Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bright Lights of New York City

Times Square at night showcases the bright lights that New York City is known for.  Times Square is an iconic landmark and is one of the more renowned symbol of the city.  It was one of the first area I visited on my recent trip there and it was truly a sight to behold -- mass number of people admiring all the flashing lights.  A subsequent visit later that night was even more surreal.  The plethora of animated neon and LED lights from Broadway theater signs to commercial advertisements via jumbotrons light the huge area brightly.  It is like all the Las Vegas Strip lights condensed into a much smaller area.

Below are a few photos:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Statue of Liberty and the Staten Island Ferry Ride

When my great-nephew Gavin found out that I was to visit New York City, his first question to me was:  "Are you going to see the Statue of Liberty?"  I responded "sure, I will go see the statue", although it was not high on my things to do and see due to limited time.  Well, I did find time.  The evening before my departure from New York City, I went to the South Ferry area, where the Staten Island ferry may be boarded, to see the schedule and duration of the round trip to ensure I would have enough time to do it.  The following morning, after an early start with a visit to the "top of the Rock" (GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza) to get a unique 360-degree panoramic view of New York City, I proceeded shortly thereafter to the southern tip of Manhattan to catch a round trip ride on a Staten Island ferry.

The Staten Island ferry is a free mode of transport between Manhattan and Staten Island.  Originally planned as a service to Staten Island residents to be able to get to Manhattan easily and free of charge, a majority of the ferry riders now are tourists trying to get a good glimpse of Lady Liberty in Liberty Island while aboard the boat.  Most of these tourists do not spend time in Staten Island.  As I did, most exit the ferry (which is required) after arrival to Staten Island, and then immediately reboard the returning boat to Manhattan.

A separate tour may be taken to Liberty Island.  Although entrance to the Statue of Liberty National Monument is free, the boat ride to the island is not.  Along with the ferry ticket, visitors intending to enter the statue's base and pedestal must obtain a complimentary museum/pedestal ticket.  Those wishing to climb the staircase within the statue to the crown must purchase a special ticket.  The special ticket may be reserved up to a year in advance. Only a total of 240 people per day are permitted to ascend:  ten per group, three groups per hour. Climbers may bring only medication and cameras -- lockers are provided to store other items.  Climbers must undergo additional security screening.  I did not have the time and did not want to go through the hassle to visit the monument.  The view of Lady Liberty from afar, while on board the Staten Island ferry was sufficient.

Anyway, to Gavin, yes I did see the Statue of Liberty on a gray, cloudy day, during my visit to New York City.  The following are photos of Lady Liberty and the ride on the Staten Island ferry.  Additional photos are posted in my flickr page:


Monday, August 22, 2011

My New Favorite City

I spent four solid days in New York City, 12-15 August, for my birthday.  Aside from the couple of hours of night driving around Manhattan with three other fellow Nuclear Regulatory Commission interns on a detour on our way back to Washington, DC, in January 1985, I haven't been to New York City.  I had a great time on this visit.  The first two days of my visit was blessed with great weather; it rained the entire day on my third day there; and on my last day, it stayed fairly cloudy.  There were a lot of things to do and see. With its great transportation system, it was easy to get around.  It is also easy to walk around from place to place.

New York truly is the city that never sleeps.  Each of the three nights there, I was out until just past midnight.  On my way way, via subway and a bit of walking, there were still many people out and about.  The subway system is cheap, easy to use, fairly clean, and can get you to most of the places directly or with an extra little bit of walking.  This visit was mainly confined to Manhattan.  I would like to explore further out to the other boroughs on my next visit.  I would definitely plan for a next visit within the next year.  New York City is my new favorite city.

More blog posts and more photos on my flickr account to come from this visit. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Journeys Around the Sun

Yesterday marked the completion of my 47th journey around the sun.  Today in New York City, the unofficial center of the third rock from the sun, which we call Earth, I commence again on  a new voyage around this great celestial body, the center of our solar system.

If that was too "age of aquarius,"-- plain and simple, today is my 47th birthday and I am in New York City to celebrate.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Steel, Glass, and Concrete -- Vancouver's Skyline

Downtown Vancouver seems to have done a good job in planning new constructions, at least along a stretch of the downtown core, for office and living spaces.  The profusion of steel, glass, and concrete vertical structures provides Vancouver an impressive ultra-modern backdrop from the Convention Center to Stanley Park.

The following are photos of the vast steel and glass of downtown Vancouver's skyline: