New York series: where to explore in the Big Apple

Most people know the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the World Trade Centre site – but here’s 16 more icons of New York City well worth seeing

1. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) – 11 W 53rd Street

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Photo courtesy Wikimedia, Flickr and hibino

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A masterpiece

2. Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) – 36 W 44th Street

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Photo courtesy Wikimedia, Flickr and mister-e

3. Guggenheim Museum – 1071 5th Avenue

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4. M & M World – Times Square

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5. The High Line elevated garden – West 34th Street, from 10th & 12th avenues.

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6. Grimaldi’s famous pizzeria – 1 Front Street, Brooklyn

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7. Empire State Building – 350 5th Avenue

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8. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park

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9. Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi – 1021 6th Avenue

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10. The Hotel Chelsea – 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues

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This famous hotel may be closed for renovations

11. Diana Ross Playground, Central Park – West 81st Street

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12. Times square commercial neighbourhood – West 42nd to West 47th 

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13. Macy’s Department Store – 151 West

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14. Bronx Zoo – 230 Southern Blvd. Bronx

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15. Ed Sullivan Theatre radio and TV studio – 1697 – 1699 Broadway

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In the days of David Letterman

The main photo shows New York City’s Staten Island Ferry which carries 22 million people a year between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

The five mile, 25 minute ride provides a majestic view of New York Harbor and a no-hassle, even romantic, boat ride, for free!

 

New York City

New York: giant bridge on the road to Woodstock

“New York State throughway is closed, man”

As a teenager in Australia in 1969, those words by folk singer, Arlo Guthrie, at Woodstock, really struck a chord.

One day, I told myself, I’d see this throughway that literally became clogged by traffic headed for the legendary rock festival.

My opportunity came in recent years, when Sue and I passed the site of the Tappan Zee Bridge and its eventual replacement – known as ‘The new NY bridge’ – which is being built on the throughway near New York City’s northern suburbs.

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Promoted as possibly the biggest and most challenging bridge project in the US, it will be the widest on the planet, carrying at least 138,000 throughway vehicles a day across the Hudson River between Rockland County and Westchester.

The project – said to cost about US$3.98 billion – includes two parallel, 3.1 mile bridges about 25 miles north of New York City.

Although not scheduled for completion until 2018, the new bridge was already taking shape at the second widest point on the Hudson River.

Most of the substructure work—which includes piles and pier columns—is finished.

Construction continues with the ever-growing placement of steel-blue girders, road deck panels and stay cables on the iconic 419-foot main span towers.

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We were also keen to see the original crossing, an iconic cantilever structure that was apparently designed to last only about 50 years, but has been operating since about 1955.

An Internet search revealed that the 3.1-mile Tappan Zee crossing was named by 17th century Dutch settlers. The Tappan was apparently a native American tribe that once lived in the area – and the word ‘zee’ means sea in Dutch.

It’s been a long time since Woodstock, but I have ticked this one off my list.

And, in seeing the New York State throughway, man, I also got to view a massive and eye-opening engineering and design feat.

Main photo courtesy Pinterest and New York Daily news.com

New York City travel

Don’t miss this long-running Broadway show

One of the iconic stores in New York City is in its 83rd year of operating in Manhattan’s stately upper west side.

Zebars is a New York institution: a legendary appetizing and Jewish soul food shop at the corner of 80th Street and 2245 Broadway – and a feature of scores of television shows and movies.

The store is a favourite haunt of ours when in NYC, especially the mind-blowing tea and coffee section, which is the equal of anything we’ve seen at Harrods of London and other similar high profile shops.

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Copyright Memorable Destination 2013

In New York City, it all started in 1934, when Louis Zabar, an arrival from what is now Ukraine, left his market stall in Brooklyn to establish a smoked-fish department inside a supermarket on Broadway near 80th Street.

Largely on the strength of its smoked salmon and a housewares section added in the 1970’s, Zabars steadily became a culinary magnet.

In the 1960’s, Zabars became well known for its Brie cheese; in the ’70’s it brought New Yorkers sun-dried tomatoes and gnocchi, and the following decade it became involved in a price battle with the speciality section of department store, Macys, for caviar.

This has gone down in New York folklore as the ‘Great Caviar War’.

On our last visit, we asked whether there had been a winner of the caviar standoff – and were told in no uncertain fashion that Zabars had emerged victorious and the real housewives of New York City had benefitted.

