1. New York 2012


In December 2012 my wife Delma and I travelled to the USA to visit our daughter Lydia in New York. She had recently acquired a job at Bloomsburg in Pennsylvania, a couple of hours drive along the Interstate 80 transcontinental highway.

Right now she was in the process of moving to an apartment in New York city to be closer to the airports, since flying was to be a major part of the job. This was going to be her first Christmas in the U.S. and we wanted to share it with her, especially since she’d not as yet had time to meet many people and make new friends.

On days when Lydia worked, Delma and I did a bit of sightseeing around New York, and visited nearby cities of Philadelphia and Washington. And on the way back to Australia we stopped to have a look around San Francisco. What follows is a record of this trip including some of the sights, and some interesting bits of history about people and places.

Map 1 - Visit Area


Note: Unfortunately there’d been persistent problems with my camera and apologies are tendered in advance. There were two issues – one with focusing and the other with measuring ambient light. This is a selection of some of the better photos. Many potentially great shots have not been suitable to use.

About New York

Map 2 - New York

New York City – NYC consists of 5 boroughs or “neighbourhoods” – The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. There are many smaller islands but the three major islands are Long Island, Manhattan Island and Staten Island.

NYC It’s the most populous in the U.S. with around 9 million in the city and around 20 million people in New York State. Manhattan is the most densely populated. It’s estimated over 800 languages are spoken. Most people rent with only around 3 out of 10 housing units being owner occupied. According to one tour guide everybody lives in housing units or apartments on Manhattan Island.

New York was founded in 1624 by the Dutch who called it New Amsterdam. The English took it over in 1664. The original natives were various tribes of Algonquian Indians including the Lenapes. By 1700 their numbers were reduced to about 200 due to inter-tribal wars and introduced European diseases.

The biggest battle of the American Revolutionary War took place on the western end of Long Island entirely within the Brooklyn area in 1776. The Americans were defeated there.

Evidence of Clovis culture was discovered on Staten Island dating back 14,000 years, as well as evidence of the first permanent American Indian settlements from about 5,000 years ago.

Left: First view of Times Square on West 42nd St.
We overnighted in Lydia’s new apartment across the Hudson River in Jersey. The next day we travelled to Ohio to pick up Lydia’s new car – a trip of several hours west through Pennsylvania along the Interstate 80 transcontinental highway.
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Countryside view showing a light dusting of snow Along the I80 highway. It stretches 2,900 miles from New York city across the USA to San Francisco tracing historical wagon train routes such as the Oregon and California Trails.
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Lydia and co-worker friend at a roadside rest stop. Township of Emlenton on the Allegheny River, Pennsylvania.
For much of pre-European history the Allegheny River was controlled by the Shawnee and Iroquois native people. Wars occurred along this valley between the French, British and Indians through the 1750s. The local Indians were pretty much destroyed in the late 1700s by the American military.
The Allegheny Valley has been one of the most productive in the country of oil, petrol and gas.
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Lydia’s new Audi in the showroom. Downtown NYC at West 31st St. Note how many yellow cabs there are.
The James Farley Post Office in Midtown Manhattan. Built in 1912 is famous for the inscription on its walls, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”.
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NYC Lower Manhattan by night from Jersey City across the Hudson River, with the nearly completed Freedom Tower centre photo Christmas street decorations
in Jersey City.
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Left: Lydia’s apartment has not been fully furnished yet so this Christmas Tree looks a little odd sitting on the floor. But it’s Christmas Eve and it’s been set up just for us, complete with blinking lights.

Times Square Christmas Day 2012

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029-251212 Above: Various streets scenes around the Times Square area.Above Right: Delma, Lydia and RussLeft: Lydia and Dad at lunch.

A Day Out to Bloomsburg

We spent a day travelling out to Bloomsburg in the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania. We visited the place where Lydia worked and toured the factory. She also needed to remove the last of her belongings from her temporary accommodations out there.
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Carparks have to be kept snow-ploughed to keep them useable. Apartment buildings in the background. Snowing heavily – almost a white-out whilst sitting in the car.
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Still snowing while stopped for coffee at a Starbucks Restaurant. Blizzard conditions on the I80 Highway back to New York.

