All of Us!

All of Us!
Finally! All together with enough time to spare (??) to capture a picture of all six of us in the same spot, same time. Now this is a precious photo! I tried to get one last year for our Christmas card and didn't succeed. So when I had the chance I threw out the lasso and rounded everyone up (at my niece's graduation party) to grab a couple snapshots. My oldest son, Casey, and his girlfriend Nika are on the left; and my youngest son, Brady, and his girlfriend Jenne on the right; that leaves Bob and I in the center. (Bob is the one who doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken!!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Big Apple: Day Deux, Part 2 (The Dakota to Peace Fountain)

Whew, so we made it through the first part of the second day's tour.  Are you rested up and ready to set sail again? Now, without further delay, let's jump right back on the Gray Line bus and continue on where we left off from Day 2, Part 1.  Here it is: Day 2, Part 2, starts now ---

The Dakota
The Dakota/ Strawberry Fields: The Dakota building [at left] was the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 on, and was the location of Lennon's murder by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980. As of 2010, Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, still has several apartments in the building. 

In the film Rosemary's Baby, The Dakota is used for exterior shots of the apartment building where the couple lives, in the film their home was known as the "Bramford."

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Big Apple: Day Deux (2), Part 1 (Uptown: Hearst Tower to Hell's Kitchen)

It is Day 2 of my big trip and have we got some sights to see today. This is actually the first full sightseeing day, so we need to start packing in plenty of adventure with a capital "A" for today.

As you will recall from my post about Day 1, the day before I snagged two passes, one for Nika and one for me (since Casey would be at work during the day), to do the Gray Line Tours. I didn’t quite know what to expect so this, in itself, was going to be an adventure. After seeing Casey off to work, Nika and I snatched food from the complimentary breakfast in our hotel (what a feast they had!), showered and got ready to head out. We stopped at the front desk to print out the voucher for the Gray Line Tour. Grabbing my camera and small shoulder bag (this was quite a feat for me to pare down my usual large purse to a small one, but I did it), and off we went like a couple of characters from the Wizard of Oz setting out to find the Great Wizard himself. And, really, we were! As we were heading out during the morning rush of people swarming the sidewalks, we toddled along arm-in-arm – she the worldly Brooklyn girl, and me the hick with the big eyes taking in any and every sight along the way. Even on these walks, the camera is never in its case. It is posed and ready to snap a pic at any moment. So with umbrella in our intertwined hands, camera in another and coffee in the third appendage, we're off to find some "treasure."

Our destination: the Gray Line Visitor Center located at 777 8th Avenue at 47th Street. Here we would exchange the voucher for our boarding passes. As I relinquished control to Nika to get us to 8th at 47th, my camera never stopped clicking at the sights around me. This may be my only chance to ever get there and I was going to make the most of taking pictures to savor at later dates.

Gray Line Tours:
Once we arrived at Gray Line Tours Visitor Center, we next had to decide which tour we were going to take today. The package I purchased included three days of tours for the two of us, and each ticket included entrance to three sites. [The picture at left shows the map and what all the tours cover.]

Looking back now I will say there is no better way to travel than to have a carefree transfer waiting for you upon arrival to navigate you through the New York traffic where you can hop on and hop off at any stop. Acquainting myself (ourselves) with New York City with an unrivaled Gray Line sightseeing tour was one of the best ideas. We found that no where else could we experience the incredible architecture of many of New York’s main attractions, in a short period of time.

Today, we decided to do the Uptown Loop Tour. The brochures told us the duration of this was a 2-3 hour loop (without any stops). The stops on this loop included Central Park West, Lincoln Center, Dakota Apartments, American Museum of Natural History, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Grants Tomb, Apollo Theater, Harlem Market, The Museum Mile, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum, Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

Uptown loop, here we come. We headed outside to jump on the next double-decker bus that was leaving. As we had discussed while inside at the visitor center, today’s adventure would have to be timed just right. That night we were going to see the Broadway play “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theater, so we figured we would have to be back to the hotel between 5:00 and 6:00 at the latest in order to get ready and head out to the play in time.

Onto the bus we climbed and immediately headed up to the top of the open double-decker bus. It had started raining slightly -- more of a heavy mist -- so we were given and donned some fashionable rain slickers. [See picture at left of Nika modeling our fashionable attire; as you can see in the picture, everyone was wearing them so we weren't the only alien-looking people on the bus.]

