New York City Sightseeing Day 2 – New York, USA

After a late start due to watching the last day of the Ryder Cup get underway we again headed to the subway. Internet coverage in the subway can be a bit patchy but Steve checked the Ryder Cup progress every chance he got. We were cheering for the Europeans and they did us proud at the end of the day.

Today’s first destination was Pier 11 just past Battery Park. We were doing a city sightseeing cruise. It is a hive of activity down on the water with ferries, water taxis and sight seeing boats everywhere. Not to mention the helicopters that were buzzing around and landing on the pier next to us – at one stage there would have been 12 helicopters sitting there, rotors all going, waiting for the next lot of tourists. We were in what should have been a tranquil setting on the waters edge but it was hard to hear yourself think.

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We hopped on our boat and our guide introduced himself in his broken english – he was quite entertaining and so enthusiastic. We went past the other ferry terminals along the water front – in one terminal the ferries go to Governors Island which was closing down for the season today and in the other terminal the ferries go to Staten Island – these ferries run 24 / 7 and are completely free.

We passed by Battery Park which the locals refer to as The Battery. The park is 25 acres and is named for the artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city’s early years to protect the settlement behind them.

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Our guide then pointed out the One World Trade Center which during construction was dubbed the Freedom Tower. The 104-story supertall structure, shares a name with the northern Twin Tower in the original World Trade Center that was destroyed in the September 11 attacks,

The tower’s steel structure topped out on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper’s spire was installed, making One World Trade Center the fourth-tallest skyscraper in the world at the time by pinnacle height. Its spire allows the building to reach a symbolic height of 1,776 feet (541 m) in reference to the year of the United States Declaration of Independence. It has been the tallest structure in New York City since April 30, 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The new World Trade Center complex, in which One World Trade Center will open later in 2014, will initially have three other high-rise office buildings, located along Greenwich Street, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center, where the Twin Towers once stood. The construction is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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We then crossed to the other side of the Hudson River to the New Jersey side. New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by New York State, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania, and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state, but the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated of the 50 United States. New Jersey lies entirely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. It is also the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income, according to the 2008–2012 American Community Survey.

New Jersey is connected to Manhattan via the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge. We saw the Colgate Clock. The Colgate Clock is an octagonal clock facing the Hudson River near Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, with a diameter of 50 feet (15 m). It is currently situated 400 meters south of the former site of the headquarters of consumer products conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive, which was until the 1980s based in Jersey City. The clock was maintained by John A. Winters from the 1930s until his retirement in 1976.

The current Colgate Clock was built in 1924 to replace an earlier clock designed by Colgate engineer Warren Day and constructed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company for the centennial of the Colgate Company in 1906. After the current clock’s construction, the earlier clock was relocated to a Colgate factory in Clarksville, Indiana.

As of 2005, the Colgate Clock stands on an otherwise empty lot; all of the other buildings in the complex were demolished in 1985, when Colgate left New Jersey. The lot is located on the Hudson River waterfront and the clock itself is 100 meters south of the Goldman Sachs Tower, the largest skyscraper in the state of New Jersey. The construction of that building in the early 2000s forced a relocation of the clock southward to its current location. At the time of the relocation the size of the Colgate advertisement attached to it was reduced to comply with the Hudson River No Billboard law. As a part of the relocation agreement Goldman Sachs now maintains the clock.

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The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, also known as Communipaw Terminal and Jersey City Terminal, was the Central Railroad of New Jersey’s waterfront passenger terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey. This terminal building was constructed in 1889 but was abandoned in 1967. It has been preserved though as a historic place.

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We then cruised past Ellis Island. Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with land reclamation between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990. Long considered part of New York, a 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found that most of the island is in New Jersey.

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Now for the statue that I was most wanting to see – The Statue of Liberty. I suppose after seeing her at the start of many movies over the years I was excited to see her in the flesh.

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, in Manhattan, New York City. The statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. He may have been minded to honor the Union victory in the American Civil War and the end of slavery. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.

The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, in 1876, and in New York’s Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. The statue was closed for renovation for much of 1938. In the early 1980s, it was found to have deteriorated to such an extent that a major restoration was required. While the statue was closed from 1984 to 1986, the torch and a large part of the internal structure were replaced. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown. The statue, including the pedestal and base, was closed for a year until October 28, 2012, so that a secondary staircase and other safety features could be installed; Liberty Island remained open. However, one day after the reopening, Liberty Island closed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy; the statue and island opened again on July 4, 2013. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.

In 1881 Auguste Bartholdi contacted Gustave Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower engineer) as he was in need of an engineer to help him to realise the Statue of Liberty. Some work had already been carried out by Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, but he had died in 1879. Eiffel was selected because of his experience with wind stresses. Eiffel devised a structure consisting of a four legged pylon to support the copper sheeting which made up the body of the statue. The entire statue was erected at the Eiffel works in Paris before being dismantled and shipped to the United States.

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We then went past Governors Island which is a 172-acre (70 ha) island in Upper New York Bay, approximately 800 yards (732 m) from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel, approximately 400 yards (366 m). It is legally part of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The Native Americans of the Manhattan region referred to the island as Paggank (“nut island”), likely after the island’s plentiful hickory, oak, and chestnut trees;[4] the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block called it Noten Eylant, a translation, and this was borrowed into English as Nutten Island. The island’s current name, made official in 1784, stems from the British colonial era, when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York’s royal governors.

Defensive works were raised on the island in 1776 by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, and fired upon British ships before they were taken. From 1783 to 1966, the island was a United States Army post. From 1966 to 1996 the island served as a major United States Coast Guard installation.

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We did a cruise by the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges before getting off the boat in the financial district.

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On our way to check out the financial district we passed by the National September 11 Memorial. The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

It is a great place of reflection for the families of those that were killed but also for the general population – that day is marked in everyone’s lives for one reason or another. After having visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. we didn’t think we were up to visiting the actual museum – it was enough to see the memorial. The One World Trade Centre sits alongside one of the memorial pools. The top of one of the towers sits next to the memorial. There is a lot of construction in the area and apparently there will be seven World Trade Centres by 2020.

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We then headed down the infamous Wall Street. Wall Street is located in lower Manhattan in the financial district of New York City. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial sector (even if financial firms are not physically located there), or signifying New York-based financial interests.

Wall Street is the home of the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by overall average daily trading volume and by total market capitalization of its listed companies. Several other major exchanges have or had headquarters in the Wall Street area, including NASDAQ, the New York Mercantile Exchange, the New York Board of Trade, and the former American Stock Exchange. Anchored by Wall Street, New York City has been called the world’s principal financial center.

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About SUNGRL

This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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