A One Day Tour of New York City….#266 .. ( 2006)


The couple rising from their nights repose at the Days Inn, neither Fran or Gary having slept very well, somewhat concerned about the strangers knocking at their door late that night.  but that didn’t still their morning appetite, the two deciding on breakfast at Denny’s.  checking out, the couple walking the four blocks to the new jersey transit bus station on Landis avenue for an Atlantic City bus, then onto the Port Authority Terminal in New York City.   Their arrival time in Atlantic City was timed perfect, dismounting one bus and boarding another for New York, a 2 1/2 125 mile excursion.  Gary enjoying the vista of the tree-lined garden state parkway as a passenger  having spent a lifetime as a driver.   Notice of the journeys end was given when the iconic skyline of New York City from the Jersey side of the Hudson river came into view



The new York Port Authority building, located between 40th and 42nd street,  the largest bus station in the world,  over 7,200 buses per week line up to take on passengers.  The couple disembarking, Fran back on familiar ground from her youthful ventures to the City,  Gary impressed with the thrive of the New Yorker’s, their attitude of purpose in pursuit of their goals,   Displaying the spirit of America.   The subway entrance to Hoboken being on the same block as grand Central Station,  the name a misnomer,  misled by Hollywood  as it’s not a station stop but the starting and ending of subway lines officially known as Grand Central Terminal.  Gary in no hurry, desiring to see the wondrous architectural structure, the building consuming 48 acres of land,  with two levels below ground, 41 tracks on the first below ground level, with 26 tracks on-the Second.   The structure having started construction in 19 oh 3,  a new additions completed in 1913.  The building consuming many restaurants, shops and galleries,  Gary marveling that the builders of this hundred year old pavilion could never have visualized they were building a prototype of today’s modern Mall    .


The street entrance to the subway was  like entering an underground cavern of walkways,  much to Gary’s surprise, subway tickets were available from a vending machines and even more surprising,  the tickets were only $2.00 per person.    A directory providing  a track number,  the posted walkway signs providing directions to their intended platform.   With the MTA subways arrival Gary entered the train experiencing daja vu ,  it was like a scene from a Hollywood Productions.  It was as if he had done this before, but knowing it had to be caused by a lifetime of viewing movies. The couple seated, crossing beneath the Hudson River, the first stop being the Holland Station in New Jersey.  Exiting with baggage in hand, having made reservations and knowing that the Holland Hotel Motor Lodge was within a four blocks radius  but not sure which direction.   The couple approached a parked cab to inquirer the directions to the Hotel,  the driver predicating an offer to drive them the short distance    .


Checking in, the hotels second floor accommodations were exceptional,  a window view of the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.  Gary somewhat intrigued, watchful of 10 lanes of tunnel traffic  funneled down to two lanes for entrance by single traffic officer.  The room vantage point also provided a river view of the New York City skyline, the stately Empire State Building presiding over that domain since 911,.    Settling in, the couple discovering the facility was without food service except for vending machines and complimentary morning pastries and coffee.  but the inquisition was soon remedied with a burger king a block away    .



A wake up call, morning coffee and donuts before greeting the new York  city tour Bus,  a day long excursion about to unfold.   It was not a surprised when discovering the touring convenience was a retired MTA bus,  the couple seated in the front seat across from the driver.   The two finding themselves in conversation with the younger transit chauffeur,  the driver with his pronounced New Jersey accent proclaiming himself as a boxing enthusiast.  Gary relating his past  indulgence of the sport,  the bus driver expelling the time he was in the ring with Hector Camacho as a sparring partner and winning the session.  Gary coming back with the story of Milo Savage during the fifties,  the only fighter on TV to tell his opponent that his shoes were untied, his opponent looking down,  then blasting him.   Gary smiling to himself, sitting across from the New Jersey bus driver,  the conversation an enjoyable congruous tactility of New Jersey hospitality. The first hour of travel was spent making several stops  acquiring the other twenty members of the tour.   Arriving in New York City, the bus making a brief hesitation at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan to acquire a Tour Guide,  a prestigious black man in his fifties, with a delightful personality mentioning that he was an actor performing in Off-Broadway Productions and had appeared in  many of the Law & Order television programs as an extra.



Their first tour stop, Central Park, the bus halting at Central Parkway and west 72nd across from the Dakota Hotel, the tour guide pointing out that it was where John Lennon meant his demise at the hands of Mark David Chapman.   Disembarking, the tourist group was conducted to the 22 acres of the park lake,  a small portion of the 845 acre Park.   The Guide giving notice of the extensive walking and bridle paths, A  Zoo,  two ice skating areas, an amphitheater, six miles of circular drives and the many conservative gardens,  plus a 106 acre reservoir maintaining a hundred billion gallons of water named after Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy.   the fresh water reservoir decommissioned as a water source as it was no longer needed.  Gary having realization that this was more than a park to the residence,  it represented the privileged city pride of being a New Yorker    .



