New York City – May 2018 – Life Underground

Most New York City subway stations have some level of artwork in them. The 8th Avenue Subway station’s 14th Street station takes it to another level. There are around 130 small sculptures scattered throughout the multiple levels of subway platforms.

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Titled ‘Life Underground’ and designed by artist Tom Otterness in the 1990s, they were initially displayed above ground – eventually being installed in the station in the early 2000s.

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They are literally scattered everywhere.

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Underneath a gate to make it look like he his trapped.

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On the beams above the walkways.

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Some of the more popular are the legendary sewer alligators.

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Some of his inspirations were that the subways were designed in the 1890s, during the Tammany Hall/Boss Tweed era. This statue at the top of with a money bag head is one of the most popular with the commuters – the artist believes people rub it for good luck.

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We spent an hour wandering the station – many shots provided interesting backgrounds.

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This couple must be on happy hour.

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Many of the statues have some representation of poor versus rich.

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Some were hiding under stairs.

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One of my favorite, which I found in a couple of places, were two guys attempting to cut down the structural beams.

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Some were harder than others to figure out the message.

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Waiting on his train.

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One final look at another alligator and a number of others. If you find yourself in Manhattan it is well worth the effort to stop by this station.

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New York City – May 2018 – Manhattanhenge

Most people in the world know about Stonehenge in England. Less known, but still amazingly cool and very popular is Manhattanhenge.

With most of Manhattan built in a grid street system in a general east-west pattern twice a year the sun sets directly down the east-west streets. Because it is not exactly due west it does not occur on the equinox’s, rather slightly different dates. We were fortunate enough to be there for the May event.

We chose to watch the event from Park Avenue and East 34th Street, as it is a wider street and lined with tall buildings. With sunset scheduled for 8:13 PM we arrived around 7:45 to already find people gathering.

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While we waited we noticed there was some light fog around the Empire State Building. The fog made some interesting streaks into the sky (which was even more visible to the eye).

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As the sun continued to set the crowds grew. Each time the light would change for Park Avenue people would crowd into the street for the view west on 34th Street.

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Literally ever minute the view changed.

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Eventually the crowds were blocking the street long enough the taxis and other cars would blast their horns to get through – further adding to the atmosphere.

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While a few clouds obscured the event it was still amazing.

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With a 600mm zoom the views were intense.

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When the sun is just right it will also reflect off of the street.

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Finally at 8:13 the last of the sun set over the buildings in New Jersey.

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Jersey City, NJ – May 2018 – Liberty State Park

Our day ended in Jersey City with a stop at Liberty State Park. As we entered we paid our respects at the 9-11 Memorial. With the late afternoon sun and lack of crowds it was a moving moment to see the names of those who lost their lives that day.

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Nearby is the iconic view of lower Manhattan.

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The former Jersey City rail station continue to be refurbished.

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There were numerous sailboats out in the harbor.

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Including a large sailboat for tourists.

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The last of the day’s Statue of Liberty cruises was returning.

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Later we were treated to a great full moon over Manhattan.

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Staten Island, NY – May 2018 – Island Life

After Coney Island we headed to Staten Island for the rest of the afternoon. To get there we crossed the impressive Verrazano Bridge.

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At one time the longest span suspension bridge in the world, it is still an impressive structure with 8 lanes on each of the two decks.

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We arrived at the other side and went to Fort Wadsworth.

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Being on a hill at the narrows entering New York Harbor, this site has been a military post since the 1600s with the Dutch. The existing structure was built in the mid 1800s.

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As we continued our hike we had a great look at the underside of the bridge.

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When the Verrazano Bridge was being designed the community insisted they bypass both this fort and Forth Hamilton on the Brooklyn side. They did bypass it, but not by much.

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Just south of the fort is South Beach, a bit of tropics in Staten Island. The view in the distance is Brooklyn.

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Our final view was of a large cargo ship passing under the bridge.

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Brooklyn, NY – May 2018 – Coney Island Lunch

Since we were in the area and I have never been there, we stopped by Coney Island for lunch at Nathans!

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After our nutritious and delicious lunch we took a walk on the boardwalk.

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Even though it was a beautiful summer day (the day after Memorial Day) the place was empty for 1 PM.

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They even have a palm tree on the beach (which is actually a misting palm tree)

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Having seen photos of Coney Island my entire life it was cool to see it in person, with the tall apartment buildings in the background.

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The pier appears to have been recently refurbished.

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We continued down the boardwalk past the various rides, shops and restaurants

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Ending up at the iconic Coney Island subway station.

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Sands Point, NY – May 2018 – Sands Point Preserve

Our final stop on our tour of North Shore Mansions was Sands Point Preserve. This estate contains two primary mansions, the Hempstead House and Castle Gould.

Castle Gould was built to be a replica of Kilkenny Castle.

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Which from a distance has a strong resemblance.

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As with the other estates this one too borders the Long Island Sound. While these mansions remain much like they were 100 years ago, the others nearby have been torn down and replaced with modern houses.

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Back up on the hill you again get a nice water view.

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The Hempstead House features well kept gardens, although large tents mar the view (for all of those brides from Planting Fields I guess)

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This home too features a large turret.

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The entryway has massive wooden doors, with a smaller side door for actual use.

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Clearly if you are going to visit Long Island Mansions of the past, don’t do it on a Tuesday – they are all closed to tours.

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Oyster Bay, NY – May 2018 – Running of the Brides at Planting Fields Arboretum

Our next stop of Long Island North Shore former estates is the Planting Fields Arboretum. As with the others it was an estate for a wealthy New York City resident – William Robertson Coe. William took an easier route to wealth, he married into it.

The Coe’s were avid gardeners, hiring renown landscape artists to design the estate. In the mid 1950s it became a temporary campus for the State University of New York, but finally in the mid 1960s it became an arboretum.

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One of the more interesting features is a tunnel of evergreens.

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Eventually we went into the greenhouses and were met with a nice collection of flowers and plants.

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We left the greenhouses and made our way over to the Italian Gardens.

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Nearby is the mansion, which in keeping with the theme of the day was closed to visitors.

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As we returned to the Italian Gardens we first met the ‘running of the brides’. Apparently this is a very popular place for wedding photography, and for the rest of the afternoon we were dodging brides.

We saw about 10 different wedding groups (on a Tuesday afternoon)!

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Finally we left the wedding parties and moved to another greenhouse.

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Our wedding day complete, we went back into the town of Oyster Bay where we were greeted with a great statue of their favorite son, Teddy Roosevelt.

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