New York, New York

Manhattan Island — Wiki

Financial District (FiDi)

FiDi with BKLYN Bridge foreground
NYSE from steps of Federal Hall

WTC Memorial and Oculus

9/11 Memorial and Oculus in the background
Oculus Lobby
Tower One —looking up

High Line & Chelsea

The High Line, an old elevated freight track abandoned to the weeds in 1980, runs from the new Whitney Museum of American Art to Hudson Yards. Here, nature is sculpted to simulate neglect — walkways of concrete and wooden planks merge into the grass, then sections of the original rusted rail track play hide and seek. Residential high rises appear at touching distance, where the High line walkers and apartment residents, the voyeur, and the exhibitionist, can peer at one another.

Post Modern High Line
The Vessel at Hudson Yards, inspired by Step-Wells in India

Hudson Yards (HY)

A $25 billion extravaganza, with an additional $6 billion of tax credits, is the latest punching bag of New Yorkers. Multiple suicides at its futuristic ‘Vessel’ and a post-pandemic kneecapped retail, are also keeping HY on the back foot. But I think the city is still processing the attitude of this new arrival and will embrace it as its own in a few years, like it has done so often before.

A Walk along 42nd Street

This one street has a most impressive celebrity line-up: the United Nations, Tudor City, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, Times Square; this street is also where the press (the Daily News, the Herald Tribune, the Times, and The New Yorker) have tested the limits of freedom of opinion.

Shearing the sky — Chrysler Building
Minerva and Hercules perch besides Mercury
Grand Central Concourse

Brooklyn (BKLYN)

As old yet larger than Manhattan, BKLYN was an independent city, and its waterfront a worthy rival to Manhattan. As its requirements and ambitions grew, BKLYN annexed Williamsburg in 1854, and then finally, in 1898, it merged with NYC, as one of its five boroughs. At that time, it had a population of a million and was the third-largest city after New York and Chicago. Today it houses 2.6 million.

BKLYN Heights, Brownstone-Row-houses, Stoops
Manhattan Bridge under construction — Wiki Photos
DUMBO & the Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan skyline — from BKLYN Bridge Park side

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty, 150 feet tall and weighing a mere 225 tons, arrived from France, as a gift for America’s centennial in 1876. Originally, she was crafted to stand at the entrance to the Suez Canal, but lack of funding for the project diverted her to the shores of New York. There she stands since, welcoming hordes of immigrants (and tourists) arriving in boats and ships.

Rockefeller Center

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., (scion to the famous robber baron and founder of Standard oil), was a financier and philanthropist who left his mark on the city in more than one way. Today his memory lives on at Rockefeller Center — a massive complex of 19 high-rise commercial buildings in Midtown Manhattan, between 5th & 6th Ave and from 48th to 51st St.

Flatiron Bldg (with some artistic liberties),

Flatiron building

This charming but curiously shaped building on 23rd street looks like a ship sailing up the fifth Av. The odd triangle shape (“flatiron” because it resembles a typical 19th-century iron) came from the fact that Broadway cuts diagonally across the perpendicular grid design of Manhattan.

Central Park

There are no two ways about it: Central Park is vast — two and a half miles long by a half-mile wide. It covers more than 800 acres of land, lakes, and over 60 miles of pathway. Bethesda Terrace and its Angel of the Waters, Tavern on the Green, Sheep Meadow, Shakespeare Theater, and the Bow Bridge, are known celebrities, but the real deal is to be just a flaneur here, drift around and experience unscripted surprises, graceful fountains, buskers, street performers and the like. And thank the city planners who gave this verdant space to the common public some 150 years back.

Untermyer Fountain — Central Park

Museums

The city has close to a hundred museums, but these three are perhaps its top draws, and all are located near Central Park.

Inverted Oatmeal Bowl?

Post scripted thoughts

The year 2020 was tumultuous and brought an inordinate amount of pain, loss, and anxiety — especially to NYC, which saw over 900 deaths a day for weeks together at one point. Fifth Av penthouses sat empty, and parks turned into funeral parlors. The question debated now is about the future of the city…

Deserted Times Square

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Ajay Goel

Ajay Goel

This is a place where I post essays and random musings.