Part 26: Manhattan Sightseeing


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The Trip

We used to live in Manhattan back in 2005 so both of us have an affinity for the island.  We decided that we would take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) into Penn Station and then visit my favorite store B&H Photo.  I got Kathleen a lens for her Fujifilm X-Pro 2 as an early Christmas gift and along the way got myself a super-wide angle lens for my Sony A7R2.  Since we were there, and had new lenses for our cameras, it is only natural that we would hike around and see the sights.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Not every train stops at every station.  This express train blew through the station at Amityville like a bullet.

Amityville is a smaller stop on the Montauk line and the station is only served by the local train.  Our ride was less impressive than the express, but it got us to Penn Station without incident.

On the outskirts of Queens we could see some of the new buildings that had been constructed since we live on the island.

Outside of Penn Station we immediately saw many buildings that were being built.  Manhattan is in a continual state of flux due to construction.  The high price of real estate means that older buildings are demolished and replaced with new ones.

Even the old Post Office building across 8th Avenue from Penn Station was undergoing rennovation.

On 33rd street we could see the older, but stately, Empire State Building in the distance.

In a courtyard next to B&H we spotted this odd French truck likely used as a food service vehicle.  I have no idea what it was doing parked in this really nice patio.

B&H is my favorite store for cameras and electronics.  Think Home Depot for geeks.  The store was busy, but we got fast service due to the hundreds of agents that were wandering the floors.  Shopping took about 2 hours including browsing the shelves.  It took iron will to resist binge buying, but somehow we survived.  Armed with new glass for the cameras, we headed out into the city to see the sights.  Above is one of the first photos from my new Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 lens on my Sony A7R2.  I am very pleased with both the field of view and the color rendition.   When the sun is in the correct location, great reflections from the mirrored glass windows on the new buildings are possible.  The building in the photo above was not there when we lived on the island in 2005-6.

We had lunch and then walked west toward the Hudson River and along the way came upon this colorful street mural.  Amazing it has not been tagged by the gang bangers.

The mural was longer than one field of view even for my Zeiss lens.  Note the shroud on the building in the distance; it was undergoing rennovation.

I did not see attribution for the mural, but the message was clear.

Everywhere we looked we saw buildings under construction.

Being Sunday, the crane above was not in use.

Neither Kathleen nor I could remember Hudson Yards as a subway station.  The newer architecture suggested that this station has been added since we lived in Manhattan.

Beautiful new buildings gleamed in the distance.

Our path took us by the south side of the Javitz Center. 

More buildings under construction.  The photo above was taken from the Highline Park that recently opened.  The Highline was an elevated freight railroad that serviced the west side.  When the line was decommissioned, it was converted into a really nice park with great views.

Our elevated viewpoint allowed us to see the helicopter tour landing site.  It was a nice, warm day in NYC and there were plenty of sailboats on the Hudson River.

Five new structures under construction as seen from the Highline.

Look carefully at the low structure near the center of the photo above.  This is a "walking sculpture" that has an outline like an egg.  The structure is mostly complete, but the remaining stairs can be seen in the foreground of the photo above.  Also visible are Hudson Yards where the LIRR rolling stock is parked awaiting daily use.

Kathleen was able to get a closer view of the walking sculpture.  Plenty of stairs, for sure.

Across Hudson Yards we could see the Javitz center and the buildings of the west side.

The 18mm Zeiss got most of this building.  The amount of effort that is expended in construction is amazing.

There was a display area on the Highline tracks that had works of art.  The diagonal light bulb is clearly art.  Just ask Kathleen.

A small portion of the egg is visible at the bottom right of the photo above.  I am not sure what the other structure will be.

The mirrored glass windows produced nice reflections of nearby buildings.

The high clouds added a touch of drama to an already interesting scene.

Many of the newer buildings were non-symmetrical.

The light reflected off the tall buildings made it quite hot.

From the new to the old.  This is a portion of the Highline bridge that was built using the "rivet and plate" method.

We stopped in a bar that was advertised along the Highline path and had a few beers before heading back to Penn Station.  The late afternoon sun provide nice reflections in the mirrored windows.  Note the reflection at the lower left in the non-symmetrical building.

Note the window-washing crane on the top of the building.

Nice reflections of nearby buildings in the late afternoon sun.

What is amazing to me is that the windows are "optically flat" from pane to pane producing a panoramic view.

The late afternoon sun provided a nice view of the Empire State Building.

Even the rather grungy Penn Station has undergone a facelift.

Manhattan is always an overload to the senses and this trip was no different.  We were amazed by how much the skyline of the city has changed in the 12 years since we lived there.

Tomorrow, we head across Long Island to New Jersey to see more friends.

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