Manhattan in December

I made a trip into Manhattan this past Sunday to do a little Christmas shopping and just see New York during the Holiday Season. It was an overcast, cold and rainy day, but I still throughly enjoyed my visit. I arrived in the city before noon, so I was pretty much able to spend a full day in the city and was able to make stops at all the stores I planned to visit. First I went down to the West Village, then walked over to the Union Square area and finally  headed up to the Midtown area.

While I was in the West Village I was able to pay my first visit to the new Whitney Museum of Art at 99 Gansevoort St, which has been on my to-do list since the museum opened on May 1st, 2015. I had to go to a few stores on West 14th St. and while I was in the neighborhood I figured I finally go to the Whitney. I must say that really enjoyed my visit to the “new” Whitney. I had visited the Whitney back at it’s old home on the Upper Eastside several times, but it was a real treat to see the new Renzo Piano designed building, which I must say is a dramatic improvement over the old building. More on the Whitney later, I’m going publish a separate post on my first impressions of the museum.

I really enjoyed seeing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which I visited while mass was in progress. It was inspiring to see so many of the faithful at the historic Cathedral.



Here are a few of the pictures I took as I made my way around the city…












The Twin Towers and the Manhattan Skyline in July 2001


I took this picture at Eagle Rock Reservation in July, 2001. The reservation is located in Montclair, NJ. I have previously posted a picture of just the WTC Twin Towers and lower Manhattan that I took from the location. Today, on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, I decided post this picture of the entire Manhattan Skyline. I think this picture really illustrates just how prominent the Twin Towers were in relation to all the other skyscrapers in the city.

Photo was taken with my first digital camera, a Kodak DC 290.



My 2016 NFL Predictions


Here are my picks for each Division:


AFC East: New England. Hard to seriously consider any only teams in the AFC East as long as Bill Belichick is coaching and Tom Brady is playing QB. I think the NY Jets will also be good, too. I predict the Jets will secure a wild-card slot for the play-offs.

AFC North: Pittsburgh–Tough choice. In the end I had pick between the Steelers and Bengals. Not much separating these teams, but I have a little more confidence in Big Ben and the Steeler’s offense than I do Andy Dalton and the Bengal’s offensive, especially in view of the fact that Cincy installed a new Offensive Coordinator for this season. The Bengals offense may indeed improve, but that is a question mark. That said, I think both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will make the play-offs.

AFC South: Houston. The addition of Brock Osweiler gives the Texans that advantage in this this division. The JJ Watt lead defense has always kept them in the hunt for the division, but if Houston can field a decent offense it will make them truly dangerous. Brock may make a formidable all-around team.

AFC West: Kansas City-Can’t pick Denver, the defending SB champ’s, because they have no proven players at the QB position with the retirement of Peyton Manning.

NFC East: Washington-I think this weak division will come down to battle between the Washington Redskins and NY Giants. I can’t see Philadelphia winning the division with a rookie QB and Dallas may be in same boat, with starting QB Tony Romo out for at least 6 games.

NFC North: Green Bay.-Gotta go with Packers. I expect Detroit and Minn. to be competitive, but I see the Packers as the best team in the division. Rodgers still one of the QB’s in the league, if not the best. The return of star WR Jordy Nelson is big for the Packers.

NFC South: Carolina.-No contest here. The NFC Champs should win this division easily.However, I expect the Panthers to suffer a few more losses this season than they did last season because they caught the league by surprise last season and opposing teams were not as well prepared for them as they will this season.

NFC West: Seattle-A toss up here. Very difficult to pick between Seattle and Arizona.

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Steelers, Bengals, as well as Kansas City and possibly Denver could provide tough tests to the Patriots in the play-0ffs. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fare will Jimmy G at QB. If they go 2-2 with Garoppolo at the helm I think there a good chance that they will be able to amass the best record in the AFC and secure home field advantage in the play-offs and that will be important.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–I think there are at least four teams that have a good shot at winning the NFC. In  addition to Packers I would add Arizona, Seattle and, of course, the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. I won’t be at all surprised if any of those wins the NFC, I’m going to go with the Packers.