Now, let’s start our tour. As we go along, I intend to give you information about some of the sites we saw. Our guides on each bus filled us in with tons of information and it makes each sight all the more exciting to know all the information behind the sight/building.

Hearst Tower
: First up, the Hearst Tower. [See pic at left.] The city's first new energy-efficient tower constructed in 2006 over the original six-story preserved Hearst Building originally constructed in 1928.

Hearst Tower, located in Midtown Manhattan at 300 West 57th Street, is another example of the new breed of green design skyscrapers in New York City. It is a glass and steel construction skyscraper which rests on the base of the original 1920's Hearst Corporation Building. Hearst Tower is easily identified by the dramatic interlocking triangular glass panels. Interesting note: It was also the first skyscraper in New York City to be awarded the coveted Gold LEED Certified rating by the United States Green Building Council.

40 Wall Street (a/k/a The Trump Building) [Sorry, I thought I had taken a picture of this historic building, but didn't find one. I will, however, tell you about this iconic sight.]

History: 40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper; originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank and today is officially named the Trump Building. The building, between Nassau Street and William Street in Manhattan was completed in 1930 after only 11 months of construction. Its pinnacle reaches 927 feet and was very briefly the tallest building in the world, soon surpassed by the Chrysler Building finished that same year. [Make note here that throughout describing some of the larger buildings in New York City, I will mention the status of height boasting rights -- who is tallest then/now/when.] Because this building has so much history, I wanted to share all the interesting facts about it with you.

Construction: Construction of the Bank of Manhattan Building at 40 Wall Street began in 1928, with a planned height of 840 feet, making it 135 feet taller than the nearby Woolworth Building, completed in 1913. More importantly, the plans were designed to be two feet taller than the Chrysler Building, which was in an apparent competition to be the world’s tallest building. In order to stay ahead of the race, the architects of 40 Wall Street changed their originally announced height of 840 feet or 68 stories, to 927 feet or 71 stories, making their building, upon completion in May 1930, the tallest in the world. However, this triumph turned out to be short-lived.

Chrysler Building Competes: Uptown at 405 Lexington Avenue, the Chrysler Building developers were in the works to top 40 Wall Street. By October 1929, tycoon Walter Chrysler used his secret weapon to win the race to the top; a 125-foot (38 m) stainless steel spire was clandestinely assembled in the Chrysler Building's crown and hoisted into place, bringing it to a height of 77 stories, or 1,048 feet (319 m). Once completed on May 28, 1930, the Chrysler Building surpassed 40 Wall Street as the tallest building on the earth, fulfilling tycoon Walter Chrysler's dream.

Taking It To The Papers: Upset by Chrysler’s victory, Shreve & Lamb, consulting architects of 40 Wall Street, wrote a newspaper article claiming that their building was actually the tallest, since it contained the world's highest usable floor. They pointed out that the observation deck in the Bank of Manhattan Building was nearly 100 feet above the top floor in the Chrysler Building, whose surpassing spire was strictly ornamental and essentially inaccessible. However, such trivialities became a moot point when the Empire State Building was completed eleven months later in 1931, becoming the world’s tallest building at 1,250 feet (380 m) in both of those categories.

1946 Airplane Crash Into 40 Wall Street: On the evening of May 20, 1946, a United States Army Air Forces C-45 Beechcraft airplane crashed into the north side of the building. The twin-engined plane was heading for Newark Airport on a flight originating at Lake Charles Army Air Field in Louisiana. It struck the 58th floor of the building at about 8:10 p.m., creating a 20 by 10-foot hole in the masonry, and killing all five aboard the plane, including a WAC officer. Fog and low visibility were identified as the main causes of the crash. At the time of the accident, LaGuardia Field reported a heavy fog that reduced the ceiling to 500 feet, obscuring the view of the ground for the pilot at the building's 58th story level. Parts of the aircraft and pieces of brick and mortar from the building fell into the street below, but there were no reported injuries of any of the estimated 2,000 workers in the building, nor anyone on the street.

