American Adventures "Majestic Big Apple"

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April 20th 2018
Published: April 20th 2018
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The President The President The President

Donald Trump in person doing a bit of subtle extortion.
"Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you"

SA 203 was clearly on course as the engines slowed to a gentle whisper, the nose tilted downwards and a state of semi frantic preparation swept through the metal tube. Having the best seats on the plane means you get to look out of a window and clearly visible was a soft pink glow far out. An oval shape to the creeping light of day which should be enough to convince those "Flat Earth" loonies that their theory is wrong.

New York evokes many thoughts as it is undoubtedly the capital of planet Earth. Just for a minute ponder on how many books have been written about this city. Both fiction and non fiction. Any singer worth his or her salt has crooned and sang about New York. The poets have had a field day. Countless movies have been shot in this city. People globally talk about the place. Anyone still want to challenge my take on it being the center of our Universe?

Otherwise fondly referred to as "The Big Apple" I was curious as to how it earned this title. Well, it's somewhat uninspiring. This is per
Iconic NYCIconic NYCIconic NYC

Probably the most photographed statue in the World.
Wikipedia "Big Apple was popularised as a name for New York City by one John J.Fitzgerald in a number of horse racing articles for the New York Morning Telegraph in the 1920's using the term when referring to New York".

This is a massive city with innumerable iconic sights and places of interest. Just how does one plan to optimise four days in NY seeing as many of these sights and landmarks as possible? Thankfully, we live in a technological age where the solutions just keep popping up. In this case the world of Apps! After downloading an App titled "JS Guide New York", the whole sort of daunting challenge disappeared. This App divides all of NYC into district grids and then via a user friendly map it's a case of click, click and you are placed in a district of choice with the list of everything to see there including, pics, text and audio commentary on each of these place of interest. Simply brilliant!

The other essential App needed is Uber. Within four minutes of stepping out of Terminal 4 we were Uberring into New York to Manhattan, Midtown West where our lodgings, a Four Points Sheraton,
Twin TowersTwin TowersTwin Towers

Two new towers punch proudly and defiantly skywards.
was located. Ideally located as a launch pad for soaking up the splendors of NYC.

Needless to say, we managed to see and in many cases visit, just about every "must see" place of interest NYC proudly offers to tourists. Speaking of which, you definitely do not have this city to yourself. NYC attracts about 60 million visitors annually and despite it being "early season", one is very aware of the huge numbers of people all there for the same reason.

There is no sense in attempting to describe the magnificent sights of NYC as words will fail me and boredom will set in for the luckless reader. So, keeping it simple I will simply mention those sights and experiences which will linger in the memory.

9/11 Museum. Who can forget the cataclysmic events of 11th September 2011? It is only when you are there on site and try and comprehend what actually happened, that the true horror can be appreciated. Standing alongside each of the huge restored holes in the ground where each of the twin towers stood, I struggled to get my head around this terrible event. The entire perimeter wall of both rectangular marble
Brooklyn BridgeBrooklyn BridgeBrooklyn Bridge

On a brilliant (and only) Spring Day a walk along Brooklyn Bridge.
lined holes has a tiled surface bearing the names of the almost 3000 people killed when the US jetliners struck these buildings. And yet, one sees the human spirit and hope. Across the way two new towers punch proudly into the sky. The museum has been beautifully crafted with many artefacts on display having been recovered from the ruins. Video screens continuously replay the events of that fateful day. A reminder that we should never forget. Every single person who visits the 9/11 museum will experience a range of emotions. Dismay, disbelief, despair and undoubtedly a deep sadness.

American Museum of Natural History. Opened in 1877, this has to be one of the great museums of the World. Spread over 4 levels with an incredible display and story of just about everything you can imagine. Allow yourselves no less than 5 hours to make it worthwhile. We were fortunate to elect and see a movie production about an American guy, Bates, who spent 11 years in the Amazon Basin in Brazil in the 1800's collecting a huge variety of, primarily, insect species. Not that remarkable, you may think, but one of his specific butterfly collections was pivotal in assisting
Central ParkCentral ParkCentral Park

Blossoms trying to strut their stuff despite a very cold Spring.
Charles Darwin to finally prove to his many detractors the theory of evolution.

