New York Day Two Sunday 2/11/14

Category: New York 2014 Published: Monday, 03 November 2014 Written by Evilmatt

We had breakfast got sorted out and then headed off. It was a quite a cold day with a biting wind. It got pretty bright and sunny as the day went on with clear sky but the wind stayed high and it got pretty cold.

We started off getting the bus in then headed over to the USS Intrepid a carrier that’s been turned into a museum. Very similar to the USS Midway I saw in San Diego but a bit older. They also had a few other things a little submarine called the Growler and Concord.

Inside the Intrepid is much more museumised than the Midway was it’s closed up a lot behind glass and very little of the ship itself on display. The main hanger deck has a couple of planes and helicopters in it but is much altered than the near to original look of the Midway. We grabbed a cup of coffee and a pastry first as we were hungry (we managed to walk quite a few extra streets over having mistaken where the intrepid was).

After that we set off and saw the below decks things which showed part of the mess and some of the bunks. Then we went up to the hanger deck and saw few of the planes. One of the helicopters which was used for sea rescue or the mail and occasionally space craft retrieval (one of the Mercury missions) was a Piasecki Hup/ UH-25 Retriver  Dad mentioned he’d met Frank Piasecki when he worked for Rolls Royce. There was also a mock up of the Mercury space craft and an area of play stuff for the kids.

We wandered around a bit then headed up to the main deck where the majority of the planes were. They had a nice selection of them including a A12 Blackbird which was interesting to look at some really intricate shapes to its wings which was made of lots of small plates screwed on with cross head screws all recessed into the frame. They also had the space shuttle in a big ugly shed on the end but it was a load more money so we didn’t go and see that.

We had a look in the castle where the steering and navigation was and that was fairly interesting they had a few veterans talking about it.

It was interesting to see this ship which is roughly equivalent age to the USS Midway. Not a lot of it was open where as a large amount of the Midway was accessible. What parts were open had been sealed up and made more like a museum. It was probably a less exhausting experience as a result as I spent a whole day trudging around the claustrophobic innards of the Midway where as here it had been opened up and mostly only a small part was accessible. Still I think you lost the sense of scale you got on the midway of it being a city at sea with all the multiple mess and hairdressers doctors laundry various bunks. In some ways the midway felt like it had been docked and then a few signs added to a previously operational aircraft carrier Intrepid was clearly a museum

We had a quick look at concord which is just put on the end of the pier and you can’t go inside then we headed off. We grabbed a bite of lunch at this shop that seemed to offer everything you could want in food from bagels, sandwiches, burritos, wraps, grilled food, hot food, soups, a full salad bar, cake, coffee, and ice cream. We had some coffee and cream cheese and Lox bagels. Which were pretty good a bit too much cream cheese as it was escaping out the end.

Suitably fortified we made our way down to the High Line. Formally an elevated cargo railway built to take freight above street level into the various industrial parts of Manhattan it fell into disuse in the 90’s as that industry increasingly moved out. It was abandoned and went to seed with stuff growing all over it and then it was reclaimed and made into a sort of linear park. It runs through the streets above the road level and the design is such that it still has the rail lines in place as well as parts of greenery. It is a very pleasant walk along and you get to see some nice areas of Manhattan. It made it very apparent how mixed up Manhattan is in terms of architecture. You have the super modern sleek sky scraper next to an old building and sometimes a new building masquerading as an old building art deco inspired marvels next to glass and steel reflective spires. Its a place of contradiction the modern slap bang next to the old. Some of the skyscrapers seem to be amazingly small footprint thrown up to massive heights on a what seems a too small base. We walked down to 13th street and then decided to go and see the Empire State Building.

On the way we visited Madison Square Garden and the Flatiron building which was nice very iconic building from film and screen. We took some pictures and headed on. Most of the way down we had been seeing the Empire State just sort of looming there in the sky. When we finally got close it vanished again as it was obscured by the building near it.

Inside it was an art deco wonderland filled with marble of various colors. Even the lift was lined in marble. We headed up and went through a long section which was obviously meant for queues at peak times and was mercifully empty. We rode the lift to the 80th floor where they have a sort of museum about the making of the thing. The reason they stop at the 80th is at the time it was built that was the highest a lift could go in one stretch. We learned about the construction how they would build little railway on the floor when put in to move the materials around. We also saw the steel workers wandering around on the precarious beams hammering in the red hot rivets to bind the structure together. They build the thing in 11 months start to finish an impressive feat for such a large building.

Once we were done with that we headed up to the next level 86th floor observatory. The views were stunning we had timed it spot on without meaning to and the sun was just setting giving everything a lovely orange glow as we stayed it got darker and we could see the lights coming out. We took some pictures and enjoyed the fabulous view of the surrounding areas. The best thing about the Empire State is that not only is it quite tall (though shorter than some of the other buildings) it’s also very central and there’s nothing else big around it so you get a mostly unobstructed view of the whole island of Manhattan and out to Brooklyn New Jersey even as far as the statue of liberty (which looks tiny from there). It was a wonderful view and really clear that day. It was also really windy and freezing cold. The exposed side with the wind rushing past was difficult to walk against the wind was so strong. We had to go inside after a bit to restore the circulation to our hands which had gone purple.

Once defrosted we went back down and then headed back to the port authority bus terminal to head back home for dinner and rest.

It’s been a lovely day cold but really bright and clear we seen some great sights and walked a lot (24000 steps according to my watch) now I’m off to bed to recover.

Hits: 666