NYC from the Hudson River – Exceptional Lighting

Back last year, while returning by ferry from a day-trip to Manhattan, the lighting was awesome. Being the busy Christmas season of 2016, these images were saved in my computer until… now! Storms to the north and the late afternoon sun brightly shinning in the south-west accentuated the stunning view.

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments and questions are always welcome.   M 🙂

9/11: Fifteen Years Later… We’ll Never Forget

Shortly after the first plane struck the North Tower, my daughter called to ask if I had heard the news that a small plane had crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, tower #1. Her ‘heads up’ was early and sketchy, and not too alarming, …as these things happen, rarely, but occasionally. Soon however, I was enveloped in what seemed like a nightmare fantasy – grappling with my emotions and becoming increasingly stressed and overwhelmed as reports and images from the TV were now almost too surreal to comprehend.

Below are some photos captured from that day and a week later, as the impact and aftermath  of 9/11/01 changed our world forever.

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I recall practically gasping for air as I watched it all unfold on the TV.  Commentators themselves were grasping for threads of understanding,  reporting on near simultaneous events in Washington DC and Pennsylvania. As the onslaught continued I thought: When will it end? Where is this all going?  And “What’s that? A truck filled with explosives heading for the George Washington Bridge????” No, that unfounded report was NOT  true….but what was next? 
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Later afternoon, from an vantage point in New Jersey, about 20 miles NE, the panic and fear was giving way to quiet disbelief and sorrow.
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Returning from the overlook, the quiet was palatable –  the communities slowely absorbing the magnitude of this insidious act of terror.  Contemplative silence underscored the juxtaposition of this otherwise beautifully clear day. 
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9/18/01, 11:31 PM a week later, …a consoling couple silently contemplates the aftermath as the searching for victims continues, as seen from Jersey City across the Hudson River.
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The skeletal remains of Tower #2 is seen fragilely standing, surrounded by dark shattered buildings, cranes, and hundreds of the tireless first and second responders in the rubble below.

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Summer, 2016

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂

 

A Night To Remember: Driving Through a Winter Snowstorm

        January 22, 1965, 8:30 PM.  I was all of 18 years old and casually asked my father if I could borrow the car to go to the “bridge.”  He was okay with that, as the GWB was only about 12 miles away; but would soon discover that my intentions were a little more ambitious and the bridge in question was actually in Niagra Falls, NY, some 400 miles away.  I loved the recent liberation of being a licensed driver and anticipation of seeing and experiencing new adventures.  I was also very aware that a winter snowstorm was intensifying over western New York State and consequently about to learn winter driving skills that would last throughout my life.   

Short on time? Just browse the images below.  

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Google Map: Mostly secondary and tertiary roads from Northern New Jersey to Niagara Falls between 8:30 PM and 8:00 AM, with significant overnight snow. Few divided highways except the NY State Thruway existed at the time.

     There are no photos of the night. I had no boots, no gloves, no sense and no ambition to try and take pictures of featureless, blowing whiteness at night. There were few “interstate” roads, and I scoffed at the idea of paying money for THE toll road, the NY State Thruway. So it was secondary and tertiary roads with little traffic all night, except for snowplows, a few trucks, an amusing Corvair, and speeding Cadillac. I hated it when snowplows passed me – made me feel inadequate and messed up my windshield!  

     Snow had begun falling about 150 miles up Rt. 17 before midnight and began accumulating rapidly.  Around 3:00 AM I pulled into a deserted rest area just past Corning, my tires clogging and squeaking to a stop in the deepening snow. An hour later, with chattering teeth, I wiped the fresh snow off the car, rocked it to get some traction, and plowed my way out to Rt. 17.

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Coming through Buffalo, I had no idea where this “Sky Way” went, and after I drove over it, I still didn’t know. (NOTE: These photos were all taken after daylight, offset time-wise with the text.) 
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Snow drifts along the Niagara River. Canada is in the distance. My sneaker-clad footprints on the left!
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Rear wheel drive; a weak defroster; a terrible automatic “Slide-O-Matic” transmission or something, … a perfect learning machine.

     Around 280 miles into the trip, 4:30 AM,  I was on Rt 15, a two lane highway now heading north following the tracks of a patrol car who in turn was following a truck in heavy snow all doing about 30 MPH (48 km/hr.)  Coming down a hill, still behind them, I cleverly decided to drop the car into low gear to slow down, and promptly spun out, sliding sideways in a panic. I quickly (yeah, right, like skillfully??? I was only 18! …okay, I luckily) got the car under control  by putting it back into drive,  just one of many lessons learned tonight.  

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I called my father from this “bridge,” actually a relatively new observation tower, overlooking Niagara Falls, and reluctantly paid $.50 to park in an empty snow covered lot. A lesson in local fiscal “rigidity.”  I suppose I could have refused and gone back home. 

