Day 1 - New York (cont)  
    I just couldn't get enough of the Brooklyn Bridge. All of those cables make for amazing wide angle photos! My advice? Get out early to avoid the crowds, it is a very popular walk.    
Minolta X-570 with 17mm f/4 MC W.Rokkor Film: Fuji Superia Reala

The walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is something that every visitor to New York should try to do, and thanks to my guide Bernard, I had done it in the best way possible, seeing it from the Manhattan Bridge and then crossing it on the way back to Manhattan. By now it was mid morning and I had already seen so much more than I probably would have without a guide.


Built in 1875 and just as impressive today as it must have been then.


Minolta X-570 with 85mm f/2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge you are deposited right at Town Hall. With the new security restrictions visitors are unable to access the gardens directly around the Town Hall, but there are still some very pretty gardens at the bottom end of the City Hall Park. The view from here up towards City Hall is quite picturesque.
City Hall Park - a lovely place to rest after a long walk!
Minolta X-570 with 24mm f/2.8 MC VFC Rokkor. Film: Fuji Superia Reala
Along the way South from City Hall we passed many sights and being the middle of the day the streets were now filled with tourists. As we passed the statue of the Bull (a tribute to the stock market that is the heart of New York's financial district) I was amazed at the number of tourists wanting a photo of themselves beside the bull's head. Despairing of ever being able to take a shot of the bull without some Belgian backpacker saying "cheese" in the middle of my shot, I decided on a more unorthodox approach.
Bull Statue, Posterior angle
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X. Film: Fuji Superia Reala

At the Southernmost tip of Manhattan is Battery Park, named after the gun emplacements that were situated there to protect the city in days gone by. Now Battery Park serves as the point of departure for ferry trips to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Since 2002 the park has also had a special role for many New Yorkers, being the home of the temporary memorial to those lost in the tradegy of the September 11 events.

Temporary World Trade Centre Memorial and Eternal Flame
Minolta X-570 with 35mm f/1.8 MD W.Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

The text from the sign reads:

"For three decades, this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Centre. Entitled "The Sphere", it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and of the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Centre. The eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honour of all those who were lost. Their spirit and sacrifice will never be forgotten."

The sculpture is actually a fitting tribute to those lost on September 11, and it has the solemnity that is lacking from the area adjacent to the World Trade Centre site, which is now occupied by vendors selling distasteful souvenirs to multitudes of tourists. While I appreciate that this has a delicate irony given that the World Trade Centres were a pinnacle of commerce, it is in my opinion a poor reflection on the city.

The Staten Island Ferry is one of the "must do" experiences of a trip to New York. Travelling from a dock adjacent to Battery Park it travels to Staten Island, passing the Statue of Liberty on the way. Best of all, it's free!

Ferryman on the Staten Island Ferry.
Minolta X-570 with 50mm f/1.2 Rokkor-X Film: Fuji Superia Reala

Now I figure that you have all seen a picture of the Statue of Liberty before, so I won't bore you with that (or consume your bandwidth). However to finish the day we walked North along the West side of Manhattan, until we reached Christopher St, in Greenwich Village. Here we visited Bar 55, a prohibition era bar that specialises in hosting live jazz and blues. Bernard had arranged to record the performance of Brian Charette and his band, and had been carrying his microphones, cables and recording deck around all day for the purpose.

It was now 5.00pm and naturally I was exhausted after about 9 hours of solid walking, and so I planned to stay only a short time before returning to my hotel. However, upon discovering that beers were currently two for one price, those plans were quickly changed and I settled in with Bernard for a night of jazz.

Brian Charette, Organ.
Scott Sharrard, Guitar, Kim Thompson, Drums.
Minolta XD11 with 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor-X Film: Kodak TMax P3200.

After about 12 beers and a concoction of 6 spirits for which I never learned the name, Bernard poured me into a taxi and I headed home to my hotel. Wow, what a great first day in New York City! Thanks again to Bernard for showing a newcomer some of the sights of the Big Apple.


To New York - Day 2
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