High above the city that never sleeps!
With bright blue skies I made a snap decision to head straight to Pier 84 where I could get my hop-on/hop-off Water Taxi ticket (free with my New York Pass) plus they can organise you a ticket for the 9/11 Memorial. Killing two birds with one stone I was on the first boat of the day at 9:00am. It’s an express run that takes you straight to the Statue of Liberty for a quick photo opportunity which was great in the morning light and then drops you off at Battery Park.
From there it’s a short walk up to the 9/11 Memorial site. You have to queue a few blocks away, go through several airport-style security checks and scans before finally making your way to the memorial site. Where the two world trade centre buildings once stood they have created these square waterfalls and in the centre is a hole that you can’t see the bottom of giving the illusion of a bottomless pit while around the waterfalls they have engraved the names of all the people who lost their lives in the attacks.
Towering above the memorial site is the new One World Trade building that is still under construction. At the moment it is 1250ft tall but when completed it will be 1776ft. Why that number you may ask. That was the year that America declared its independence.
I then headed back up to Pier 84 where the SS Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier that is permanently docked and has been turned into a museum. Once again entrance to the museum was included on my New York Pass card and for a few dollars extra I also got a ticket to enter big silver dome you see on the flight deck.
Inside is the space shuttle Enterprise that had only arrived in New York a few weeks before I did and so I got to see it up close and personal and it’s amazing to think that an aircraft that size can be rocketed into space and re-enter through the earth’s atmosphere. An amazing feat of engineering.
My water taxi ticket was valid for the whole day so after exploring the rest of the SS Intrepid museum I hopped back on the boat just cruised down the Hudson with New Jersey on the right…
…and then around downtown Manhattan. Later in the afternoon, the sun had moved over providing great light for photography of the New York skyline.
After the one and a half hour round trip it was nearing sunset and so I rushed to the Empire State building with plans to get some photos of the sunset from the top. However I slightly underestimated the holiday crowds and arrived to find a 45 minute wait time just to get to the elevators. Then once at the top there was another 25 minute waiting time for the elevator to take you up the last six floors to the observation deck. Just then a steward appeared from a doorway to the left and announced that anyone who wanted to avoid the wait could take the stairs. With the sun sinking and the light fading I didn’t hesitate and was the first one into the stairwell in the centre of the building. I ran up the stairs and was greeted by one of the guides at the top announcing me as the first person up but I didn’t have time to hang around and rushed outside, managed to squeeze through the crowds and get my lens through the wire fencing to catch a shot of the sun setting.
Goal accomplished I relaxed and just enjoyed the views as I waited for darkness to fall and the lights of New York to come on. You aren’t allowed to take a tripod up the Empire State Building so taking long exposure shots isn’t easy but with a bit of patience and persistence I eventually managed to get some shots that I was happy with. This first shot is looking North towards Central Park with the bright lights of Times Square illuminating the buildings just left of centre and cars on 5th Avenue towards the bottom right of the picture.
Looking East, across the East River, there was a full moon low in the sky.
And of course the view of Downtown Manhattan with the Brooklyn Bridge to the left, the new One World Trade in the centre and the Hudson River on the right.
I could have stayed up there all night looking at this view, taking in the magic of the city that never sleeps, New York!