This crash at 40 Wall Street was only the second of its kind in New York City's history, the first being when an Army B-25 bomber struck the 78th floor of the Empire State Building in July of the year before. The cause of that crash was also fog and poor visibility. The 1946 incident was the last time an airplane accidentally struck a skyscraper in New York City until October 11, 2006, when a small plane carrying New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle slammed into a 50-story condo building on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

1982 Purchase by Marcos: In 1982, Joseph J. and Ralph E. Bernstein purchased 40 Wall Street and were later found to be acting on behalf of Ferdinand E. Marcos, the late President of the Philippines. When Marcos was removed from power and his assets in the United States were frozen, the building was placed in limbo. [Of course, you have to recall his widow, Imelda Marcos who is often remembered for symbols of the extravagance of her husband's political reign, which included her collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes. My hero!!! haha! Okay, so I am a long way from catching her, I only have 100 pairs.]

1995 Purchase by Trump: In 1995, after years of neglect, 40 Wall Street was bought by Donald Trump and later renamed The Trump Building. He planned to convert the upper half of it to residential space, leaving the bottom half as commercial space. However, the cost of converting it to residential space proved to be too high, and it remains 100% commercial space. He tried to sell the building in 2003, expecting offers in excess of $300 million. Such offers did not materialize, and Trump still retains control of the building. In 1998, the building was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The tower is the tallest mid-block building in New York City.

Columbus Circle: Columbus Circle, named for Christopher Columbus, is a major landmark and point of attraction in the borough of Manhattan, located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South (West 59th Street), and Central Park West, at the southwest corner of Central Park. It is the point from which all official distances from New York City are measured. The name is also used for the neighborhood a few blocks around the circle in each direction. To the south of the circle lies Hell's Kitchen, also known as "Clinton", and the “Theatre District,” and to the north is the Upper West Side.

History: Completed in 1905 and renovated a century later, the circle was designed by Wm. Eno as part of Frederick Law Olmsted's vision for Central Park, which included a "Grand Circle" at the Merchants' Gate, its most important Eighth Avenue entrance.

Columbus Statue: [See up-close pic of Columbus statue at left.] The monument at the center of Columbus Circle was erected as part of New York's 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Americas. Constructed with funds raised by Il Progresso, a New York City-based Italian-language newspaper, the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot granite rostral column decorated with bronze reliefs representing Columbus' ships: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. Its pedestal features an angel holding a globe.

Renovations to the circle completed in 2005 included new water fountains, wooden benches, and plantings encircling the monument. The inner circle measures approximately 36,000 square feet and the outer circle is approximately 148,000 square feet.

Time Warner Center, [which I describe more fully further down], the world headquarters of the Time Warner corporation, is located on the west side of Columbus Circle on the site of the old New York Coliseum. The complex also hosts the Shops at Columbus Circle, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the New York City studio headquarters of CNN and the Mandarin Oriental, New York hotel. On the north side of Columbus Circle is the Trump International Hotel and Tower, with its noted steel globe. This building had been an office tower, the headquarters of the Gulf + Western conglomerate, which was stripped to its steel skeleton and reclad in a new facade.

Merchant's Gate: On the northeast lies the Merchant's Gate to Central Park and is dominated by the USS Maine National Monument, a gorgeous and imposing edifice of marble and gilded bronze, which was built in 1913 as a memorial to sailors killed aboard the battleship USS Maine, whose mysterious 1898 explosion in Havana harbor precipitated the Spanish-American War. [Also described more fully below.]

The address 2 Columbus Circle is where Actors' Equity was founded in 1914, in the old Pabst Grand Circle Hotel, a building torn down in 1960 in order to construct a distinctive new tower to house the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art. Vacant since the city's Department of Cultural Affairs departed in 1998, it was listed as one of the World Monuments Fund's "100 most endangered sites." The building's radical transformation into the new home for the Museum of Arts & Design continues to raise hackles for the failure of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold hearings on its worthiness for designation. [Sorry, but I didn't capture a picture of this "radical" looking building.]

240 Central Park South, the 1941 balconied modern apartment building across Broadway from the museum, is a city-designated landmark with a new addition atop its retail base -- a green roof. [And, I was positive I had a pic of this building with the green roof, but guess I don't have that either.]

One more bit of info about Columbus Circle -- it also appeared in the movie Ghostbusters as the site where the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man begins his trip towards 55 Central Park West. I have always loved that scene.

