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September 2010 - New York, New York!

What an amazing city it is!  It’s a city of absolute contrasts.  It’s a city of buildings, historical sites, historical events, current events, the incredibly wealthy and homeless sleeping on church steps.  It’s a city of taxi cabs and pedi-cabs sharing the streets above ground and a city of subways underground.  It’s a city filled with famous fashion designers with unthinkably expensive price tags and street peddlers selling their knockoffs.  It’s a city of world renowned musicals, Broadway shows and opening nights and street-corner musicians with their hats out.  It’s a city home to absolutely fabulous restaurants with incredible cuisine and hotdog vendors with push carts, bottles of yellow mustard and sauerkraut.  It’s a city of wonderful delicatessens with everything you can imagine and no grocery stores.  It’s a city of Park Avenue penthouses and apartments overlooking rivers and no single family homes.  It’s a city of skyscrapers and no grass.  It’s a city that never sleeps. 

We were fortunate enough to stay in a beautiful hotel right in Times Square.  From the moment we arrived we could feel and see the energy all around us.  The neon billboards on every building, the hundreds of people walking around looking at the sites and all the other people.  It is a combination of the lights of Las Vegas and the crowds of Hong Kong.  It was amazing.

Our ventures took us to Broadway to see a great comedy called The 39 Steps and Park Avenue for some serious window shopping.  Then we were on to Chinatown where we were approached at least half a dozen times.  “Hey Lady, want to buy a purse?  We got Prada, Coach and Yves St. Laurent.  Come I show you pictures then you choose!  Come, follow me.”  It always seemed to be a young girl that made the initial contact and then she took you to the guy with the photos of the merchandise.
In the evening, on Broadway, men carrying loads of merchandise wrapped up in a sheet, waited for likely customers to walk by.  As soon as a potential customer was spotted the vendors would layout their ‘designer’ purses on the sidewalk all the while watching for police.  When the officers approached, and they always did, the sheet and all of the bags were quickly snatched up and off they went.  This back and forth dance between the law officers and the ‘not so legitimate’ vendors continued throughout the night.  It was all very entertaining to watch.

Madame Tussauds, the wax museum, was entertaining with all the wax figures on display throughout several floors of the building.  You can stand right next to them and take your picture; it’s fun.  Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts are all there.  There are a ton of sports figures including Hakeem ‘the dream’ Olajuan.  And for you ‘Team Edward’ fans, this is your chance to get your photo with the most sprakly vampire in Hollywood.

A trip to New York would not be complete without paying respect to those Americans killed during the terrorist attack of the twin towers.  Ground Zero, in an instant, a place of complete destruction and devastation, will soon serve as a memorial and reminder for all us all. 

The mode of transportation we most commonly used was of course the subway system.  New York’s subway system is a brilliant maze of tunnels where trains zip residents and tourists from one end of the city to the other.  Above ground it was taxi cabs and pedi-cabs; either can be a little un-nerving.  I think stop signs were optional and lane makers were simply ignored.  And of course, in Central Park it was the traditional horse and carriage. 

One thing that caught my attention continually was the amazing number of very talented street musicians.  They were everywhere, Chinatown, the subway stations and even on the subway.  And as many as there were, they seemed to each have their own unique style of music. 

New York is fascinating and I would love to visit again but it was great to get back to trees, grass, cattle and open land! 

I HEART NY... but I HEART Texas more!

Enjoy the sights and sounds of New York City.

 

Some of the New York Sites

Central Park
Central Park spans two and a half miles from 59th Street to 110th Street and half a mile from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue and was the first urban landscaped park in the United States. Originally conceived in the salons of wealthy New Yorkers in the early 1850's, the park project spanned more than a decade and cost the city ten million dollars. Today, the park is home to numerous restaurants, playgrounds, the Metropolitan Museum, the Central Park Zoo, and Wollman Rink.