     Continuing in the snowy night,  Rt. 15 heads west at the little town of Springwater in the western Finger Lakes region. There really was no town there, at least I couldn’t see anything. Rt 15a continued straight. I took 15 because it was a short-cut, and in a half mile came to a gradual hill.  As I continued the climb, the wheels started to lose traction until I …stopped forward motion.  So I backed slowly and very carefully down the hill while learning more lessons… this time about simple coeficient of friction and its relation to losing traction and then forward motion! (I was struggling thru Physics I class at this time, after all!) This “experiment” was tested several times before a guy in a light truck stopped and suggested sarcastically that I wait for dawn and the snowplows. Instead, I scoffed, imagined hearing him utter something offensive about kids, and, after backing down the hill for the third time took the longer and flatter Rt 15a. 

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Desolate, frigid, and awesome! The American part of Niagara Falls.

     A few miles north was Rt 20a, just a simple, two lane east-west, single path roadway in the shadow of the New York State Thruway, a half dozen miles  north.  In the pre-dawn snow storm, this was an interesting stretch –  heavy snow falling, the long white un-plowed lane in the headlights of the car.  For a while I was following a small Corvair.  On the sides of the two tire tracks were about 8 or 9 inches (20 -23 cm) of snow. Occasionally, he would swerve into the deep snow throwing a white-out cloud of powder over the Buick.

     While on 20a, the sky started to brighten, not very much, speading an eerie blueness over the landscape. Snow was coming down as hard as ever. There were several modest hills, some with larger trucks trapped before the summits. I needed to keep strongly focused with the car square in the tracks. Not too much later, a large Cadillac whooshed by at about 60 Mph (100 KM.Hr,) scaring the hell out of me with a blinding cloud of snow engulfing my car in its wake.   

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Goat Island, in the distance, is located between the American Falls, and Canadian Falls beyond.

      I eventually came into the town of Lancaster around 7 AM, found some breakfast, and then to Niagra Falls after going through near deserted Buffalo.  Later in the day, I would car-surf on “waves” of snow drifts along a road skirting the southern edge of Lake Ontario; stop and skitter up in my white sneakers across high drifts and stinging gale winds to catch a glimpse of the lake – its just barely visible shoreline marked by enormous blocks of  ice showered with angry, spraying wind-blown waves of frigid water. 

     The long day ended that night, me sleeping well at an $8 motel in Bath, NY, 658 miles since beginning. Part of that afternoon was not without more adventures, but that will  be noted on a short follow-up post including information about the camera and photos. I was back to New Jersey on the following  day,  after a total of 967 miles. 

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The Canadian Falls. Getting this picture was another challange as the mist from the falls froze hard to things like the car windows while I was outside walking to the edge. Bare fingers began to loose feeling on the cold metallic SLR camera.

Please see Part two, the return, at: http://wp.me/p37YEI-1tl

Thanks for visiting, and as usual comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Park Police Escort – The Dilemma of the Capture

This Post Contains Four Images

Two images captured of the New York skyline were featured on my previous post. To change perspective, I  drove closer to the George Washington Bridge, now 1/2 mile (.8 km) south, for this view from the edge of the Hudson River as twilight was approaching.

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ABOVE, Left to right;                                                                                                     CitiCorp Center, 7.1 mi. (11.4 km,) Height 915′ (279 m) opened 1977

432 Park Residential Building, 6.9 mi. (11.1 km) – 1396′ (426 m); 2015

Chrysler Building, 7.6 mi. (12.2 km); 1046′ (319 m); 1930

Met Life Building (Pan Am), 7.1 mi. (11.9 km); 808′ (246 m); 1963  

Riverside Church, 3.3 mi. (5.3 km), 392′ (111 m); 1930 with Grant’s Tomb, 1897

Comcast (GE, 30 Rock, RCA) Building, 7.1 mi. (11.9 km); 850′ (260 m); 1933 (far right) 

North River Treatment Plant, 2.3 mi. (3.7  km); 1985 (on river)

George Washington Bridge, 0.5 mi. (0.8 km); road: 212′ above Hudson; 1931

To keep from dying (the wickedly cold wind chill was brutal,) I was now shooting from my car, with the telephoto extending out the window for support.  Since I thought no one else was in the area, I had driven off  the road to a snow covered grassy area near the water.

Busily shooting away, I didn’t notice the Palisades Interstate Park Police cruiser,  headlights on, approaching slowly from the road. It was now well after sunset, and the park was officially closed – a fact that had escaped me. For several reasons I was grateful for their leniency and appropriate scrutiny followed by a cordially-offered wave of approval. I’m sure the barrel of my lens pointed at the GWB could have been likened to something a little more threatening.

Giving me a few more minutes as the skyline grew increasingly more impressive, they eventully escorted me up to the top of the switchbacks where I drove to the Rockefeller Lookout, 2.3 miles further north and 400 feet (122 m) higher, on top of the cliffs. 

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ABOVE: The GW bridge cable and roadway lights are now visible in the lower part of this image, as seen from on top of the Palisades.

731 Lexington, 9.0 mi (14.5 km) from lookout, 806′ (246 m);  1985, is lit on top.

Trump World Tower, 9.8 mi. (15.7 km); 861′ (262 m); 2001, at far left.