USS Maine National Monument at the Merchant's Gate entrance to Central Park: The USS Maine was the United States Navy's second commissioned pre-dreadnought battleship, although she was originally classified as an armored cruiser. She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain. On the evening of February 15, 1898, she suddenly exploded, and swiftly sank, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. Though then, as now, the cause and responsibility for her sinking were unclear, popular opinion in the U.S. blamed Spain, and the sinking (popularized in the phrase "Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!") was one of the precipitating events of the Spanish–American War. Her sinking remains the subject of speculation, with various opinions proposing that she sank due to the results of an undetected fire in one of her coal bunkers, that she was the victim of a naval mine, and that she was deliberately sunk for the purposes of driving the U.S. into a war with Spain. This gorgeous piece of work [see picture at left above] is glorious to see.

Time Warner Center: Time Warner Center is a mixed-use skyscraper at Columbus Circle on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It has attracted much attention as the first major building to be completed since the 9-11 terrorist attacks and has become known to many New Yorkers as the "new twin towers." Additional publicity was generated in 2003 when David Martinez paid $45 million dollars for a penthouse condominium, a record for New York residential sales. It's design consists of two 750 ft towers bridged by a multi-story atrium containing upscale retail shops. Construction began in November 2000, following the demolition of the New York Coliseum, and a topping-out ceremony was held on February 27, 2003. The property had the highest-listed market value in New York City, $1.1 billion, in 2006.

Originally constructed as the AOL Time Warner Center, the building encircles the western side of Columbus Circle and straddles the border between Midtown and the Upper West Side. The total floor area of 2.8 million square feet is divided between offices (notably the offices of Time Warner Inc.), residential condominiums, and the Mandarin Oriental, New York hotel. The Shops at Columbus Circle is an upscale shopping mall located in a curving arcade at the base of the building, with a large Whole Foods Market grocery store in the basement. As well as CNN studios, the complex is also home to a 1,200 seat theater for Jazz at Lincoln Center; as of August 2011, Jazz at Lincoln Center's The Allen Room is the recording studio for Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show, Anderson. CNN's Jeanne Moos, known for her offbeat "man on the street" reporting, frequently accosts her interview subjects just outside the building. In 2005, Jazz at Lincoln Center announced a partnership with XM Satellite Radio which gave XM studio space at Frederick P. Rose Hall to broadcast both daily jazz programming and special events such as an Artist Confidential show featuring Carlos Santana.
Steel Globe: On the north side of Columbus Circle is the Trump International Hotel and Tower, with its noted steel world globe honoring Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. [See photo at left .]

Trump International Hotel and Tower: The Trump International Hotel and Tower is a high-rise building, located at 1 Central Park West on Columbus Circle between Broadway and Central Park West, in Manhattan, New York City. The building has 44 floors. [See picture below, left.]

It is owned by The Trump Organization and features hotel rooms and residential condominiums. The building was originally the Gulf and Western and was built in 1969. Between 1995-1997, the building was stripped to its skeleton and given a new facade. The building is used as the setting of the 2011 comedy crime film Tower Heist, which I have not seen yet (at this writing), but hope to soon.

Hell’s Kitchen:
Hell's Kitchen, also known as Clinton and Midtown West, is a neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City between 34th Street and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River.

The neighborhood provides transportation, hospital and warehouse infrastructure support to the Midtown Manhattan business district. Its gritty reputation depressed real estate prices in the area relative to much of the rest of Manhattan until the early 1990's. Since then, rent prices have increased enormously, with current rent prices above the Manhattan average.

Why the Name? Several explanations exist for the original name. An early use of the phrase appears in a comment Davy Crockett made about another notorious Irish slum in Manhattan, Five Points. According to the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area when, in 1835, Davy Crockett said, "In my part of the country, when you meet an Irishman, you find a first-rate gentleman; but these are worse than savages; they are too mean to swab hell's kitchen." He was referring to the Five Points.

According to an article by Kirkley Greenwell, published online by the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, no one can pin down the exact origin of the label, but some refer to a tenement on 54th Street as the first "Hell's Kitchen." Another explanation points to an infamous building at 39th as the true original. A gang and a local dive took the name as well. A similar slum also existed in London and was known as Hell's Kitchen.

