin announced his fiancée had managed to get us tickets for their game against Chelsea at New York's Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx I was over the moon.

Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, New York

Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx, New York


Joining the queue at Gate 6 outside the Yankee Stadium

Joining the queue at Gate 6 outside the Yankee Stadium

When we got to our seats the two teams were warming up on the pitch with their club anthems playing as background music, "Blue is the Colour" for Chelsea and "Blue Moon" for Manchester City. Unfortunately in all the rush to get to the stadium from Philadelphia in time I did not have a chance to change into my City shirt that I had brought with me on my round the world trip.

Our first view of the pitch with the teams warming up

Our first view of the pitch with the teams warming up


Close up of the City players warming up

Close up of the City players warming up

Before kick off there was a moving minute's silence for Lee Rigby, the British Soldier murdered on the street in Woolwich South London, and the 23 victims of the Oklahoma Tornado. Both tragedies had happened only a few days previously and were still very much at the top of all the news bulletins.

Scoreboard tribute to the British Soldier murdered in Woolwich

Scoreboard tribute to the British Soldier murdered in Woolwich


Scoreboard tribute to the victims of the Oklahoma Tornado

Scoreboard tribute to the victims of the Oklahoma Tornado

The two teams then lined up for the American National Anthem before kick-off. During the line-up the Manchester City team wore dark blue shirts with light blue "New York City FC" moons on the front to advertise their link-up announced only a few days before with the Yankees to create a new MLS ('Major League Soccer') franchise from 2015. I was actually quite surprised and pleased how strong the squads both teams were putting out were and they each started the first half with what was virtually their entire first team on the pitch.

The two teams line-up before the start of the match

The two teams line-up before the start of the match


The Manchester City line-up for the first half on the Scoreboard

The Manchester City line-up for the first half on the Scoreboard


The Chelsea line-up for the first half on the Scoreboard

The Chelsea line-up for the first half on the Scoreboard

The game then got underway, Manchester City had beaten Chelsea 4-3 (after being 3-0 down) in their previous match in St Louis a few days before so I had my fingers crossed that we would witness a similar result in New York as well. I wasn't to be disappointed, at the end of the first half Manchester City were comfortably winning 2-0.

The game between Chelsea and Manchester City gets underway at the Yankee Stadium

The game between Chelsea and Manchester City gets underway at the Yankee Stadium


The City players huddle to congratulate Samir Nasri while his 1st goal is replayed on the Stadium Scoreboard

The City players huddle to congratulate Samir Nasri while his 1st goal is replayed on the Stadium Scoreboard


Samir Nasri's 1st goal (City's 2nd) is announced on the Stadium Scoreboard

Samir Nasri's 1st goal (City's 2nd) is announced on the Stadium Scoreboard

Both sides made a lot of changes at half time (including goalkeeper Petr Cech for Chelsea which prompted a particularly load cheer from their supporters) which gave Chelsea a chance to get back into the game but Manchester City still went on to win 5-3 so I went home very happy!

The players come off the field at the end of the first half

The players come off the field at the end of the first half


On the night Manchester City beat Chelsea 5-3, I was rather happy <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

On the night Manchester City beat Chelsea 5-3, I was rather happy :)


The West Concourse inside Yankee Stadium

The West Concourse inside Yankee Stadium

Back in Summit where I was staying there was the little matter of the Cicada Beetle swarm of 2013. These 2 inch long red eyed beetles come out of the ground in northern New Jersey only once every 17 years to breed creating a deafening din as they sing themselves to death for a few weeks while they try to attract a mate. The ground was covered with them, it was like a plague out of the Bible!

Me with a Cicada Beetle from the swarm of 2013

Me with a Cicada Beetle from the swarm of 2013


Close up of a Cicada Beetle

Close up of a Cicada Beetle

Posted by FrancisRTW 03:00 Archived in USA Tagged animals new_york sport videos us_east_coast Comments (0)

Footsore in Mid Manhattan

Exploring Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Central Park and a lot more besides in Midtown New York

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Excluding a brief visit a few days previously to watch an exhibition soccer game at the Yankee Stadium, I had never visited New York despite it being one of those world cities like London and Paris that everyone who likes travelling feels they have to visit. With so much to see the plan was to cover New York in two stages doing Mid Manhattan first including the Empire State Building, Time Square and Central Park and then to come back another day to cover Lower Manhattan and see Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial.

