First stop after landing in New York and having my best friend Dennis pick us up, was one of my favorite Long Island restaurants - Big Daddys - some awesome Cajun food!
And a Long Island legend - the Amityville Horror House. The house in Amityville has become the stuff of legend...the basis for several best selling books and smash-hit movies, which captivated an entire generation. In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, a large Dutch Colonial house in Amityville, a suburban neighborhood located on the south shore of Long Island, New York. Thirteen months before the Lutzes moved in, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had shot and killed six members of his family at the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there.
The ordeal that occurred to the Lutz family during their 28 days in Amityville has become the most famous and controversial haunting case in history.
And possibly the most well known Long Island hot spot - Jones Beach!
Jones Beach Island is one of the outer barrier islands off the southern coast of Long Island in the U.S. state of New York. It is named for Major Thomas Jones, who came to Long Island in 1692, built, near Massapequa, the first brick house on Long Island and eventually acquired a total of 6,000 acres.
Jones Beach Park – 10 mi in length – is renowned for its great beaches facing the open Atlantic Ocean.
Jones Beach Park furnishes one of the most popular summer recreational locations for the New York metropolitan area.
These were pretty clever and nicer looking trash cans than standard, ugly round metal ones.
The park has a 2 mile long boardwalk.
It is the most popular and heavily visited beach on the East Coast, with an estimated six million visitors per year.
The Jones Beach Amphitheater opened in 1952 as the Jones Beach Marine Theater, the venue originally had 8,200 seats and hosted musicals. It is one of two major outdoor arenas in the New York metropolitan area.
And to the east on the south shore of Long Island is the other stretch of barrier island, an approximately 30-mile long barrier island separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay.
After exploring the beaches and south end of Long Island on our first day, we headed back to Dennis's house to prepare for a small party to bring several of my friends together in one place for Todd to meet and for me to get so see again. Dennis not only opened his house for us to stay, but also opened it to have this party and invite many of my friend...he's amazing!
Trish, Kit & Bob.
Ernie & Steve.
Steve & my best friend Dennis.
Joe, Dennis & Jim.
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, which includes the Coe Hall Historic House Museum, is an arboretum and state park covering over 400 acres located in the Village of Upper Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay, New York.
A former Gold Coast estate, the arboretum is comprised of 409 acres of greenhouses, rolling lawns, formal gardens, woodland paths, and outstanding plant collections.
With the climate and change of season, the gardens always seem to be changing.
This is a pretty cool (and very long) cypress arch.
This was the play house for children at Coe Hall.
A view of the Blue Pool Garden and Coe Hall in the background.
This is the Tea House. The estate named Planting Fields was the home of William Robertson Coe, an insurance and railroad executive, and his wife Mary "Mai" Huttleston Coe, the youngest daughter of millionaire industrialist Henry H. Rogers, who had been a principal of Standard Oil.
The eastern half of Long Island is where I lived for most of my 20 years here. This day we came out to visit my oldest friend and first person I met when I moved to Long Island, Alan Cousin.
We spent a wonderful afternoon at Alan's house with other friends and family - this is another old friend, Phil.
Alan's partner David and Alan with one of their dogs.
And my adopted mom Jean - adopted because she and Al (her husband) made me a part of their family since my parents were 3000 miles away - amazing and wonderful people!
Jean showing her loving heart as she does so well.
Here we are; Todd, Dennis and I, off to New York City via the Long Island Railroad right into Penn Station. Pennsylvania Station, also known as New York Penn Station or just Penn Station, is a major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. Serving 430,000 passengers a day.
Penn Station is right across the street from Macy's.
From the train to the subway. It is the most extensive public transportation system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation.
Our first destination is to head down to Ground Zero to go see the 9/11 Memorial. The New York City Subway is also one of the world's oldest public transit systems. Overall, the system contains 209 mi of routes, translating into 656 miles of revenue track; and a total of 842 miles including non-revenue trackage.
Some pretty interesting ads on the Subway, huh? In 2012, the subway delivered over 1.65 billion rides, averaging approximately 5.4 million rides on weekdays, about 3.2 million rides on Saturdays, and about 2.5 million rides on Sundays.
