Sunday, November 13, 2011

NY part 2

There is a very famous picture of a bunch of steel workers having lunch on a beam, high above the New York skyline. A man has created a statue of that picture, and has it attached to his truck as he drives around the City.

What is interesting is that the same photogapher also did a Men Asleep on a Girder version of some of the same men!

Since I was a fan of the cop/fireman/paramedic TV show called 3RD Watch, I just had to see if I could visit any of the famous sites that it was filmed at. The story of the show was that these guys were all working the 3-11pm shift (hence the 3rd watch) in the area of King Blvd and Arthur St, leading to a nick name of Camelot.

Searching the internet, I discovered that the firehouse of Fire Station 55 was a real fire house in Queens (firehouse for Engine 258/Ladder 115), so I had to visit. Located on 47th Avenue (not Street, which is one block over!) in Long Island City, Queens, its an active firehouse for the FDNY.

The weird thing about this place is that there are absolutely no doors into it from the front, other than the garage doors. So there is little chance to interact with any of the firemen there, many of which were extras in the show. In fact, there is a sign on one of the windows saying that if you want to report a fire, go down the street to a fire box and pull the alarm!

Eveyone now knows about the former World Trade Centre area of New York. Nowadays, the Port Authority is in the process of rebuilding the buildings, inlcuding 1 WTC, also known as the Freedom Tower.

The building currently is about 1/2 way done, and when its complete, it will be 105 stories (WTC buildings were 110), with a 5 storey spire to reach the same level as the original, but built to a height of 1776 ft, representing the birth of the nation.

In regards to the original Twin Towers, there is now a memorial to the buildings, and those that died in them. You must first obtain a ticket (limited amounts are provided each day), then wait your turn (all have a time on them) before you can enter the site. Snaking through the streets, you end up at a security check point where everything metal (belts and watches) are removed, and you pass through a metal detector. Once your approved, you finally enter the area of the towers. I must say that they did a great job with the memorial. Its very simple, but done well. Two large areas, in the footprints of the original buildings, are surrounded by a wall with all the victims of the collapse.

Inside the square is a waterfall down each wall. In the evening, these are lit up from below. Once the water hits the bottom it travels into a smaller, dark square in the center, before vanishing from site.

Between the two buildings is a museum for artifacts recovered from the site, inlcuding pieces of the original girder system.

With this history, the amount of security you can see even now is amazing. The Top of the Rock has a full metal detector system to get in. The Staten Island Ferry has sniffer dogs that randomlly check people, and were always in use when a bike was brought in.
And then there is the police. I have never seen so many cops in my life! Now not are all normal NYPD, as they share uniforms with Traffic, Parking, Transit, and every other type of cop in the City, but they were everywhere.

These are a long line of cars travelling through Time Square,

Not to be confused with the 8 or nine cars parked on the sidewalk in the same area!

Or the couple of mounted unit officers I saw around the corner!

I asked one officer about the "extra" things on his badge, and he explained that it represented actions done above and beyond the normal day to day police job.

And at the OWS, the police are very present, with both side streets full of police vehicles,

While uniformed officers were in plan view around, and sometime in the park itself. Very different from the Occupy Toronto park, where the police, usually only bike cops, are off to the side, down the street, and not really visible to the passer by.

And of course, what trip would be complete without Lady Liberty. There are two ways to do this economically. One is the Staten Island Ferry,

which is a 24 hour a day, FREEEEEEEE ferry from the Island of Manhattan to Staten Island. From the ferry you can get great view of Manhattan,

along with a pretty good view of Lady Liberty. And again, its FREEEEEE!!!

The other method is NY City Water Taxi. This has a hop on hop off service for 25 bucks, which travels from the Intrepid Museum south the Financial District, then to Peir 17, across to Brooklyn, and then goes out and stops beside the Statue, before returning to the original site.

And with my vacation over, I put the city in my rear view mirror,

and headed back home, eager to return to this great city once again!

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