New York City is no doubt one of the greatest cities in the world. It is the
largest city in the U.S., and is an architectural marvel with plenty of historic
monuments, magnificent buildings and countless dazzling skyscrapers. Besides the
architectural delights, New York is an urban jungle that has everything to offer
to visitors. The city is home to numerous museums, parks, trendy neighborhoods
and shopping streets. From Statue of Liberty to Empire State Building, Wall
Street to Times Square, 5th Ave to the Metropolitan Museum, everything is so
"New York" that people can easily recognize them.
Getting there ...
There were multiple purposes for this trip: checking out Linus's new place
in Brooklyn; attending Linus and Miriam's wedding in New Haven; helping Iris
move her stuff from Pittsburgh to Baltimore; squeezing in a side trip to
Shenandoah National Park for Woanyu and me. To achieve these goals, it was
one of most complicated travel logistics I have ever planned and everything
worked out perfectly according to the plan :-)
[New York (8/7--8/10)] [New
Haven (8/11)] [Shenandoah
Woanyu and I had a late night red-eye flight on 8/6 (Friday)
and arrived at Newark Airport in the early Saturday morning. We decided to
take Uber directly to Linus's place in Brooklyn so we did not need to find
trains/subways after a tired overnight flight. Iris had
come to stay with Linus a week earlier to visit her friends in New York.
After some rest (breakfast at a bagel place, video chat
with my parents in Taiwan, and a Ramen lunch), we moved to a nearby hotel (~10
min walk) to stay for the next 2 nights.
- One World Observatory, One World Trade Center
One World Trade
Center (also known as One World Trade, One WTC, and formerly Freedom
Tower) is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center after 911
tragic event. Completed in April 2013 (and opened in Nov 2014), One
WTC is the tallest building in the United States and in the Western
Hemisphere at 1776 feet (541 m). Located on floor 100-102, One
World Observatory is one of the most popular tourist attractions to provide
360-degree views of Manhattan, the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and New
York Harbor. Compared with our previous New York trips (in 2012
and 2014), the Manhattan skyline does look different this time: a few
tall and skinny skyscrapers appear in the north horizon behind the Empire
State Building (they do make the Empire State Building look more elegant in
- I have made a dinner reservation at the One Dine restaurant at One World
Observatory. It was a nice, fancy, and expensive dinner :-)
Day 2 (8/8)...
- High Line
miles through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea along the west side of
Manhattan, the High Line is one of New York’s newest—and most
innovative—green spaces. The park is built along a now-defunct elevated
railway (the last train ran on the tracks in the autumn of 1980).
Construction began on the High Line in 2006, and the first section opened 3
years later, and the final segments in the Rail Yards opened in 2014.
We (only Woanyu and me today as Linus had a sprained ankle the other day,
and Iris still had a gathering with her friends in NYC) entered the High Line
from the 23rd Street entrance and walked toward the Hudson Yard. For
most weekend, you do need to make a free timed-entry pass reservation to go
up to the High Line.
- Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is New York’s newest neighborhood and home
to more than 100 diverse shops, culinary experiences, offices, and public
arts. A 16-story, honeycomb-shaped structure with stairwells
named Vessel, in the center of Hudson Yards' public plaza, was unveiled to
the public in September 2016. Unfortunately, although I reserved free
entrance tickets to Vessel (10:30AM) in advance, the Vessel was closed to
public this weekend (for the reason I only found out a few weeks later...). Another main
attraction at the Hudson Yards is the 1,100-foot-high observation deck Edge,
the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. The platform
is suspended in mid-air, giving you the feeling of floating in the sky with
expansive views of New York City.
