The City on the Bay Windy City and Big Apple

Trip Start May 21, 2010
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Trip End Jun 15, 2010


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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday May 31st.

This was the day that Libby's sister Susan, and husband Matthew were to arrive and spend time with us in NYC.
Sue called us at 8.40 am, and informed us that they had arrived, but their room was not ready.
We suggested they use our room for their baggage and they use our shower to freshen up.

After they had checked in we decided to explore the mid town Manhattan area together.
It was Memorial Day so many places were closed, but it was such a beautiful warm day we enjoyed walking around the city.
First was Grand Central terminal, - to show Susan & Matthew the size and grandeur of the building, as well as enabling them to buy a transit pass. We then went to Bryant Park, and searched for some coffee to have while sitting in the park.
We found a delicatessen close to the park, where we bought some coffee - it was very ordinary coffee.

As we walked into Madison Avenue it was obvious there was a street fair happening as the the avenue had been closed off for a couple of blocks.
There were many food outlets, and other people selling a variety of goods - quite a holiday atmosphere.
We continued along Madison Avenue - Matthew trying out some of the dubious food as we went.
We reached St Patrick's Cathedral a Neo-Gothic -style church.   
 It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York,  located on the east side of 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets.
Work was begun in 1858 but was halted during the Civil War and resumed in 1865. The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879.
The cathedral, which can accommodate 2,200 people, is built of brick clad in marble, quarried in Massachusetts and New York. It takes up a whole city block. The spires rise 330 feet (100 meters) from street level.
It was a good opportunity to go inside and visit the church, as there were no crowds around.

The cathedral is an imposing and impressive structure, and features a Pieta sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, stained glass windows which were made by artists in Boston and European artists from Chartres and there is an ornate pulpit.
Having looked around the cathedral, we then walked across 5th Avenue to Rockefeller centre.
The Rockefeller Centre is a complex of 19 buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between 48th and 51st streets built by the Rockefeller family.
Of all the buildings two stand out. 
  
Radio City Music Hall at 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas was completed in December, 1932. At the time it was promoted as the largest and most opulent theater in the world. 
 Its original intended name was the "International Music Hall but this was changed to reflect the name of its neighbor, "Radio City," as the new NBC Studios in the RCA Building were known
 RCA was one of the complex's first and most important tenants and the entire Center itself was sometimes referred to as "Radio City."
The centerpiece of Rockefeller Centre is the 70-floor, 872 ft (266 m) GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza  formerly known as the RCA Building – centered behind the sunken plaza. 
 It was constructed as a slab with a flat roof and since 1933 has been home of the Centre's observation deck, the Top of the Rock. On the 70th floor, accessible by both stairs and elevator, there is a 20-foot (6.1 m) wide viewing area, allowing visitors a unique 360-degree panoramic view of New York City.

The Rockefeller Centre represents a turning point in the history of architectural sculpture: it is among the last major building projects in the United States to incorporate a program of integrated public art. Sculptor Lee Lawrie contributed the largest number of individual pieces – twelve – including the  statue of Atlas facing Fifth Avenue and the conspicuous friezes above the main entrance to the RCA Building.
 Paul Manship's highly recognizable bronze gilded statue of the Greek legend of the Titan Prometheus recumbent, bringing fire to mankind, features prominently in the sunken plaza at the front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza
 It is in the plaza that during winter the venue becomes a large ice skating rink.
It was becoming quite hot, so we chose to stop for lunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann opposite Radio City Hall.
Libby had a shrimp salad, while Barry ordered steak tartare.

Having refreshed ourselves and it was still early in the afternoon we thought it a good idea to go to Central Park.
We took the subway from Rockefeller centre to the park, and spent an enjoyable afternoon walking around the southern end of the park, including "The Pond", with the Gapstow Bridge.
 
 Gapstow Bridge is one of the icons of Central Park & was the first bridge was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould in 1874. The bridge was a wooden bridge with intricate cast iron railings. Due to excessive tear and wear, it was replaced by the present simple stone structure in 1896.
 
As it was a holiday there many people out enjoying the fine weather, including local performers, all of whom were extremely friendly and only to happy to help re-direct "lost" tourists.

We walked from the eastern side of the park to the western side and found ourselves at Columbus Circle.
From there we walked along 59th street  to 5th Avenue where we found the Plaza Hotel which is a landmark 20-story luxury hotel that occupies the west side of Grand Army Plaza, from which it derives its name.
We thought this was a good opportunity to visit this iconic hotel, and walked into the lobby passing the Palm Court on our way to the Champagne Bar Champagne Bar.
This was a good opportunity to take a beak, and have some coffee and avail ourselves of the Plaza's toilets.

 Following coffee we walked along 5th Avenue back to the hotel.

That evening we were going to have dinner at a restaurant - "Pastis" which was a French restaurant located in the "Meat Packing District.

We were planning to have pre-dinner drinks in the "Reading Room", but it was full, so we went tothe 14th floor to the roof garden bar instead.

Back down on Madison Avenue, we were able to get a Taxi to the restaurant.

It was a busy, somewhat noisy restaurant full of young people - clearly quite a trendy place !

For dinner
Barry started with Fried Calamari, then Tripe , while Libby had Prawns.

To drink, we ordered a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape.

The waiters provided a welcoming atmosphere and enjoy interacting with the diners.

It was a great end to a very full, and enjoyable day.

We had planned to walk back to the hotel, but it started raining , so we had to take a taxi instead  
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