And so it was one Wednesday morning having got the train in from Summit New Jersey we emerged from the depths of New York Penn Railway Station underneath Madison Square Garden, perhaps not the prettiest station (that accolade probably belongs to the Grand Central Terminal we saw a bit later) but certainly the busiest train station in North America by some margin. Because we had a lot to see we had taken the precaution of booking express passes for the Empire State Building and went there first but disappointingly the top was shrouded in cloud and decided to leave it until later in the day hoping the skies would clear.

Madison Square Garden built on top of New York's Penn Station

Madison Square Garden built on top of New York's Penn Station


The top of the Empire State Building shrouded in cloud as we arrive in New York, not looking good <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

The top of the Empire State Building shrouded in cloud as we arrive in New York, not looking good :(


Me by the wall mural in the lobby of the Empire State Building

Me by the wall mural in the lobby of the Empire State Building

We then walked up New York's 7th Avenue (in New York avenues run north/south while streets, which tend to be smaller blocks, run east/west) towards Times Square, passing Macy's flagship store on 34th Street's Herald Square on the way. Macy's still advertises itself as "the largest store in the world" (although it was finally overtaken by a store in South Korea in 2009), an accolade a competitor tried to prevent it from earning when it was originally built back in 1902 by holding onto a corner of the block; Macy's just ignored this tactic and built around it and today the building (now occupied by "Sunglass Hut") carries Macy's "shopping bag" sign by lease arrangement.

Macy's flagship store on 34th Street

Macy's flagship store on 34th Street

Times Square at the junction of 7th Avenue and Broadway is the hub of New York's Theatre District, with bright lights and bustle everywhere you look. On the south side high above the billboard signs on the original New York Times Building is the famous New Year's Eve Ball which rises up its pole and drops at midnight each New Years' Eve when as many as a million reveller's pack the square. The northern triangle of the square is technically called Duffy's Square and contains statues to Chaplin Francis P. Duffy (1871-1932) of the Fighting 69th" (a famous New York Irish regiment in the US Army) and also George M. Cohan (1878-1942), an American playwright and song writer whose songs included "Over There", "Give my regards to Broadway" and "the Yankee Doodle Boy".

The south side of Times Square, you can just make out the New Years Eve Ball rising on the Flag Pole of the building opposite - only 7 months to go until it drops!

The south side of Times Square, you can just make out the New Years Eve Ball rising on the Flag Pole of the building opposite - only 7 months to go until it drops!


Looking down on 7th Avenue at Times Square, full of signature yellow NY cabs watched over by an unusual looking elevated police lookout post

Looking down on 7th Avenue at Times Square, full of signature yellow NY cabs watched over by an unusual looking elevated police lookout post


George Cohan's Statue and the north end of Times Square

George Cohan's Statue and the north end of Times Square


Father Duffy's Statue on the north side of Times Square (also known as Duffy's Square)

Father Duffy's Statue on the north side of Times Square (also known as Duffy's Square)

However a bit fun at the northern end of Times Square is the raised platform behind Father Duffy's Statue in front of the Hyundai Billboard. Here tourists are encouraged to stand and their faces are incorporated into the billboard sign displayed above them! Of course I had to have a go and managed to get my face into one of three cut-outs - my face in lights in Times Square (although I wasn't too sure about the skirt worn by my billboard incarnation)!

The interactive Hyundai Billboard on the north end of Times Square - I'm on the left

The interactive Hyundai Billboard on the north end of Times Square - I'm on the left


Me in lights 'Gangnam Style' on the interactive Hyundai Billboard in Times Square - although I'm not too sure about the skirt!

Me in lights 'Gangnam Style' on the interactive Hyundai Billboard in Times Square - although I'm not too sure about the skirt!