B&H Photo Video
After a quick
lunch at a Shake Shack at the Hudson Yards, we walked to 9th Ave/33rd Street
to visit one of my dream stores: B&H Photo Video. I have been
shopping my camera gears at B&H for more than 25 years (since the old
mail-order days before internet e-Commerce began), so I was quite excited to
visit the physical store and see all the displays in person for the first
- Central Park
Central Park, at the very heart of New York City, is one
of the most inspiring combinations of architecture, landscape design and
urban planning to be found anywhere on the earth. Central Park was the
first landscaped public park in the United States. The park's first
areas were opened to the public in late 1858. Additional land at the
northern end of Central Park was purchased in 1859, and the park was
completed in 1876. Today, it ranks as a symbol of New York City only
behind the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
We took an
easy stroll around the south-western corner of the park and did not spend
too much time because we were afraid the rain was coming soon (so we did not
rent bikes to ride in the park).
We went back to the hotel in Brooklyn in the late afternoon
to take a break (and avoid the rain). We went out to Brooklyn
waterfront for dinner and hoped to get some skyline night photos.
Unfortunately, it was rainy again and I had to struggle with my tripod and
umbrella in the rain (of course with Woanyu's great help!).
Day 3 (8/9) ...
We checked out the hotel and dropped off our luggage to Linus's place in the
morning. Linus and Miriam were driving back to New Haven today to prepare
their wedding while we
picked up Iris and went on our glamping adventure on Governors Island in New
- Ferry to
After lunch, we took subway to lower Manhattan to
catch 1:20PM ferry to Governors Island. It's a short 5-min ride (~800
yards) that it arrived at the island before I realized we were already there.
- Bike around Governors Island
From 1794 to 1966, the U.S. Army on
Governors Island was part of the social, political, and economic tapestry of
New York City. Fort Jay was built starting in 1794 to fortify New York
Harbor to protect major American urban centers. It was rebuilt from
1806 to 1809 in its current 5-pointed star shape. A second major
fortification, Castle Williams, was a circular battery built between 1807
and 1811 on the northwest corner of the island. The Army started
planning to expand the island in the late 1880s. When the project was
finished in 1913, it expanded the island's total area by 103 acres, to 172
On December 31, 1965, the Army base was formally decommissioned
and the installation became a Coast Guard base. The island was
used as a base of operations for the Atlantic Area Command. By 1985, the
island had a population of 4,000 personnel and 1,000 family members.
In 1995, the Governors Island base was identified for closure as part of a
series of Coast Guard base closures that would collectively save $100
million a year. With the announcement of the Coast Guard base's
closure, officials and developers began offering plans for development. An
agreement between the city and state to maintain the island for public use
was reached in 2000. President Clinton designated a 22-acre
area, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams, as Governors Island National
Monument on January 19, 2001. In subsequent years, The Trust for Governors
Island was charged with stewardship and redevelopment of the remaining 150
acres, making way for a new park and a future educational, non-profit and
- Buildings, Places, Flowers on Governors Island
Collective Retreats, Governors Island
Advertised on their website:
"One of the most unique escapes in New York, you’ll be surrounded by
sprawling green space with unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty
across the New York Harbor. It’s a retreat unlike any other in the world".
I have to agree this luxury camping (glamping) experience was so unique even
for us. I booked a Summit Tent (with en-suite bathroom) and a Journey+
Tent because we had total 3 persons and each tent can only have max 2
persons. In fact, Iris came over to our Summit Tent (which has a huge
king sized bed) to stay with us for the night...
- Sunset, Dusk, and Night
The island is closed to public at night (6PM
to 7AM) after the last ferry leaves the island. Besides some local
residents, we (the guests staying at the Retreats) were the only people
allowed on the island at night.
Day 4 (8/10) ...
- Castle Williams
Both Castle Williams and Fort Jay in the Governors
Island National Monument were only open on weekends. We could only
walk around the castle wall to admire its historical legacy.
We went back to New York City and went to B&H again because my tripod (only 2
months old) broke. I was planning to buy a new tripod, but the staff at
the tripod department at B&H was so nice and patient that he actually got the
tools and helped me fix the tripod! It was a really nice in-person
in-store experience that no internet shopping can replace. After a
delicious Korean BBQ lunch recommended by Iris, we moved on to our next
destination for the most important event for this trip:
Linus and Miriam's wedding.
[New York (8/7--8/10)] [New
Haven (8/11)] [Shenandoah
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