Superbowl Champion: New England–Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.

Impressions of Via 57 West

One of the buildings that I was most interested in seeing in person during my recent trips to NYC was Via 57 West, the first building in NYC designed by celebrated Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). As the name of the building implies, it located on West 57th street. To be specific, 57 West  is located at 625 West 57th Street, which is all the way over on the far West Side, right on the West Side Highway.

The building’s shape is very distinctive and it really stands out from a distance because of it’s size and shape. The building is pyramid shaped and rises 35 stories. You can very clearly see the building from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. I think the building’s unique design is indeed very impressive, especially at a time when many much more conventional boxy glass lined high rises are popping up all over Manhattan.I hope the this building inspires other daring innovative designs both in and out of New York City.

I think one thing that is less than ideal about West 57 is it’s location. One of the most attractive features of the building is that many units have terraces that are designed to take advantage of spectacular views of Manhattan and the Hudson. I  honestly think a better location for this building would have been Jersey City or Brooklyn or Queens, so it faced the Manhattan skyline, instead of being part of it. Some of the 750 units do face south, so the residents do look out upon Midtown West and lower Manhattan. They also face the Jersey’s Gold Coast, which isn’t a bad view, but it cannot compare to the view that Manhattan would provide from the other side of the Hudson river. If it had been built on East River,  in Queens or Brooklyn,  it also would have had superior views. However, this is also a very high end luxury building and the rents are quite high, with studio’s starting at $3500.00 per moth and some two/three bedroom units going north of 10k per month. The building could probably not command those kind rents in Jersey City or Queens, so in that respect I can understand why the developers would want West 57  right where it is. You have to have a Manhattan address to take advantage of the truly high end of the Manhattan Real Estate market.

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Hoboken Terminal Photos

During one of my recent trips to NYC I took quick trip over to Hoboken so I could snap a few shots of Manhattan’s West Side from the Jersey side of the Hudson. I took the Path train over to NJ and took a stroll through the historic Hoboken Terminal, one of my all-time favorite train stations. It was a Saturday when I visited so the station was largely vacant because the vast majority of the NJ Transit trains it serves only run Monday to Friday.

The Beaux-Arts style Rail and Ferry Terminal buildings were built in 1907. The building was designed by architect Kenneth M Murchison. A lot of work has been put in over the course of the last decade or so to restore this building. I remember what the terminal was like back in the 80’s and 90’s and was no where near as nice as it is now.

Here are a few the pictures I took at the Terminal that day. All photos were taken with my iPhone SE.


The Stunning Oculus at the World Trade Center

I made a few trips in New York City after a fairly long absence. It always enjoy seeing the progress that has been on various major construction projects that are under way all over the city. There are several fascinating developments in projects in Manhattan, including several Super-Tall skyscrapers and elaborate complexes, such as the Hudson Yards project. However, no project is more important to NYC than the new World Trade Center. The rebuilding of the WTC has been a very long and painstaking process since the attack on 9/11/01, but it has been truly gratifying to see the new WTC slowly come together piece by piece in the last few years. A major milestone was reached with the opening of the WTC Transportation Hub on March 3rd of this year. I have been very eager to see the new building in person since it opened, but I wanted to wait until the weather was a little nicer before making the trip to lower Manhattan. The centerpiece of the Hub, is a soaring,  white building, called the Oculus, that in many ways seems like a modern cathedral.

The Oculus is positioned to the east of the North Pool of the WTC, which occupies the spot where the North Tower of the WTC once stood. Behind the Pool you can see the Oculus. The neofuturistic Oculus was designed by the famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The building opened to mixed reviews from architectural critics, but I love it after seeing it in person. It is a truly inspiring building that I think will stand the test of time well.