In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling.
Day Four of our New York adventure started out with a visit to Times Square.
There was a lot of construction going on.
It was crowded, but not “New Year’s Eve crowded.” We managed to keep our distance from the street performers and odd folk in costumes. If I wanted to see a fake, second-rate Batman or Hulk I can just go down to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.
The Empire State Building was our next stop, one of those “must see” spots for my first trip to New York City.
It’s fancy inside the front doors, very rococo – and then you go around the corner and it’s one of those Disneyland-like snakey lines that keeps twisting from room to room so that you never really know how much longer you’ll be stuck there. On the other hand, the sign at the beginning of the line that said wait times were currently 45 minutes was pretty accurate, so they’ve got that over most amusement parks.
Once at the top, off in the distance through the haze, we could see Liberty Island and Ellis Island, the sites of Day Three’s adventures.
You can also see just about everything else. Looking to the northeast toward the Bronx, the Chrysler Building, United Nations, and Roosevelt Island can be seen.
To the east, Queens is laid out in all its glory on the far side of the East River (which we’ll recall isn’t really a river).
To the southeast, the Williamsburg Bridge crosses the East River with Brooklyn beyond.
And looking through the haze due south, all of the southern end of Manhattan is studded with skyscrapers.