Having vowed to come back when it was dark to see the Times Square lights in all their splendour we made our way to New York's Grand Central Terminal. Completely rebuilt between 1903 and 1913, the station has been described as "the world's loveliest station" and is the largest in the world by number of platforms (44 platforms on two levels). The information booth in the main concourse is a perennial meeting place and the four faced clock above it an icon, even if isn't made of opal and worth $20 million as suggested by urban legend.

New York's Grand Central Terminal and Park Avenue Viaduct

New York's Grand Central Terminal and Park Avenue Viaduct


The Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal

The Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal


The four faced clock above the information booth in the Main Concourse of the Grand Central Terminal

The four faced clock above the information booth in the Main Concourse of the Grand Central Terminal

Outside traffic on Park Avenue (which on the map appears to go straight through the station) is taken up a ramp onto the ornate Park Avenue Viaduct that wraps itself around the first floor of the Railway Station, northbound to the east and southbound to the west, before coming back down again to ground level on the opposite side.

Inside a New York Taxi driving along the Park Avenue Viaduct as it wraps itself around the 1st floor of the Grand Central Terminal

Inside a New York Taxi driving along the Park Avenue Viaduct as it wraps itself around the 1st floor of the Grand Central Terminal


The New York Public Library (guarded by the stone lions  'Patience' and 'Fortitude' ) on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

The New York Public Library (guarded by the stone lions 'Patience' and 'Fortitude' ) on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

There's a lot to see in New York, more than I could ever hope to mention; next up was the Roman Catholic St. Patricks Cathedral built between 1858-1878 on 5th Avenue. Unfortunately it was yet another building on my trip shrouded in scaffolding as it is currently undergoing a 5 year $175 million renovation started in 2012. We did briefly pop in to have a look around and I was amused by "in the city that never sleeps everyone needs a place to pray" posters outside but the renovation work really made it impossible to properly look around.

St. Patrick's Cathedral covered in scaffolding while its being renovated

St. Patrick's Cathedral covered in scaffolding while its being renovated


The nave inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

The nave inside St. Patrick's Cathedral


'In a city that never sleeps everyone needs a place to pray'

'In a city that never sleeps everyone needs a place to pray'

Directly opposite St. Patrick's Cathedral is the north east corner of the Rockefeller Centre with its brass Atlas Statue outside; a large 22 acre retail, entertainment and office complex built during the Great Depression of the 1930s. At the heart of the complex is the 70 floor 872 foot (266 metre) high GE Building whose observation deck is the popular tourist attraction known as the "Top of the Rock" with stunning 360 degree views of the New York Skyscraper skyline. We however were saving that experience for ourselves for the Empire State Building.

The Rockefeller Center and Atlas Statue

The Rockefeller Center and Atlas Statue

Continuing walking north (we did a lot of walking in New York, I think I've still got the bruises!) we passed the Trump Tower (a 58 story skyscraper developed by Donald Trump) and next door to it the flagship Tiffany's Jewelry Store of 1961 film "Breakfast in Tiffany's" fame; not that you can have breakfast there, even if we managed to get past the tight security Tiffany's hasn't got a restaurant!

The clock outside the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue

The clock outside the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue


Tiffany's, the famous expensive jewelry store on 5th Avenue

Tiffany's, the famous expensive jewelry store on 5th Avenue

By now we were in need of some refreshment and with an Irish Bar on the corner of nearly every block in New York it was pretty obvious where we were going to stop for lunch... washed down with our first pint of the day of the black stuff :)

A pint of Guinness in an Irish Bar across the road from the Carnegie Hall

A pint of Guinness in an Irish Bar across the road from the Carnegie Hall

Suitably fed and watered our next stop was Columbus Circle at the south west corner of Central Park with its monument constructed in 1892 on the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Americas. Opposite at the entrance to the park itself is an impressive monument to the sailors who died aboard the USS Maine when it blew up in Havana Harbour Cuba prompting the outbreak of the 1898 Spanish American War.

