Lady liberty

We’re nearing the end of our epic honeymoon – and first ever visit to the good old US of A.

And we’ve saved the most iconic of all the sights till the last day – the Statue of Liberty.

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We booked our tickets online before we headed out to New York and it’s a good idea to do so as the queues to get tickets on the day are horrific – plus you won’t be able to get a crown or pedestal ticket for love nor money!

We managed to bag a pedestal ticket, but the crown ones are sold out months in advance.

Which means we’re heading all the way up to the base of the statue (or the very top of the stone bit below)

Our first up close glimpse of this giant lady is every bit as awesome as we had hoped – and she does get a lot bigger up close!!!!

Once we disembark onto Liberty Island we waste no time in heading towards the lady herself.

We get to see a life sized replica of the famous torch and admire the corner stone of the liberty pedestal.

But naturally all we really want to see is the lady herself – so here is the most famous up skirt pic of all time!!!!

The view from the pedestal itself shows just how busy it gets.

One of the bonuses of getting a pedestal ticket is that you get to go in the star shaped area on the ground which is far less crowded than just being part of the crowd who didn’t bag a ticket!! Pus you get a much better, less busy picture from the floor looking up too.

Here’s us up on the pedestal with Manhattan in the background. A bit blowy but what a view!35282724_10155407780862353_6245721392935862272_n

We have successfully ticked off another of our epic bucket list sights and it’s a great one.

Seen for free from a distance you might feel a bit disappointed by this green goddess but up close she is incredible.

A gift from the French to the American people, Lady Liberty is a figure of  Libertas, a robed Roman goddess.

She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with July 4, 1776 – the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

A ceremony of dedication was held on the afternoon of October 28, 1886. President Grover Cleveland, the former New York governor, presided over the event.

On the morning of the dedication, a parade was held in New York City; estimates of the number of people who watched it ranged from several hundred thousand to a million.

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All in all an incredible way to finish off our first ever visit to America. A heady, hectic and intoxicating place to be.

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Coney colour

There’s so much to see at the colourful Coney Island that it warrants two posts!

We take a wander around Luna Park the largest of the amusement parks, full of high octane, scream inducing, rides.

Steeplechase Park was an amusement park  created by George C. Tilyou which operated from 1897 to 1964.

It was the first of the three original iconic large parks built on Coney Island, the other two being Luna Park (1903) and Dreamland (1904).

The rather creepy face of Tillie, a man with a huge grin and far too many teeth, came to symbolise the Steeplechase Park and would become synonymous with Coney Island.

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He is just one of the many haunting faces of ‘fun’ that can be found dotted around the place!

As well as hair raising rides and ‘fun’ characters there are the usual try your luck stalls including the famous whacamole!

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The hubby decides to try his luck at whacking the crap out of that pesky mole….

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Here’s another hell nope ride for your enjoyment…

Here it is getting higher and higher…

And then whirling, it takes flight!

Another highlight of Coney Island it is has an actual BOARDWALK!! Yes! The star of so many 60s ballads and tunes.

Packed full of diners, sweet treats and sun drenched tourists, it’s a magnet for crowds.

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Above is one of the places original attractions – Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

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The boys of summer are loitering about above – sun seeker gets his kit off!

The sand and sea seems like a world away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan but your are still technically in Brooklyn.

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Garish colours abound all around the boardwalk, from tourist tat shops to painted walls.

I’m a big fan of a painted wall and I am spoilt for choice in Coney Island.

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Here’s the famous wonder wheel doing its thing.

More traditional American thrills with the spookarama ghost train. Feels just like being in a 1980s film 🙂

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In fact we even find a replica of the famous Zoltan machine from the famous Tom Hank’s film Big.

 

 

 

 

 

Coney island

Our next iconic trip is to the home of cheesy Americana nostalgia – Coney Island!!

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I’ve grown up on US TV shows and films that reference this mythical seaside hot spot and it represents to me the golden heyday of technicolor America – and I am not disappointed!

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Coney Island is actually a series of amusement parks,the largest of which is Luna Park above.