Katz's Delicatessen is a kosher style delicatessen restaurant located on the lower East Side in Manhattan.
Since its founding in 1888, it has become popular among locals and tourists alike for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, both of which are widely considered among New York's best.
This is the deli where they filmed the famous "I'll have what she's having" scene in Harry Met Sally.
Each week, Katz's serves 10,000 pounds of pastrami, 5,000 pounds of corned beef, 2,000 pounds of salami and 12,000 hot dogs. Todd and I split this pastrami sandwich and Dennis had a chicken liver sandwich that was just as HUGE!
The Memorial Mission:
1) Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.
2) Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.
3) Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.
4) May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.
The Freedom Tower is the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in New York City's Lower Manhattan and is the tallest building in the United States and Western Hemisphere. The 104-story supertall skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site.
Two pools with the largest manmade waterfalls in the United States cascading down their sides are located within the footprints of the Twin Towers. Each pool is 1-acre, and together they are intended to symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the terrorist attacks. The sound of the water falling is supposed to drown out the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary.
The rear of Trinity Church, or also known as St. Paul's Chapel, faces Church Street, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site. After the attack on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.
The church survived without even a broken window. Church history declares it was spared by a miracle sycamore on the northwest corner of the property that was hit by debris. The tree's root has been preserved in a bronze memorial by sculptor Steve Tobin.
George Washington, along with members of the United States Congress, worshipped at St. Paul's Chapel on his Inauguration Day, on April 30, 1789.
And now off to a completely different monument - the Statue of Liberty.
I look pretty happy about heading there too, don't I? Actually I really am. It is an amazing day for the tour (and little did we know we made it just in time before the govermentment shutdown that shut it down the next day).
The place to catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty is at the 25 acre Battery Park. The Battery is named for the artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city's early years to protect the settlement behind them.
The trip on the ferry provides and awesome view of the lower Manhattan skyline. Dennis took a seat in the covered area of the boat while Todd and I took a spot on the top deck.
Official dedication ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty were held on Thursday, October 28, 1886.
Approximately 4 million people visit the statue each year. In comparison, over 6m people visit The Eiffel Tower, and 3.5m visit The London Eye.
Lady Liberty is thought to have been hit by around 600 bolts of lightning every year since she was built. A photographer captured this for the first time in 2010.
This is Todd's first visit to the Statue of Liberty and New York and I'm loving showing him around...with lots of help from Dennis. Thank goodness we have Dennis along...he's a pro at the NY subway system...which isn't easy to figure out if you're not familiar with it.
Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.
Total overall height from the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch is 305 feet, 6 inches.
Height of the Statue from her heel to the top of her head is 111 feet, 6 inches.
There are seven rays on her crown, one for each of the seven continents, each measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing as much as 150 pounds.
This is the statues original torch. The torch was replaced during the restoration completed in 1986 with a new copper torch carefully covered with thin sheets of 24k gold.
When the statue was first erected in 1886 it was the tallest iron structure ever built.
Total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 225 tons (or 450,000 pounds)..
The statue's face was said to be modelled on the sculptor's mother, Charlotte. The face on the Statue of Liberty measures more than 8 feet tall.
Sculptor in Battery Park called The Immigrants" celebrates the diversity of New York City and the struggle of immigrants in this heroic-sized bronze figural group.
The Winslow Boy was an awesome play our friend Connie got us all tickets to go see - Connie, Kit, Todd, Dennis and myself - great play!
After going to Our Lady of the Rosary elementary school and earning a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Cincinnati Robert John Burck (born December 23, 1970), has become better known as the Naked Cowboy. He is now an American street performer whose pitch is on New York City's Times Square. He wears only cowboy boots, a hat, and briefs, with a guitar strategically placed to give the illusion of nudity.
Apparently this guy is riding the coattails of the Naked Cowboy...or maybe I should say riding the elastic of his briefs...
No trip to NYC would be completely without a visit to St Patrick's Cathedral.
