Friday, May 28, 2010

Trip to New York - part 3

As I wrote in the previous post, on the morning of May 1st hubby, his cousin, and I went to see the Statue of Liberty. At about 2 pm we went to see the Brooklyn Bridge. The last time hubby and I visited New York (May 2005), we had not been to see the bridge. So this time walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was a must-do for us while we were in New York. Afterwards, we visited the Empire State Building.

Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is not only one of the greatest and amazing feats of engineering but is also beautiful. It is one of the most popular and well known landmarks of New York. The bridge is one of the oldest steel-wire suspension bridges in the United States, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. Its construction was started in 1870 by the Roebling family (John, Washington, and Emily), and it took over 13 years to build. The bridge has a total length of 1825 meters. The two towers with large Neo-Gothic arches are probably the most noticeable feature of the bridge. The towers are 84 meters tall, and the distance between the two towers is 486 meters. The bridge was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

We walked from Battery Park up to the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side, and it took us almost an hour to reach the landmarks near the bridge like Woolworth Building and New York City Hall described in our guidebook. We loved the great architectural style of the City Hall. We walked for another 20 minutes or so and then reached the long pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. The pedestrian walkway soon became wooden planks. While walking on the walkway, we got an extremely wonderful view of one of the towers of the bridge. This pedestrian walkway is elevated which allowed us to walk across the bridge without being bothered by the vehicular traffic that rushed past a level below. While walking further on the pathway, we got a beautiful view of the adjacent Manhattan Bridge. We also got nice unobstructed views of the surroundings on either side of the bridge. While crossing the river I looked down in between the planks that patterned the walkway over the river, and my steps faltered as I felt dizzy to see the river flowing directly below us.
A notice board on the road that indicates the way to Brooklyn Bridge. Woolworth Building is also seen in the photo.

Wonderful architectural style of New York City Hall

Hubby’s cousin and I walking towards Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge tower as seen from the Manhattan side

Vehicular traffic at a level below the pedestrian walkway

Manhattan Bridge as viewed from the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge

Wooden planks that patterned the walkway over the river

After walking for another 15 minutes or so on the pedestrian walkway, we reached very near the tower of the bridge on the Manhattan side, and took a few photos of us along with the tower. The tower looked amazing with so many steel wires supporting the bridge. An inscription on the tower structure describes about the history of the construction of the bridge.
Hubby’s cousin and I near the tower on the Manhattan side

Hubby and I near the tower on the Manhattan side

An inscription on the tower structure of the Brooklyn Bridge

We crossed the tower and continued walking further on the pedestrian walkway. Soon we started getting a wonderful view of the second tower of the bridge on the Brooklyn side. While walking at our own pace, we enjoyed seeing the fantastic views of Brooklyn in front of us. After walking for another fifteen minutes, we saw a few benches along the walkway. It was a very bright and sunny day and we all were tired after walking for almost two hours. So we sat on one of the benches, and relaxed and took in the views. We saw the Statue of Liberty far in the background.
Hubby’s cousin and I on the pedestrian walkway after crossing the tower on the Manhattan side

Hubby and I near the tower on the Brooklyn side

Hubby’s cousin and I near the tower on the Brooklyn side

Hubby’s cousin and I relaxing on a bench on the pedestrian walkway

The statue of Liberty as seen from the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge

We skipped walking the entire way across the wooden pedestrian walkway up to Brooklyn, and started walking back towards the Manhattan side. While walking back, we got an interesting view of the first tower as well as a fantastic view of downtown Manhattan’s skyline. The walk up to the subway station near city hall took about 45 minutes. The walk across the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway was truly amazing and a memorable journey for all of us. At about 5 pm, we had late lunch at a restaurant near the subway station.
The tower on the Manhattan side along with Manhattan skyline in the background

The tower on the Manhattan side along with Manhattan buildings in the background

The tower on the Manhattan side as viewed from far away while walking back to City Hall area

Empire State Building
At about 5.40 pm, we took a train at City Hall subway station near the Brooklyn Bridge. After a few stations, we got down the train, walked for a few minutes, changed to another subway train, and reached Penn Station. Empire State Building is a short walk from Penn Station.

