Sunday, February 28, 2010

New York - February 2006 - Part 2

Surprisingly, I was the first one to wake up the next morning. I groggily went over to the window to see if there had been any snow. It was predicted that there would be some significant accumulation in New York, but I wasn't expecting much. I pulled back the curtains and was very surprised to see the view. Apparently that storm system came up and dumped nearly two feet of snow overnight. From the window, all I could see was a blizzard.
The blizzard from our hotel room

For a comparison - this was the view from our hotel the day before:
The view from our hotel room

And then the same view that morning:
The view of the blizzard

We all headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, and then bravely went out into the storm. It was amazing. My cousin, her husband and I are all from Arkansas. This was the most snow any of us had ever seen. If you were to take all the snow that has fallen in Little Rock over the course of my lifetime, it would hardly amount to the amount of snow out there that day.

We walked around the area by the hotel, trudging through banks of snow that hadn't been cleared yet.
Where The Streets Have No Name

We walked by Trinity Church again, as the falling snow shrouded the tops of the nearby skyscrapers.
Trinity Church, New York City

Workers were out, trying to clear the snow off the sidewalks. It was fun to walk the sidewalks that day. Most were cleared, but others were just paths cut out of snow, like canyons.

New York

It was a good day to take the subway...
Good day to take the subway

We walked past the World Trade Center site and walked around St. Paul's Chapel. The church was built in 1766, and is the oldest standing church in New York City. George Washington used to attend services here, and even worshipped at this church on his Inauguration Day in 1789 (the pew that Washington used is still there, and you can go into the church and sit there if you like). The church sits just across the street from the World Trade Center site, but it was not damaged during the attacks. After the attacks, the church was a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers.

If those walls could talk - it's amazing how much history has taken place in and around that old church.

My cousin got this picture of me standing in the deep snow in front of the church:
Standing in the snow

From there we got onto the subway and rode back up to Times Square. There wasn't much traffic out there, and this is probably one of the few occasions that pedestrians could stand in the roads there without worrying about getting run over.
Times Square

Times Square and bike

Times Square
It was also very cold out there, about 25 degrees or so...

Times Square

We walked on through the snow and cold, passing by Herald Square:
Herald Square, New York

The main reason for the trip was business. My relatives had a small side-business, and it was important for them to attend a meeting that afternoon. Part of that meeting included access to a large toy fair. Now if I was 20 years younger, I would have loved going there (but then be disappointed by the lack of Micro Machines). But I got bored and snuck out to go take some more pictures. Luckily, the meeting was held in a building next to New York's iconic Flatiron Building.
The Flatiron Building
Which was, of course, covered in scaffolding.

I went across the street to Madison Square Park. The park first opened way back in 1847, and the views there are dominated by the tower of the Met Life Building.
Madison Square Park
The Met Life Building was constructed in 1909, and was the tallest building in the world for three years.

The park was a busy place, mostly with kids having snowball fights. But a few people were visiting the park and trying to ski at the same time.
Madison Square Park

The view of the Empire State Building, from Madison Square Park:
Empire State Building

And another view of the Met Life Building.
Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park

With their work done, I joined back up with my cousin and her husband. We had the rest of the day free to explore the city. Since we could see the Empire State Building, we decided to walk over there and go to the top of the tower. It was a long walk, the Empire State Building was much farther away than what we thought it was. But it was nice walk, and it let us see the city. We passed by this snow-covered statue next to a church.
Statue, after the blizzard

It had stopped snowing by the time we finally reached the Empire State Building:
Empire State Building

We went into the lobby and asked about going to the observation deck. The worker there actually said we shouldn't, since it'd be a waste of money. Most of the observation deck was closed because of the snow, and we were told it wasn't worth spending the $16 to get to the top.

We decided to head up there anyways, since we wouldn't have time to see it otherwise on this trip. The worker took our money, probably thinking we were a bunch of suckers, and escorted us to the high-speed elevator that heads to the top of the building.

Before you get to the observation deck, you must first pass through a rope maze that only makes sense when there are thousands of people all trying to get in. But we were the only people up there, except for the few workers who watched us walk by. They looked to be extremely bored, but they were nice enough to let us stop to take pictures from the windows there.
from the Empire State Building

From the Empire State Building

We went up to the observation deck, and the outside deck was indeed closed. But we stood out to get some views of the snowy city. From here, you can easily see Madison Square Park and the Met Life Building. The skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan are visible in the distance.
From the Empire State Building
I did wonder how they were going to get rid of the snow on the top of the Empire State Building. It's not like they can just toss it over the side.

The storm has passed, and the sky was clearing. There was even a bit of a sunset, as the sun finally managed to break through the clouds.
Sunset from the Empire State Building

From the observation deck, you have to go back down to the floor below before leaving. You again pass through a series of rope lines that lead past places for you to buy souvenirs or get cheesy pictures taken. The workers up there were bored, and didn't mind us stopping to get some more pictures of the city from the window. This was the view looking towards Central Park, from the 80th floor of the Empire State Building.
City of Blinding Lights

From there we walked over to Rockefeller Center:
Rockefeller Center

We decided to just get dinner at Rockefeller Center, where I got an expensive steak from an overpriced restaurant. The views there made up for it, since we were sitting right next to the famous ice skating rink.
Rockefeller Center

After eating a meal that cost me about $50, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel. The news had this graphic showing how much snow had fallen over the weekend.
26.9 inches!

This was our last night in New York City, and we would be sadly taking a flight home the next day. But our flight didn't leave until noon, which left us a few hours to visit one of the iconic New York landmarks....

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