The Colombus Memorial at the center of Columbus Circle outside Central Park

The Colombus Memorial at the center of Columbus Circle outside Central Park


USS Maine National Monument at the Colombus Circle entrance to Central Park

USS Maine National Monument at the Colombus Circle entrance to Central Park

Close to Columbus Circle is the Lincoln Center, the largest performing arts complex in the world. I have to admit I was quite keen to see the Lincoln Center, just in case we found the New York School for the Performing Arts nearby on which the 1980s TV Show "Fame" popular in the UK was based. We unsuccessfully went looking for the location of its famous street dance scene and I've since found out we were indeed at the right location for the interior scenes but the building has long since been demolished and all the external scenes were actually filmed about a mile away on West 46th Street.

Lincoln Center - the world's largest performing arts centre

Lincoln Center - the world's largest performing arts centre


Firemen's Memorial outside the Lincoln Center FDNY Building (home of Engine 40 and Ladder 35)

Firemen's Memorial outside the Lincoln Center FDNY Building (home of Engine 40 and Ladder 35)

Before we entered Central Park itself we passed the Dakota Apartment Building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived before he was murdered outside its south entrance in 1980. Across the road in Central Park the adjacent 2.5 acres has been dedicated to his memory with a mosaic as its centrepiece and renamed Strawberry Fields after the famous Beatles song "Strawberry Fields are forever".

The Dakota Apartment Building on the west side of Central Park where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived

The Dakota Apartment Building on the west side of Central Park where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived


The south entrance to the Dakota Apartment Building where John Lennon was shot

The south entrance to the Dakota Apartment Building where John Lennon was shot


The Strawberry Fields entrance into New York's Central Park

The Strawberry Fields entrance into New York's Central Park


The John Lennon Mosaic in Strawberry Fields, Central Park

The John Lennon Mosaic in Strawberry Fields, Central Park

Central Park itself is 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) long by 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometres) wide, a rectangular haven of greenery surrounded on all sides by skyscrapers. It's full of cliché's such as the horse drawn carriages taking tourists on sedate tours around the park and the street dancing on The Mall. There was even a young couple having wedding photographs taken on the Lower Bethesda Terrace in the heart of the park.

Horse drawn carriage making its way along the Terrace Drive in Central Park

Horse drawn carriage making its way along the Terrace Drive in Central Park


Street dancing underway on the Mall in Central Park

Street dancing underway on the Mall in Central Park


The Bethesda Terrace Tunnel in Central Park (with a Chinese looking couple having wedding photographs taken - a recurring theme particularly in the USA and Australia)

The Bethesda Terrace Tunnel in Central Park (with a Chinese looking couple having wedding photographs taken - a recurring theme particularly in the USA and Australia)

Central Park contains 2 ice skating rinks, 36 bridges and several artificially created but natural looking lakes. The Angel of the Waters Fountain is the centrepiece of the Lower Bethesda Terrace where it reaches the Lake which is very popular spot for boating with a fleet of 100 boats available for rent.

The Angel of the Waters Fountain on the Lower Bethesda Terrace in Central Park

The Angel of the Waters Fountain on the Lower Bethesda Terrace in Central Park


Boating underway on the Lake in Central Park

Boating underway on the Lake in Central Park


Boats going under a bridge across the Lake in Central Park

Boats going under a bridge across the Lake in Central Park

Most of the activity in Central Park is at its southern end and it gets quieter and less landscaped as you move north. About a third of the way up shortly after crossing the 79th Street Transverse is Belvedere Castle, a Victorian folly built in 1869 on top of Vista Rock, the park's second-highest natural elevation. The surrounding skyscrapers can been seen rising above the trees from almost anywhere in the park but the quintessential view of New York's Skyline from Central Park has to be from the top of the Great Lawn looking south.

Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park

Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park


Looking south across the Great Lawn - the quintessential view of the New York Skyline from Central Park

Looking south across the Great Lawn - the quintessential view of the New York Skyline from Central Park

It was now time to escape Central Park and make our way to the Upper East Side where we had an invite to see the construction of the new $4.45billion Second Avenue Subway (which I'll cover separately in my next entry). Exiting the park we passed the entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Museum Mile of Fifth Avenue. It's the largest art museum in the USA and the most popular single-site tourist attraction in New York with over 5 million visitors per year but apart from a cursory glance at the Egyptian statues in the lobby we didn't stop.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Inside the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Inside the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We did stop however for another pint of Guinness, it would be criminal to ignore all the Irish Bars on every corner in New York! This one had the television on showing the England v Ireland soccer friendly live from Wembley Stadium in London. Being English born of Irish parents my team always wins when they play each other, regardless of which team it is! Although we couldn't stay to watch the final result was a 1-1 draw.