Empire State Building
It's no longer the world's tallest skyscraper, but the classic Art Deco architecture and rich history make the 102-story Empire State Building a popular stop for visitors to the City. Built in 1931, the 1,454 foot tall building has an exterior observatory on the 86th floor from which visitors can see up to 80 miles away on a clear day. The observatory is open seven days a week, 9:30 am to midnight (last tickets sold at 11:15pm). Special holiday hours are observed. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $9.00 for military personnel, senior citizens and youths ages 12-17, $4.00 for children aged 6-11, and free for children under 5 and military in uniform. Security has been tightened recently so leave extra time and make sure to bring a picture ID. 350 Fifth Ave, at 34th Street. (212) 736-3100.

Nasdaq MarketSite
The Nasdaq MarketSite as a high-tech interactive experience designed to illuminate the future of investing in a digital world. Located in Times Square, MarketSite uses the latest technology to bring today's-and tomorrow's-stock market to life. Open Monday through Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday 9am-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, and Sunday 10am-8pm. Tickets are $7.00 and advanced purchase is strongly recommended. Call 1-877-NASDAQ-1 (1-877-627-3271) or come to the MarketSite lobby ticket office at 43rd St. and Broadway. Take the N, R, S, 1, 2, 3, 7, or 9 train to Times Square Station.

New York Stock Exchange
World's largest securities marketplace exhibit hall has panoramic displays which dramatize the Wall Street story, and a gallery overlooks the bustling exchange floor. Located at 20 Broad Street between Wall St. and Exchange Pl., the NYSE is open to visitors Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-4:30pm. Trading hours are from 9:30am-4:pm. Tickets are free and limited, so pick them up early in the day from the admission booth in front of 20 Broad St. For directions and general information: (212) 656-5165.

Rockefeller Center
Tour this famous mid-town complex by picking up the well written, easy-to-follow self guided tour map in the lobby of the GE building. It details Rockefeller Center's historical and cultural highlights, 24-acre underground shopping mall with over 300 shops, and the golden statue of Prometheus and the Channel Gardens. There are 35 restaurants in the complex, including the famous Rainbow Room, located between 5th and 6th Avenues, and between 49th and 50th Streets. Take the B, D, F, and Q trains to Rockefeller Center.

Staten Island Ferry
For an excellent view of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, the Staten Island Ferry makes a one-hour round-trip between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry is a FREE 24-hour service that runs seven days a week. During peak hours, it departs every 20 minutes after 6:30am; weekends from 7:30am-9:30pm every half hour, and thereafter every hour. The ferry leaves from Whitehall Terminal at Whitehall Street and South Street. Take the 1 or 9 train to South Ferry, the N or R to Whitehall, or the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green. Phone: (718) 815-BOAT.

The Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island is currently fully open. Liberty Island is also open, though access to the interior of the Statue of Liberty Monument is restricted as a security measure. For more information, call the Circle Line Ferry at 212-269-5755, or check their website, www.statuecruises.com. This grand lady has welcomed millions of foreigners coming to seek freedom and opportunity in America. She was an extravagant gift from France to a young new America. The trip to Liberty Island where lady liberty stands takes 15 minutes. Round trip fare is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $3 for children 3-17 years old, and free to children 3 and under. Ferries operate 7 days a week. Ferry information: 212-269-5755.

Theater District
New York City's Theater District is contained within a thin strip of Manhattan, from 53rd to 42nd streets, between 6th and 8th Aves, called the Great White Way. There are approximately 36 theaters crammed into this small area of the city, most of which host world famous productions nightly.

Madame Tussauds
If you’ve ever wanted your photo taken with your favorite star, sports figure or rock star this is your chance.  There are more than 200 celebrities from the worlds of film, TV history, politics, music and sports all made of wax and waiting for you.  Open daily 10:00am – 10:00pm.  Last ticket sold at 8:00pm.  Open 365 days a year. 234 West 42nd Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues), in the heart of Times Square.
Note:  Be sure to bring your camera along, photos and fun are encouraged. Some of they really pretty lifelike; especially Ivana starring at Donald!

Times Square
Known as the Crossroads of the World, Times Square is the heart of New York City, where commerce meets the performing arts, a magnet for both business and tourism. Located at 42nd Street where 7th Ave. and Broadway cross. Take the N, R, S, 1, 2, 3, 7, or 9 train to the Times Square station. Now open in Times Square, the Nasdaq MarketSite, a high-tech interactive experience of the stock market designed to illuminate the future of investing in a digital world.

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