Monday 26 November 2012
Highlights: Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Centre, New York Stock Exchange, World Trade Centre
Today we scheduled a tour of New York City. Starting with a excellent breakfast at the hotel (I’m going to miss this luxury when I get to Central America) we walked from 28th Street to 51st Street to the tour start point which means we walked again though Times Square. At 9 am there were a lot less people than last night.
The first stop of the tour was Central Park and a visit to Strawberry Fields. This is located opposite the apartment that John Lennon was killed outside. His widow Yoko still lives there. On the anniversary of his death thousands gave and sing “All you need is love” around the Imagine mosaic and Yoko lights a candle in the window of their apartment. Very sad.
The next highlight was a visit to the Rockefeller Centre to see the Christmas Tree and the skaters. Everyone seems in a festive frame and Christmas is in full swing. We also saw the shop were people buy $700 dolls for their daughters looks like the USA economy might be on the way back.
We also did a stop at the New York Stock Exchange which is a very impressive building and is located right across from the Federal Building were George Washington took the oath of office as the first USA President. At this point a tourist, not in our group, fall down and hit her head badly, badly enough to need an ambulance. You need to take care.
We also drove pass St Paul’s Chapel which is the Chapel George Washington visited after his inauguration so a very historic church. This chapel is very close to the World Trade Centre buildings that were destroyed. Somehow the chapel survived which no damage. As a result this was the sight for emergency personal during the crisis.
The lower parts of Manhattan still has limited power a few weeks after the recent hurricane. After a brief lunch we caught a boat to take us around the Statue of Liberty. This gave us a great opportunity to see the New York City skyline including the almost completed new World Trade Centre building one. Eventually all seven building lost will be replaced with new ones but not in the exact locations. This is so the exact location plots can have memorials.
The boat trip also allowed us to see the Brooklyn Bridge, Governor’s Island and Ellis Island on the way to the Statue of Liberty. The old lady is still very grand and a great symbol for the freedom and liberty the USA was striving for at its founding.
One of the last stops was at the World Trade Centre, now a construction area but shortly to be reopened to the public. Our guide told us his personal story as a local who lived near the destruction. He kept calling the deaths murders, which is a difference from some people who just concentrate on the terrorist side. We had a minutes silence and I attempt I was close to tears. Nothing justifies senseless death, not from anybody.
Part 2: Shopping and the Phantom of the Opera