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Manhattan Eastside UN

Adventurers in New England

Chapter Three

Going Uptown on the East Side


Robin Bowers

Text and Photos by Author

June 12, 2015

After a stroll around Battery Park and soaking in the great harbor views, I found my way back to the bus pick-up point. We would now be heading to Midtown Manhattan with several views of the East River.

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East River and Brooklyn Bridge.

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Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.

Leaving the river we head toward 1st Ave. We go thru Chinatown where the buildings look like any mid-size eastern American city. Next is Little Italy, In this area is the Lower East Side and East Village. Also the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and The Bowery. In some sections improvements and renovations were being done on buildings. Of course then the rents go up also.

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A building being constructed with modular units.

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East River and Brooklyn.

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United Nations Headquarters, on First Ave. between 42nd and 48th Sts., is along the East River. The visitors entrance is at First Ave. and 47th St. The complex consists of the majestic Secretarial Building, the domed General Assembly Building, the Conference Building and the Dag Hammarskjold Library. Each building was designed and decorated by celebrated architects and artisans.
Guided tours lasting 45-60 minutes depart Mon-Fri. Tickets must be purchased online in advance at

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The Chrysler Building from First Ave.

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Leaving the UN and First Ave, we passed thru some neighborhoods.


These old trees make for a nice neighborhood.

It was about 1:30 PM when the bus arrived to Waldorf - Astoria. I was getting tired of sitting in the hot sun and needed a rest room.  Earlier the guide mention that hotels were a good place to find a rest room. So I jumped off the bus, even though there were still stops to finish and decided to check out the rest rooms at Waldorf - Astoria. Let me tell you that they are very nice.

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Entrance from street.

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Empire Room.

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Front Desk.

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One of the shops in the hotel.

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One of the lobby entrances.

After my stroll thru this first class establishment, I exited to the busy streets.

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Now that is a tall one!

In the next block was St. Patrick's Cathedral. I am thinking let's go check it out. Should be able to find some captivating and unusual subjects to photograph at the cathedral.

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St Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Fifth Ave. at 50th St., is one of the largest churches in the United States, with a seating capacity of 2,400. The rose window is 26 feet across, and the pipe organ has more than 7,380 pipes. Twin spires 330 feet high grace the 14th century Gothic-style structure. The foundations of the church were laid before the Civil War, but the church was not open until 14 years after the war ended.

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dark inside

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bishop chair

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I left the cathedral and walked outside to Fifth Ave. to get more outside pictures of the front of the building.

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Saks Fifth Ave store.

And across the street is Rockefeller Center.

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It was a little after 2 PM when I decided that I would have time to check out The High Line. As I was just a few blocks from GCT, I would walk to there and take the subway to Penn Station, then transfer to another line going south to lower Manhattan, get off at the appropriate stop, then walk to The High Line. That was a big undertaking for someone who has never ridden the NYC subways. I went to tourist information counter at GCT and asked how to get there. I was given a map and shown to way with the helpful clerk writing directions on the map as I would forget them right after being told. I was to take the shuttle to Times Square and transfer to downtown bound train. I found the shuttle line and rode to end of line. It was a short ride so I rode it back to GCT as I didn't think it was correct. Once back at GCT I realized I needed to go back to it again. After the second time on the shuttle, I walked through tunnels, up stairs, down stairs and after asking for directions, finally reached the correct subway platform. Boarding the train I found the car clean and modern. There was an electronic map in the car showing current station and the next several stops ahead. You could tell right away if you were on the correct train going in right direction. This was a big help for new riders. Somehow I picked a station to get off for The High Line. After coming above ground I walked west and after about a ten minute walk I spotted The High Line. Walking up to the elevator I found it is out of order. It reminded me of Laguna Niguel where the elevators never are working. Looking across the street I spotted a staircase going up to The High Line and up I went.

The High Line was once a 1.5-mile elevated railway track that transported freight in Lower Manhattan, the High Line has been transformed into a linear public park. Wood benches and lounges flank concrete pathways, as do more than 200 plant species, including such colorful native flowers as asters, coneflowers and primroses; such trees as crab-apple, sassafras and sumac; wild grasses and shrubs. The 23rd Street lawn is perfect for picnicking and sunbathing. Areas of the park provide unobstructed view of the Hudson River, the city skyline and the Statute Liberty. Although when planing this trip i wanted to visit to this park, I was not able to get to it today. Note: Bicycles, skateboards, dogs and alcohol are not permitted. Hours: Daily 7 a.m. - Dusk

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High Line looking south. Entrance staircase on right to street level.

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Looking north.

I then proceeded north on the High Line from lower to mid town Manhattan.

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Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra's mural.

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Looking toward New Jersey with the Hudson River in the background.

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New building going up next to High Line.

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Some old rails remain. Commuter cars at rest waiting for the evening rush to begin.

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New Jersey across the Hudson River, the West 30 St. heliport and West Side Highway.

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As it was now 4:11 P.M. and I had to be at GCT for 5 P.M. train, I wondered what was the best way to get there on time?  I asked several people for directions and information and while everybody had an answer, many were way off base. Police and traffic cops gave the most wrong and incorrect directions and information. After dealing with this, I arrived at a subway stop and received more bad information from the metro people. I met a fellow traveler also trying to get GCT who was also getting bad information. We struggled with the underground labyrinth of passages, up stairs, down stairs and dead ends at platforms and tunnels going in the wrong direction. Finally we arrive at GCT but not near the main concourse. I was to meet Chris at 5 P.M. by the information stand. So I headed for where I thought it was and on the way, stopped at a news stand to get an ice cream sandwich. I was hot and sweaty and cold ice cream sounded excellent.  I arrived a few minutes before 5 P.M. at the info stand and checked my phone for messages. Chris had left a voicemail to say he was delayed and would be a few minutes late. Then I looked at the departures board to see what track our train would be on. I walked over to the platform and saw our train waiting. It was just a few steps from the info stand. A few minutes later I spotted Chris entering the concourse, made contact and he asked where to go to get our train. I led the way and we boarded our train with very few minutes to spare.

Train # 953 departed GCT on time at 5:19 P.M. Our first stop in Harlem, four miles out at 5:24 P.M.

Harlem is bounded s. by 96th St., n. by 155th, w. by the Hudson River and e. by the Harlem River. Peter Stuyvesant established the village of Harlem in 1658. By the 1870's, open farmland and large country estates had given way to residential neighborhoods studded with row houses, multifamily dwellings and luxury apartments. Overbuilding led to a housing glut and the eventual collapse of the real estate market. Property abandoned during this decline was later transformed into affordable rental housing that attracted middle-class African-Americans to the area. Today, Harlem is regarded as a center for African-American culture.

Our next stop was White Plains on time at 5:54 P.M. We flew thru several stations getting here.The rest of ride was mirror of this morning's. We arrived at Wassaic, 82 miles from the busy, noisy streets of Manhattan in two hours to the verdant New York countryside on time at 7:22 P.M.


There was a traffic jam in the park and ride so it took a while to get back to the motel. As it was after 8 P.M. it was to the subway shop we went. I ordered a salad with everything in it and took it back to the motel. I sat on the porch in front of our room, eating and watching a rain storm move in. Thunder and lighting and a big cloud burst finish off this adventurous day.

Coming next: Walkway over the Hudson and train rides in the Catskills.

Thanks for reading.