BACK AGAIN

I went back again to

my beloved

New York City

now

I’m back again, in

my treasured

Pacific Northwest.

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And needless to say, there are many photographs to look at, think about, process and share. There are more in my inbox; the backlog is eleven days old. Today I’ll begin catching up with what everyone is doing.

On this trip, we spent a lot of time in the outer boroughs – five days of seeing sights and lively, often raucous, get-togethers with family and friends in Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island – leaving just three days in Manhattan. New York is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.  Manhattan is at the center, the others are the outer boroughs. When people say “New York City” they usually mean Manhattan, but a city resident could spend their entire life in the Bronx and never go into Manhattan.

As we traveled from borough to borough by car, glimpses of the Manhattan skyline captivated me, just as they have for many years. I first came to New York as a five-year-old to visit my grandparents. We went up to my grandfather’s office in a building on Park Avenue, and looking out his window, I was transfixed by all the yellow cabs, the activity, the color and movement. The view up Park Avenue and the energy on the streets and sidewalks of New York became focus points driving a deep longing to fully experience life in the city. By the age of 18 I was living in Manhattan. A photo from that early trip:

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Here are a few views of Manhattan from the elevated BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), a notorious traffic nightmare. It wasn’t too hard to grab shots of the skyline as we went from Queens to Brooklyn at a 20 mph clip, which is decent for the BQE.  The old Kosciuszko Bridge over Newtown Creek had just been demolished, leaving sections of the roadway angled wildly into the air like a sculpture John Chamberlin or Mark di Suvero might have done back in the 60’s. That’s the kind of eyeball-popping excitement I expect from New York, and I’m never disappointed. There are always surprises in New York, especially when you’ve been away for a few years…

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How about that? The iconic Empire State Building and Chrysler Building stand proud behind a foreground lush trees and a cemetery. Not your average NYC skyline view.

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The Chrysler Building is on the left, and to the right is the soaring, skinny 452 Park Avenue, said to be the western hemisphere’s tallest residential building. The East River, which separates Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens, can’t be seen here. It’s between the high rises and the older buildings.

 

 

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Pieces of the old Kosciuzko Bridge roadway, seen from the new one, after the bridge was demolished. The center section of the bridge was cut off, lowered towards the water and barged to a New Jersey scrapyard, then sections of bridge roadway on either side were VERY carefully detonated. Watch the demolition here and here. I think the sections I photographed are farther from the main bridge, so they haven’t been fully demolished yet – but if anyone knows better, I’m all ears.

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This view shows Newtown Creek in the foreground. It separates Brooklyn from Queens, and has been a busy hub of industrial activity for decades. It’s a Superfund site now because of copious amounts of raw sewage and industrial waste dumped there over the years, along with 30 million gallons of spilled oil. How placid the polluted estuary seems!

In my mind, the old smokestack echoes the new residential tower in Manhattan, tying together two very different sides of New York – the glitzy world of high-price Manhattan real estate and the workaday world of heavy industry and sewage disposal. Just two days ago an 8-acre residential site went up for sale on Newtown Creek, in the middle of what has been an industrial wasteland for many years. Someday, this could all be gentrified…

I’ll be back soon with more from New York….where just five miles from the places pictured above I saw this magical sight – a group of hungry Monarch butterflies feeding on asters at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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***

 


41 comments

    • Not what you think of when you think photos of New York I guess, and that will probably be true of the upcoming posts, too. I wish I could have spent more time there, but that’s always the way – and as you can surely imagine, it DOES feel good to be back here in the Pacific northwest.

  1. Thanks for sharing all the information about New York. As an Aussie, I know nothing about American cities.

    Your photos offered a very different view of New York than I had seen before also. That’s the great thing about blog reading and following – its armchair travelling at its very best.

    (living in a small 5 storey apartment block myself and having experienced multiple false fire alarms with the need to walk down multiple flights of stairs, the immediate thought of all those stairs in 452 Park Avenue flashed through my mind).

    • Any information you get from me will be a bit off the beaten path, but maybe that will give you another view. I agree, armchair travel by blog is a great boon to our lives! I get your hesitation about 452 Park – no way would I live there, for many reasons.
      I too lived in a 5 story walk up, in my early days in New York…no false alarms, but I don’t remember fire alarms then anyway. 😉 Maybe they weren’t yet required. Or I was otherwise occupied and didn’t notice!

      • I’m getting so used to regular fire alarm ‘tests’ and false fire alarms that if there was a real fire, I probably wouldn’t even bother blinking an eyelid.

