New York

One of my earliest trips, I spent four days in New York in October 2007. It was only the second time I had travelled outside of Europe, and the first time solo (after an earlier family trip to Boston, Cape Cod and Vermont). It was a memorable experience exploring one of the world’s great cities, and somewhere I should return to once that becomes a little more possible. Looking at these photos my camera and camerawork skills have improved since, but hopefully these give a reasonable impression of the place.

To start with my favourite place in the city, Central Park, created by forward thinking city planners in the second half of the 19th century. It has an incredible variety of functions and landscapes, and I found something new there every day of my visit.

The scale of Central Park is best appreciated from the top of the Rockefeller Center. As in many cities (including Chicago and London) the second most famous lookout is the best one for views and value, and allows you to see the most famous lookout, in this case the Empire State Building.

The Rockefeller Centre complex is a magnificent piece of urban architecture, demonstrated here by the Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Plaza.

Another iconic sight is the Brooklyn Bridge, which I walked across at the end of the day, dodging cyclists on the relatively narrow footpath. After dinner at the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria the New York skyline across the water was quite magnificent.

Another way to cross the water was catching the first Circle Line Ferry of the day, after spending a long time in queue for security checks. Most people were heading to the Statue of Liberty but I stayed onboard to be one of the first people onto Ellis Island. Over a 30 year period around the turn of the 20th century nearly 12 million immigrants came through these halls before entering the United States.

Around this time the Cathedral of St. John The Divine was consecrated. Over a hundred years later it still isn’t finished, but is still one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

Built at the same time, the James A. Farley Building is one of the finest post offices in New York.

A lot was built at the start of the 20th century as Grand Central Station also dates from this time. The third largest station in North America, it was odd not to be able to visit the platforms until just before the train arrives, quite different from stations in Europe.

When I visited Ground Zero was huge hole in the ground, now filled with skyscrapers.

Times Square has also changed materially, being pedestrianised in 2009, which would have made it a far more enjoyable place to visit.

I’ll cover New York’s excellent museums in a separate post. To end with some of the many high rise buildings typical of the city.

Author: jontycrane

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