Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Famous Sites and Landmarks - New York City


I have thought myself so lucky for having been to New York City not once but twice. We were on training in the US and it so happened that the states we were in were in the East Coast. The first time I was in the US, we were in St. Louis, Missouri which is about a three-hour flight to New York City. We booked a promo flight through American Airlines from Lambert Airport to Laguardia. The flight was on Friday night and the return was on Sunday night also. It was winter and a week before that there was a snowstorm. I, with two of my friends, packed a backpack to spend a weekend in the city that never sleeps to get a bite of the Big Apple.

The second time, we were in Boston and we took a five-hour ride on a Greyhound bus to New York.We left Saturday afternoon and returned to Boston on a Sunday night.

Here are the famous places and sites we were able to see up close when we were there. For me, this has been the best thing that happened to me. New York is my favorite city in the world and finally I get to walk in the streets of Manhattan, rode in a yellow cab and tried not to be lost in the subways.

Central Park

photo by Gurlayas
Outskirts of Central Park in winter.

Did I mention that it was winter in New York? Yes, we were at Central Park but only in the outskirts, not where the fountain, skating rink, or the zoo is. No, I did not get to meet Alex the Lion. Too bad ha? Right! The only thing we saw were snow-covered walkways. The second time I was in New York was summer. Yes! But still, I never got the chance to go into Central Park. We did pass by the West Entrance though which is right across the Trump Tower.

I promise myself, next time I will be in New York, Central Park will be the first place I will go to.


Statue of Liberty 

I know of two ways to get to see the famous lady in the world - The Statue of Liberty. The first is to take a boat river cruise around East River which would cost around $30. The cruise would take you under the three famous bridges (BMW), Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Williamsburg Bridge. Along the way, the guide would point out famous buildings. The last stop of the tour is the Statue of Liberty. The tour doesn't drop you off at Liberty Island but it positions the boat very near it to get a very good view of the statue.

photo by Gurlayas 2010
Statue of Liberty

The second time we went to New York, we were fortunate to have a cousin of my very close friend living in Brooklyn. She took us to see the lady via the Staten Island ferry which plies to and from Manhattan free of charge. The ferry passes by the statue on her way to Staten, so passengers, tourists and locals alike can take pictures of this renowned gift from the French.





 The Empire State Building

Known to be the tallest building in the world right before
 Petronas Twin Towers was built and Taipei 101. 
The view deck is on the 88th floor. Visitors who wished to go up to get a 360 view of Manhattan have to pay $20. We went up to the 88th floor and was met by blasting cold winter winds but the view was breathtaking. Even my friend who has a fear of heights forgot about her fear because of the excitement.







The Museum of Natural History

 Remember Dumdum? The Native American statue who needs to be fed bubble gum in the movie The Nights at the Museum. I have seen the famous dinosaur skeleton also who greets every museum visitor at the entrance of the Museum. The museum is very vast and you have to spend a whole day or more just to be able to see all the exhibits.
photo of Gurlayas 2010
Native American Statue, was called Dumdum in the movie Nights at the Museum
photo of Gurlayas 2010
Dinosaur skeleton at the entrance of the Museum.
photo taken by Gurlayas 2010
Brooklyn Bridge


Brooklyn Bridge

 This bridge is usually featured in most movies or tv shows set in New York. It is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge and is one of the oldest of either type in the US. It was completed in 1883 and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn spanning the East River.









Manhattan Bridge

Is a suspension bridge connecting Lower Manhattan at Canal Street and Downtown Brooklyn at Flatbrush Avenue Extension.
photo by Gurlayas 2010
Manhattan Bridge
This also spans across the East River and is one of the four toll-free bridges in New York. It is said to be the forerunner of modern suspension bridges. It is also the first to use a Warren truss in its design. 










Williamsburg Bridge

Is also a suspension bridge connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
photo by Gurlayas 2010
Williamsburg Bridge
This is one of the toll-free crossings from Manhattan to Long Island. It once carried New York State Route 27A and was planned to carry Interstate 78, though the planned I-78 designation was aborted.

