Day 53 – Tuesday June 12, 2007 – New York, New York
After our normal morning routine and the train ride over, we finally got into the city at noon. Two weeks ago I bought Yankees tickets for tonight’s game at 7:05pm. This gave us about five or six hours before we needed to head up to the Bronx. With that in mind we continued to use our City Pass. Last night we were introduced to the city from the water, so today we wanted to see it from above. This meant that our day was to start at the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building is once again the tallest in the Manhattan skyline. (The Twin Towers were taller.) As is expected with a building of this importance, the entrance process involves going through several layers of security. Once through security and a bag check, we were guided over to an elevator that brought us to the 80th floor. It was there that we had (were forced) our picture taken and were each given an audio tour device. The audio tour usually comes at an additional cost, but it was included with our City Pass. Finally, after all of this, we went into a second elevator that lead us to the observation deck on the 86th floor.
The observation deck wraps completely around the building, providing 360 degree views of not only Manhattan, but also the other Burroughs in the distance. At several locations around the deck, a number is posted on the wall. This number is then pressed into the audio tour device, bringing up an audio description of the view in front of you. We found the audio tour very helpful in explaining the buildings, parks and bridges along with their histories.
Manhattan is wonderful. All of the buildings are so different, but they all seem to fit together perfectly. From the top of the Empire State Building, we saw many of the different neighborhoods around the city. The tour also explained their histories, giving us a better perspective on Manhattan’s transformation from factories, low rent apartments and dirty industrial spaces to it’s current state of luxury high rises and professional office buildings. This perspective also afforded us richer views of many of the buildings we saw yesterday from the water. It took us about an hour to look around and complete the audio tour. This is definitely a thing everyone should do in New York City!
After leaving the Empire State building, we found a little hole in the wall pizza joint and dined on some wonderful “New York Pizza”. For some reason, “New York Style” pizza found elsewhere, just doesn’t compare to what we have found in the city. With lunch taken care of, we decided to catch a bus uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At this point in the day, the once sporadic rain started to come down very hard. The bus ride took quite a while, as notoriously bad New York traffic gets measurably worse in the rain. We didn’t mind this though, since the extra time on the bus allowed the rain to subside.
We have seen a wide variety of museums so far on this trip. I have mixed feelings about this one. The “Met” is world famous and very large. It features many priceless historic pieces of art from a variety of eras, cultures and continents. Unfortunately, I found that most of the museum’s square footage was dedicated to paintings of Jesus Christ and other Christian scenes. I know that this art was a big part of the Middle Ages, but the differences in some of the paintings was negligible. Don’t get me wrong, some of the paintings were wonderful, but I can only see the same thing painted so many times in so many ways! Personally, I felt that it was overkill.
In fairness, the museum had several other areas with rich historical pieces on display. I particularly enjoyed the Greek and Roman art galleries. Both of these areas had authentic statues on display that were worth the price of admission themselves. Some parts of the Asian art gallery were also very interesting. As I said before, I had mixed feelings about the Met. We did however, end up staying until the museum’s closing time. Of course the museum’s closing, meant that it was time to head up to the Bronx and Yankees Stadium.
Yankees Stadium is in it’s second to last year of use. Behind the stadium is the site of the New Yankee Stadium which is currently under construction and scheduled to open for the 2009 season. The current Yankee Stadium is very historic, as it opened in 1923 when Babe Ruth played for the team. As a baseball fan, I knew that it was a must see before they tore it down.
The game was scheduled to start at 7:05pm, but didn’t start until after 8pm due to a rain delay. After sitting around for over an hour in the rainy weather, we were excited to finally see the 1st pitch. I am a Boston Red Sox fan, so I was really cheering for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I did keep this quiet though, since I didn’t want to get in trouble with the Yankees fans. They can be a tough crowd! The Yankees won the game 4-1 so I was a little disappointed. I was definitely impressed with the Yankees fans, though. The atmosphere at Yankees Stadium is unlike anywhere else I have seen so far. I hear that Fenway Park in Boston is even a more intense experience. All I can say is that the Yankees fans are truly dedicated to the team and it shows.
We left Yankee Stadium at 10:30 pm and finally got back to the hotel at midnight. It was another long day and we are starting to get tired. Looking back, we have been going non stop since Washington DC and are starting to fade a little. Tomorrow will be another late night as we are going to see a Broadway show. Thursday we are only going into the city for part of the day, before we drive north to Hartford, Connecticut for the night. We are going to take a day off as soon as we leave this wonderful, tiring city.
We want to thank everyone for the comments and emails. Your support is truly appreciated and keeps us going.
The Coomer Family