BELOW: Centered                                                                                                          Empire State Bldg., 10.2 miles (16.4 km)  from lookout, 1220′ (372 m); 1931        

One 57,  to it’s left, 9.0 mi. (14.5 km), 1005′ (306m); 2014

BOA Tower, right of Empire State Bldg. 9.7 mi. (15.6 km), 1046′ (319 m); 2007

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BELOW: a wide shot (as my fingers turned to ice,) 

One World Trade Center -Freedom Tower, seen at the far right., 13.1 miles (21 km) from the Rockefeller Lookout, standing  1776 feet high (541 m), and listed as a 2014 completion. 

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Click or stretch images to see at wonderfully higher resolution.

Acknowledgement  to Wikipedia for info and data

Thanks for visiting, and as usual, comments are always welcome – M 🙂

A Winter’s Day…. Late-Day NYC View From the Frigid Englewood Boat Basin

Located aside the Hudson River, the Englewood Boat Basin is on the New Jersey side, a few miles north of the George Washington Bridge. 

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The icy wind assured there would be no “old friends” on these park benches,

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just  “cold as bones” trees silhouetted before the bridge, and Manhattan beyond.

More images shortly, as twilight and park police crept forth.

Thanks for visiting, and as usual comments are always welcome.

Aboard the Largest Cruise Ship in the World: The Allure of the Seas

Short on time? Just browse the images.  There are fifteen in this post.         Click on any to show its full resolution. 

In 2011, we had the privilege of spending a week on this newly commissioned Royal Caribbean mega-ship as a few tropical islands sailed by….or at least it seemed that way. It was difficult to tell that we were in fact the ones moving.                                            Here are some images from that cruise.

At 1,187’ (362m) long;     up to 198’ (60m) wide;       and 236’ (72m) high,   the Allure of the Seas dwarfs conventional cruise ships, as seen here in St Thomas.1-26-11     St. Thomas, Allure Vac., Day 8 (25)_edited-1 - 2011-01-26 at 10-58-08

 

 Below: The exclusive adults only solarium was one of our favorites, with its own pools, bars, café, palm trees (?) and, (not shown,) cantilevered whirlpools actually hanging over the ocean. Nice!1-28-11     At Sea, Allure Vac., Day 10 L (3)_edited-1 - 2011-01-28 at 12-41-49

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With the “Boardwalk” and “Central Park” below, the center of the ship is lined with unique inside cabins.1-23-11     Ft. Lauderdale, Allure Vac, Day 5 (17)_edited-1 - 2011-01-23 at 20-16-58

 

And overhead – the zip line, with me, …9 decks above!1-28-11     At Sea, Allure Vac., Day 10 (56)_edited-1 - 2011-01-28 at 14-55-16

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There are two, 10m climbing walls overlooking the stern, and Aqua Theater.1-25-11     At Sea, Allure Vac. Day 7 L (32)_edited-1 - 2011-01-25 at 13-09-45

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Our friend Judy is winning the challenge.1-29-11     At Sea, Allure Vac. Day 11 (37)_edited-1 - 2011-01-29 at 21-25-08

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The sun is no different from this ship than from other ships, except maybe it SETS a few seconds later from this height!!! Rich, Ray and Fred join me with recording the event.1-29-11     At Sea, Allure Vac. Day 11 (48)_edited-1 - 2011-01-29 at 22-43-481-29-11     At Sea, Allure Vac. Day 11 (49)_edited-1 - 2011-01-29 at 22-44-07

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“Central Park” is a meandering outdoor garden lined with bars, and shops – really awesome.1-29-11     At Sea, Allure Vac. Day 11 (77)_edited-1 - 2011-01-30 at 01-13-38

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On the same level, the Boardwalk features more informal shops and eateries, and a carousel!
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One deck down is the Royal Promenade with more shops, restaurants, a jazz club and other diversions. Between the two is the Tide Bar, shown here, (center about 10′  (3m) up and rising, bartender in center) which like an elevator moves between these two decks… with the bar, patrons and their drinks, up and down, up and down.1-25-11     At Sea, Allure Vac., Day 7 (28)_edited-1 - 2011-01-26 at 04-04-26 (1)

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Of course there is a 1,380 seat theater –  the Broadway play “Chicago” on stage during our cruise. In addition there is an ice skating rink, clubs, etc., etc.1-26-11     St. Thomas, Allure Vac., Day 8 (44)_edited-1 - 2011-01-27 at 01-10-12

 

The enormous smokestacks of this ship were built to telescope down to clear a suspension bridge in Amsterdam, where the ship was built. For perspective, it would need to do this to pass under the George Washington Bridge!1-28-11     At Sea, Allure Vac., Day 10 (17)_edited-1 - 2011-01-28 at 11-10-27

 

Sunrise at sea, heading back from St. Maarten to Fort Lauderdale on an itinerary which besides St. Thomas, also included Nassau in the Bahamas.1-28-11     At Sea, Allure Vac., Day 10 (8)_edited-1 - 2011-01-28 at 11-07-06

Thanks for visiting, and as usual comments are always welcome.