Zebars was also at the forefront of the trend toward drip coffee makers and by the 1970’s it was one of the biggest supermarkets in Manhattan.

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Photo courtesy Zabars

Today, the gourmet store is one of the best known commercial landmarks of the Upper West Side and, as well as tea and coffee, it is known for its selection of bagels, smoked fish, olives, and cheeses.

Zebars appeared in the film, Banksy Does New York and was mentioned in the film You’ve Got Mail.

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It has also been mentioned in the TV series V and episodes of Northern Exposure; Will & Grace; Dream On; The Green Inferno; How I Met Your Mother; Mad About You; Friends; Sex and the City; Broad City; The Nanny; Seinfeld; The West Wing; Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; 30 Rock; The Daily Show; Hart of Dixie; Castle; Pardon the Interruption; Law & Order; and Gossip Girl.

Manhattan’s Upper West Side is an affluent, mainly residential area that has the reputation of being New York City’s cultural and intellectual hub.

Upper West Side US

Don’t miss this New York City oasis

It was a sunny Autumn day in New York City when we came across Trinity Wall Street.

Striding briskly through the frenzy of the city’s Financial District, in lower Manhattan, we were unexpectedly faced with an extraordinary sight – an old burial ground of tilting headstones, manicured green lawns and shady trees.

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Alongside this green oasis – in the shadows of surrounding skyscrapers – stood a magnificent old stone church built in the classic Gothic Revival style.

We meandered along the stone pathways of the graveyard to discover that we’d stumbled upon a venerable American institution – Trinity Wall Street Episcopal church and its famous 300-year-old cemetery.

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Photo courtesy: Village Voice

Apparently, the church site dates to 1697 when it was earmarked by the English King William 111 as the Anglican seat in the capital city.

There have been three church buildings on the site – near the corner of Wall Street and Broadway.

The current structure was built in 1846 and has been designated as a national historic landmark because of its architectural significance and place in the history of New York City.

We were told that, at the time of its completion, the 281 foot Neo-Gothic spire, surmounted by a gilded cross, dominated the skyline of lower Manhattan and was the highest point in New York until being surpassed in 1890 by the New York World Building.

Trinity became a welcoming beacon for ships sailing into New York Harbor.

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Pausing in the shady cemetery, we also discovered that the two-and-a-half-acre yard contained the tombstones and memorials of notable 18th Century New Yorkers, including many leading participants of the American revolution and the early years of Republic.

We were also intrigued by the obviously more modern bronze sculpture of a tree alongside Trinity Church.

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Apparently, the base of the sculpture is made from the roots of a huge sycamore tree that had stood for almost a century before it was flattened by falling debris from the nearby World Trade Centre after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

During the attack, people took refuge in Trinity from choking clouds of dust.

The tree sculpture carries a credit to artist, Steve Tobin.

Heading back into the busy Manhattan Financial District, we marvelled at the enormous contrast of such an oasis of calm and tranquility amid the hustle and bustle.

From Central Park to the High Line and Turtle Pond, such contrasts are not uncommon in New York City, where a special kind of beauty can await around almost any corner.

Main photo courtesy  Gigi alt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

New York City Upper West Side

Some Time In New York City

Face drained of colour, voice wavering.

I remember my colleague’s words as if it was yesterday.

“John Lennon is dead.

“Murdered”.

Me with a blank stare. Say again!

“Shot”.

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That was 37 years ago, on December 8, 1980, but how clearly I recall how I felt.

Sad obviously – Lennon was only 40 and had so much more to give.

Unease that an idealism and hope had so easily been snatched away. The ugliness of violence had, once again, swiftly and abruptly triumphed.

So much for ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘All you Need is Love’.

And, for probably the first time, I was forced to think about my own mortality.

Growing up with the Beatles, it was easy to convince yourself that the beat would go on.

That confidence, bred of the 60’s, had been ritually killed – and suddenly middle age was no longer something to be ignored.IMG_1405

And, finally, there was anger.

It took me a long time to forgive New York City. I’ll never forgive Mark Chapman, the killer.

Many years later, our daughter, Bree, took Sue and I to the Dakota building in Manhattan’s stylish Upper West Side, to see the area, outside the gates, where Lennon was felled.

What irony! What contrast!

A place of such infamy amid the undeniable beauty of the North German Renaissance building.

