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From death trap to tourist trap


View New York with the Bro' on bejjan's travel map.

As soon as we stepped outside of the hotel it was like hitting a wall of muggy air. Now it was extreme! But the weather reports told about a hefty thunderstorm later on today, thank God!

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The day started with a visit at Intrepid Sea, Air &Space Museum. It’s a big aircraft carrier that participated in several wars; World War II, Cold War and Vietnam War among others.

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F-14 Tomcat

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MiG-21

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EnterPrise

The ship contain not only fighter jets manufactured by Grumman, Mikoyan Gurevich and McDonnell, but also a full-sized Concord aircraft and a submarine (that you can climb into) and the space shuttle Enterprise are on display. For the more adventurous one are flight simulators and a lot of other things to explore. Well worth a visit even if you’re not interested in airplanes.

After lunch we walked south along Hudson River to eventually end up at the High Line. The wind was fresh along the water but it was still muggy and humid. Unlike last time I was in New York, they now had built the High Line even longer with yet another segment.

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The High Line has its origin in the railroad which transported freight along 10th and 11th Avenue between 1846 and 1941. Annually the trains transported 3 million tons of freight (food) between cargo terminal on Beach and Hudson Street to Chamber Street. The trains were sometimes several blocks long and disrupted the intersecting traffic along the avenues. Despite the low speed at 10 km/h fatal accidents between trains and pedestrians were common. Although cowboys (so-called West Side Cowboys) were introduced early on riding in front of the train waving a red flag the accidents continued and the railroad got called Death Avenue. A report from 1908 showed that 436 people had died along the Death Avenue during a time period of 56 years, children were overrepresented among those.
So in 1929 an agreement to start building an elevated railroad system to replace the tracks on the ground was reached. The train continued to roll on the ground along the avenues until March 29th in 1941 when George Hayden on his horse Cyclone was the very last West Side Cowboy to ever ride in front of a train on Death Avenue. The elevated track wasn’t built directly above the avenues but meandering in between the buildings and linked to the fabrics and factories in the city. The need of the cargo train was reduced during the 1950ies when the trucks were popular and in the 1960ies parts of the railroad were demolished. Cargo trains kept on rolling until 1980 when the train traffic completely stopped. Today the High Line has become a 2,5 km long green park and a well-needed break from the intense traffic on the streets of New York, like a green oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle.

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When we had walked as far as we could on the High Line we were not far away from Christopher Street and the candy store named Sockerbit (Swedish for “bit of sugar”). And yeah, they have Swedish candy. At exorbitant prices, but still ;) And Romerska Bågar, at pick and mix… which is not easy to find in Sweden nowadays. So obviously some candy was bought there. When we were on our way down to the metro to go back to our hotel a big thunder was heard and then it started to rain… YES! Finally! Well needed.

Our hotel wasn’t far away from the biggest Macy’s store at 34th Street, so we took the opportunity to visit later in the evening. An enormous department store with floor after floor filled with clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and so on. I can almost guarantee that anyone will find something here. And if you’re not interested in shopping the wooden escalators might be worth a visit.

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Like a magnet I was drawn to their Calvin Klein department and found a nice shirt with embroidered back. It almost also came down to a pair of shoes, but they didn’t have my size. Even my brother found clothes that he bought and he ended up leaving Macy’s with a bigger shopping bag than me, ha ha ;)

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The evening ended with a drink each up in the top roof bar at the hotel and Empire State Building was lighted up with red-white-red colors to honor Canada Day. Danny and I wanted to try out as many different drinks as possible during the week and this evening was no exception. I tried out a Chocolate Martini that was okay in the beginning but tasted mostly chocolate in the end.
The long-awaited thunderstorm appeared during the evening. From the top roof bar it looked like some kind of strobe light was directed up towards the low clouds, but we realized pretty quickly that it was lightning. And you could barely hear the rumble of thunder due to the music played in the bar. So we decided rather quickly to go back to the hotel room before the heavy rain started.

Posted by bejjan 09:19 Archived in USA Tagged new_york shopping empire_state_building fighter_jets the_high_line

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