Time for a 2nd pint of Guinness (with the England v Ireland friendly on the TV live from London)

Time for a 2nd pint of Guinness (with the England v Ireland friendly on the TV live from London)


A side street of pull down metal fire escapes - very American

A side street of pull down metal fire escapes - very American

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in USA Tagged lakes churches buildings trains museums beer new_york sport city war_memorials us_east_coast film_locations external_links Comments (0)

The Highs and Lows of New York

Underground watching the construction of the Second Avenue Subway then a quarter of a mile up enjoying the views from the Empire State before a final night time stop at Times Square

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Experiencing the world famous view from the top of the Empire State Building had always been on my bucket list for New York but going 80 feet (24 metres) underground to witness the construction of the Second Avenue Subway was something I never anticipated even in my wildest dreams.

Having spent most of the day exploring Mid Manhattan largely on foot we arrived at the Second Avenue Subway Construction Site Office at 87th Street. The Second Avenue Subway is a $4.45 billion project to build the first new subway line in New York since the 1940s with its first trains due to run sometime in 2016. We had the opportunity to visit the site because my 2nd cousin who was showing me around New York is a civil engineer and one of his friends from college was working on the project and had invited us along.

The Second Avenue Subway above surface Site Office and Changing Rooms on 2nd Avenue at 87th Street

The Second Avenue Subway above surface Site Office and Changing Rooms on 2nd Avenue at 87th Street


Blast warning notice on the side of the Site Office

Blast warning notice on the side of the Site Office


Surface gantry crane above a very big hole down to the tunnel construction work on 2nd Avenue

Surface gantry crane above a very big hole down to the tunnel construction work on 2nd Avenue

Suitably kitted up in safety helmet, high-viz jacket and heavy duty boots we looked down the big hole in Second Avenue to the tunnel construction work underway below us and made our way down in the rather basic lift. This was the easy bit, what concerned me a bit more was that it was going to be a lot harder and scarier climbing back up to the surface on the series of steep caged ladders at our exit point!

The view down from ground level of a digger at work in the subway tunnel 80 feet below

The view down from ground level of a digger at work in the subway tunnel 80 feet below


Inside the lift on the way down to the construction work

Inside the lift on the way down to the construction work


The series of caged ladders we would need to climb up to get back to the surface

The series of caged ladders we would need to climb up to get back to the surface

Once down at construction level the tunnel was a hive of activity with larger diggers of all different shapes and sizes shuffling rubble while large skips travelled up and down from the surface. The tunnel was enormous and had original been bored out by a 300 foot (91 metre) long Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) with a 22 feet (6.7 metre) in diameter blade head. The cavern we had descended into was even larger as this was the site of what was going to be the new subway line's 86th Street Subway Station.

A large Volvo Digger at work in the new tunnel for the Second Avenue Subway

A large Volvo Digger at work in the new tunnel for the Second Avenue Subway


The gantry crane above at ground level lowers another skip down to the construction work underway below

The gantry crane above at ground level lowers another skip down to the construction work underway below


Another excavator removing rubble from the new subway tunnel

Another excavator removing rubble from the new subway tunnel

As we made our way along the tunnel it was rather mucky with lots of deep mud, I was rather glad we had been provided with proper boots rather than relying on our own! The tunnel itself was well lit with powerful flood lighting and dotted with various teams in high viz jackets and safety hats while various pieces of excavation machinery scurried back and forth along its length.

The tunnel was a hive of activity

The tunnel was a hive of activity


Looking back along the tunnel with the surveyor team on the right

Looking back along the tunnel with the surveyor team on the right


The digger we viewed earlier from the surface at work in the tunnel

The digger we viewed earlier from the surface at work in the tunnel

Having spent about 40 minutes underground we posed for some photographs before climbing back up to the surface on a series of scarily vertical caged ladders (I reckon there were about 75 mostly rather large rungs!). Having cleaned ourselves up and returned the safety kit we'd borrowed we thanked our hosts for their hospitality and enjoyed another pint of Guinness in a nearby bar (did I mention there seems to be an Irish Bar on every New York City corner?) before getting a yellow taxi back to the Empire State Building.