High Line. Never knew much about this in the planning phases of our onslaught on seeing as much of NYC as possible. A "must" experience. In the Greenwich Village district an elevated railway line was built in the 1930's to supply the industrial companies in that area. Problem was that industries moved out of the city leaving what became an unused and derelict railway line. Two brave and far sighted New Yorkers put forward an idea to transform it into a promenade. Common sense prevailed and one can now walk a beautifully renovated promenade for a distance of almost 1,5 kms.

Central Park. I had an image in mind of a park to be sort of avoided based on probably reading too many novels that portray dark little hidden corners harboring guys out to rob you or worse! Wrong! This magnificent park dates from 1858 and is 4 km long by just short of a km wide. Think about it. This is located in one of the World's largest and busiest cities and attracts about 40 million visitors per year. Great area for jogging, walking
High LineHigh LineHigh Line

A marvelous way to see NYC from an elevated and renovated rail line.Now a walk way.
and cycling. Spring had not yet arrived in the Eastern USA so the spring bloom was a bit muted. One could easily justify extending a NYC visit just to spend another full day exploring Central Park. It's that good!

Not going to bang on about any of the other wonderful places of interest we saw and visited. All of them uniquely impressive.

When visiting a city like NYC there are certain stand out "things" that catch one's attention. In no particular order some of these included:

Skyscrapers. I knew there were many but what struck us was the sheer number of new huge tall buildings under construction. There is a skyscraper building boom underway. Looking out of our hotel window were four massive new structures punching skywards.

Vehicles. Again, it was a given that there are lots of them! But Henry Ford's legend lives on as it seems you can only choose from two colors. Yellow (gazillions of cabs) and black (the rest). The other observation is that the oil crisis is finally done and dusted based on the large size of cars and SUV's.

Anything goes. A visit to Times Square proves this point. A Donald Trump look alike struts his stuff making a tidy sum from those who choose to be photographed alongside him. Not far off a fairly well endowed South American woman strums a guitar dressed in a skimpy g string bikini. Not to be outdone some dude close by strums away and displays his wares in his "budgee smuggler" speedo. Camera's clicking!

NYPD. 9/11 was a game changer and there is a massive police presence wherever one goes in NYC. Police cars, flashing lights, sirens and cops in numbers. Unlikely to change anytime soon given the ongoing terrorism threats. We never felt unsafe or uneasy in any district and never witnessed any type of unusual incident and we covered many kilometers on foot.

Bank balance. A question which crops up in conversation is cost. There is no doubt a visit to NYC will challenge one's wallet but I kept reassuring myself that it was worth every dime and penny spent. I won't go into detail but I will offer this advice for fellow South Africans. Do not multiply by 12 and you will have a ball.

On the subject of unusual incidents, we only had one. At midnight on night two of our stay we were snuggly bedded down in our hotel room when the fire alarm system went off. Including the alarm system in our room. An incredible noise, panic and pandemonium ensued. I ventured into the corridor to find fellow guests doing likewise and then suddenly an announcement blared throughout the hotel " This is the chief of the NYC Fire Dept. We are investigating the cause of the alarm. Do not panic and do not evacuate". Wow! Needless to say sleep did not come that easily thereafter. Still don't know what triggered this and the hotel staff made no mention of it the next day.

In a flash our time in NYC was up! Time had flown by and we had an absolute blast.


21st April 2018

Oh wow Tim, looks amazing, it really is one of those ‘must do’ type places. Travel safely!
21st April 2018

Thanks Catherine. Stick NYC in your bucket list.
21st April 2018

The Big Apple
Did you have a Pastrami on Rye? ...or a Reuben in a deli ? Enjoying the read!
21st April 2018

Yip...the Reuben & it was good. Head off from Lancaster PA to Washington tomorrow.

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