Thursday, June 7, 2007

Day 09

The Big Apple

The 9:04 train from Morristown took us into Penn Station, Manhattan. We arrived after 10 and went straight to Brooklyn Bagel Company for a bite to eat. We then braved the crowds and went up to the observatory on the 86th floor of The Empire State Building.

Some Facts About The Empire State Building:

* It is 102 stories tall and was the highest building in New York for 41 years until the World Trade Center was built.

* Construction began on March 17, 1930 and the building was completed one year and forty-five days later on May 1, 1931.

* The construction was part of an intense competition for the title of the world's tallest building. 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building were completed before the Empire State but did not manage to retain the title of tallest building.

* The opening of the building coincided with the Great Depression and as a result many of the offices remained unrented for years. The building did not make a profit for 21 years, until 1952.

* It has been deemed as one of the Seven Wonders Of The Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers

* The building has 6500 windows, 73 lifts and 1860 steps to the 102nd floor.

* It weighs 370,000 tons and cost $40,948,900 to build.

* 20,000 people work in the 85 floors of commercial office space.

* The observation deck located on the 86th floor is one of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world that has been visited by over 110 million people (including me & Paulo).

The views from the deck:

North: featuring the Chrysler Building and in the background the George Washington Bridge

East: featuring the Borough of Queens across the Hudson and the CitiCorp building that dominates the Queens skyline

South: featuring the Flatiron Building in the foreground and Wall Street structures in the background with the Statue of Liberty is just visible to the west of Wall Street

West: featuring One Penn Plaza above the Madison Square Garden and the New Jersey landscape across the Hudson River

It was a bit hazy but visibility was still about 15 miles and it was absolutely brilliant. We hung out, taking pictures for about an hour, before heading back down to the chaos.

We walked 25 blocks through Times Square and out 7th Avenue to Central Park for a bit of a snooze. It was so relaxing, lying in the sun and catching a few well deserved Zs.

Feeling refreshed, we went to the first place we saw for some lunch - PJ Carney's on 7th Avenue across the street from Carnegie Hall. The beer - Brooklyn lager was very good, although it looked and tasted more like an ale. The food was OK, but not great - I had a grilled chicken salad. The real surprise was when the bill came and our pints were eight dollars each! But it is New York and it is 7th Avenue, across from Carnegie and next to Central Park.

We paid up and jumped on the subway back to Penn Station. A quick browse in Gap, the purchase of a few items of clothing and we were back on the train to Morristown. Again we were treated to a fabulous home cooked meal and spent hours chatting about all sorts of things. A great night and the end to a great day in The Big Apple.

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