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Walking in Midtown Manhattan


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The breakfast was served daily between 7am and 10am and consisted of toast, yoghurt, milk, cornflakes and coffee. After breakfast we took off towards Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck. We had pre-ordered tickets online and were scheduled between 10am and 10.15am.

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Facts about Rockefeller Center…
Once known as Radio City, Rockefeller Center is a complex of buildings formed during the Big Depression. The complex started out consisting of 14 buildings whereof 70 decks and the 256 meter high GE Building as the highest. It is the world’s largest private owned building complex – a city within the city appointed as National Historic Landmark. The area where Rockefeller is situated was once thought to be the new area for Metropolitan Opera. Then the area was owned by Columbia University and John D. Rockefeller got to rent the area for the Metropolitan Opera’s place. The complex design was created by the architect Benjamin Wistar Morris. Influenced by Grand Central Terminal he included a gardening landscape, opera house, high office buildings, malls and terraces. The buildings were linked together by bridges and pathways. But the stock market crisis in 1929 made the Metropolitan Opera abandon the project and Rockefeller came up with new plans to let the complex to include radio and television companies. And Radio City was born. One of the first buildings standing ready was RCA Building, nowadays GE Building, functioning as headquarters for Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and was designed by Raymond Hood.
The observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Centers GE Building, also known as “Top of the Rock”, gives the visitors a panorama view over Central Park and Empire state Building. A separate entrance at 50th Street leads to the elevators. In the elevator during the ride up, important historical events are projected at the ceiling. Totally three decks are open for public, including the top deck. The first is on the 67th floor and is completely covered, the observation deck on 69th floor has bid pane of glass while the 70th floor is completely open and offers the visitors 360° panorama view.
Lower Plaza is a lowered square situated in-between Prometheus Statue and GE Building. And it is here, on Lower Plaza, where the annual Christmas Lightning Ceremony has been held since 1933. A tall tree erects behind Prometheus Statue with thousands of Christmas lights that marks the beginning of New York’s Christmas celebration and the square is made into an ice rink. The Prometheus Statue is the most famous art at the Rockefeller Center and is made of gold covered bronze. It was sculptured in 1934 by Paul Manship and is floating over a fountain at Lower Plaza. Prometheus is returning the stolen fire to the humanity and is surrounded by a band in the Zodiac sign.

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We visited all three floors that were open to the public. The weather was perfect with sunshine and only a few clouds. The temperature was about +22 Centigrade but the wind up on the roof terraces made it comfortable. On the way out of Rockefeller Center we did go haywire but eventually found our way out to the Lower Plaza and looked at the Prometheus Statue. We then walked south and passed through a brand store having 90% off sale since they were closing the shop. We just had to look and we both realized that we needed to buy one suitcase each that we could fill up with all the clothing and shoes we planned to buy here in New York. And just like that we had bought a couple of suitcases. We walked happily back to our hostel and left the suitcases in our room and then got out on the streets again towards Empire State Building.

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Facts about Empire State Building…
Empire State Building took 1 year and 45 days to build and took in 1931 over the title as the world’s highest building from the Chrysler Building. Empire State Building kept the title in 41 years until World Trade Center’s north tower stood ready in 1972. Empire State Building has today senders for most of the television stations in New York on its tower. The building was designed by Gregory Johnson and his office Shreve, Lamb and Harmon which created the design within two weeks due to earlier constructions for Reynolds Building in North Carolina and Carew Tower in Ohio.
Empire State Building has 102 floors and is crowned by a 68 meter high mast and the building reaches 449 meters. The mast was designed to function as a mooring with a gangplank for airships. An elevator would take the passengers between 86th and 102nd floor. But after a few attempts it was considered difficult and dangerous due to up-winds created by the building. Empire State Building is designed in Art-Deco Style and has been designated as one of the seven wonders in modern time. The building was chosen as National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Empire State Building has an observation deck on 86th floor open for the public and is very popular to visitors. From here the visitors get a 360° panoramic view over New York. As a visitor and for an extra fee, you can visit the 102nd floor.
Over the years more than 30 people has committed suicide by jumping off the building, the first one happened before the building was even done after a construction worker had been fired. After five people tried to jump off the building within three weeks in 1947 a fence was put up around the observation deck to prevent furthermore attempts. The most famous suicide has to be the 23-year-old Evelyn McHale who jumped from the 86th floor and landed upon a United Nation Limousine. The photograph student Robert Wiles took a photo of her well intact body just minutes after her jump. The photo was published in May 1947 in Life Magazine and has often called “The Most Beautiful Suicide”. To get to the 86th floor you need to ride with one of the 73 Art-Deco elevators that have a speed of 427 meters per minute. So in total to go up the 320 meters to 86th floor, it takes 45 seconds. In clear weather you can see up to a 130 km away from up the 102nd floor.

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Our express tickets made us pass through all the queues all the way up to the 86th floor. Already from up here the 70th floor high Rockefeller Center looked small. Just an hour ago (while standing on the Top of the Rock) that felt very high up, but not anymore. We had also bought tickets for the 102nd floor (I mean why not go all the way up while you’re here) and wow you felt so small up in that tower on 102nd floor. But the view was priceless and in this perfect weather we could see miles wide. Manhattan, Central Park, Hudson River, East River, Flat Iron Building and Brooklyn Bridge were only a few attractions we could we from up here. When we got down back on earth again we started walking south towards Flat Iron Building.

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Facts about Flat Iron Building…
Flat Iron Building was originally called The Fuller Building since the Fuller Company once had their office on the 19th floor. But due to its resemble of a flat iron the building became known as the Flat Iron Building to the people. The building became one of New York’s Landmarks in 1966, initiated in National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1989. With its 22 floors and 87 meters high, the building was one of the highest buildings in New York when built in 1902. Flat Iron Building is situated on a triangular area and to use the extremely expensive site in Manhattan to its max, the architect Daniel Burnham drew the building just as big as the building site allowed it to be. The point offices have windows towards north and have a beautiful view towards Empire State Building.

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Later we started to walk north on 5th Avenue and visited Forever 21, GAP and Macy’s (with its wooden escalator) and Aerosol. I highly recommend a visit at Aerosol. A shoe store with super comfortable shoes and in this particular store the staff was very costumer friendly and served us like celebrities. So I bought a pair of shoes (that actually fitted my wide Nordic feet) that was sooooo comfy walking in. We stopped by an Italian restaurant and ate lunch before heading towards United Nations Headquarters down by East River. So after a long day out on the streets of New York and also shopped a ton of water on bottles we went back to our hostel to let the feet rest for tomorrow adventure in Central Park.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in USA Tagged cities new_york chrysler_building rockefeller_center flat_iron_building

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