Saturday, October 24, 2009

New York City

              New York is the largest city that we'll be visiting on our trip, being that it is the largest city in America. We spent a week there and only explored Manhattan. 
          Getting into the city is not bad on a bicycle.  However, most of the roads leading into New York City are not bike friendly considering the intense congestion of the city and surrounding areas. We made it into the city from Greenwich on Hwy. 1. The highway ended in an upper area of the Bronx, leaving us to weave our way through to Manhattan. Armed with our printed-out maps from Google and Ryan's iPhone we did fine negotiating through streets wide enough for bikes and trailers. There's a great bike map of New York that we saw online, but couldn't get just sections of it to print. The map is really popular in the city and there are fold out versions that are free through bike stores. We went to three different bike shops while we were there and each locations was always out of maps.
        After the Bronx we crossed the third Ave bridge into Manhattan and connected up with a pedestrian/ bike path that runs along the entire edge of the borough. Our stopping point for the day and crash pad was on Roosevelt Island, right next to Manhattan. To finish the ride in we had to cross the Queensboro Bridge which takes you all the way across Roosevelt Island, ride through a section of Queens, then over to the Roosevelt Island Bridge to get onto the island. Unless your on subway or taking the tram from Manhattan, the only bridge to bike, drive, or walk across connects only from Queens to Roosevelt Island. 
       All of our sight seeing in the city was by subway and on foot. Manhattan is easy to walk through. We never needed to take a cab anywhere, a subway stop was only ever ten to twenty blocks from any point in Manhattan or closer. This saved us a ton of money. Cabs are just as expensive as everything else in New York.
       Our first three days were spent walking around to key areas in Manhattan. Our walking adventures took us to Rockefeller Center, Time square, Central Park, Grand Central Station, the New York Public Library, Radio City Music Hall, and many other tourist stops. 
      Time square is an overload of media frenzied advertising. The lights from all the TV sign boards pour out of the screens brighter than the sun on a July afternoon. Both Grand Central and the Public Library are beautifully classic inside. They have grand entrances, porticoes, columns, cornices, and tile work covering entirely every square inch of space. Both have enormous murals on their ceilings. Rockefeller Center was full of tourist and ice skaters. All of the Rockefeller buildings are done in an art deco decor and have great artwork decorating the outside entrance ways. We got to see the outside of the Empire State building, but were unable to afford tickets to the top. It's $20 a piece to go up there now! Instead we spent less money to go see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
     One of our days was spent just walking through China Town, Little Italy, Soho, Greenwich Village, and all the way along High Line Park. Both Little Italy and China Town are an incredible examples of culture crammed tightly and proudly into pockets of the city. The sights, smells, food, people, languages and interactions we saw embodied both cultures. Little Italy and China Town are right next to each other. Once you cross the street your in an entirely different world. Soho was full of great independent shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Greenwich village was similar, but had a few more art galleries and coffee shops. High Line Park is a beautiful mix of modern architecture and gardens. It's just West of Soho. The park stretches for eight to ten city blocks, but is only the width of two railway lines.  The park was built and designed to utilize an old elevated train line that ran through that section of NY but was shut down many years ago. It stands about three stories over the city streets.  
    Our last two days were spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's so huge that to see all of it in two days is almost impossible. We covered almost the entire place. It has the most amazing collection of ancient world and classical art in one building. There is also numerous sculptures, pieces of modern art, and ancient artifacts. 
       The week was wonderful and the weather held out well for us while we were there. It wasn't too cold during the days and the rain was never heavy. A couple of days were sunny and warm. Best of all, we had a place to stay right next to everything that we wanted to see. The two bedroom apartment is rented and usually used by the employees of Verdant Power, a company that builds and installs underwater turbines for collecting hydro power from water currents. My uncle Trey and his colleagues use the place when they have work at the New York office. Thank you to Trey for letting us use it and the other Verdant Power employees who didn't mind sharing the unit with us while we stayed.

Ryan and Allegra


       Self portrait of Van Gogh at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
                         One of many roman statues at the Met.
                                                     Knight's armor.
                       Stained glass from 15th century Europe.
                                        Egyptian figure of a falcon.
                                   Statue of Liberty from the ferry.
                          Front of the processing center on Ellis Island.
                                                     Guggenheim Museum.
                                  Legs climbing a rock in Central Park.
                             Front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
                         Fountain in the middle of Central Park.
                                            Break dancer in the park.
                                                 Central Park.
          Old Gothic church tucked between buildings in the Financial District.
                         The pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge.
                         View of sunset over Brooklyn off Pier 17.
                                     New York Stock Exchange.
     Ground Zero as it looks today. A large skyscraper is being built in place of the twin towers. Construction of a memorial is underway in another part of the city.
                                        Flat Iron Building.
                                       Brooklyn Bridge.
                                                      China Town.
                               Entry way to the Manhattan Bridge.
                                                     Little Italy.
                                Empire State Building.
                                In the subway.
View of High Line Park. An old elevated train line was used to build the park on. It was opened this year. Sections of it are still under construction.
                               Looking up at High Line Park.
                              Inside of Grand Central Station.
                                Outside of Grand Central.
  One of the two Lions outside of the New York Public Library.
                                    Side of the Library.
    20 River Place where we stayed on Roosevelt Island.
                                                             Time Square.
                                                   Radio City Music Hall.
                                                  Rockerfeller Center.
                          5th Ave. next to Central Park.

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