Tuesday, 19 August 2014

USA Day 24. Empire State Building

Today was another day where I could have titled this post a 101 different things, but I think the Empire State building was perhaps the highlight - closely followed by the West Village!
Today turned out to be the cloudiest day so far, and obviously sunshine is always preferable, but I can't complain, especially with the amount of walking I did the cooler temperature was quite welcome! First stop of the day was the beautiful New York City Public Library! It's such a beautiful, and iconic building that I couldn't leave NYC without having a quick stop by
Sadly one of the main rooms (and the one I really wanted to see) was closed, but despite that the other rooms were lovely and that fact the Rose Reading Room was closed simply means I'll have to come back to New York to see it, which is obviously going to be a very difficult chore.
The ceiling in one of the rooms - so much detail it was beautiful. 
On the steps outside as I was leaving I saw this! I just thought it was so cute I had to get a photo!

After walking the meandering halls of the Public Library I set off to 30th street W to hunt down the High Line which was right at the top of my list of things to do and see while in New York. 
This was NYC Post office, I thought it was worth a photo!
I also saw this on the way! Not entirely sure what to make of it but I just had to take a photo!
And onto the Highline!
The Highline is basically disused railroad tracks converted into a garden. So there's a beautiful green walkway running above the streets of Manhattan turning what was once an eye-saw into a usable, eco-friendly green space
I have to say it wasn't what I was expecting at first, but there are quite a few different 'sections' which all cater for different things. Most of the walkway was like this, wild looking plants providing a great juxtaposition against the rigid steel lines of the tracks and the rugged urban buildings.
While other areas were clearly being refurbished because of the Highline itself with new skyscrapers dotting the walkway. There were also the occasional lawn and even some 'look out' points
Some vibrant art work I saw walking along!
(I also got free wifi as I walked along so I randomly skyped on my kindle which was fun!)
At one point there were even some trees providing a lovely sheltered path 

I actually really liked the Highline, I wasn't too convinced at first since it didn't seem to be anything too special but the further along you walked the more there was to discover!
I really love this photo with the meat-packing district in the background (such a horrible name but it's the new 'up and coming' district in Manhattan)
At one point I turned a corner and found this 'ultra-modern' seating area where a selection of local arts, foods and drinks were being sold. 
I also loved this idea - they had water sort of running over half the path and the children absolutely loved it, and there was plenty of comfy seating opposite for the parents to sit
After the Highline I walked through the Meatpacking district which wasn't really my 'scene'. I can completely understand why so many people love it and why it's the new place to shop and while away some time. There was certainly an abundance of bars and pubs and some boutiques thrown in too. But I personally didn't find too much to detain me instead heading on over to the West Village
Abingdon Market!
A Marc Jacob's Book Store! Marc Jacob's had like 4 shops on this street, a book shop, a make up store, a guys clothes shop and then a women's shop - craziness!
I LOVED the West Village! It's classic New York and I fell in love with the streets!

The West Village is definitely somewhere I could imagine coming back to with an empty suitcase and a full bank account some time as all the stores looked amazing and they were just in such a perfect location!
After dallying about in the West Village for ages I walked over to Washington Square Park, where I found some 'professional' chess players. A lot are homeless but they ask if you want to play a game, saying if you in they'll give you $5 (then then usually let you win the first two rounds and then when you're feeling confident win the third in a handful of moves. I was tempted to play for the sake of it but it started drizzling so I thought I'd better get a move on!
The arch at Washington Square
The park was lovely, and after strolling it's leafy pathways I cut down through Soho (which is everything you've pictured it to be) to catch the subway up to 42nd Street!
Then it was time for the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!
Because it was drizzling there was no queue! Yesterday the queue was out the door, and the day before Sam (a girl in my hostel room) queued up for 4hours! So I was feeling pretty smug since I'd already booked my ticket and got to bypass what queue there was
They certainly try to give you your money's worth. There's an exhibit as you walk in all about the refurbishments of the buidlings and how they're trying to save energy and be a leading building for environmentally friendly energy usage etc. 

And then there's another one on the 80th floor about the history of the building. It was OK, nothing too interesting. But they provide you with a little touch screen phone thing that you plug the earphones into and gives you dialogue on each exhibit.
I actually thought it was quite a nice idea, particularly on days when there are queues, it gives you something to do while you stand in line!
I did eventually get up to the Observation Deck and get to see the pretty special view!

After taking a few photos during daylight I set about waiting for the sun to set. I decided to come up early so I'd definitely have time (I didn't know if there would be a queue) and I also wanted to make sure I got a good spot to take photos! 
This is how I spent most of my time at the top, earphones on listening to the commentary. And then when I finished the commentary I sneakily plugged the earphones into my kindle and listened to my music while I watched the sun set
There's something a little unreal about looking down and seeing people as tiny dots!
Once the lights started to come on the view really came to life and it was so beautiful
(it was incredibly windy though, but I managed to get one or too good photos where my hair isn't all over my face!)

I'm going to let the pictures talk for themselves mainly as I don't think there's much I can really add! 

ignore the rather tousled looking hair that I'm sporting in this pic!

The view was INCREDIBLE and so, so, so worth the wait at the top for the sun to set. particularly because it was getting crazy busy when I was leaving!

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