Sailing into New York City (NY, NY, USA, a.k.a. “The Big Apple”) is always an emotional experience, especially for us Americans. Upon the distant sighting of Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, songs and slogans such as “land of the free”, “my country ’tis of thee”, and “American the beautiful” come to mind. For our family, Ellis Island (next door) was their entry point in the latter part of the 1800s, when our great grandparents crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Europe and Russia. The immigration museum on Ellis Island is excellent and gives visitors an very good perspective on what it was like to immigrate and arrive in a new (and foreign) land and the challenges of moving into and adapting to a new culture, and later adopting the country as one’s own.
[A technical note on our arrival by ship. We sailed into the harbor and up the Hudson River early in the morning with winds gusting to 50 knots and in the pouring rain; the cloud cover was very low. Hence our images are grey and “moody” due to the weather. Our spirits were high, however, as it is always thrilling to sail into The Big Apple.]
For any of our foreign readers who may be unfamiliar with the Statue of Liberty, per Wikipedia, she “is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor…The copper statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor, was built by Gustave Eiffel and dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France.
“The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad…
“Fundraising for the statue had begun in 1882. The committee organized a large number of money-raising events. As part of one such effort, an auction of art and manuscripts, poet Emma Lazarus was asked to donate an original work. She initially declined, stating she could not write a poem about a statue. At the time, she was also involved in aiding refugees to New York who had fled anti-Semitic pogroms in eastern Europe. These refugees were forced to live in conditions that the wealthy Lazarus had never experienced. She saw a way to express her empathy for these refugees in terms of the statue. The resulting sonnet, ‘The New Colossus’, including the iconic lines ‘Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’, is uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty and is inscribed on a plaque in the museum in its base.”
The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Sailing into the Hudson River (on the west side of the main borough of Manhattan — the other boroughs are the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), the initial view of the island of New York (Manhattan) is from the south — the so called “tip of Manhattan” comprised of Battery Park and its surrounding modern office and residential towers on the west (left in the photo, above) and the financial district towers (on the right in the photo).
“One World Trade Center (also known as 1 World Trade Center and 1 WTC; the current building was dubbed the ‘Freedom Tower’ during initial basework) refers to the main building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth-tallest in the world. The 104-story super tall structure shares a numeric name with the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” — Wikipedia
“Chelsea Piers is a series of piers in Chelsea, on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Located to the west of the West Side Highway (Eleventh Avenue) and Hudson River Park and to the east of the Hudson River, they were originally a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900s that was used by the RMS Lusitania and was the destination of the RMS Titanic. The piers replaced a hodgepodge of run-down waterfront structures with a row of grand buildings embellished with pink granite facades.
“The piers are currently used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. The complex includes film and television production facilities, including those for NBC Universal (Law & Order: SVU, The Black List), a health club and spa/salon, the city’s largest training center for gymnastics, two basketball courts, playing fields for indoor soccer, batting cages, a rock climbing wall, and dance studios. In addition there is a bowling center, a golf club with multi-story driving range, and two full sized ice rinks for skating. Sky Rink has the only year-round ice skating rinks in Manhattan. The complex also includes a marina for mooring private boats and four dedicated event spaces.” — Wikipedia
We encourage our readers to visit the new Whitney Museum of American Art in Chelsea (near the start of the High Line Park). We were there in the spring after it opened and thoroughly enjoyed it. Renzo Piano did a fabulous design — both the interior and exterior and the linkages between the two. Earlier this year Charlie Rose (on the PBS television network) broadcast his excellent interview with Piano which explains a lot about the design with great drawing and images.
The Museum introduces itself on its web site: “As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum’s key resource. The Museum’s signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country’s leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.
“Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paik in 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized.
“Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney’s new building vastly increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.”
“The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a military and maritime history museum with a collection of museum ships in New York City. It is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan. The museum showcases the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the submarine USS Growler, a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise…
“On December 12, 2011, ownership of the Space Shuttle Enterprise was officially transferred to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. In preparation for the anticipated relocation, engineers evaluated the vehicle in early 2010 and determined that it was safe to fly on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft once again. On April 27, 2012 Enterprise was flown to JFK International Airport and was moved by barge to the Intrepid Museum on 3 June 2012.” — Wikipedia
Wherever we went in Manhattan, we were struck by the very high level of construction activity. There are cranes all over the city, with new office buildings, new residences and mixed use buildings going up. It reminded us of the level of activity in Beijing in 2008 before the summer Olympics opened there!
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