March 21st to 23rd -   NEW YORK

New York is a surprisingly beautiful city. I spent all my time around Manhattan which is the most famous and expensive portion of the city. Manhattan is extremely densely populated and there are skyscrapers everywhere.  Bring a warm jacket and pullover, the temperature is about 5 centigrade and the wind can be pretty strong. I was lucky to have mostly clear weather during my short visit. Items that stood out in New York

  • There is a contagious dynamism here that can be felt. After a day here I wanted to go out and build / achieve something too !!!. 
  • Every 4th person on the street was listening to an Ipod. Apple made a fortune in the Big Apple
  • Efficiency is everywhere, New Yorkers want to get things done and get them done fast, if possible  without spending too much . 
Selected Photos

I booked a 2 day stay at a very well run international hostel in uptown Manhattan close to Central Park (this is the northern portion of Manhattan). If you visit NY, meet people and spend little this is an excellent choice. 

I got up early and took the NY underground to Wall Street which is on the southern tip of Manhattan. The underground of New York is a crowded version of the underground in Napoli in Italy. It is old, worn down and full of people. Even the Wall Street exit looks way past it's prime (especially when compared to what I saw in Asia).  Everybody was very friendly however and helped me change subways.

Wall street and southern Manhattan is a surprisingly beautiful area. The term "wall" street becomes rather appropriate. NY is definitely the most "vertical" city I have seen. If the bedrock allows it New Yorkers  will build tall structures. This has something to do with the high cost of real estate here, the going real estate price in early 2006 is well over $10,000 per square meter so even a small 1 room apartment will cost over half a million dollars.
The big American flag you can see in the photo is where the heavily guarded New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is located. Unlike most modern exchanges that are fully automated the NYSE has a physical location and real live traders on the floor. This is one of the strongest symbols of capitalism and is not far away from the world trade center. Unfortunately after Sep. 11, 2001 it is not possible for visitors to see the inside of the exchange anymore.    

When I said heavily guarded NYSE I really meant it, not only are there dozens of police cars and canine units but, as you can see from this photo, there are armed SWAT teams with M-16 assault rifles as well. Curiously there is a German flag right next to the NYSE. I asked the people in the building (which turned out to be a high priced gym) why the flag was there, but they had no idea.

Not far from Wall street you will find the bankruptcy court. This is where companies will end their lives. A company graveyard conveniently located next to the hustle bustle of the exchanges...

A big bull on Broadway street represents financial prosperity in Manhattan. In the investment world bulls are people who bet that stocks will go up. Bears bet on falling prices. There are many more Bulls than Bears on Wall Street (and Broadway) today.

These look like roots. Modern art in front of an old cathedral right next to wall street.

There is a unique beauty to Manhattan that I have not seen in other cities. The tall buildings are imposing and yet strangely protective, these are the 20th century castles.

Everything is vertical...

Notice the towers on top of the central building...

A little Park area, notice the strangely curved building.

This is the place where the two world trade center buildings used to stand. The whole area is gated up and there is construction work going on.

This is the World Trade center subway station. It was situated between and below the two buildings that were destroyed on Sep. 11, 2001. Today the station is above ground as the debris from the original towers has been cleared on both sides of the station.

Manhattan as seen from the deck of the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier (52nd street)

A retired blackbird, this is the fastest (and best looking) plane on the Intrepid carrier.

The Statue of Liberty, I took a boat ride around Manhattan, it really started to get cold...

Times Square area, at night...