biking

New York City-Day 4…Central Park and Empire State Building

We have always wanted to go to Central Park.  What better way than on bikes.  We found a very reasonable bike rental shop and decided to rent the bikes for the day, so we wouldn’t be rushed in exploring the park.  However, the first order of the day, was re-filling our subway card.  You get a bonus for spending so much, and we didn’t want anything left on the card, so with much discussion and calculations we eventually figured out the amount to buy.

 

We picked up our bikes, received our helmets and a basket and headed to 3 blocks to Central Park.  At the Columbus Circle entrance is the USS Maine Monument.  It is dedicated to the sailors that died when the ship exploded and sank in 1898.

 

We biked along the road until we came to the walkway leading to the Mall.  This is a large paved path, lined with trees and flanked on the sides with statues of famous authors.  (You only are allowed to bike on the roadways, and must walk the bikes on the paths).

 

We continued our bike trip to Bethesda Terrace.  It is the only formal architectural setting in the park.  It features the Angel of the Waters fountain.  There was a street artist creating large bubbles to the delight of the crowd.  The walls and ceiling of the walkway under the terrace are adorned with an intricate tapestry design.

 

Past the fountain, you can see the far end of the Lake, as well as the Boathouse restaurant and a place to rent rowboats.

 

We hiked a short trail to the Bow Bridge.  It is considered one of New York City’s most romantic settings.  Below the bridge the turtles were sunning on the rocks.

 

We continued down to Cherry Hill.  The fountain was dedicated in 1860 and was originally designed as a watering trough for horses.  The fountain was restored in 1998.  There is an assortment of ways to see Central Park, from horse-drawn carriages, to bicycle rickshaws.  However, those options are based on a per minute charge.

 

The flowers were in full bloom and were stunning.

 

We back tracked and made our way to the Alice in Wonderland statue.IMG_20170512_115309862

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On the other side of the statue is the Conservatory Water.  You can operate small remote-controlled boats.  We completely missed this….not sure how, but we did.

We stopped for a picture on some of the massive rocks in the Park.

 

We walked our bikes through the Glade Arch, where a musician was playing, what we assume to be a type of harp.

 

We then made out way to the Belvedere Castle.   Belvedere means a beautiful view in Italian.  There is an observation deck at the top of the castle.  They ask for donations to climb the stairs.

 

From there we stopped at the King Jagiello Monument.  It was originally created for the 1939 New York’s World Fair in the Polish pavilion.  Jagiello was the king of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 1400s.  It is one of 29 sculptures scattered throughout the park.

 

We hopped off the bikes and walked through the Greywacke Arch.  It is so named for the sandstone of which it is constructed.  This sandstone can be found in the Hudson River Valley.  The arch was completed in 1862.

 

A quick stop at Cleopatra’s Needle.  This is one of three Egyptian obelisks that were re-erected in New York City, London, and Paris.

 

We stopped at the overlook of the Central Park Reservoir also known as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.  It is 40 feet deep and holds a billion gallons of water.  It was built-in the 1860s as a temporary water supply while the city’s water system was shut down each for maintenance.  There is a running track that goes around the upper bank. On the wall of the stairs, there is a plaque honoring John Mitchel, who was mayor of New York for only one term.  After being defeated in the 1917 election for his second term, he joined the Air Service and in a training flight, his plane went into a nose dive.  He had failed to put on his seat belt and fell out of the plane to his death.

 

We took a break on the grass at the North Woods.  Even though we were in a large city, you could barely hear the traffic noise inside the park.

 

The Ravine in the North Woods was beautiful and peaceful.

 

The were several hills as we made the loop to head back towards Columbus Circle.

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There was a photo shoot occuring at the Glen Span Arch…

 

The Pool is a small but beautiful lake.

 

We made out way back to the Columbus Circle entrance to the park.  We had biked the entire loop of Central Park which is 6.1miles.  We had taken our time (about 5 hours)and enjoyed as much of the park as possible.  It is a very beautiful place. On our way back to the bike shop we took the long way and enjoyed some of the churches near Central Park.

 

After dropping off the bikes, the nearest subway station was at Columbus Circle, which gave us a chance to admire the Columbus statue.  Columbus Circle is important as it is the point from which all official distances in NYC are measured.  Four important streets intersect here…Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South, and Central Park West.

 

The statue in the center of the traffic circle is of Christopher Columbus.  It was erected in 1892 as part of New York’s 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas.

 

We went down into the Columbus Circle subway station and it was like walking into a mall.  Shops and eating establishments of every type…

 

Our day was not yet over, as we were headed to the Empire State Building.  The last time we were there, Jade was 9 and Jerie was 6.  It was pouring rain, so the view wasn’t very good.  We were excited to have a nice day this time, to view the city.

Construction on the Empire State Building began in March 1930 and was completed in May, 1931.  Unfortunately that was during the height of the Depression so the building was not a financial success until the 1950s.

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The building is 1250 feet tall but with the tower it is 1454 feet.  In 2010, the building underwent a $550 million renovation to make it more energy efficient and eco-friendly.  As we waited in line for our turn to ride the elevator to the observation deck, we looked at the displays, describing the energy renovation.

The observation deck is on the 86th floor.

 

There are awesome exhibits to look at.  You can down load a free app on your phone to access the audio tour.

You make your way through the exhibits and then go outside to the observation area.  The audio tour will tell you what to look for on each side of the deck.

There is a second observation area on the 102nd floor.  It costs an additional $20.00 per person to ride the elevator, but is worth the money.

The originally idea for this floor was to be the unloading area for blimps (helium filled transportation balloons).  The blimp would “dock” on the tower and passengers would unload via a wooden staircase.  Hmmm….interesting idea.

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It is small but not crowded and you can spend as much time as you like.  It has some nice accent features.  Next to the views, we loved the elevator operators.

The views were stunning,  but the windows were a bit dirty….lol…who wants to clean a window 1250 feet in the air.

The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1970. It is now the 5th tallest in the United States and the 34th tallest in the world. The limestone came from a quarry in Indiana and it’s design was inspired by the Reynolds Building in North Carolina.  The project had 3,400 workers and finished 12 days ahead of schedule.  It is quite a marvel of architecture for being built in the 1930s.

We descended the Empire State Building and took our last look…img_20170512_181729518_burst000_cover_top.jpg

We headed down 34th Street to Macy’s.  Originally, Mr. Macy wanted to buy the entire block for his store, but the man who owned the building on the corner would not sell.  So Mr. Macy built his store aroundl the building.  However, it was determined that the space above the small building did not belong to the building.  Mr. Macy put a sign there that looks like a Macy’s shopping bag.

We were fascinated by the wooden escalator that carries you to the top floors.  What an engineering marvel.  Even though we didn’t buy anything, we enjoyed walking around and looking at “everything” that was for sale.  There are even places to eat on each floor…of course McDonalds is on the children’s floor.

We caught a quick bite at Chipotle and then headed for the subway.  We had scheduled to pick-up a rental car at 10 pm as we would need to drive to our adventure the next day… the CIRCUS!!!

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