It’s also home of the cyclone – a historic wooden roller coaster that opened in 1927!

The coaster was declared a New York City landmark on July 12, 1988, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 1991.

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There’s even a real life freak show – albeit renamed and re-badged as a circus side show But it has all the traditional characters advertised in garish, cartoon style.

It’s not open when we arrive so we have to be content to peer through the shutters.

Coney Island is home to the International Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th July. A event that combines American’s twin loves of competition and eating fast food!

I am giddy with all the over the top garish advertisements for all manner of seaside treats.

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Hot dogs, candy floss, buttered corn on the cob. It’s all there for the hungry tourists. Although they manage to take something relatively healthy – the apple- and make it super bad!

Everywhere is a rainbow of signage and consumerism. All shimmering in the June sunshine as the temperature gauge kept on rising.

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Oversized donuts, bumper cars and the famous mermaid parade all combine to the heady atmosphere of Coney Island.

The area started to sink into decline after the second world war with all the original amusement parks being demolished and plans for a casino and luxury apartments all being punted as ideas for the old tourist haunts.

Many of the old rides and attractions have gone for good and many vacant lots still exist, Coney Island is a long way from its hey day but in August 2018 it was announced that a boutique hotel was to built and the amusement areas extended, so there may still be life in the old dog yet!

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The Coney Island Art Walls are just one of the attractions hoping to bring back the visitors of old.

The walls feature artwork from renowned local and international artists in many different styles. Many of which are political or satirical in nature.

Empire at night

We get a double dose of the gorgeous Empire State Building as our city pass lets us enter twice in one day.

So as night falls we headed back up this iconic slab of NYC real estate to see the Big Apple all lit up.-PAXP-deijE

 

The dazzling lights are spread beneath us like so many fallen stars landed on the sidewalks.

The Empire State itself becomes a huge light show that is visible for miles around.

Even though it is very blowy and incredibly cold we still enjoy picking out the landmarks.

Enjoy this unflattering video of me being blown about in the high rise winds!

And a more pensive angle of yours truly……..

The glow from Times Square is visible even from way up here! Bright lights indeed.

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Empire State of mind

Finally, the time has come, to visit the most iconic, of all NYC icons – The Empire State Building!!

We’re going up not once but twice, as our City Pass allows for two visits on the same day.

So we’ll see the Big Apple from above in the daylight and again at night too.

The first floor is an interesting exhibition about how the building was created. But we’re eager to get to the top and check out the views (and in my case take endless pics of the shiny view finders that appear in every film every shot on the Empire State)

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The urban sprawl of the city lies beneath us like a forest of grey concrete trees. Easily spotted is the beautiful Chrysler Building, still elegant in the hazy NYC skyline.

The hubby looks a little distorted in the viewfinder as I force him to pose for about the millionth time!

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At this point I am actually a little more excited about the view finders it must be said!

But how is this for an epic list of sights? A real line up of big hitters including Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.

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Even though it’s a grey day you can still get a sense of the dramatic urban beauty of Manhattan from atop what is possibly the most well known building in the world.

We’ll head up again after dark to see the city sparkly into life with a million lights.

Times Square by night

Suckers for punishment that we are we decide to make a second pilgrimage to the tourist trap that is Times Square. But this time at night to check out the ads in all their glorious, eye wateringly neon glory.

If the place was bad by day you could multiple the crowds, noise and frustration by a million at night!

It was as if the whole of NYC was out on the street, cheek by jowl, elbowing each other for space and prime Instagramming spots.

We literally shuffled through the streets as it was impossible to walk due to the sheer volume of people crowded onto the streets.

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So enjoy these few snaps of the bright lights of this big city as I couldn’t wait to get out of there TBH!

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Central Park

When you think of New York, one of the most well known places is Central Park.

Appearing in countless films, TV shows and music videos, it’s the quintessential icon of New Yorker’s leisure time.

Central Park is the fifth-largest park in New York City, covering 843 acres and was established in 1857.

It has nearly 50 monuments and 36 bridges as well as numerous paths and trails to explore.

