It was Dawn's birthday on Sunday, so we went to New York for the weekend to celebrate. We hopped on a jetBlue redeye on Friday night, arrived early Saturday morning, and came back on Sunday night. Here's a short photographic rundown of our time in the Big Apple.
Did I say "short?" Just kidding.
I love the subway. If I lived in a city that had a system as extensive as New York's, I'd ditch my car immediately. Incidently, 75% of Manhattanites agree. I do have one gripe: $2 to go anywhere on the subway, but $5 for the five minute connection from JFK to the subway on AirTrain. Grr.
This is exactly how much hotel room $148 buys you in midtown Manhattan. I'm not complaining - we didn't spend much time in the room, and it was a great location (50th & Broadway). It's the Amsterdam Court Hotel, if you're interested.
Dawn and I started our morning by taking the train to Brooklyn and walking back across the Brooklyn Bridge promenade. The bridge was quite a feat of engineering in 1883 and is still impressive today. If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you...
This was incidently the point at which we realized we picked a really cold weekend to visit New York. Saturday had a high of 30 and Sunday perhaps 25, which wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for a 20 mph gusty wind. Winters in SoCal and the PNW have made me go soft. New York would dewussify me quickly.
Lower Manhattan from the bridge. The twin towers used to dominate this scene, as none of these buildings are more than 952 feet tall.
God and Mammon. Heh. Trinity Church's steeple was the tallest structure in Manhattan from 1846 until 1890.
Contrary to popular belief, the charging bull statue isn't by the NYSE building. It's several blocks away on the southern edge of the financial district. It's generally overrun by tourists giggling at its bronze bullocks. I successfully resisted the urge to photograph its posterior.
Fritz Koenig's sculpture, "The Sphere." It originally stood in the WTC plaza and was damaged; it's now a temporary memorial in Battery Park.
Battery Park, the southern tip of Manhattan. This was all originally part of the harbour; dirt from the original WTC excavation in the 1970s provided the landfill to build the park.
Manhattan from the ferry to Liberty Island. You can see part of Brooklyn Bridge at far right and the Empire State Building in the distance on the left.
Yes, this entire post contains photos of iconic landmarks you've seen hundreds of times in film and print and could imagine quite well with your eyes closed. Well, except for the last four pictures. Skip there if you're bored.
The Registry Room at Ellis Island. Both Dawn and I have ancestors that passed through this room.
OK, so Radio City Music Hall is iconic and all, and I'm sure it'd be quite lovely to see a performance there. But a tour for $17? There can't be anything that interesting to see on a tour...is there? If anybody's done it, let me know.
Dawn and I ate at Afghan Kebab House #1 on 9th Ave between 51st and 52nd streets, and highly recommend it. No pics, though.
Every show and movie set in New York (IE the half that aren't set in LA) has featured the central concourse of Grand Central Station. It is pretty cool.
View of midtown from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building; the Chrysler Building can be seen at right. Want to hear something really sick? When the WTC was around, the Empire State Building charged $6 admission to the observatory. With that competition gone, prices have skyrocketed to $18. All the more reason to get Freedom Tower built.
Midtown West. The bright spot at lower left is Times Square.
Looking south towards downtown. To coax my cheap digicam into taking a clear shot, I had to hold it still in winds gusting up to about 40 kt on this side of the building.
Looking up at the spire and radio mast. The 102nd floor observatory of An Affair to Remember fame is up there. That'll be an extra $15, please! Notice how many of my gripes have to do with money? If there is a cheap bone in your body, being a pilot will bring it to the forefront.
Looking down Broadway at Times Square. By 11pm we were more than ready to call it a day.
Refreshed with bagels & coffee, we were ready to go again on Sunday. Well, not "go" quite as much as take it easy and see a Broadway show, "Momma Mia!" First we set out to see just how cold it'd be walking through Times Square in a skirt...for Dawn, not me. She reported it as being "continuous severe to extreme cold." She's a good candidate for aviation dork, I think!
Here's the "Times Square Shuffle" - 7th Ave and Broadway join up.
Fresh from the show (it was good but sorry, no pics), we say goodbye to New York before taking the E train back to JFK.
Okay, as promised I have four pictures of a great landmark you may have not seen before. The only recent movie it's been featured in is Catch Me if You Can. Vacant for now but soon to reopen as part of jetBlue's new terminal, this is the Eero Saarinen designed TWA Flight Center, otherwise known as Terminal 5.
I love this building - not just because it's an airline terminal or associated with TWA, although those factors do play into it. I remember the first time I saw it. It was while I was an intern for TWA, and I was jumpseating to Cairo. We'd just landed in JFK at night, and from the cockpit I spied this great glowing winged insect cum spaceship. I was about to ask what it was when I saw the neon TWA on the roof. I couldn't believe something that beautiful and strange and graceful and impractical could ever be an airline terminal. These days the bean counters would never allow it. There were a lot of questions about Terminal 5's future after American bought TWA; I'm really excited that jetBlue is going to put the proper effort into restoration and then put it back into use. It's such a fitting place to begin an adventure.
The NYC pictures that are conspicuously absent, of course, are those of Ground Zero. It wasn't really a question of propriety, at least not after seeing all the street vendors hawking 9/11 merch all around the site. It's moreso because there's nothing to see. It's a big hole in the ground and an increasingly busy construction site for Freedom Tower. I felt almost nothing looking at it. It'd compare it to when I take off from Runway 24L at LAX. Although I know that's where a Skywest Metroliner and USAir 737 collided in 1991, I never feel any of the sorrow or angst I associate with fatal plane crashes. Any artifact of the carnage has long been cleared away and it's now simply a point in space where something happened. My eyes stayed dry at WTC.
Until I started looking at the photo exhibit, at least. The temporary memorial at the site consists of several dozen enlarged photographs on posterboard mounted to the construction fence. For better or worse, they're very effective at conjuring up the essence of that hellish scene. Many don't show the WTC at all, but rather capture reactions from New Yorkers like the ones I'd spend the day around. The look on their faces as they watched the towers fall or as they fled down debris-choked streets was far more poignant than the pit beyond the fence.
Anyways, it was a great weekend together. Next stop: Wenatchee, WA. Weekend after that: Marquette, MI. I could get used to having weekends off! But I promise - I'll post the next installment of Landing the Job soon!