Empire State Building is a famous landmark and one of the main tourist attractions of New York City. A visit to the city is not complete without experiencing the building. The building is a 102-story landmark Art Deco skyscraper located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street of New York City. The building was designed by William Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon. Excavation of the site began on January 22, 1930, and construction of the building started on March 17. Governor Alfred Smith officially opened the building to the public on May 1, 1931. The building is 443.2 meters high including the lightning rod. The building offers one of the most spectacular views on earth as seen from the 86th floor observatory, which is located at a height of 320 meters. The building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

While walking towards the Empire State Building, we looked up and saw that many top stories of the high-rise building could not be seen from a street located so near to the building. We entered the building via the main entrance on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets. On entering the building, we were in the lobby which seemed to be full of tradition and history. The lobby is an Art Deco masterpiece which is covered in thick slabs of marble with beautiful steel highlights throughout. The back wall of the lobby depicts an image of the Empire State Building set against a map of New York State.
The Empire State Building as viewed from a street near the building

Lobby of the Empire State Building

We wished to go to the observatory of the building, and so we took the escalators on the right hand side to the second floor. While walking towards the escalator, we saw a huge poster with ‘welcome’ written in several languages.
'Welcome’ written in several languages

All visitors have to go through the observatory security check. So we stood in a queue for security check, and after waiting for half an hour we passed through the security check. Next, we stood in a second queue of people waiting to purchase tickets for the observatory. After 15 minutes of waiting, we purchased tickets worth 20 dollars per person. Finally, we stood in a third queue for the observatory elevators. While waiting at this queue, a professional photographer took photos of each group against a green background and then digitally superimposed it with the image of the Empire State Building in the background. Later while going out of the building, we bought this photo for the sake of memory.
Our photo taken by a professional photographer while waiting in the queue for entering the observatory elevator

After waiting in the third queue for about 20 minutes, the remote-controlled express elevator took us to the 80th floor in less than a minute. 16 people can ride the elevator at a time. An observatory employee then directed tourists off the elevator on the 80th floor and took all of us toward the tower elevator to the 86th floor observatory. At 86th floor, the observatory offers panoramic views both from within a glass-enclosed pavilion and also from the surrounding open air promenade.

From the 86th floor observatory, we got the most unforgettable and spectacular views of New York. We were thrilled by the awe-inspiring vision of the city beneath us. In addition to the wonderful vistas far into the distance, we saw displays of skylines, high-rise buildings, bridges, and other prominent structures. The amazing 360-degree panoramic views from the promenade are really one of the most breath-taking spectacles of New York. We took several photos of the city from various positions and angles at the promenade. We loved every moment spent at the observatory.
View of north-west side of New York City from the observatory

View as seen just below the building at the west side

View of north side of New York City

View of north-east side of New York City

Chrysler Building

Far view of south side of New York City

Another view of south side of New York City

Me at the observatory promenade

A bird outside the observatory promenade

Hubby’s cousin and I at the observatory promenade

Hubby and I at the observatory promenade

We inside the glass-enclosed pavilion

After spending about 40 minutes at the observatory, we took the elevator back to the 80th floor of the building. At this floor there is a point where the visitors can take photos in front of brightly lit images of the Empire State Building. We took a few photos of us here.
Hubby’s cousin and I in front of brightly lit images of Empire State Building at the 80th floor

Hubby and I in front of the brightly lit images of Empire State Building

We left the Empire State Building at about 8.15 pm. It was dark outside, and we saw that the top few floors of the building were beautifully lit up in white. We loved the building and the unparalleled views from the building observatory. It seems that the feeling and spirit of New York City is embodied in this building.
Brightly lit top of the Empire State Building as seen from a nearby street

Dinner at Haru Hana restaurant
We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant named Haru Hana located in Korea Town in Manhattan. We had sushi, soy-sauce ramen, and kimchi udon. The food tasted ok but somehow it did not have the taste of authentic Japanese food. It felt more like Korean food probably because the restaurant is located in Korea Town.
A board welcoming customers to Haru Hana restaurant


Soy-sauce ramen

Kimchi udon

At about 10 pm, we took NJ transit train and reached back my relative’s home in NJ at 11.45 pm. It was a long day for us and we all were rather tired, and so we retired for the day soon afterwards. The next day we went to Times Square about which I will write in the next post.


Y Trip said...

Nice Post!

Walking on Brooklyn bridge was one thing I missed doing in NY !!

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks Y Trip for your comment.

Hope next time you are in NYC, you will get a chance to walk on Brooklyn Bridge.

After seeing the movie 'sex and the city' which had beautiful shots of Brooklyn Bridge, I wished to know how it feels to walk on this bridge. It felt great!