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Chapter Three - East Side, B

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 pass thru some neighborhoods.


These old trees make for a nice neighborhood.

It was about 1:30 PM when the bus pulls up to Waldorf - Astoria. I was getting tired of sitting in the hot sun and was needing 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 why not 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 lets 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 leave the cathedral and walk outside to Fifth Ave. to get more outside pictures of the front of the building.

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Saks Fifth Ave store.

And a cross 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 an other line going south to lower Manhattan, get off at the appropriate stop, then walk to The High Line. Big undertaking for someone who has never rode the NYC subways. Went to tourist information counter at GCT and how to get there. I was given a map and shown to way. The helpful clerk wrote 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 realized I need to go back to again. After the second time on the shuttle, I walk thru tunnels, up stairs, down stairs, asking for directions I finally get to the correct subway platform. Boarding the train I find 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 pick a station to get off for The High Line. After coming above ground I head west. After about a ten minute walk I spot The High Line. Walking up to the elevator I find it is out of order. "What is this, Laguna Niguel" where the elevators never are working. Looking across the street I spot a staircase going up to The High Line and up I go.

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 proceed north on the High Line from lower to mid town Manhattan.

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View from the High Line.

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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 4:11 P.M. now and I had to be at GCT for 5 P.M. train. What is the best way to get there on time?  I asked several people for directions and information. Everybody had an answer although many way off base. Police and traffic cops gave the most wrong and incorrect directions and information. After dealing with this I arrive at a subway stop. More bad info form the metro people. I hook up with a fellow traveler also trying to get GCT and getting bum information too. 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 am to meet Chris at 5 P.M. by the information stand. So I head for where I think the info stand is located. On the way I stop at a news stand to get an ice cream sandwich. I was hot and sweaty and cold ice cream sounded excellent.  I arrive a few minutes before 5 P.M. at the info stand and check my phone for messages. Have a voice mail from Chris saying he is delayed and would be a few minutes late. Then I look at the departures board see what track our train would be on. I walk over to the platform and see our train waiting. It was just a few steps from the info stand. A few minutes later I spot Chris entering the concourse, made contact and he asked where to go to get our train. I lead 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 fly thru several stations getting here.The rest of ride was mirror of this morning's. We arrive at Wassaic, 82 miles from the busy, noisy streets of Manhattan in two hours to the verdant New York county side 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 the room and watched 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.