Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New York City tour, part 2 of 2

Location: Kooser State Park, near Donegal, Pennsylvannia
(click pics to enlarge)

I know I'm behind on the blog but I'll get caught up soon. This post is about the rest of the tour of New York City which occurred Friday, June 27, 2014.

After returning from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the tour continued with a stop at Grand Central Station. It was also our lunch break since there are many eating places close to the stop. As luck would have it, the bus parked in front of the Chrysler Building. It was not part of the tour but I was able to see inside after lunch.

Grand Central Station is enormous and takes your breath away when you first enter the main concourse. I tried but couldn't get a picture that represented its size. The station has the most train platforms in one location than any other station in the world. It has 44 platforms serving 67 tracks. The platforms are below ground level in a double decker configuration. During World War II, the station was guarded around the clock due to concerns of sabotage which would have hurt the movement of troops along the east coast. The ceiling has a painting of the constellations. Many of them are inaccurate and the owners have known it since 1913, but haven't corrected it yet. It was impressive.
one end of Grand Central Station
Looking down Grand Central with the ceiling
The tour guide took a group of us to a place that sold pizza slices for $0.99 a slice. I wanted to try some New York pizza so I went along. I got two slices and a big bottle of Arizona tea for $3.00 (no tax). The place did not offer seating but there was a public "green" space about a half block away where everyone ate. The pizza was OK, nothing special. Little Caesars is better. :)

After eating, I headed back to the bus pick up spot so I could at least see the lobby of the Chrysler Building. It was the tallest building/structure in the world for about 11 months until the Empire State Building was completed. Although it was headquarters for the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 to the mid-50's, it was never owned by the car company. Walter P. Chrysler paid for it himself so his children could inherit it upon his death. Many parts of the building are made of stainless steel and chromed metals. There are chromed gargoyles staring down from about mid way up the building. I couldn't get past the lobby of the building due to no public access.
Stainless Steel/Chrome entry to the Chrysler Bldg
Elevators and entry from the lobby of the Chrysler Bldg

Marble and murals in the lobby of the Chrysler Bldg
Gargoyles on the Chrysler Bldg
After lunch we headed to the Empire State Building. It was the tallest building in the world for 40 years until the World Trade Center was completed in 1972. The bus dropped us off about 2 blocks away and could not park so the driver had to go somewhere else until we returned. Knowing the bus wouldn't be there when I returned and concerned about getting twisted around in the city, I "smartly" took a picture of a unique storefront by the drop off point. Once we entered the building it was time to do the security check again so everyone had to empty their pockets and remove their belts and hats before going through the metal detector. Once we cleared security we started through a maze of stanchions and ribbon barriers that zig zagged around one room, then two, and finally four rooms. It finally dawned on me that these were waiting lines and how lucky we were to have avoided a major waiting period. If the lines were full, it would have been 3 to 4 hours just to get to the elevators. You have to go up to the observation deck in two different elevators. At each elevator you have to wait until one comes down with enough people going down to roughly equal the people going up. It was a very efficient operation manned by some very nice employees. You get off the elevator into a foyer before going on out to the observation deck. The view is remarkable. It's hard to describe all the buildings and structures you can see from the top, so I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. Sure enough, I needed that picture to find my way back. But I had to ask about 6 people before anyone would give me an answer. I was glad for the picture because it was about then that I remembered that I didn't write down the tour guides cell phone number when he was saying it. Oh well, it all worked out fine.
Entry to the Empire State Building
View once off the elevator

One World Trade Center Building in the middle

The next stop was a drive through Times Square with a stop to get a snack. The snack option was New York cheesecake and/or a hot dog from a food truck. Both things were on my list of city things to do. The hot dog was good but again, nothing special. On the other hand, the cheesecake and coffee was great.

We enjoyed a nice sunset on the way back to the campground. It was a long tour with plenty of walking and stuff to see. Too many times I forgot to take pictures of things, because I was too busy trying to absorb everything.

Ya'll take care of each other. Cya down the road.

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