There is only one New York City. No other Metropolis in America or elsewhere even comes close to it in terms of diversity of culture, entertainment, business and commerce. Yet within a day's drive, one can find fine beaches, seascapes, forested mountains; quaint small towns and plenty of historical sightseeing. And, for a true experience of the spirit of New York, head towards the Empire State Building.
We took an Express train from Union Station of Connecticut and reached Grand Central. The journey was quite comfortable. Not much of crowd, no standing passengers unlike the local one we took from here for the 33rd Street of New York where stands the Empire State Building. Empire State Building has 102 floors but we went only up to 86 floors from where we could have a bird's eye view all around, 360 degrees. Tall buildings of New York look like rows of matchbox and speeding cars are like Dinky Cars. There are two different lifts, one that takes us up to 80th floor and the other from 80th go to 86th floor. Long queues here reminded us of Tirupati although it is a different world altogether!
We reached 86th floor in about an hour after security check from different points. One could stay for any amount of time at the top but we had to return for lunch to Park Avenue down. We spent an hour and that was a real treat, like watching a Circarama (circular cinema) or an IMAX film with panoramic views across all directions.
Looking East, we could see, among others, United Nations Secretariat Building from North-East corner. Straight East view gave us a glimpse of Pepsi Cola sign from formerly Pepsi Cola building, No3, Park Ave, and Chrysler Building etc.
During the American Revolution General George Washington and his nine thousand men were trapped on top of Brooklyn Heights (near the far side of the Brooklyn Bridge seen from here)facing almost certain defeat. But instead of attacking, British troops hesitated permitting Washington a daring nighttime escape across the East River to Manhattan. The Revolution was saved a premature end!
Towards South, we could catch a view of Brooklyn Bridge, Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Washington Square Arch, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Woolworth Building, Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower and the New York Life Insurance Building. From the top of the Entire State Building one is always surprised how much water there is around New York. We are told that Manhattan is an island but we experience it as a jungle. One can be here for weeks and never get near the water. Manhattan was built looking inward with its back to the water. We are also able to get a glimpse of Colgate clock at site of Colgate Palmolive factory.
Some other prominent landmarks were Hotel Chelsea, Titanic's intended destination (now sports and entertainment centre)Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in front of flagship store, Times Square, George Washington Bridge, Madison Square Garden , 1 Penn Plaza , Hell's Kitchen (Déjà vu.. Kodaikanal's Berjam Forest) Looking West, we imagined the mid 1800s. The Hudson River is choked with cargo ships which are heading 150 miles upriver to the Erie Canal which will transport their cargo to the great cities of Midwest. It was trade, much of it promoted by Erie Canal that brought immigrants, industry, wealth, culture and that carried New York to greatness.
The Empire State Building was the tallest in the world from 1931 to 1972. While it may have lost its ranking today, it continues to inspire mankind and is definitely one of the modern wonders of the world.
For my travelogue on other places around New York, visit Holiday Ideas around New York.
For my travelogue on places around London, visit Holiday Ideas around London.