For more than thirty years we spent Christmas in Blackpool staying with Lesley's mother, Margaret. Now sadly Margaret is lying in a care home with severe dementia.
George is doing his own thing so in 2015 we decided to spend a few days in Weymouth over Christmas. This was fine except that on Christmas Day we could not find anywhere for lunch.
So for 2016, I decided that we would stick to the seaside theme but go to a seaside place where we would be sure of finding food on Christmas Day. New York City sprang to mind.
A Norwegian Air Shuttle Dreamliner took us from Gatwick to JFK. I had not realised that food on cheap air flights is now an optional, chargeable extra so we had to starve for eight hours.
On our USA trip in 2012
we had to queue for 90 minutes to get through US immigration. This time it was only about 75 minutes but despite that we got to our hotel before midnight local time.
Songs mentioning New York and mainly concerned with transportation.
My first and ongoing reaction to New York City is: I have seen all this in the movies.
I already knew that the "Bronx is up and the Battery’s down" - important because it is the reverse of British usage where you go "up" to London.
This is the view if you climb out on to the fire escape of our hotel.
In fact there are a lot of dogs in New York and most of their owners seem responsible
These fire escapes look like they were afterthoughts but they were probably part of the original design
Outside Schatzie Prime Meats on Broadway just up from 101st Street
Looking up Broadway from the corner of 102nd Street. Our hotel is at the centre of this photo
Cropped out of the previous image. The Marrakech Hotel at 2588 Broadway on the corner of 103rd street. I assume the hotel occupies all four of the upper floors of this building and there is no elevator! Fortunately we were on what the Americans call the second floor.
Cathedral Church of St John the Divine
Just south of the cathedral: the Peace_Fountain
by Greg Wyatt in the West 111th Street People's Garden
New York delights in superlatives. This claims to be the biggest Anglican cathedral in the world.
The choir parapet of notable figures from each century since the birth of Christ here we see, from right to left: 14xx Christopher Columbus, 15xx Galileo, 16xx Shakespeare, 17xx George Washington and 18xx Abraham Lincoln. The parapet was installed in 1922 and they left the last niche empty until the century had ended.
When that happened, they could not agree on a single person so they gave us this interesting quartet: Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Susan B. Anthony
(American social reformer and women's rights activist born into a Quaker family) and Mohandas Gandhi.
The building that New Yorkers call the Port Authority is in fact a bus terminal. Nearby it and parodying the name Lesley spotted the Beer Authority. Which is a hopeful sign that the USA is not a total lager desert. The place has sixty taps serving this wide range of beers.
The Beer Authority is entered from West 40th Street. this is the view from its window on to 8th Avenue
American Museum of Natural History
Getting about NYC is generally quite easy with their boring grid system of streets and avenues. But one trap to catch the unwary is that you can have separate subway stations with the same name. There are three stations called 103rd Street
in Manhattan at least a kilometre apart from each other and another in Queens. This is 103rd Street served by the
Those parts of the subway which are actually underground were mainly built by cut-and-cover. Here we are looking up at the sky. Up top these are just metal grilles in the cetral reservation of Broadway.
The guard rides in a tiny cubicle midway down the train. These monitors, I think at 103rd Street for the
train, enable them to check the state of the closing doors
Monster vacuum cleaner! Do we have these on the London Underground?
Automated display on the
train. Lights on to show where it has yet to stop - important because the <
> train does not stop at certain stations.
South Ferry station is the downtown terminus of the
train. It is built on a very tight curve - you can only get out from the first few cars and they have these extending platforms to cover the gap. These three imaages show the platform extended - note two yellow strips and …
here is the platform retracted.
An hallmark of the New York subway is the lines of pillars close to the platform edge arising from they way they do cut-and-cover. This is Fulton Street station on the
An exception to the cut-and-cover construction had to be used at Washington Heights which include the highest natural point in Manhattan at 81 metres (265 feet) above sea level. So the platforms here at 181st Street station on the
tunnelling construction was used. The line is reached by "three massive elevators
" and and we have a wide space free of pillars.
Clearly the subway builders were not familiar with deep tube building techniques. There was a fatal accident
during construction in 1903 and in 2009 an eight metre long section of the brick lining collapsed.
And even here, if we look in the opposite direction along the platform, they have reverted to their beloved pillars.
But by the time we get to Dyckman Street the subway has become overground.
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