By HOWARD BERGER
NEW YORK (Oct. 26) – For my money, there is nothing quite so exhilarating, weather-wise, as a perfect autumn afternoon. Combine such conditions with one of the great cities on Earth and spontaneous things happen. Tuesday was one of those days.
I took a late-morning train from Philadelphia to New York (with a brief stop in Newark) – embarking in the heart of Manhattan at Penn Station, directly beneath Madison Square Garden. After a one-hour work appointment on 6th Ave., I walked back to my hotel and was struck, as always, by the majesty of the Empire State Building – since Sep. 11, 2001, the tallest structure, once again, in this canyon of towers. Soaring toward a perfectly-blue sky – its southwest facade baked in late-afternoon sun – New York’s most famous landmark was too inviting to pass by. As such, I made my first trek to the 86th-floor observation level since early in 1990 – both this city and its Toronto-based visitor having changed rather dramatically in the interim.
I was quickly reminded that you don’t simply walk into the Empire State Building and board an elevator to the top. First, you fall in behind the 300 or so others that have chosen the same activity. You slowly wind your way toward an airport-type security system and are instructed to virtually dis-robe before passing through the metal detector. Then you join the ticket line, whereupon you approach, roughly one-half hour later, a window to purchase the $22 observation-level fare. Line-up No. 3 is to board an elevator to the 80th floor – for reasons that are not explained, a transfer-point in the massive building to the next and final line-up: a lift that delivers you the remaining six stories to your destination.
Upon arriving at the observation deck, you instantly realize why you’ve just invested an hour to get there – the results of which are displayed in my photo-images below.
A 75-MINUTE TRAIN RIDE FROM PHILADELPHIA TO NEW YORK BRIEFLY STOPS IN NEWARK (ABOVE), WHERE THE PRUDENTIAL CENTER (HOME OF THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS) SITS BENEATH THE DOWNTOWN INSURANCE BUILDINGS. EMBARKING FROM PENN STATION IS A BIT CONFUSING, DESPITE WHAT APPEARS TO BE GENERALLY GOOD SIGNAGE (BELOW).
NEWLY-RENOVATED MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (ABOVE) HOSTED THE 1980s ROCK GROUP DURAN-DURAN ON TUESDAY NIGHT.
THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING (ABOVE) RISES TOWARD A PERFECT MID-AUTUMN SKY.
THE FAMILIAR SECURITY BACK-DROP (ABOVE) AT THE 5th-AVENUE ENTRANCE TO THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.
FROM 86 FLOORS UP, A VIEW OF THE EAST RIVER (ABOVE), SEPARATING MANHATTAN FROM THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS ON LONG ISLAND. RECTANGULAR STRUCTURE ON LEFT SIDE IS THE UNITED NATIONS BUILDING.
THE OLD MET LIFE INSURANCE BUILDING, AT 200 PARK AVE. IN MID-TOWN MANHATTAN, STANDS OUT IN THE ABOVE PHOTO, WHICH LOOKS NORTHEAST TOWARD QUEENS AND LaGUARDIA AIRPORT.
NEW YORK’S CANYON OF SKYSCRAPERS IS DWARFED (ABOVE) FROM THE OBSERVATION LEVEL OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.
THE ABOVE VIEW LOOKS DUE-NORTH TOWARD CENTRAL PARK (DARK PATCH OF TREES IN MIDDLE). ON LEFT IS THE HUDSON RIVER, WITH THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE – CONNECTING FORT LEE, N.J. TO UPPER-MANHATTAN – IN THE DISTANCE. THE NEW MET LIFE BUILDING IS AT LOWER-LEFT IN PHOTO.
A BARGE WINDS ITS WAY ALONG THE HUDSON RIVER (ABOVE), CLOSE TO WHERE CAPTAIN CHESLEY SULLENBERGER MIRACULOUSLY LANDED HIS CRIPPLED USAirways A-320 IN JANUARY 2009, MAKING INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES. THE AIRCRAFT, HAVING DEPARTED MOMENTS EARLIER FROM LaGUARDIA, STRUCK A PATCH OF CANADIAN GEESE ON ITS CLIMB-OUT, DISABLING BOTH ENGINES. DETERMINING HE DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT GLIDE-TIME TO REACH ANY OF THE AIRPORT RUNWAYS IN THE AREA, SULLENBERGER DITCHED THE POWERLESS JETLINER IN THE HUDSON WITHOUT INCURRING A FATALITY OR SERIOUS INJURY.
THE 34th STREET (OR NORTH) SIDE OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN JUTS OUT FROM BEHIND ITS ACCOMPANYING OFFICE TOWER (ABOVE).
ACROSS THE HUDSON RIVER – THREE MILES WEST OF MID-TOWN MANHATTAN – IS THE MEADOWLANDS SPORTS COMPLEX IN EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. A TELEPHOTO LENS AND A BIT OF LUCK ENABLED THE ABOVE IMAGE OF MET LIFE STADIUM: HOME TO THE NFL’S NEW YORK JETS AND GIANTS. A HOWLING EASTERLY WIND, 86 STORIES ABOVE THE CITY, PRESENTED QUITE THE CHALLENGE WHILE STEADYING FOR THIS PHOTO.
FOR REASONS THAT NEED NOT BE EXPLAINED, THE BIGGEST CROWDS ATOP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING ARE THOSE THAT GATHER, THREE AND FOUR-DEEP, TO PEER SOUTH TOWARD THE FORMER SITE OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS. JUST MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER “9-11”, A NEW TOWER RISES FROM GROUND ZERO (ABOVE… CLOSER LOOK BELOW) – CONSTRUCTION CRANE SOARING SKYWARD. ON RIGHT OF THE ABOVE PHOTO, IN NEW YORK HARBOR, IS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. IN THE BACKGROUND IS STATEN ISLAND
SETTING SUN GLIMMERS OFF THE SOUTH FLANK OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING (ABOVE AND BELOW) – PHOTOS TAKEN FROM 5th AVE.
I’VE BEEN TO NEW YORK ROUGHLY 40 TIMES IN MY LIFE AND HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING QUITE LIKE THE ABOVE DUO, STROLLING ALONG 5th AVE. BETWEEN 35th AND 36th STREET.
THE SKY WASN’T NEARLY SO INVITING WHEN I LEFT NEW YORK EARLIER TODAY ON AN AIR CANADA FLIGHT OUT OF LaGUARDIA (ABOVE).
A ROUTINE FLIGHT-PATTERN OUT OF LaGUARDIA (OFF RUNWAY-13) HAS JETLINERS CLIMBING OVER FLUSHING, N.Y. (ABOVE) IN THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS: SITE OF THREE-YEAR-OLD CITI FIELD, WHERE THE NEW YORK METS PLAY HOME GAMES (CLOSER LOOK BELOW); THE NATIONAL TENNIS CENTER (UPPER-LEFT), HOME OF THE ANNUAL U.S. OPEN TOURNAMENT, AND THE 1964 WORLD’S FAIR (FAMED SPHERE AT FAR-LEFT). LARGE PARKING AREA BEHIND THE THIRD-BASE SIDE OF CITI FIELD IS WHERE THE METS’ FORMER HOME, SHEA STADIUM, USED TO BE.
SPORTS FANS WILL RECOGNIZE THE GROUNDS OF THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL TENNIS CENTER (ABOVE) – PARTICULARLY GIANT ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM, WHERE THE CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL OF THE U.S. OPEN IS CONTESTED EACH SEPTEMBER.
AIR CANADA E-75 CLIMBS OUT OVER THE WESTERN TIP OF LONG ISLAND (ABOVE).