On Wednesday, our last full day in New York, DH and I walked the few blocks from our hotel to the Empire State Building. How exciting it was, to be going to a building that I had heard about as a child and which always fascinated me. We had bought our tickets through Expedia.com ages ago, before we had left Australia. As we walked up to the building you couldn’t help but notice the armed police presence. We joined the queue on the footpath which was quite long but which moved fairly quickly. We were soon in the queue inside the building and I saw how beautiful the foyer of the building was with its beautiful marble walls and a particularly impressive art work in front of us.
The armed police outside the entry
Just inside the building
Queuing for security
|Art deco details|
We were directed to an escalator which took us up to the next floor where we found ourselves in a huge room full of people waiting in a queue to go through security. It wasn’t as tough as the security to board the boat to Liberty Island; we could keep our shoes on! After we went through security we walked through beautiful rooms and corridors to again queue on the other side of the building for the lifts. There were staff dressed in the very smart uniforms who supervised the entry to the lifts and used little remote controls to send the lifts off. The first lift took us very quickly to the 80th floor! Then it was out of the lift and more walking through beautiful Art Deco style, empty rooms, until we reached another set of lifts. These lifts took us to the 86th floor which was as high as our tickets allowed us. (For extra money you can go up to the 102nd floor)
|The first lot of lifts|
|Waiting in the queue to walk around to the second lot of lifts|
At the 86th floor there is a nice warm glassed in area and then around that is the open observation area with iron work as a barrier to the open space. The view was amazing! DH is scared of heights but he managed really well and took video footage as well as regular digital photos. We did put our jackets on though as it was extremely cold as you would expect being up that high! It was a lovely clear day so no clouds at all. Apparently the clouds come down as low as the 40th storey. It was a wonderful experience and I feel so fortunate that I was able to do it!
|The East River|
|DH with his cameras in the outside Observation area|
|Noticed this 'gold topped building!|
|Just had to take a photo of that beautiful Chrysler building|
|The Hudson River|
|One of the lovely staff on the Observation deck. He's warmly dressed and he told me they do 8 hour shifts! I reckon it would be cold all year round!|
After lunch, we caught a train to Coney Island. This train wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as other trains we’ve been on in NY, and much of its journey was above ground. This was a bonus as we were able to see a number of neighbourhoods instead of the sides of the subway! Coney Island is a beach area and has a huge amusement park. It is still the off season as the amusement park doesn’t open until April 16. Most of the little shops etc were not open and the wind straight off the Atlantic Ocean was bitterly cold. Again I noticed how wide the sandy beach was, just like in Santa Monica; much wider than the beaches at home. We wondered around for quite a while before catching the train back to 34th street.
|A view of the Amusement park at Coney island|
|I met this little lady called Kelly who was with her owner having a day out to Coney island. The pram-like vehicle beside Kelly is a dog cage on wheels for the little lady's outings!!|
Just after 5 we headed back to the station to catch a train on a different line to what we had been using, to go to Fulton Street, a stop near the Seaport area. The Penn St Station is so big and confusing and eventually we had to ask for help as to where we had to go to catch the train we needed. Fulton St was a much smaller station and a little grotty and we had a fair walk to get to the Seaport area. This area had been wharves and fish markets but was now gentrified with lots of shops and restaurants. We were meeting a cousin of Bruce’s cousin’s partner...sounds confusing??? We were so humbled that someone who had never met us would join us for dinner with just over 24 hours notice. Christine had chosen the restaurant, a favourite of hers, called ‘Brigante’. It was an Italian restaurant and the food was divine. After a delightful meal and some great conversation getting to know Christine, the three of us walked around the wharf area which had beautiful views of Brooklyn plus the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges...absolutely lovely.
Christine expressed concern that with problems in the federal parliament regarding ‘Supply’, (I’ve used Aussie terms here) if funds are cut off many things in Washington DC may be shut down including the Smithsonian. She offered some suggestions of things that would not be affected as a Plan B. As well she was able to give us some suggestions for our Gettysburg trip especially using a guide.