 

 

 

 

Rockefeller Center

photo by Gurlayas 2013
Rockefeller Center

 

One of the tallest and famous buildings in New York City. It is also famous for its annual Christmas Tree. There is also a statue of Prometheus right outside the building facade and a big skating rink. The Rockefeller complex is composed of 19 commercial buildings between 48th and 51st streets and 5th and 6th Avenue. The current Center is a combination of two building complexes: the older and original 14 Art Deco office buildings from the 1930s, and a set of four International-style towers built along the west side of Avenue of the Americas (Radio City Music Hall) during the 1960s and 1970s (plus the Lehman Brothers Building). The Time-Life Building, McGraw-Hill, and News Corporation/Fox News Channel headquarters are part of the Rockefeller Center extension.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

This Roman Catholic Church is located right across Rockefeller Center specifically facing the statue of Atlas and Saks on Fifth on its left. The cathedral is a decorated Neo-Gothic style. This was not the original cathedral. This was built by Archbishop Joseph John Hughes to replace the old St. Patrick's Cathedral in downtown Manhattan. The church can accommodate up to 3,000 people. It is built of brick clad in marble, quarried in Massachusetts and New York. The cathedral was being renovated when we were there in 2013. The last time I was there, I bought a gold medal as souvenir which was sold for $3.
photo of Gurlayas 2010
St. Patrick's Cathedral

  Washington Square Park

Photo by Gurlayas 2013
Washington Square Arch

No, it's not Paris, it's the arch and the entrance to Washington Square Park which is modeled after the Arc the Triomphe. The arch and the fountain are the two famous landmarks and sites of the park along with the statues of George Washington, the Italian patriot and soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi and the talented American engineer who helped start the steel industry, Alexander Lyman Holley. This is the set for the movie August Rush. A lot of musicians and artists hangout in this park and is owned by the New York University.

 

 

 

Grand Central Station 

This is where Melman, Alex, Gloria and Marty got into a fight with an old lady while they were trying to board a train to Connecticut. It is a railroad terminal which has a total of 44 platforms which is more than any in the world.
photo by Gurlayas 2013
Grand Central Station Main Concourse

 Times Square

Photo by Gurlayas 2013
Times Square NY.
Neon lights, jumbo trons, billboards, people dressed in costumes, artists, peddlers, vendors and tourists converge in this famous avenue in Manhattan. This is probably the most visited part of New York. This is a major commercial intersection situated at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue. Formerly called Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building, the site of the annual ball drop on New Year's Eve. Times Square is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District.


photo of Gurlayas 2010
Times Square NY at daytime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum

I got to hug Brad Pitt, Bon Jovi and Michael Jordan, well almost! 
photo by Gurlayas 2010
With the President and First Lady.
The wax museum houses a lot of life-like replicas of famous and influential celebrities and personalities from around the world. I got to stand beside the US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle. I met my ex-boss Bill Gates too. Napoleon, Golda Mier, Gandhi and Pope John Paul II were there too. And I touched JLo's bum. Hehehe.


photo by Gurlayas 2010
Hugging Bon Jovi

911 Groud Zero Memorial

This is probably the most eerie and weirdest experience I had. Standing at the memorial wall at ground zero of the 911 tragedy was very surreal. I had goosebumps all over and my stomach felt so cold and empty. It was like I felt what all the people who died and suffered during that unfaithful day.

photo by Gurlayas 2013
A portion of the 911 Memorial Mural.
 Today, the First World Trade Tower is done and another tower is going to rise up from the ashes of the destruction. 
photo by Gurlayas 2013
First World Trade Tower completed in 2013.


There are a lot of things to do in New York City, from visiting museums to sampling the street food, walking through Times Square, watching a Broadway show or play, sitting and relaxing in Central Park and standing at the top of Empire State building with a mesmerizing view of the whole of Manhattan and the other boroughs, just make sure that you have enough time. One advice, be sure to plan your trip before going to the Big Apple to maximize your time and money. Try the subways as it is more fun and a lot cheaper than just getting on a yellow medallion taxi.

New York, New York, this is what dreams are made of.