USA, September 2011
Tuesday, 6th September 2011
View of daily activity on West 34th street at the intersection with 5th Avenue. The base of the Empire State Building, a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City is seen to the right of the picture.
Same location looking up at the massive Empire State Building, which with its antenna spire included, stands a total of 1,454 ft (443.2 m) high. It was the world’s tallest building for 40 years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972.
Inside the Empire State Building’s observation deck on the 86th floor. There is an outside walkway providing impressive 360 degree views of the city. Unfortunately, as these pictures illustrate, it was too wet and windy to venture outside. The clouds and mist form a different impression of New York. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor, but it is smaller and completely enclosed. You have to pay to visit either observation platform.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). Established 1870 and located at 5th Avenue and 82nd Street, Manhattan, New York. Entry is free, excellent audio guides available. Touchable sculptures in the Egyptian gallery for blind and visually impaired visitors.
Tony and Tatiana in front of an Egyptian sphinx. Sphinx of Hatshepsut, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Hatshepsut, ca. 1473–1458 b.c. This colossal sphinx portrays the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut with the body of a lion and a human head wearing a nemes headcloth and royal beard. The use of the sphinx to represent the king dates back to the Old Kingdom and the Great Sphinx of Giza. The sculptor has carefully observed the powerful muscles of the lion as contrasted to the handsome and attractive idealized face of the queen. It was one of six royal sphinxes that lined the processional way leading to the queen’s mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. Recovered by the Museum’s Egyptian Expedition, it was found smashed into many fragments and buried in pits near the temple. It weighs more than seven tons.
Wednesday, 7th September 2011
Built 1858-1878 in a decorated Neo-Gothic architectural style. Located on the east side of 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, mid-town Manhattan, New York City. The cathedral is directly across the street from the Rockefeller Center and specifically facing the Atlas statue.
The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centrepiece of Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the headquarters of the television network NBC. At 850 feet (259 meters) tall, the 70-story building is the 10th tallest building in New York City and the 33rd tallest in the United States. Its address is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which has led to its nickname “30 Rock”.
Rockefeller Center or Rockefeller Plaza is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) located between 48th and 51st streets and 5th and 6th Avenues in midtown Manhattan. The complex was built by the Rockefeller family in 1939.
The observation deck atop the skyscraper, dubbed “Top of the Rock”, is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner. On good days, the Empire State Building can be seen from this observation deck. Again, there is a fee to take the lift-elevator to the top.
Thursday, 8th September 2011
Battery Park is a 25-acre (10 hectare) public park in lower Manhattan. It’s located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named from artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city’s early years in order to protect the settlement behind them.
Tatiana by the Admiral George Dewey Memorial in Battery Park. Plaque reads: ‘This monument erected on Admiral George Dewey Promenade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, 1898.’ There are two relief medallions above the text. Plaque erected, 1973.
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal copper neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island (formerly Bedloe’s Island) in New York Harbor, New York. Designed by French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi and dedicated on 28th October 1886. The statue is a gift to the United States from the people of France. Money for the building of the pedestal was raised by donations from US citizens. The statue’s height is 151 feet 1 inch (46 metres) and its height from ground to the torch is 305 feet 1 inch (93 metres).
Tourists disembarking off a ferry at Ellis Island. Tony and Tatiana did likewise. Tickets for the ferries to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, which are part of the US National Park Service, can be purchased at Fort Clinton, Battery Park in New York Harbor. See the signs and follow the lines.
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until its closure in 1954. The original wooden structure opened in 1892, burnt down after 5 years. The immigration station’s main new building, which today houses the museum opened in 1900. The island was greatly expended by landfill between 1892-1934. The original portion of the island is 3.3 acres (1.1.3 ha) and is part of New York City, while the re-claimed land is part of Jersey City, New Jersey. Ellis Island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. The Immigration Museum opened in 1990.
Friday, 9th September 2011
Columbus Circle is the point from which all official distances in New York City are measured. The monument in the centre of Columbus Circle was erected as part of New York’s 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s landing in the Americas. The 70-foot (23 metre) granite, rostral column, atopped by a marble statue of Columbus can just be seen in the distance.