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Later, we crossed into Central Park and stood quietly at the Imagine memorial in Strawberry Fields.

It was also a place of contradictions. Someone playing a guitar in the background and softly singing Beatles tunes, while tourists trampled across the memorial to pose for photographs.

In the 37 years since Lennon’s assassination, his name and music has become a byword for healing of sorrow.

Only last month, the sounds of ‘Imagine’ gave a particular poignancy to public vigils in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks.

Pause briefly today to remember what we had – and lost.

Features travel

Clock watching: where to see the best

Regardless of whether they’re majestic, historic or just plain quirky, the world’s best known clocks keep pulling in the visitors.

Here’s a list of some of the best we’ve seen. Let us know which beauties DSCN0727we’ve missed.

Big Ben

Obviously, the daddy of all clocks is this one in London, England.

Nick-named ‘Big Ben’ this is said to be the biggest four-faced clock in the world. The tower at the Houses of Parliament was built in 1858.

These days, you can get a great view of Big Ben from the London Eye, on the opposite bank of the River Thames.

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Almost as famous, this is a medieval astronomical clock in the capital of the Czech Republic.

First installed in 1410, the clock is the third eldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one that is still working.

Mounted on the wall of the city hall in Prague’s Old Town, the clock or Orioj, features an hourly parade of figurines known as the ‘Walk of the Apostles’.

A skeleton representing death strikes the time.

The Eastgate clock, Chester UKP1010001

This clock and gateway mark an entrance to the original  Roman fortress of Deva Victrix.

The Chester landmark is believed to be the most photographed clock in England behind Big Ben.

The original East gate was guarded by a timber tower, which was replaced by stone in the 2nd century.

Today’s gate dates from 1768 and the clock was added in 1899 to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier.

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Jen Olsen’s World Clock or Verdensur is an astronomical clock in the Copenhagen City Hall.

Dating to 1955,  this clock boasts 12 movements and more than 14,000 parts.

Displays on the world clock include lunar and solar eclipses, position of stellar bodies and a perpetual calendar.

The Anker clock, Vienna, AustriaSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Known as the Ankeruhr, this colourful clock  was designed in 1911 and completed three years later.

It shows the time by moving different historical figures across the clock face every hour.

The best time of day to see this clock is noon, when all the figures are on display.

Vienna’s Anker clock is located in the Hoher Markt.

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This four-metre (13 foot) clock decorates the facade of Grand Central Rail Station facing 42nd Street.

The clock is a popular landmark and meeting place for New Yorkers and has appeared in many movies and television shows.

It is the world’s biggest collection of Tiffany glass.

The Corpus Christi Clock, Cambridge UK

Located in the British university city of Cambridge, this clock is certainly eye-catching.images

Opened in 2008, the clock is called the Chronophage, which means ‘Time Eater’ in Greek.

If the gold-coloured disc doesn’t catch your attention, the big grasshopper certainly will

The grasshopper moves around the disc, gobbling up time right before your eyes.

World Time Clock, Berlin, Germany

Standing10 metres tall, the World Time clock is also a popular meeting point in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.Weltzeituhr or Worldtime Clock, Berlin

It features a revolving cylinder with the world’s 24 time zones. The current time in each zone is visible.

The clock is topped by a model of the solar system, which revolves once a minute.

Others

Other notable clock that we’ve seen, but not photographed, include Saint Mark’s clock at Venice and the Olympic Torch and Clocktower at Barcelona, Catalonia.

We’ve been told that the Santa Maria Cathedral clock in Comayague, Honduras is well worth seeing and the said to be the oldest functioning clock in the Americas. Love to hear your thoughts.

Europe Scandinavia US

New York: see how to stack a car

Cars are stacked one above the other like a wrecker’s lot, but this is no auto graveyard.

It’s a mechanical car park that vertically lifts and stores vehicles: allowing scores of cars to fit into an area that would otherwise hold only a dozen or so.

Apparently, car stackers exist in many of the world’s big cities where space for parking can be at a premium.

However, this New York City example – looking like something from a Transformers movie – is the first we’d seen.

Rising above its surroundings near Manhattan’s Chelsea pier, the stacker is said to hold about 80 cars – and looked pretty full.

By the way, you can get a good view of this stacker from Chelsea’s ‘High Line’ overhead parkland – another fascinating NYC attraction.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used one of the stackers.

Musings