Local historian Mary Clark explained the name, first appearing in print on September 22, 1881, when a New York Times reporter went to the West 30's with a police guide to get details of a multiple murder there. He referred to a particularly infamous tenement at 39th Street and 10th Avenue as "Hell's Kitchen," and said that the entire section was "probably the lowest and filthiest in the city." According to this version, 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues became known as Hell's Kitchen and the name was later expanded to the surrounding streets. Another version ascribes the name's origins to a German restaurant in the area known as Heil's Kitchen, after its proprietors. But the most common version traces it to the story of Dutch Fred The Cop, a veteran policeman, who with his rookie partner, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near 10th Avenue. The rookie is supposed to have said, "This place is hell itself," to which Fred replied, "Hell's a mild climate. This is Hell's Kitchen.” And, there you have it -- the rest of the story(ies)!

The rough and tumble days on the West Side figure prominently in Damon Runyon's stories and the childhood home of Marvel Comics' Daredevil. Various Manhattan ethnic conflicts formed the basis of the musical and film West Side Story.

Once a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans, over the last three decades of the 20th century and into the new millennium, Hell's Kitchen has undergone change as a result of its proximity to Midtown. The 1969 edition of the Plan for New York City book authored by the City Planning Commission stated that people of modest means were being driven from the area by development pressures due to the Midtown location. Today, many actors reside in the neighborhood because it is near the Broadway theaters and Actors Studio training school.

9-11 (2001): While almost all fire stations in Manhattan lost firefighters in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the hardest hit station was Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue, which lost 15 firefighters. Given its proximity to Midtown, the station had specialized in skyscraper fires and rescues and in 2007 was the second busiest firehouse in New York City, with 9,685 runs between the two companies. Also Ladder 21, the "Pride of Hell's Kitchen", located on 38th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, and stationed with Engine 34, lost 7 firefighters on September 11. In addition, on September 11, Engine 26 was temporarily stationed with Engine 34/Ladder 21 and lost many firefighters themselves.

Where Is It At Exactly: "Hell's Kitchen" generally refers to the area from 34th to 59th streets. Starting west of 8th Avenue, city zoning regulations limit buildings to 6 stories high (although exceptions are often made). As a result, most of the buildings are older, often walk-ups. For the most part the neighborhood encompasses the ZIP codes 10019 and 10036. The post office for 10019 is called Radio City Station, the original name for Rockefeller Center on Sixth Avenue.

Southern boundary: Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea overlap and are often lumped together as the West Side since they support the Midtown Manhattan business district. The traditional dividing line is 34th Street. The transition area just north of Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station includes the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Eastern boundary: The neighborhood overlaps the Times Square theater district to the east at Eighth Avenue. On its southeast border, it overlaps the Garment District also on Eighth Avenue. Here, two landmarks reside - the New Yorker Hotel and the dynamic Manhattan Center building (at the northwest corner of 34th Street and Eighth Avenue). Included in the transition area on Eighth Avenue are the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street, the Pride of Manhattan Fire Station (from which 15 firefighters died at the World Trade Center), several theaters including Studio 54, the original soup stand of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, and the Hearst Tower.

Northern boundary: The neighborhood edges toward the southern boundary of the Upper West Side, and 57th Street is considered by some the traditional northern boundary. However the neighborhood often is considered to extend to 59th Street (the southern edge of Central Park starting at Eighth Avenue) where the avenue names change. Included in the 57th to 59th Street transition area are the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where John Lennon died in 1980 after being shot, and John Jay College.

Western boundary: The western boundary is the Hudson River.

Alternate Names: Hell's Kitchen has stuck as the general and informal name of the neighborhood even though real estate developers have offered alternatives of Clinton and Midtown West or even "the Mid-West". The Clinton name, used by the municipality of New York City, originated in 1959 in an attempt to link the area to DeWitt Clinton Park at 52nd and 11th Avenue, named after the 19th century New York governor.

West Side Story: During the 1950s, immigrants, notably Puerto Ricans, moved into the neighborhood. The conflict between the Irish, Italians, and the Puerto Ricans is highlighted in West Side Story. The movie was filmed from 65th Street and 69th Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenue, north of Hell's Kitchen. Part of the sites seen are old P. S. 94 on the corner of 68th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and St. Michael's Church. The movie was filmed during the demolition of this area that was to become Lincoln Center.