We pose for a picture inside the bucket of an excavator

We pose for a picture inside the bucket of an excavator


The series of caged ladders we needed to climb back to the surface - they looked more daunting from here!

The series of caged ladders we needed to climb back to the surface - they looked more daunting from here!


Time for another Guinness <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_smile.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':)' title='' />

Time for another Guinness :)

As described in my previous blog entry, we'd stopped at the Empire State Building earlier in the day but had put off going to the top until later in the hope that the clouds that had shrouded it in the morning would clear. Sure enough the sky had cleared and our express passes now came into their own as we were escorted past the several by now very long queues of people waiting to make their way up to the observation deck. It took us 10 minutes to reach the top a quarter of a mile above - I'm sure without our express passes it would have taken hours - money well spent, the extra expense was worth it just to be treated as VIPs.

The view up the Empire State Building from ground level

The view up the Empire State Building from ground level


Déjà vu - the lobby of the Empire State Building

Déjà vu - the lobby of the Empire State Building

The 1,250 feet (383 metre) high Empire State Building was completed in 1931 and stood as the world's tallest building for 40 years until the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. There isn't a direct lift to the observation decks, instead you take an escalator to the first floor, then a lift to the 80th floor before finally taking a separate for lift for the final 6 floors to the Main Observation Deck on the 86th floor; there is a separate lift again for the final 16 floors up to the smaller enclosed Upper Observation Deck on the 102nd floor.

The first lift only took us as far as the 80th floor

The first lift only took us as far as the 80th floor


Having transferred to a 2nd lift we finally reached the 86th Floor and the Main Observation Deck

Having transferred to a 2nd lift we finally reached the 86th Floor and the Main Observation Deck

Once we reached the 86th floor the views were as awesome as expected with busyness of the people on the Observation Deck contrasting with the stillness of the city skyscrapers spread out below. It's corny but I couldn't help thinking of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meeting there in the final scenes of the 1993 film "Sleepless in Seattle".

The Observation Deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building

The Observation Deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building


Me by the railings of the Observation Deck on the 86th floor with Lower Manhattan stretched out behind me

Me by the railings of the Observation Deck on the 86th floor with Lower Manhattan stretched out behind me

The first landmark to catch my eye was the brilliantly art-deco Chrysler Building glistening to the north east, it was briefly the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1930 until the Empire State Building itself was finished in 1931. Less obvious was the green slab of the UN Building close by beside the East River.

The view north east towards the Chrysler Building and UN from the 86th floor

The view north east towards the Chrysler Building and UN from the 86th floor


Close up of the Chrysler Building from the 86th floor

Close up of the Chrysler Building from the 86th floor

As we moved around the Observation Deck the next view we could see was the finger of Lower Manhattan stretching out to the south dominated by the new One World Trade Centre (1,776 feet/541 metres high - no significance in that is there?) being built on the site of the old World Trade Center nearing completion. In contrast the Statue of Liberty close by on Ellis Island appeared so small it was difficult to make out.

The view south towards Lower Manhattan from the 86th floor

The view south towards Lower Manhattan from the 86th floor


Close up of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty from the 86th floor

Close up of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty from the 86th floor

Although the view was still awesome there weren't so many obvious landmarks looking west along 34th Street towards New Jersey. The only ones I could make out was Macy's (which we had walked past in the morning) almost directly below us and the large circular arena at Madison Square Garden a few blocks up on the left.

The view east towards Madison Square Gardens and New Jersey from the 86th floor

The view east towards Madison Square Gardens and New Jersey from the 86th floor

To the north you are aware of the presence of the rectangular greenery of Central Park beyond the band of skyscrapers to the north. The GE Building (aka the "Top of the Rocks" centrepiece of the Rockefeller Center) is the other popular skyscraper with an observation deck in New York and is situated just in front of Central Park (see close up).

