The Chrysler Building, New York City

With all the property acquisition of famous buildings over the last thirty years there is still, thankfully, one that has retained its original name: The Chrysler Building in New York City.

The Chrysler building
The top of The Chrysler building

Though the Chrysler Corporation, long since acquired by Daimler-Benz, moved out in the mid-1950s, the building that bears its name remains one of the world’s most recognizable structures.

Its distinctive Art Deco design represents the pinnacle of that architectural movement. A 77-story rectangular building, the upper floors are a wonderland of steel-clad arches garnished with automotive-themed gargoyles. Those arches form a narrowing cascade to the building’s once-record breaking 1,048 foot peak, where a spire caps the work.

The 185 ft spire, delivered and raised to the top in secrecy was installed in 90 minutes to beat contemporary competitors also reaching for ‘the world’s tallest’ status.

Only photographs can begin to do the image justice, but the best option is to stand a few blocks away up Lexington north of the 42nd Street site on a sunny day. Read more »

Central Park, New York City

Completed in 1873, Central Park New York City is among the world’s great urban innovations. Bound by 5th and 8th avenues on the east and west respectively, and from 59th Street on the south, 110th Street on the north, these 843 acres encompass a lot to see and do.

Central Park, New York
Central Park, New York. 2009

With two skating rinks, horseback riding, and skating and bicycle trails, the athletic won’t want for anything that suits their taste. For those who enjoy a more leisurely pace, the many sculptures, lakes and bird species provide ample opportunities for just gazing.

Largely grass dotted with trees and shrubs, there are nonetheless sidewalks all around and through the park for strolls and people watching. Plenty of that can be had, since the park is visited by some 25 million annually. Even so, the once fearsome crime rate has dropped to at or below every other urban park in the world.

Winding through the park is a 6mi (10km) road along which travel cars as well as the occasional horse-drawn cart. The romantic ride is still a favorite activity more than a hundred years after the service began. It makes for an especially relaxing treat during the Fall when the leaves turn to red and gold. Read more »

Best of Broadway New York

broadway, lower manhattanAlong Broadway in Manhattan there are more things to do and see on one street than in many large cities. This long avenue runs north-south, mostly, and its deviations are appropriate to its role in the life of New York. For, Broadway is home to business, theater, dining, shops and a host of famous buildings.

Flatiron Building (center, in background); New...Where Broadway intersects Fifth Avenue, at 23rd street, lies the turn-of-the-century Flatiron Building. Sited on a triangular plot, this wedge-shaped 21-story office building has attracted the curious since its completion in 1901. Even then, the unusual site produced wind gusts that lifted skirts, attracting male onlookers who were shooed away by the policeman’s once-famous phrase ’23 Skidoo’.

Another best of Broadway in New York is only a little further up, at 233 Broadway, is the medieval-looking Woolworth Building. Completed in 1913, it was the tallest building in New York prior to the completion of the Chrysler Building. Even today its tall floors combine to reach the equivalent height of an 80-story skyscraper. Inside, its cathedral-like décor makes this massive tower an architectural marvel inside and out. Read more »

Pastime Locations: Times Square New York

Times Square is the heart of New York City in so many ways, this neon-lit district is the Las Vegas of Manhattan. For nearly twenty years, apart from Broadway shows, the area was almost unbearable owing to the seedy inhabitants and shops. No more.

42nd Street
42nd Street Subway

Originally developed in the 1830s by the wealthy Astor family as a nose-in-the-air neighborhood, the current name came into being when the New York Timesestablished itself there in 1906. When the subways made it to the 42nd Street, the city’s theater producers moved from lower Manhattan, filling 76 theaters by 1928.

During WWII families could visit a show, have a bite to eat and return home without worry. That’s true again, thanks to an extensive rejuvenation effort that began in the 1990s. The crowds are still there, thicker than even normally crowded Manhattan. But for both the natives and visitors there are theaters, restaurants, shops and much more.

Toys R Us Times Square 1
Toys R Us Times Square

Disney moved in, as did Toys “R” Us where kids can enjoy the indoor Ferris wheel ride. Virgin Megastore is nearby for the teens who get bored. There’s a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (similar to the one in San Francisco or London), along with an eccentric Hershey Store.

For those who want to take in a Broadway show – but don’t want to pay the $100 or more (for some), there’sTKTS at 47th Street. This outdoor booth sells last minute seats to a dozen shows at discounts of 25-50%. Availability is varied and the line is long, but obviously many find it worth the wait.

The police patrol the area heavily and seeing their retro/futuristic station is one of the many worthwhile sights along with the speed chess players and street performers. Be prepared to hear a song whether you like it or not!

Planet Hollywood Times Square
Planet Hollywood – Times Square

Dining opportunities are ample and run the gamut from Burger King to Planet Hollywood to an upscale Italian dinner at Cara Mia. There’s even Brazilian fare at Brazil Grill on 47th and 8th Avenue, where the steak is to die for. BB King, the R & B guitarist has gotten into the act with an eponymous eaterie of his own.

Even during the day there’s lots to see and do. Good Morning America broadcasts weekdays from the ABC Times Square Studios and the hosts often interview people on the street. They also host live bands and solo performers for segments on the show.

Madame Tussauds, New York, HDR
Madame Tussauds – New York

New York’s famous clothing designers make their living not far away and you’ll often see workers hauling racks of clothing to and fro. Not something you’ll see in every major city, it helps to create some of New York’s special ambiance.

Even the non-famous names make for an interesting visit, as there are dozens of jazz clubs, bars and other serving venues around. The street vendors, too, offer edible food and interesting gifts to take back home.

Other pastime locations in Times Square New York are Rockefeller Center, the CBS Building and a host of other architectural marvels that make for worthwhile daytime sightseeing.

Be sure to make time to just stand (someplace you won’t be crushed!) and take in the huge sign atOne Times Square. That’s the location (now) from which the illuminated ball is dropped on New Year’s Eve. A tradition since the NY Times opened its building around the corner in 1906/1907, the air is brisk and the crowd lively.

Get map directions to and from Times Square, New York.

Manhattan Overview – The New York City ‘Capital’

Planning a trip to New York? Here’s “Manhattan overview“, the short review of a so-called area you wouldn’t want to miss a visit in New York City.

Manhattan, considered as the ‘Capital’ of New York City. On a slender island crammed with taxis, buses, people and buildings a long string of innovators has managed to create both a major business center and a tourist paradise. All within easy reach by subway, bus or taxi.

Manhattan Map CartoonClose to the southern tip of the island is the famed Wall Street area. Showing its Dutch origins and its geography, the streets run along at various angles and for short distances. But within those confines is housed many of the world’s financial powerhouses.

To see them in action, visit the New York Stock Exchange and listen to the traders engage in the two-centuries-old ‘outcry’ system, where orders are literally shouted out.

Though destroyed now, the World Trade Center is scheduled to rise again in the form of The Freedom Tower. At 1,776 feet it will be one of the world’s tallest and the famous Windows of the World restaurant and 360 degree viewing platform will be part of the building. Read more »