In 1959, an aborted rumble between rival Irish and Puerto Rican gangs led to the notorious "Capeman" murders in which two innocent teenagers were killed. By 1965, Hell's Kitchen was the home base of the Westies, a deeply violent Irish American crew aligned with the Gambino crime family. It was not until the early 1980's that widespread gentrification (or the wealthy buying up lower income properties) began to alter the demographics of the longtime working-class Irish American neighborhood. The 1980's also saw an end to the Westies' reign of terror, when the gang lost all of its power after the RICO convictions of most of its principals in 1986.

Today Hell's Kitchen is an increasingly upscale neighborhood of actors and affluent young professionals, as well as residents from the "old days". It has also acquired a large diverse community as residents have moved north from Chelsea. Hell's Kitchen's gritty reputation had made its housing prices lower than elsewhere in Manhattan. Given the lower costs in the past and its proximity to Broadway theaters, the neighborhood is a haven for aspiring actors. Some notables who have resided there, include Burt Reynolds, Rip Torn, Bob Hope, Charlton Heston, James Dean, Madonna, Jerry Seinfeld, Alicia Keys, and Sylvester Stallone. This is due in large part to the Actors Studio on West 44th, which rose to prominence.

With the opening of the original Improv in 1963, the club became a hangout for singers to perform but quickly attracted comedians, as well, turning it into the reigning comedy club of its time. Located on West 44th near the SE corner of 9th Ave, it has since closed, replaced by a restaurant.

The neighborhood is also home to a number of broadcast and music-recording studios, including the CBS Broadcast Center (at 524 West 57th Street), Sony Music Studios (at 460 West 54th Street), Manhattan Center Studios (at 311 West 34th Street), and Right Track Recording's Studio A509 orchestral recording facility (at West 38th Street and 10th Avenue). The syndicated Montel Williams Show is also taped locally at the Unitel Studios, 433 W. 53rd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Comedy Central's satirical program The Daily Show is also taped in Hell's Kitchen. In the summer of 2005, it moved from its quarters at 54th Street and 10th Avenue to a new studio in the neighborhood, at 733 11th Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets. The old location at 54th and 10th is now home to The Colbert Report. Next door to Colbert at 511 W. 54th St. is Ars Nova Theater, home to emerging artists such as breakout star Jesse Eisenberg, among others. [You will remember Eisenberg as portraying Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg in the 2010 hit movie "The Social Network."] Loew's Theater[see picture above, left] is also one of the famed attractions in Hell's Kitchen.

The Clinton Community Garden is a result of the actors living in the area. Since they mostly work at night in the local theaters, they took time to create a garden in a rubble-strewn lot. Eventually it became a selling point for gentrification, providing real estate agents with another selling point.

Original Control House on the NY Subway System: [See picture at left]. This picture depicts the New York City's subway original control house (front) and right behind that, with the green stripes on the roof, is the newer Control house, located on opposite sides of 72nd Street.

72nd Street is an express station on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line of the New York City Subway, located at the intersection of Broadway, 72nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue (including Verdi Square and Sherman Square) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is served by the 1, 2 and 3 trains at all times.

2nd Street station opened on October 27, 1904, as part of the original subway, with trains running from the Brooklyn Bridge to 137th Street. The original configuration of the station was inadequate by IRT standards. It had just one entrance (the Control house on the traffic island between 71st and 72nd Streets, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and the platforms and stairways were unusually narrow. There were no crossovers or crossunders as the control house had separate turnstile banks and token booths for each side.

During the 1950s, the New York City Transit Authority (now MTA) considered converting the station to a local station by walling off the express tracks from the platforms. This would have coincided with 59th Street – Columbus Circle, which is a major transfer point to the IND Eighth Avenue Line, becoming an express stop.

All this may sound confusing, and it should be, as although I found riding on the subway entertaining watching all the different people, finding out where you need to go and getting on which train WAS very confusing to me. My guides, Casey and Nika, made it easy, though, so I didn't have to worry about it. But put me on there by myself and I might be riding all day long before someone tells me I have to get off. Then . . . I would probably be lost! :)


Well, I think I am going to end this portion of the tour here, as it has probably been a lot for you to absorb, as well as for me to write about. But going back over it as I write, it helps me remember all the fascinating things about the many sights I digested during my stay in New York City.

So, goodbye for now. But, remember, Day 2's tour is not over with yet. I have plenty more to share and write about. Day Deux, Part 1, is over . . . now on to Day Deux, Part 2.