We have made it safely to Brooklyn, NY, USA after 7 days driving across the continent. When we crested the last ridge of New Jersey and saw the Manhattan skyline, we were excited and relieved. We made the decision to enter Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel, cross the island into Brooklyn where our B&B is located. Best laid plans. Michelle was at the wheel and changed course to drive down to cross the Manhattan Bridge, instead of using the Queens Midtown Tunnel. No matter, we got here.
On Tuesday, Michelle had arranged for a pet taxi to take us and our dogs to the High Line. On the way, we took in the views of the new Hudson Yards development on the west side of Manhattan. Above shows the new towers of residential and commercial space, with the Empire State Building on the right. Hidden from view is being constricted a massive public art sculpture, The Vessel.
We walked the High Line in shifts, as dogs are not allowed on it. Michelle walked the north half, while I walked with the dogs beneath and then we switched. The High Line is an abandoned raised railway line that the City has reclaimed into a pedestrian walkway with gardens, public art that weaves past architecture ranging from the mid 19th Century to present day. It goes from the Javits Centre at the north to Chelsea at the south. Here is a noisy recount of part of my section of the High Line, as well as our crossing the Brooklyn Bridge at day’s end:
After a quick patio lunch, during which the dogs were remarkably chill, we headed south through the Chelsea, Greenwich Village and SoHo neighbourhoods to the World Trade Centre. Below are the Empire State Building (l) and the 104 floor Freedom Tower (r). The Freedom Tower is purposely 1,776 feet tall, in honour of the year the US Declaration of Independence was signed. Its geometric eight triangular sides were icy blue, reflecting the summer sky.
We then witnessed (again in shifts, as no dogs are allowed near them) the 9/11 Memorial. The Memorial consists of two large square openings, which are actually the footprints of the original twin towers that collapsed on September 11, 2001 after terrorist attacks. Water cascades down black granite walls of each opening into a depressed pool. In the centre of each is another square opening into which the water falls and disappears. The effect is dramatic and represents (to me) the seemingly bottomless depth of grief over the loss of life. Around each perimeter are etched the names of the over 3,ooo people who died in the buildings collapse.
Though Michelle’s and my proposal for the public art call for the Memorial was rejected years ago, we have both been moved by this winning Memorial design by architect Michael Arad, of Handel Architects and Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architects. It is a great design IMHO.
Turning our attention east, we saw the Oculus which is a giant white ribbed structure that houses the new public entrance to the Metro transit system under the World Trade Centre. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to the tune of $4 billion dollars, it has received mixed reviews from New Yorkers. Cost aside, I think its a pretty cool design – though I do like Calatrava’s work!
This is the interior:
We then crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge back to our B&B, completing a 6 mile walk. The weather was perfect for us and the dogs.
I’ll end this post with two more public art pieces I encountered. This is a large steel table that has cutouts and fixed chairs arranged in them that is beside the Hudson River. Three people here are demonstrating how one can sit inside this sculpture. I cannot find the artist’s name.
Last is a humorous piece by Tom Otterness, a sculptor whose work we first saw, “Life Underground” in the NYC subway system years ago. An alligator-man has popped out of the sewers to grab a money-bag headed figure in the middle of the pedestrian area at the Brooklyn branch of NYU.
We are slated to board the Queen Mary 2 on Sunday to cross the Atlantic to the UK.