As promised, I took a trip to New York City last weekend. This was my first time visiting NYC, despite growing up in New York State. Since Monday was a holiday, it allotted me an extra day during the weekend to get to pretty much everything I wanted to do. While I definitely need to go back and spend more time in each of the museums there, I was able to at least dedicate a short time to many of the major places around the city.
Friday night began with my normal long drive home and a quick turnaround to get to the Amtrak station. The train took me up to Penn Station in NYC. I looked around outside Madison Square Garden for a few minutes before catching the 2 train to Wall Street where I stayed for the weekend. NYC has an amazing public transit system. I will warn you; however, if you have never been before, the subway system can be confusing if you don’t plan a little in advance. Google Maps is a life saver if you make unscheduled trips in the system. Make sure to check your stop for which train services that area, otherwise you may get on an express that bypasses your stop. Once you learn the subway system, it’s one of the best public transit systems I’ve used, rivaling Washington DC’s Metro which I also dearly love.
Saturday started with a scenic walk around Lower Manhattan as I slowly made my way over to the 9-11 Memorial. Just north of Battery Park, at the Hudson River Park, I took this photo of Freedom Tower. Freedom Tower is in the World Trade Center Plaza where the memorial now stands. Freedom Tower is almost completely finished externally now, but is still being finished inside, and it is a beautiful and impressive building.
After visiting the 9-11 Memorial I moved on to the International Center of Photography, which was interesting stop and a bit small, but there are some genuinely great photographs there, just don’t expect landscapes. Then I made my way to the Met, an incredible collection of art and artifacts, highly recommended if you are ever in the city. There is a great collection of Van Gogh paintings in the Met.
As night fell and the city lit up, I took a trip over to the NBC building, 30 Rockefeller Center. There you can get tickets to ride the elevator up to the top floors where there are multiple observation decks. My small tripod was with me to help with the nighttime photos I planned to take of the skyline. The night ended up being perfect for photos. The top most observation deck was closed though, and my plans were thrown off because of this.
On top of the Rockefeller Center there are 3 observation levels, the first two have huge panes of glass which are always a bad idea to take photos through. My plan had been to use the top most observation deck which uses wrought iron railing instead of the glass panes. Originally, the idea was to use these to secure my gorilla pod tripod, but this deck was closed. The only way to get the photos with the equipment I had with me was to shoot really high ISO through the cracks in the glass panes. Using the glass panes as a brace, I tried to move as little as possible. In the end the photos came out fairly well, but the noise level is a bit beyond what I wanted, and the focus could have been better. As you can see in this picture, also displayed in the gallery section of the website, the night was beautiful and skyline almost perfect. Next time I go, I’ll have to bring my full tripod.
Sunday was my last full day in NYC and was comprised of the Hayden Planetarium, Central Park, and MOMA. The Hayden is a pretty incredible place to visit, though my deep interest in astrophysics may leave me a tad bit biased on the subject. There are some amazing scale of the universe analogs shown around the planetarium that really give a perspective on how absolutely huge our universe is.
MOMA was an interesting place to visit. The museum was absolutely packed with visitors. My art interest is focused a lot on painters like Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Picasso. Making my way to the fifth floor, the crowds were almost too much to actually enjoy the art. I would suggest going during the week, as Sunday left it difficult to even stand in front of any of the paintings. Despite the crowds, the collection at the MOMA was amazing. The Monets’ and Picassos’ they had were worth the trip alone, do not miss this museum if you are in NYC.
As a mini vacation goes, this was well worth the trip. NYC is someplace I could live myself, and will definitely become a frequent destination for short occasional trips. There are more pictures to come from this trip and I will add them here as they are edited over the next week or two. Remember that Instagram is always a great place to catch quick photos I take and post while I’m on trips, or just around town. Until next time…
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8