Outside the historic Carousel, a sign indicating the price for one ride. Central Park. Music can be heard from a distance. The current carousel was installed in the park in 1951. It was originally installed in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Central Park is a public urban park in the centre of Manhattan. It is bordered in the north by West 110th Street (Central Park North) on the south by West 59th Street (Central Park South) on the west by 8th Avenue (Central Park West) and on the east by 5th Avenue, which retains its own name.
Initially created in 1857, the park was improved and expanded by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux between 1858-73.
Dethesda Terrace overlooks the lake and has two levels. The upper terrace flanks the 72nd Street crossdrive and the lower terrace provides a podium for viewing the lake. The fountain was constructed 1859-64 and enclosed within two elliptical balustrades. The pool is centred by an angel fountain sculpture designed by Emma Stebbins, 1868 and unveiled in 1873.
A Pedicab heading up hill towards one of the exits on Central Park West. Tony, Tatiana on the back – a slightly cheaper way to experience the park. These vehicles along with the horse and carriages operate mostly in the southern part of the park.
Capital of Indiana State.
Sunday, 11th September 2011
View of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle in Downtown Indianapolis. It was designed by architect, Bruno Schmit. The first cornerstone was laid in August 1889 and the monument was completed in 1901. The monument was erected to honour Indiana State veterans of war. The Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument was formerly dedicated on 15th May 1902.
Tony and Tatiana with friends Lora, from Kentucky, Pam and her husband, also named Tony, in Garfield Park-Conservatory and Sunken Garden. All holding white mobility canes! Pam and Tony live in Indianapolis.
Monday, 12th September 2011.
Wednesday, 14th September 2011
Tony, Tatiana, plus tour group, entering the Grand Ole Opry House. The Grand Ole Opry is a country music show and radio broadcast that began as the WSM Barn Dance in the radio studio of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company on 28th November 1925. On 10th December 1927, the phrase ‘Grand Ole Opry’ was first muttered on air by long-time announcer and programme director George B. Hay, who had introduced the WSM Barn Dance in 1925 – celebrated as the birth date of the Grand Ole Opry.
Grand Ole Opry House has been home to the Grand Ole Opry since 1974. The 4,400 seat venue is located 9 miles, 15 km east of downtown Nashville on part of what was Opryland USA theme park, now Opry Mills mall.
Grand Ole Opry Post Office, lots of pigeon hole boxes where artists receive their fan mail. Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens had his mail box in a separate lower place because of his short stature.
When the new Opry show opened in March 1974, a large circle of wood was cut from the original stage at the Ryman Auditorium, the Opry’s first permanent home and inlaid into the stage at the new venue.
Charleston, South Carolina
Sunday, 18th September 2011
Four photos taken at Fort Sumter National Monument.
Fort Sumter is a coastal fortification in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and now a national park and monument. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War, (1861-65) were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter, (12th-14th April 1861). The fort is built on a sandbar and is reached via a half-hour ferry ride.
Washington, DC, US Capital
Tuesday, 20th September 2011
The FDR Memorial is a dedication to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, US President (January 1933-April 1945) and the era he represents. The monument traces 12 years of US history through four outdoor open rooms, one for each of FDR’s four terms in office. Each display represents a different theme, illustrated through statues, fountains-waterfalls and large walls with huge reliefs of quotes from FDR. The memorial was established 2nd May 1997.
The symbolism of the 5 water areas are;
1: A single drop, the economic crash that lead to the Great Depression
2: Multiple stairstep drops, the Tennessee Valley Authority dam building project
3: Chaotic falls at varying angles, World War II
4: A still pool, Roosevelt’s death
5: A wide array combining the earlier waterfalls, a retrospective of Roosevelt’s presidency
Located in West Potomac Park, on the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial is a memorial, built to honour the 16th US president, Abraham Lincoln. It was built between 1912-1922, the architect was Henry Bacon. The sculpture of the statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) was Daniel Chester French. The building takes the form of a Greek, Doric temple.
