The land of opportunities….USA beckons one and all.
So let me start my travel blog with my experiences as I traveled across USA.
We started our US trip from New York.
We traveled to New York from Toronto by American Airlines flight to La Guardia airport as our hotel was in the financial district near battery park.The self tagging and loading of luggage on the belt was a first time experience for us. This might prove a bit challenging to the lesser exposed .As the flight took off from Toronto we had spectacular views of the Lake shore area of Toronto , the massive Ontario lake and of course an aerial view of Niagara falls at a distance which was truly a bonus!
The landing at La Guardia was also a visual treat;….what with an aerial view of all the islands, bridges, the Statue of Liberty , Empire state Building etc
Our hotel Hilton Garden Inn at Battery park,close to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal; offered great views of the bay and the ferries cruising along. They offered us a comfortable stay and the accessibility to town was also good.A short walk from the hotel, we were at the bay front with views of the lit up statue of liberty. We walked around the area that evening soaking up the feel of our first day at NY
We took a city tour on the Big Bus….
Big Bus is an easy way to get around the city for people who have to rely on public transport.The tickets can be purchased from the agents who are available at all their scheduled stops.The guides provide a description of the places we are passing by .The cost per person was 50 dollars.
The Big Bus With open upper deck ……. and both of us On the upper deck
As the Bus wound its way through the streets, it offered us views of New Jersey across the Hudson bay, saw some of the costliest real estate in the world which is home to many celebrities, and of course the skyscrapers which are home to many multinational companies….some of the costliest commercial space in the world.
The medieval architecture of most of the buildings facing the Hudson Bay have been retained while the newer skyscrapers line the inner streets. This helps to retain the feel and ethos of a place.
The iconic Titanic pier where the ill fated Titanic was due to dock lies along the Hudson river here
The Titanic Pier
Our first stop was at the 9/11 Memorial .
The entire place is very well done up and there’s something sombre about the place…The new WTC , the shopping area, the museum, the gardens, the fountain…the entire place is well designed.
The Fountain with names of victims engraved on the side
One definitely feels a tug at the heart when we see the names of the victims engraved on the sides of the fountain. We also saw a couple of visitors break down at this place….perhaps family or close associates of the victims. Actually the atmosphere here is very sombre
The new tower….Stands tall as a symbol of Human resilience and determination
The museum with exhibits of the remains of the disaster
This is the survivor tree that was found in the rubble after almost a month, nurtured and replanted….a tale of resilience…proof of nature’s spirit of survival against all odds
The 9/11 Memorial mall Inside the Mall
Another sight that unnerved me was that of the flights whizzing past the new tower..mind you, it happens every few seconds…
Continuing the city tour we were at Brooklyn bridge
As you walk on Brooklyn Bridge you can see the Manhattan Bridge (seen in the background of the picture) which carries trains apart from the vehicular traffic and pedestrians. Notice the vehicular movement below where I am standing
The Brooklyn Bridge is a national historic landmark of the city. Connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan island across the East river; it is an example of farsighted planning. In use since 1883, the visionary thinking is hard hitting….the pedestrian bridge on top with 6 lanes of vehicles below ….how far sighted can one get??
A view of both the bridges…Brooklyn being in front of the picture.
Next we took the cruise to Liberty and Ellis Islands.This cruise came as an offer with a two day Big Bus ticket.We boarded the cruise from the designated pier.
On board the cruise as we sail by the Statue of Liberty.
This statue is made of copper and the greenish colour seen today is due to oxidation of copper. It was a gift of friendship from France. It is located on Liberty island which is close to Ellis island.
Ellis island was the immigration station in the early days.The Statue was considered an icon of hope for the immigrants who arrived on Ellis Island.We also sailed past the Ellis Island during the cruise.
This marked the end of our first day city tour. We returned to the hotel and rested.
After boarding the bus and taking a trip around China Town,we hopped off at the financial district, and headed for The Charging Bull…a symbol of Wall street.The Charging Bull is a bronze sculpture created by the Italian artist Modica in the wake of the stock market crash of 1987. It was originally dropped off by him at the New York Stock Exchange building and subsequently relocated to the present site.It is a symbol of power and prosperity…
Can he take the bull by its horns?
Boarding the bus again ,we were at Times Square….the colourful ,vibrant face of modern day New York.Once called Longacre square, it was renamed Times Square after New York Times moved its headquarters there.
It is a major commercial, tourist and entertainment destination and is sometimes referred to as The Crossroads of the World The colourful billboards are a perhaps an external manifestation of the glitter, glamour and business that happens there.We alighted here and walked around the area soaking in the sheer vibrancy of the place
The glitter, glamour and activity at Times Square
Leaving the glitter and glamour of Times Square behind, we changed over to the blue loop of the big bus and had a ride around the Central Park area. This part of New York has some upmarket residential buildings…many of them retaining their medeival style.As the name suggests, it is also more green…
Last we headed for the ferry terminal deciding to take the Staten island ferry.
The Staten island ferry is a free ferry service that carries people to and from Staten island . The cost of living at Staten island being much lesser, many people prefer to stay there and commute to work on this ferry.
The Staten Island Ferry Terminal
The New York Skyline from the ferry
We returned to the hotel with great memories of the city and looking forward to our next destination…Washington DC.