Day 3 ...
- Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is not only the icon of New York City, but also a
symbol of American freedom. The statue was a gift from the French
government for the 100th anniversary of America's independence, and was
designed by a young French sculptor, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. The
statue's face was modeled after his mother's and the story goes that the
body was modeled after a prostitute. The Statue of Liberty is 46.5 meter
(151ft) high and together with the pedestal it reaches a height of 93 meters
We took the ferry from the Battery Park (with a long waiting line).
Although visitors can explore the exterior grounds on Liberty Island, the
access in the Statue of Liberty is currently restricted as the 125
year old Statue undergoes a year-long renovation.
After a quick lunch on the Liberty Island, we took the ferry back to the
Battery Park directly (skipping Ellis Island since we needed to go to 911
Memorial at 1:30PM).
- Lower Manhattan, 911 Memorial
It was a short walk through the lower Manhattan to the 911 Memorial. The
original World Trade Center (WTC) was a 16-acre complex built between 1966 and
1987 with 7 buildings and a large plaza. The centerpieces of the complex
were the Twin Towers (1360 feet tall), tallest buildings in NYC. On
9/11/2001, the entire complex was destroyed.
The fully redeveloped WTC will include the Memorial and Museum, and new towers
around the 8-acre Memorial, consisting of two pools set in the footprint of
the original Twin Towers. The new 1 WTC (still
under construction) will become the tallest building (at 1776 feet) in the
- Wall Street
Before we headed to Wall Street, my brother's family decided to go
shopping at Century 21 while Linus, Iris, and I went to a McDonald's to have
some cold drinks.
Records show that in the years after the Revolutionary War, traders and
speculators would gather under a particular buttonwood tree that sat at the
foot of Wall Street. They soon formed the Buttonwood Association (1792), which
is believed to be the roots of the New York Stock Exchange. By the late
19th and early 20th centuries, Wall Street was "the place" to be if you were a
large financial institution or other big business. So many buildings sprung up
on this tip of Manhattan that the Wall Street district began to boast its own
distinct skyline, separate from the buildings in Midtown.
- Empire State Building
On March 17, 1930, construction of the Empire State Building began. With
a peak labor force of 3,000 men, framework rose at a rate of 4 ˝ stories per
week. On May 1, 1931, President Hoover pressed a button in Washington,
DC, which turned on the Empire State Building's lights and officially opened
the building. The skyscraper towered over the neighborhood with
its height of 381 meters (1250 ft). As the Empire State Building was one of the
last skyscrapers built before the Great Depression hit the real estate market,
it wouldn't be topped until 1972, when the twin World Trade Towers dethroned
the Empire State Building as the world's tallest building. Today, although
the building has been stripped from its title of the world's tallest building,
it is a symbol of New York itself visited by 2 million people each year.
While we were waiting in the line to the observatory, my brother's family decided to go
shopping nearby (Macy's?). We met back in hotel after dinner
before we went to our evening program: the Broadway show.
- Phantom of the Opera
||Opening on 26 January 1988 at the
Majestic Theater on 44th street, Andrew Lloyd Webber's
romantic musical masterpiece is the longest running show in Broadway history. It is based on Gaston Leroux's gothic novel
of life beneath the stage of the Paris Opera House where The Phantom
reigns. Hideously deformed, he passes his time terrorizing the
members of the Opera until he falls in love with Christine Daae, a
chorus girl who he teaches to sing the 'Music of the Night'.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece combines a quality of music genius
with a strength of storyline and use of breathtaking theatrical
effects that have enthralled audiences across generations.
Although we have seen the Phantom a couple of times in San Francisco
before, we still loved seeing the show again at Broadway as we
all like the music so much.
Day 4 ...
- Grand Central Station
The monumental railway station was constructed in 1903-1913. It
was saved from the fate of destruction by New York City's new landmark
preservation laws, which was implemented in part thanks to the outcry over the
demolition of Penn Station in 1963-1966.
I got up early to go to the Grand Central Station at about 7AM before the rush
hours. The main concourse inside is most impressive. It is 470ft long,
160ft wide and 150ft high (143 x 49 x 43 meter) with a ceiling painted by the
French artist Paul Helleu. I tried to setup my tripod for some long
exposure shots, but I was stopped (after only 2 shots) by 2 marines who were patrolling in the station. I had to fold my tripod before I could
continue taking pictures.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
With more than two million works of art spanning thousands of years, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most expansive and prolific art
museums in the world and it is almost on everyone's New York to-do list.
With only about 2 hours timeframe, we only sampled a few exhibitions
from the incredible collections.
- Central Park
The Central Park, 843 acres, is located in the center of Manhattan. Its design
is an example for city parks around the world. We walked from the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through the heart of the park, to the Natural History of Museum.
- American Museum of
From giant dinosaur skeletons to a state-of-the-art planetarium, the American
Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has been devoted to bringing the public
cutting-edge anthropological and natural history information and displays.
One of the reasons we decided to visit this amazing museum was because of the
movie "Night at the Museum" :-)
- Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is more than just one building. It's an
entire area - 16.3 acres in all - devoted to music, dance, and theater.
It is home to 12 institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Lincoln
Center Theater, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, and
the Juilliard School. We took a guided tour which had access to
some concert halls and stages (unfortunately, the Opera House was closed for
Day 5 ...
- United Nation
In 1946, the United Nations were looking for a location for their new
headquarters in New York. John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought the 18 acre (7 ha)
plot and donated it to United Nations. This site was then used to build the
UN's headquarters. The whole area was converted into international territory
and does not officially belong to the United States.
We took the group audio tour which consisted of prerecorded messages controlled and synchronized
by the group guide who actually did not do much talking. We passed by
the General Assembly Hall where a real meeting was taking place so we
could not take any pictures inside the Assembly Hall. We also visited
the Security Council Chamber and some other exhibitions.
Going Home ...
After another Chiptole lunch, it was time to go home
where, my brother's family would stay for the next few days.
We walked back to 8th Ave (Port Authority) to take the bus to JFK. I thought we had plenty of time, but you can never know
the traffic in New York. The afternoon showers started to kick
in and traffic began to build up. At one point, I really
thought we were going to miss our flight to San Francisco.
Luckily we did not get any further delays and concluded our East
Coast journey with a smooth flight back home.
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