  2. Just my opinion, but there is no city more wonderful for photo opportunities.
    Glad you had a great time, and thank you for taking us along with you!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • I feel like I haven’t been to enough cities to weigh in NYC being the best for photo opps, but I bet you’re right. And art – I saw so much great art in just a few days, only scratching the surface. Thank you, Lisa!

  3. It will be such fun to see your New York series. I love these photos and the description of the boroughs. I’ve never spent much time in New York City, so it would be great fun to spend time exploring one of these days. I’m glad you had a great trip. 🙂

    • As you’d guess, I went to some oddball places, like an old fort in Queens, and we found an old African & Native American burial ground in Queens, too, with a tragic history. The stories and visuals are endless. I hope you get the opportunity to spend a week there someday, you really should. 🙂 Happy weekend!

  4. So happy to see you enjoyed your return to a favorite city. Your photos offer a far more intimate view of that great city than is the norm. I found revisiting the city I grew up in to be rather bitter-sweet as things had changed so very much. The city was nothing like I remembered it. Oh well! :/

    • Some things change so much, but I noticed things staying the same, too, at least compared to 10 years ago, and maybe more. But go back 20, 30, 40 or more years, and I think the changes are almost as noticeable anywhere where humans dominate – the world has sped up. Still, I enjoyed the classic hustle & bustle of the streets and subways, the expressiveness of New Yorkers (which does get loud sometimes), all the unique sensory stimulation, the pizza….

  5. Love your take on the skyline and your memories of Manhattan. Made me think of visiting my grandparents at their apartment in NYC which was very exciting as a kid from the Jersey burbs. Your images are creative and engaging, Lynn.

    • We must have some very similar memories, Jane, I’d love to compare notes someday. We moved around a bit, and lived in Syracuse when I was five, but my high school years were in suburban NJ. One thing I liked about moving there was that I could get on a bus and be in the city in 45 minutes. 😉

      • So you are kind of a Jersey girl. 😉I have many memories of riding the Erie Lackawanna into the city. As a kid (sometimes without permission) and working in NYC as a young adult. The city was a different place back then.

    • There are very interesting views of the NYC skyline from New Jersey, too – sometimes you can have marshland in the foreground and the EMpire State Building looms right up out of them. Mt. Rainier does the same thing here, finding different foregrounds for itlself as it moves around (OK, as we move around).

  6. That second skyline view is much like the view from some friends’ apartment in Morningside Gardens on the upper West Side. Between time spent with them and with an aunt on West 16th, I have some great memories. During those years, my “home office” was the Phelps-Morgan mansion at 231 Madison Avenue. Those were some heady years, believe me. The short-sightedness of those who hoped to destroy the mansion in favor of an office building was scandalous, in my view, but eventually reason, the law, and a shortage of money won the day, and the mansion became part of the Morgan Library.

    Well — see what your wonderful photos evoked? One of my most remarkable memories is of being in town the night the lights went out in 1977. But I have one more memory I’ve never written about — a Christmas memory — and every year I think about it too late to fashion a post. Maybe this will be the year, thanks to your visit to the city. How’s that for serendipity?

    • I’m glad to hear your New York memories. I love the Morgan and thought about trying to get there this time, but it didn’t happen. They have terrific shows, and I remember a particular column of intense blue – I think it was solid lapis. Crazy wealth there. I hope to hear the Christmas story, maybe in a few months!

  7. Thank you for taking us with you on your journey to New York with your wonderful photos and stories. What I love about blogging is not only the effect of armchair-travelling, but of the very personal view. It is not the common view of New York and thats so great about it. It is your view and I like it. It offers different worlds. I would love to see New York. It must be an absolutely fascinating and exhilarating town with lots of energy. I imagine one could spend a lifetime there and still there are things to discover. Nevertheless I couldn’t live there (too much traffic, cars, too many people ;-), but coming again and again for a visit, that must be nice 🙂 I’m looking forward to your other non-typical views of New York 🙂

    • Not the common view, and that’s what it’s all about for me, and I agree, we can find some wonderfully unique views of places on blogs. Exhilarating is a fitting word for the city – and the flip side, exhausting, but that’s OK! 😉 I moved for the reasons you cite, but do love to go back. Thanks for your considered comment!

      • I can imagine, no, probably I can’t ;-), but I believe you, when you say you love to come back. To me its London or Paris I love to visit. Again I wouldn’t like to live there, because of the size and too less nature around, but visiting is exciting ! Great to have these places 🙂


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