Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Day 19 US, 09/07, NY River Cruise & 911 Pt 1

We decided today to avail ourselves of the river cruise included with hop on hop off bus ticket. These little fenced off areas at tree bases are all over New York. Nice.

I am not sure why, but split system air conditioners seem less popular in New York than here, Canada too for that matter. But why does not in a large building like this have central air conditioning? This is a residential building, so it is up to owners to have air con and with it probably being useless for winter heating, they just stick with these old style units for cooling.

It seemed to be a straightforward walk to the Hudson River, from 8th Avenue to 12th and Pier 78. It wasn't. The street became quite industrial with difficult roads to cross. I think we were catching the 10am boat and we only just made it to the Jolly Roger.

It wasn't too busy and there was a lovely cool breeze blowing on the river, the only time we ever felt cool in New York when outside.

The onboard commentary was informative.

Near where the ill fated Titanic was going to berth this building on the right has been constructed with its surface appearing like ice in a reference to the Titanic.

For golf, I believe.

The hull of this emergency services boat is made from steel reclaimed from the Twin Towers site.

Where Twin Towers was, now is the One World Trade Centre, at times called the Freedom Tower.

Staten Island Ferry departing. The ferry is free.

Three bridges cross the rivers in succession, the Brooklyn, the Manhattan and the Williamsburg.

I am not sure which is which in some of the photos.

Battersea Power Station? No, but it may well be an old power station.

A famous carousel on the New Jersey side.

Watchtower, a publication by the Jehovah's Witness religious organisation.

Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

Governors Island, mostly used by the military, latterly the coastguard and now public space.

There she is. Who could miss seeing her. Our fellow passengers rushed to one side of the boat but the guide told us to stay where we were and maintain our space as the ferry would turn around and pass even closer on our side. We both took so many photos of her, some closer than this one but I like this one to show you some scale.

We are now around to Ellis Island, where immigrants were screened and processed, and sometime held, on the island between 1892 to 1954.

Was once a port railway station. I forget the detail.

Lackawanna is a city named after a steel company.

We arrived back where we started and stayed on to the next stop at Rockafella Park. Part 2 tomorrow.

Ah yes, River asked for a photo of our room at the Royal York in Toronto. Here is one but unfortunately we already messed up the room a bit.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Day 18 US, 08/07, NY Sightseeing bus

Times Square was close to us. So, so busy with people.

There was a big screen set up by Revlon. The screen displayed a camera view of the crowd and we were among the crowd, but I think another day I will show you us. The camera zoomed in on an attractive couple, or family and asked them to kiss. We did see a couple kiss, but you had to be quick. The photos would later appear online for those who wanted to look.

While amused by the big screen, R was approached by one of the many touts for one of the hop on hop off bus tour companies. Two days travel for around US$60, another two days added as a bonus, free entry to The Museum of the City of New York and a hop on hop off cruise down the Hudson River to the west, into New York Harbour, up the East River and back. The ticket was pretty good value, we thought.

We decided to orient ourselves by using the bus to travel uptown towards The Bronx. There was always a guide to give a commentary as we travelled and our first one, perhaps just for effect, pronounced New Jersey, the state across the Hudson River, as New Joisey. I am sure that was not his natural accent though. Look at the queue of kiddies waiting to get into Shake Shack.

It is hard to remember some of the things we saw now.

I think this is the entrance to the oldest subway station, in Harlem.

The late John Lennon's apartment block, the apartment still lived in by Yoko Ono.

The Cathedral of St John the Divine. Controversially the church has built a brand new apartment building next door, with the apartments costing millions. As I said to R, well the Catholic Church does have a lot of upcoming expenses to pay.

It think within the small park is a memorial to someone from the Civil War era. Later, I remembered what it is. This is Ulysses S. Grant's tomb in 122nd Street. I had written Richard E. Grant.

View over the Hudson River to New Jersey.

These fire escapes have been added to many New York buildings, our own flat block included.

Duke Ellington.

We decided to leave the bus at the eastern side of Central Park to visit with our free pass, The New York City Museum in Fifth Avenue. After some lunch, and the delicious cool within, we wandered around and saw a brilliant fifteen minute film on the history of New York. I'd love to see it again.

A couple of terrific posters, which I thought rather sum up New York. I posted on FB that we were in New York and Sister correctly described arriving in New York is like being slapped in the face.

This dolls house, viewable with different rooms on all sides, was created by Carrie Stettheimer and left incomplete in 1935. Friends with some famous artists, they painted miniature art works for the walls.

Back out into the heat and humidity. We wanted to cross Central Park to get to the nearest subway station but the park was very up hill, down dale with curving and confusing paths. I did my best to get us directly across the park with offline maps on my phone but R became exhausted and we had to stop to rest. We really could not appreciate Central Park under such trying conditions.

We arrived at 103rd Street and descended into Hades. The heat was shocking. I thought London's Tube stations were bad enough. We bought a Metro Card each for $1 and put $20 on each. It did not seem to matter where you travelled on the Subway, it cost $2.75. There may have been a transfer option but I could not be bothered finding out about it. I had checked a little in advance and knew the A or C train would get us back to the Port Authority, although maybe the A train did not stop at this smaller station. The subway stations of New York are, let me be kind, practical. The trains are air conditioned though and at times I thought, I will just stay on the train, rather than face the heat of the subway station.

We rested until dinner time, when we went to the nearby Beer Authority rooftop bar for dinner. You can have any sport on tv you want, as long as it is baseball. We decided we needed to do things in the day a bit earlier to avoid the heat and not try to do too much.

Later edit: Businesses at Times Square are penalised if they have insufficient electronic signage.