New York City! The very words stir excitement in my soul! It is quite the city indeed.The sights, the entertainment, the people, the architecture, the food.... You just never know what you are going to experience.
This was my third visit to the Big Apple. I've been twice in the summer, and once at Christmas/New Years, so I'm crossing off a lot of the "Must See and Do" things on the list. I've done 3 of the 4 (excellent!) Grey Line Bus Tours- a must for the New York virgin (first time visitor). I cannot recommend these tours enough- they are SO worth the cost and time, as you learn so much about the city- history, architecture, what's what and what celebrity lives where... They are such a great way to get to ALL the highlights and you can hop on and off to visit whichever ones you choose... I've seen just about all of the "must-see's" on my list and have some great memories: the view from the top of the Empire State Building, visiting Ground Zero and nearby St. Paul's Chapel, the Radio City Music Hall backstage tour and the Christmas Spectacular, the awesome St. Patrick's Cathedral (below right), New Year's Eve in Times Square (never again), an Opera at the Met, the night-time view of the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, meals at the Stardust Diner (where all the wait staff are Broadway wanna-be's and sing/entertain while you eat), the HardRock Cafe, lunch in Trump Tower and New Year's Eve dining at Top of the Sixes (a classy spot in it's day), strolls through Central Park and Strawberry Fields (the memorial to John Lennon), walking through Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue (alas no purchases!)... the list goes on and on. I've done a few unconventional things too- like Night Court- remember that TV show? Well, I've been to the real NYC Night Court - interesting people there, to say the least... I've seen Lady Liberty from the Staten Island ferry; next time I think I might like to see her closer up! I'm putting that on my "next time" list, along with Grand Central Terminal, which I have yet to visit. Also on my next time list is a Museum visit. The only one I've been to is The Cloisters (again an unusual choice - not MY choice). I think I'll start with the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West, where Night at the Museum was filmed. The Planetarium alone is well worth the visit, and I'm sure I'd have no trouble at all filling a full day there... Yes, I'm starting a list....
The architecture in NYC always fascinates me. When you see that Manhattan skyline, dominated by so many skyscrapers, it's just amazing! I always thought- how come the island of Manhattan doesn't sink? How can a small island support all those huge buildings? I learned that
mica schist and gneiss underlie much of Manhattan. It is these layers of strong durable bedrock that support these tall structures. Where it is closer to the surface, you will see densely clustered skyscrapers as in Midtown and the Financial District, and where it is further beneath the surface like in the Greenwich Village area, the buildings are only a few stories. I love the contrasts of modern towering skyscrapers of steel and glass with the older stone buildings with such intricate detail. Shown here (above left) are the Ansonia, a well known Upper West Side landmark, originally a hotel and now luxury condos and apartments, (former residents include Babe Ruth, Stravinski, Toscanini and Angelina Jolie) and the Bryant Park Hotel (right) with it's Gothic-inspired black brick tower accented with gold terracotta. It's modern lobby features glossy black marble and lipstick-red furnishings.... Yes, there are contrasts at every turn. I love New York!!! The modern towering facades offer interesting reflections too - come back tomorrow to see my "reflection collection"...
"Cut off as I am, it is inevitable that I should sometimes feel like a shadow walking in a shadowy world. When this happens, I ask to be taken to New York City. Always I return home weary but I have the comforting certainty that mankind is real and I myself am not a dream." ~ Helen Keller