Wednesday, 21st September 2011
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is a US National Memorial dedicated to the clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Sculptor of the “Stone of Hope” and the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. is Lei Yixin from China. In front of the sculpture, a 30 feet, 9.1 metre high relief of King named the “Stone of Hope” stands past two other pieces of granite that symbolise the “Mountain of Despair.” Visitors pass through the “Mountain of Despair” before reaching the “Stone of Hope”. The name of the memorial’s centre-piece is taken from King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech: “Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope”.
The national park is located at 1964 Independence Avenue in West Potomac Park, south-west of the National Mall. The site borders the tidal basin of the Potomac River. Opened 22nd August 2011.
Tony, Tatiana in front of the inscription wall by a speech that reads: “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. (24th December 1967, Atlanta, Georgia.)”
19 huge stainless steel statues depicting a squad of soldiers on patrol, at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Behind them is a 164 foot-long black wall with photographic images sandblasted into it depicting soldiers, weaponry and people involved in the war.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial commemorates those who served in the Korean War, 1950-1953. The memorial was dedicated on 27th July 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War. It is located in West Potomac Park, south-east of the Lincoln Memorial and just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. The memorial is in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle.
Thursday, 22nd September 2011
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic basilica located at 400 Michigan Avenue, Washington, DC. It is a two level basilica and national shrine, built between 1920 and 1961. It is the largest Catholic church in the US.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, showing the list of names of US service personnel who died in the Vietnam War, 1959-1975. This is a national memorial to the US service members of the US armed forces who fought, died and became missing in action during the Vietnam War. The memorial was established 13th November 1982. The Vietnam Veterans Wall, the main part of the memorial, is located in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, just north-east of the Lincoln Memorial.
Friday, 23rd September 2011
Congress Hall in the city of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania was the first home of the United States Congress, (1792-1800), when Philadelphia was the US capital. The building has been restored to its authentic style of 1793-1800. Free guided tours are available, tickets must be booked and collected from the information centre, two blocks away.
It was built 1787-89 and is located on Chestnut Street, near 6th Street, in Independence National Historical Park. President George Washington was inaugurated in Congress Hall for a second term. Four years later in a precedent-setting ceremony in the House of Representatives, Washington handed over the Presidency to John Adam’s, and Washington insisted the new President leave the room before him.
The Bill of Rights was ratified while Congress met in these rooms. After Congress departed to Washington, DC, the hall reverted back to the Philadelphia County Courthouse, the purpose for which it was built originally. Independence Hall is next door.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. The bell was formerly housed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, now renamed Independence Hall. It was commissioned from a London firm in 1752. Made of copper and tin, it originally cracked when first rung after arrival in Philadelphia and was twice recast.
The bell acquired its distinctive large crack sometime in the 19th century. In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the “Liberty Bell”. Today, the bell is located in Liberty Bell Center on Independence Mall. Its circumference is 12 feet (3.7 metres), and it weighs 2,080 lb (900 kg).
Back in Washington, DC
Saturday, 24th September 2011
The US Capitol, which houses Congress, is located on Capitol Hill in Washington Hill in Washington, DC. Construction of the US Capitol Hill in Washington began in December 1793 and although largely completed by 1811, construction, innovations and expansion continued throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Capitol held its first session of Congress on 17th November 1800, despite the building being incomplete.
Bronze statue of a man holding a book, one of 24 statues in Emancipation Hall, Capitol Visitor Center. These statues are part of the collection of Statuary Hall, in the Capitol. The hall consists of statues of two significant people, deceased, from each State, thus 100 statues.
Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a BA Degree. Statue located in Emancipation Hall, Capitol Visitor Center. The US Capitol Visitor Center is a large underground addition to the Capitol complex. Opened to the public in 2008, it has three floors containing, Emancipation Hall, Exhibition Hall, a vast food court and two theatres.
New York City
Sunday, 25th September 2011