UN Building, New York

View of the UN Building as seen from street level and from the East River.

The nearby Isaiah Wall, and a hope that seems as far from being realised as ever.



Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Located in New York’s Museum Mile on the East Side of Central Park, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was founded in 1939 but did not adopt its present name until after the death of its founder in 1952. The move from rented space to Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark building came in 1959 but the need for a purpose-built space was identified in the early 1940s. Wright was commissioned to design the building in 1944: it took him 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to realise the project, which is his only New York building.

Brooklyn Bridge

Linking Manhattan island to Brooklyn, the mighty Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 after fourteen years under construction. The bridge’s main span is 486.3 m (1,595.5 ft) and it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge to be built. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It was originally named the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and later the East River Bridge. However, it became informally known as Brooklyn Bridge, and this name was officially adopted in 1915.

One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial

One World Trade Center is the 541 m (1,776 ft) tall skyscraper built to replace the Twin Towers destroyed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.  Two memorial reflecting pools, framed in steel, now occupy the footprints of the Twin Towers. The height in feet is a reference to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The names of 2,983 victims are inscribed on 152 bronze parapets on the memorial pools: 2,977 killed in the 11 September 2001 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

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Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry provides a free 7/24 hour link between Manhattan and Staten Island. The short voyage provides excellent views of Lower Manhattan and of the Statue of Liberty, making the ferry popular with tourists. Passengers are required to leave the ferry when it reaches Staten Island, but many simply re-embark on the next ferry back to Manhattan. The vessel shown in the first picture is the MV Samuel I. Newhouse. At 3,335 tons gross and a capacity of 6,000, she and her sister ship Andrew J. Barberi were the largest ferries in the world when they entered service in the early 1980s.


American Museum of Natural History

To paraphrase the late Douglas Adams, the American Museum of Natural History is big. Mind-bogglingly big. The museum complex comprises 45 permanent exhibition halls housed in 28 interconnected buildings, as well as a library and the Rose Centre for Earth and Space. The total floor-space is over 190,000 sq. m (2 million sq. ft) which can nevertheless display only a fraction of the museum’s 33 million specimens at any one time.

Rooftop water towers of New York

As much a part of the New York landscape as yellow cabs and the Empire State Building, the seemingly antiquated water towers are still very much in use, needed to maintain water pressure in buildings of more than six storeys. Most are made from wood, and they are cheap and easy to install.  They have a lifespan of 30 – 35 years before needing to be replaced.

High Line, New York

The High Line is a 2.33 km (1.45 mile) section of a former elevated railroad on the West Side of Manhattan. Declining usage led to the railroad closing in 1980 and the viaduct was abandoned thereafter. In the years that followed, it was colonised by wild vegetation. In 2006, work began to re-purpose the railroad into an urban park, and the first phase opened in 2009. A second phase opened in 2011, followed by a third in 2014. A short stub above Tenth Avenue and 30th Street will open by 2018. The park runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District – through Chelsea to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street near the Javits Center.

Empire State Building, New York

For almost forty years, the 443.2 m (1,454 ft) tall 102-storey Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world before being surpassed by the twin towers of the World Trade Center. It regained the title of New York’s tallest building after 9/11, but by this time it was only the second tallest building in America after the Sears Tower in Chicago (now the Willis  Tower). The rebuilding of the Word Trade Center and the construction of 432 Park Avenue have since relegated the Empire State Building to third place in New York; worldwide the many large buildings constructed during the first two decades of the twenty-first century have pushed it down to a world ranking of 40.

The Empire State Building nevertheless remains an icon: as synonymous with New York as Tower Bridge is with London or the Eiffel Tower with Paris.