Unfortunately the outside was under complete renovation covered with scaffolding, so our best views and photos were of the inside.
Each year, more than 5.5 million people visit St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Work was begun in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865.
The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879, its huge proportions dominating the midtown of that time..
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area. At 1,046 feet the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931.
Very cool building and worth a quick trip into the small and very art deco lobby.
Our friend Kit got us a suite in the Hilton in downtown Manhattan in her timeshare for Dennis, Todd and I. This was amazing - a great place, an awesome locatoin and wonderful services. This is our view from the Hilton.
Her is my wonderful friend Kit.
From the Hilton we were just a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.
Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st streets in New York City.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka 30 Rock and the GE Building was formerly the RCA & RCA West Buildings.
It's pretty funny, but on one of my trips to Europe I met Rockefeller's personal assistant - she's in her 80's and is a charming and super funny woman. We had a blast hanging out and traveling together.
Cool entance to Rockefeller Center.
Heading up to the Top Of The Rock.
I discovered the Top of the Rock when it was reopened to the public in 2005 after undergoing a $75 million renovation.
It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room (although this has also recently closed due economic difficulties). The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building.
It is often considered the best panoramic city view, if only because it offers a view of the aforementioned Empire State Building, which cannot be seen from its own observation deck.
I love that it offers not only a view of the Empire State building...
but also a great view of Central Park.
And we couldn't have asked for a better day.
Especially in October.
Columbus Circle is a great starting point to head into Central Park.
Columbus Circle, naturally named for Christopher Columbus, is a traffic circle and heavily trafficked intersection at the southwest corner of Central Park. It is the point from which all official distances from New York City are measured.
There are a total of 36 bridges in Central Park.
With over 9000 benches, if you placed the benches from Central Park end to end they would stretch seven miles.
It has a dedicated 843 acre area. This means it covers around 3-1/2 sq. miles at the heart of busy New York City.
A total of twenty-nine sculptures by sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Quincy Adams Ward, and Emma Stebbins, have been erected over the years, most have been donated by individuals or organizations. Much of the first statuary placed was of authors and poets, in an area now known as Literary Walk.
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" is a poem recited by the Mad Hatter in chapter seven of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As most of us know, it is a parody of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
Very cool sculpture.
"Angel of the Waters" at Bethesda Terrace by Emma Stebbins (1873), was the first large public sculpture commission for an American woman.
Another one of the 36 Central Park bridges.
We spent nearly an entire day in Central Park.
View points everywhere...
And I'm sure there are more enterntainers in the park than bridges.
Part of the seven miles of benches...
This is the view of the Great Lawn from Belvedere Castle. Once you're in the middle of Central Park, it is hard to believe a crazy, hectic city is so close by.
Belvedere Castle was built as a Victorian folly in 1869. The castle caps Vista Rock, the park's second-highest natural elevation. And since 1919, the castle has also been the location of the official Central Park weather station.
And the view from one of the larger Central Park bridges.
Pit stop for a relaxing refreshment in Central Park.
On October 9, 1985, on what would have been John Lennon's 45th birthday, New York City dedicated 2.5 acres to his memory. Countries from all around the world contributed trees, and Italy donated the iconic Imagine mosiac.
Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, Grand Central Station is the largest such facility in the world by number of platforms - with 44 serving 67 tracks along them.
The Main Concourse is the center of Grand Central. The space is cavernous – 275 ft long, 120 ft wide and 125 ft high – and usually filled with bustling crowds.
Another place to just wander in and out of on a trip around NYC.
Since 1913, this is it's 100 year anniversary.
The main information booth is in the center of the concourse. This is a perennial meeting place, and the four-faced clock on top of the information booth is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. The clock, which was cast in Waterbury Connecticut, is made from brass. Each of the four clock faces is made from opalescent glass (now often called opal glass or milk glass); the story that the faces are made of opal and that both Sotheby's and Christie's have estimated the value to be between $10 million and $20 million should be considered an urban legend.
And our final stop...can you guess?
Yep...the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.
Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River.
With a main span of 1,595.5 feet, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.
Airport Big Apple.