The view north from the 86th floor towards Central Park

The view north from the 86th floor towards Central Park


Close up of Central Park and the 'Top of the Rocks' (GE Building) from the 86th floor

Close up of Central Park and the 'Top of the Rocks' (GE Building) from the 86th floor


The view along a very straight 5th Avenue stretching north past Central Park from the 86th floor

The view along a very straight 5th Avenue stretching north past Central Park from the 86th floor

We could have spent hours enjoying the views from the 86th floor but then realised our express passes also gave us access to the smaller and more intimate enclosed Observation Deck in the spire 16 floors above us on the 102nd floor. As on the other floors there were building staff dressed smartly in their purple uniforms in the background everywhere giving it an extra air of serenity.

The enclosed observation deck on the 102nd floor

The enclosed observation deck on the 102nd floor

The Observation Deck on the 102nd floor was a lot quieter than the 86th floor and the views noticeably a bit higher however taking photographs of the views such as southwards towards Lower Manhattan was more difficult because despite the extra colour of the evening sunlight it was reflecting in the glass.

The view south towards Lower Manhattan from the 102nd floor

The view south towards Lower Manhattan from the 102nd floor


Close up southwards of the Flat Iron Building at the juncture of Broadway and 5th Avenue from the 102nd Floor

Close up southwards of the Flat Iron Building at the juncture of Broadway and 5th Avenue from the 102nd Floor


Close up of One World Trade Centre and the Statue of Liberty from the 102nd floor

Close up of One World Trade Centre and the Statue of Liberty from the 102nd floor

Having taken in the full 360 degree views from the Observation Deck on the 102nd floor we were able to just make out the bright billboards of Times Square tucked away amongst its surrounding tall buildings to the north west; it was starting to get dark - guess where we were going back to next?

The view north west towards the Chrysler Building and UN from the 102nd floor

The view north west towards the Chrysler Building and UN from the 102nd floor


The view north towards Central Park from the 102nd floor

The view north towards Central Park from the 102nd floor


Close up from the 102nd floor of Times Square tucked away amongst its surrounding tall buildings

Close up from the 102nd floor of Times Square tucked away amongst its surrounding tall buildings

Before making our way back over to Times Square on New York's famed Underground Subway to see it lit up at night time we were steered through the gift shop and display about the construction of the Empire State Building on the 80th floor. Amongst the displays were posters from the 1933 film "King Kong"; King Kong's classic climb of the Empire State Building and fight with the aeroplanes finally makes an appearance!

Display on the 80th floor comparing the size of the Empire State Building with other famous skyscrapers

Display on the 80th floor comparing the size of the Empire State Building with other famous skyscrapers


'King Kong' Film Posters on display on the 80th floor

'King Kong' Film Posters on display on the 80th floor

By the time we back to Times Square it was dark and as hoped we were able to see its famed moving illuminated billboards at their best. When we had visited earlier it felt like we were amongst other tourists but now we were mixing with evening theatre goers on their way to performances at the 40 500+ seat theatres that make up the Broadway Theatre District centred around Times Square. The most obvious Broadway show was the "Lion King" on at the Minskoff Theatre on Times Square itself but glancing down other streets you could see other theatres such as the New Amsterdam and New Victory on West 42nd Street.

Times Square at night

Times Square at night


Me in Times Square at night ('Lion King' was on at the Minskoff Theatre on the left)

Me in Times Square at night ('Lion King' was on at the Minskoff Theatre on the left)


The Broadway theatres along West 42nd Street from Times Square

The Broadway theatres along West 42nd Street from Times Square


The billboards of the south end of Times Square

The billboards of the south end of Times Square

By now we were pretty tired and stopped for something to eat in Greenwich Village, considered New York's Bohemian district. We walked through Washington Square past its famed fountain and Arch (built in 1892) before finally making our way back exhausted to New Jersey. We'd managed to pack an awful lot in, it had been a very long day!

The Washington Arch in Greenwich Village

The Washington Arch in Greenwich Village

Posted by FrancisRTW 03:00 Archived in USA Tagged buildings trains beer new_york tunnels videos us_east_coast film_locations external_links Comments (0)

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