The refreshing experience concluded, the tour bus stopping at St Patrick’s Cathedral,  the group embarking on an On your own Tour,  the historic landmark  church capturing Gary’s attention.  Entering alone, Fran deciding she would pass on the Catholicism cathedral.   The awe inspiring construction was started in 1858,  but not completed until 18 79,  like so many projects of that era, the civil war, and its aftermath caused a delay.   The visitor experiencing a historical presence walking in this prominent house of worship,  over 5 million people per year entering this realm.   Gary with camera in hand walked towards the sanctuary, experiencing an aura of deity with the  ornamental and august pillars, the darkened lighting providing an ambiance  of sanctity.   entering the sanctuary he was approached being told that pictures were forbidden in this area,  but the epistle was given too late, Gary already had snapped his picture    .



The couple once again embarking the tour bus, stopping at Rockefeller Center,  a 19 building complex started in the 30’s in Midtown Manhattan between 5th and 6th Avenue and 48th and 51st street.  the complex composing 22 acres of Midtown,  the 70 storied Art Deco Rockefeller Plaza Building being erected and the Radio City Music Hall added on 50th street.  Gary mentioning to Fran about having seen the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in several movies and how spacious it looked, especially in the movie Love Story with Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, but in person, the skating rink was just a pittance in size of what was proclaimed on the big screen.  the tour resuming, a journey thru New York City Chinatown, the guide pointing out points of interest.   Entering the infamous Greenwich Village, a discovery point for Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks, James Taylor and Barbra Streisand, all with frequent appearances at the Bitter End, the Café Au Go Go, and the Gaslight Café.   The heritage of the village now recognized as an american icon in the chronicles of music History    .



The tour continuing,  Ground Zero,  Gary somewhat disappointed expecting a  temporary memorial dedicated to those whom had lost their lives, instead  a chain link fence and a bleak view of poured concrete where the below ground plaza and terminals once occupied.  The construction site was a cold ambiguous scene to those visitors who had never witnessed the Twin Towers, unlike Fran who had worked in the towers at one time.  Traversing the  final journey aboard the New York City Tour Bus, an excursion to Liberty Park and the Ellis Island Terminal,  the transportation hub from the past.  The Victorian facility built in 1889,  a train station terminal consisting of 20 tracks and 16 boarding station, where upwards of 9 to 12 million immigrants from Ellis Island finally discovered their destiny,  the station discontinued in 1969   Gary observing the boarding platforms and tracks, now overgrown with weeds,  many of the 20 railroad tracks no longer presence.  A 1920 scene resonating within him,  his mind picturing the past, the station bustling with activity, filled with those from abroad looking for an opportunity to find a new life.   Outside the Victorian terminal,  the once used docking area for many of the ferry boats during that earlier era sitting empty  except for the two used by Ellis and Liberty island circle line Tour Cruise




Gary and Fran boarding a Circle Line passenger ferry,  the wind cascading up the Hudson  from the Atlantic giving them the feeling of nature’s presence.  Ellis Island their first destination, the sight a presence of promise to the many that had come before them.   disembarking,  the couple left to sunder and explore this relic from the past on their own.   The luncheon hour having elapsed, finding within this monument of the past a continence of fast food cuisine, the couple partaking of its opportunity. Gary impressed with the displays and pictures from this landmark of American History,  walking the halls absorbing the renaissance of a hundred years, observing and reading the trials of the many who had converged, the inscriptions of past generations finding enlightenment having past thru this wondrous building constructed in 1892,  it’s demise rendered in 1954.,    the building vacated left unattended and deteriorating for eleven years  when a group of concerned citizens took notice and pursued a national museum endeavor,  a everlasting gift to America.


A continuance of adventure,  the couple once again claiming passage on the tourist passenger ferry,  soon approaching Liberty Island,  a scant ¾ of a mile from the departed Ellis Island.   A majestic panoramic scene from their floating endeavor,  the symbol of American freedom, The Statue of Liberty, its 305 foot shadowing presence  enthroning an overwhelming feeling of patriotism.   With the docking embarkation,  the couple journeying to the Liberty Island Museum,  viewing exhibits, absorbing its history,.  In the 16 hundreds,  the 14 ½ acre island was once proclaimed as Oyster Island  because of the perfusion of oysters found by the early settlers.   Gary well aware of the fishing endeavors of the 16 hundreds,  the first Willson arriving and settling with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Michael Willson born in Dedham Massachusetts in 1644.   Other  names bestowed to the future Liberty Island landmark was Bedloe’s Island,  a private summer residence of Archibald Kennedy, the Earl of Cassilis in the 17 hundreds and later during the Revolutionary and War of 18 12 it became a military bastion named Fort Wood,  its relic finally being dismantled in 1944.


Gary and Fran circling the icon statue,  but because of renovation work they were unable to traverse the stairway within the celebrated monument.  Standing before the Lady of Liberty instilled an everlasting remembrance,  acknowledging the sight of it was an inspiration not only to those who stood in its presence today but to the millions who traveled here with a hope for a new beginning.   Once again boarding the Circle Line ferry returning to the illustrious Victorian Terminal,  the boat docking at one of its no longer used slips.  The Willson’s awaiting their New York City tour bus and a return to the Holland Hotel,  a conclusion of their one day tour of New York City, the purpose of their journey to continue    .








One Response to “A One Day Tour of New York City….#266 .. ( 2006)”

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