Wet and Cold Night In Manhattan

A cold and wet night out in New York city involved taking a ferry across the Hudson River then catching a cab or bus. Out the front of the famous Rockefeller Centre in Midtown Manhattan. It’s a complex of 19 commercial buildings.
Lydia and Delma outside the ice-skating rink in Rockefeller Centre Russ and Delma with the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree in the background.

The Empire State Building

A long day to get up to the top involving long queues and waiting. It’s 103 stories located in Midtown Manhattan. It was built at the start of 1930 at the beginning of the Great Depression involving 3,400 workers. It was completed roughly 1 year 4 months later in May 1931.

Interestingly a biplane crashed into the north side in 1945 killing 14 people on a Saturday. An elevator operator survived a 75 story plunge which is still in the Guinness Book of Records. The building resumed business on the following Monday.

The lights at the top are regularly displayed in different colour patterns to mark significant events. One example is green and gold to mark Australia Day.

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The Empire State Building seen from street level Looking south-westerly across the Hudson River
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Looking south towards Lower Manhattan and New York City Harbour Looking north-westerly across the Hudson River with the George Washington Bridge in the distance.

New York Harbour and Foreshore

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Cruise liner docked beside the USS Intrepid which is now a floating museum. Perched on the flight deck is the space shuttle Enterprise. The ship featured in a movie “I Am Legend”. An example of unusual architecture seen around the city foreshore.
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Battery Park is 25 acres on the lower end of Manhattan Island, named for the artillery batteries sited here in the city’s early years, particularly for protection against the British during the Revolutionary War of Independence. Ellis Island was the gateway for 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954, including comedian Bob Hope in 1908 arriving from England. Famous for it’s 6-second medical checks. Average time to process each person took 4-6 hours. The building contained dormitories to house immigrants during processing.
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The Statue of Liberty – a gift from France in 1886. Visits to the island are available on a daily basis but booking months ahead is required to climb the inside to the crown of the statue. A cute little tug boat on the harbour near the East River.

Scenes Around Manhattan

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The new Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan at 104 stories is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It stands on the NW corner of the previous World Trade Centre. An example of unique architecture. External fire escapes are quite common throughout the city on older residential buildings.
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St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan has more than two centuries of history on this site. This building was built in 1840 and replaced an earlier one built 1786. It was originally built outside the city limits because it was a Roman Catholic church. Father Mychal Judge in September 2001 was also the chaplain for the NYC Fire Brigade. He was killed by landing gear from one of the airplanes which struck the World Trade Center towers. He was brought in and laid before the alter of this church by the firemen. Part of the giant Stuyvesant Town complex located on Manhattan’s East Side which covers 80 acres of red brick apartment buildings designed as single family residences for returned WW2 veterans. There are 56 buildings comprising 11,000 apartments.
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Part view of Central Park in winter. Located basically in the centre of Manhattan Island and gets over 37 million visitors annually. Initially opened in 1887 is now 843 acres. One of the many horse and carriages which takes visitors for rides through Central Park.
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The Flat Iron building is a famous landmark built in 1902 and so named because of it’s shape. It’s possible to drive down one side of the building and look straight through to the street on the other side. Steam escapes from a hatch in the road. Hot steam has to be pumped through the underground tunnels to stop the water pipes from freezing up during winter.
067-311212 Left: Street level view of the Manhattan Bridge opened in 1909 connecting Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn across the East River. It’s regularly been featured as a location in various movies.

New Year’s Eve 2012

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Streets were packed on New Years Eve, literally shoulder to shoulder. Times Square (in the distance) was filled to capacity and Police had blocked further access so this was as close as we could get. Top centre is the lights showing blue on the Empire State Building. We were unable to get close enough to view the famous “ball drop” to announce the New Year. The tradition began in 1907 to announce 1908.

Philadephia to follow



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