The park is the most filmed location in the world. A December 2017 report found that 231 movies have used Central Park for on-location shoots,

One of the most recognisable scenes however is the boating lake that has been the scene of many a romantic cinematic moment.

Rowboats and kayaks are rented on an hourly basis at the Loeb Boathouse so naturally we have to grab the oars and set off for a ‘gentle’ boating experience.

Above Bow Bridge crosses The Lake and was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, and completed in 1862. At 87 feet it’s the longest bridge in the park.

Below is another famous bridge – The Oak bride, a more rustic river crossing that you can often find buskers playing to the rowers below.

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You could spend days meandering through the park and just soaking up the atmosphere.

Circle Line cruise

We’re taking to the water to see the city of NYC from a new perspective now with a Circle Line Cruise.

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Started in 1945 Circle Line is one of the oldest NYC cruise companies and offers lots of different options for seeing the Big Apple from the water.

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Departing from Pier 83, close to the Intrepid Aircraft carrier that now serves as a museum, we opted for the Landmarks Cruise.

Two and a half hours of gentle floating between some of the most iconic sights the city has to offer.

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From the comfort of the deck you can see it all, from the One World Centre to the Empire State, the Chrysler Building to the Brooklyn Bridge.

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And of course, the most iconic green woman ever created – Lady Liberty. I don’t pretend to be cool about it, the hubby remains impassive but he is excited inside – I think!

 

Here’s a few phone snaps of the lady herself – not great quality but you get the gist.

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Later on in our trip we’ll get to climb up to the pedestal of this world famous landmark for a proper up close look at here.

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After bidding goodbye to her for a while the cruise carries on to the three impressive bridges that span the East River – below is just one of them.

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We got the cruise as part of the New York City Pass which saved us some money and also time queuing at several attractions.

It’s well worth a look if you know exactly what you want to see and have the luxury of a few days to see them in.

Other passes tend to make you cram everything into one, two or three days but this one allowed you to do them at leisure over nine days.

Flatiron & 5th Avenue

New York is littered with world renowned architecture and instantly recognisable buildings.

One such landmark is the The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, a triangular 22-story steel-framed highrise on Fifth Avenue.

On completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city at 20 floors high and was one of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street – the other being the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, one block east.

Close to the Flatiron you can see one of the city’s last remaining cast iron street clocks.

This 19-foot timepiece has an ornamental base and a wreath of oak leaves around the clock face.

It’s gilded in gold and has stood, providing the time for busy New Yorkers since 1909. It was completely restored back to its former glory in 2011.

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Every angle of this quirky building is gorgeous and its address instantly transports you to a world of decade, luxury and old school American elegance and expense.

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If you turn your back on the Flat Iron building you can spot another highly iconic sight – the towering Empire State building – complete with all the perfect NYC elements, yellow traffic lights and a yellow cab!!

The National Historic Landmark program (NRHP) focuses on places of significance in American history, architecture, engineering, or culture.

It recognises structures, buildings, sites, and districts associated with important events, people, or architectural movements.

There’s an impressive list of National Historic Landmarks located along Fifth Avenue.

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National Historic Landmarks in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue include:

  • The Empire State Building – 350 Fifth Avenue
  • Flatiron Building – 175 Fifth Avenue – National Historic Landmark
  • New York Public Library – Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
  • Rockefeller Center − 45 Rockefeller Plaza
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral – 460 Madison Avenue

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This part of the city feels like walking through a film set.

It actually can’t get any more American than this snap of the Stars and Stripes fluttering in front of the world’s most iconic skyscaper.

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Manhattan by night from Brooklyn park

Having spent the day in my new favourite place – Brooklyn – we head back at night to see the wonderful night time spectacle of Manhattan.

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Shimmering and glittering in the velvet night like a mirage or the wonderous City of Oz.

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The reflection of the sparkling highrise buildings dances across the pitch black depths of the East River.

You can clearly make out the One World centre with its illuminated spike heading straight for the heavens.

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Below the Brooklyn bridge is lit up in its night time best to light the way home for weary workers and excitable tourists.

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It’s a gorgeous sight and free too! Just head to Brooklyn park and enjoy the view.

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