Big Noise, New York
“This old town’s no fun at all
Without your love
I only see the the drifting shadows
Of the losers and the lost
And now it’s all
Big talk, big name, big noise, New York”
Performed by : Jennifer Warnes
Written by : Donald Fagen
Lyrics : Marcelle Clemments
New York City, icon of the western world, is a vibrant and dynamic city of over 8 million people. It is the most populous city in USA, and comprises of five boroughs; Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Both New York state and New York City were named for the 17th Century Duke of York, James Stuart, the future James II and VII of England and Scotland.
Arriving in New York for the very first time was strange in that as you moved around the city it was instantly recognisable and familiar as if you had been there before. This familiarity stems from the high profile that this city has in the media, whether in movies, TV shows or photographic images that we are all exposed to on a regular basis.
Times Square – Crossroads of the World
Times Square is probably one of the most recognised and iconic city centres in the World. Situated in Manhattan at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets this commercial area has an incredible concentration of neon advertising with gigantic Jumbotron video screens now taking up much of the real estate creating a dynamic and colourful vista on all the tall buildings.
This larger area around Times Square from 6th to 8th Avenue and from 40th to 53rd Street is known as the Theatre District where most of the Broadway theatres are located as well as many other theatres, movie theatres, music halls, restaurants, hotels and other entertainment outlets. This whole area just buzzes with peope and happenings and at night with all the neon lights on can be quite spectacular.
This advertisement on the side of a building really stood out and made a good impact. Barneys is a chain of luxury department stores centred in New York. The chain owns large stores in New York City, Beverly Hills, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Scottsdale, and smaller stores in other locations across the United States.
On West 42nd Street in the heart of the Times Square area in New York City is the B. B. King Blues Club and Grill, a premier supper club offering a wide array of live music in intimate surroundings.
Lucilles Grill, named “Best Great Bar That You’d Never Suspect Was a Great Bar” by the New York Press, where local acts from the New York music scene jam away with no cover price every night of the week. The mahogany framed, bi-level bar & grill offers a unique atmosphere, complete with signature saxophone beer taps. Colorful contemporary art and iconic photography of all the legendary blues masters in the rich history of this uniquely American music form adorn the restaurant walls.
Architecture of NYC
New York has architecturally significant buildings in a wide range of styles spanning distinct historical and cultural periods. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early Gothic revival skyscraper with large-scale gothic architectural detail. The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below. The Art Deco design of the Chrysler Building (1930) and Empire State Building (1931), with their tapered tops and steel spires, reflected the zoning requirements. The Chrysler building is considered by many historians and architects to be one of New York’s finest, with its distinctive ornamentation such as V-shaped lighting inserts capped by a steel spire at the tower’s crown. An early influential example of the international style in the United States is the Seagram Building (1957), distinctive for its facade using visible bronze-toned I-beams to evoke the building’s structure. The Condé Nast Building (2000) is an important example of green design in American skyscrapers.
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on 843 acres (3.41 km2) of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan. Construction began the same year and was completed in 1873.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963, the park is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city government. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that contributes 85% of Central Park’s $37.4 million dollar annual budget, and employs 80% of the park’s maintenance staff Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
The park, which receives approximately thirty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States. It was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km2) of city-owned land and was expanded to 843 acres (3.41 km2; 1.317 sq mi). It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. It is similar in size to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Vancouver’s Stanley Park, and Munich’s Englischer Garten. Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the south by West 59th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park’s borders however, these are known as Central Park North, Central Park South, and Central Park West, respectively. Only Fifth Avenue retains its name as it delineates the eastern border of the park. The park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization that manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, in which the president of the Conservancy is ex officio Administrator of Central Park.
Today, the conservancy employs four out of five maintenance and operations staff in the park. It effectively oversees the work of both the private and public employees under the authority of the Central Park administrator, (publicly appointed), who reports to the parks commissioner, conservancy’s president. As of 2007, the conservancy had invested approximately $450 million in the restoration and management of the park; the organization presently contributes approximately 85% of Central Park’s annual operating budget of over $37 million. The system was functioning so well that in 2006 the conservancy created the Historic Harlem Parks initiative, providing horticultural and maintenance support and mentoring in Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Marcus Garvey Park.
While foliage in much of the park appears natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds that have been created artificially, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of which is a swimming pool in July and August), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a 106-acre (43 ha) billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater, called the Delacorte Theater, which hosts the “Shakespeare in the Park” summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. In addition there are numerous major and minor grassy areas, some of which are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children.
The 6 miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, especially on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is prohibited.
The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by the property appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, to be $528,783,552,000 in December 2005
Rockefeller Centre & “Top of The Rock”
New York City has some wonderful architecture and the frieze which sits above the entrance to the GE Building epitomizes the design and style seen in many of these great buildings of that era. The GE Building is a slim Art Deco skyscraper and the focal point of Rockefeller Center. At 850 ft (259 m) with 70 floors, it is the seventh tallest building in New York and the 30th tallest in the United States. Built in 1933 and originally called the RCA Building, it is one of the most famous and recognized skyscrapers in New York. The frieze above the main entrance was executed by Lee Lawrie and depicts Wisdom, along with a phrase from scripture that reads “Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times”, originally found in the Book of Isaiah, 33:6.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building in New York was the tallest Building in the World for over 40 years from 1932, when it was completed, until 1972 when the North Tower of the World Trade Centre was finished. Ironically after the destruction of the World Trade Centre in 2001 the Empire State Building is now once again the tallest building in New York City although it is now the 15th tallest building in the world as many other taller buildings have now been completed.
The Empire State Building is a 102-story building at the intersection of 5th Avenue and West 34th Street and has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
One thing that certainly struck me about this building and most of the other buildings in New York was the beautiful architecture and excellent condition they exhibited. Considering the time at which many were constructed the majority of the key buildings I saw in the city look great and have obviously been immaculately maintained and renovated.
Graffiti & Pretzels
Mention of the word graffiti usually conjures up a picture of a typical New York street scene with buildings and walls adorned by colourful graffiti work. In these apartment blocks close to the Brooklyn Bridge they have taken the graffiti from street level to rooftop level.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. With a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world from its opening until 1903, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge.
Originally referred to as the New York and Brooklyn Bridge and as the East River Bridge, it was dubbed the Brooklyn Bridge in a January 25, 1867 letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and formally so named by the city government in 1915. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York skyline. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972
Lady Liberty – Statue of Liberty
This is probably one of the most recognisable images which depict New York. The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.
Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site. Bartholdi completed both the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions. The arm was displayed in New York’s Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the World initiated a drive for donations to complete the project, and the campaign inspired over 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. The statue was closed for renovation for much of 1938. In the early 1980s, it was found to have deteriorated to such an extent that a major restoration was required. While the statue was closed from 1984 to 1986, the torch and a large part of the internal structure were replaced. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown. The statue is scheduled to close for up to a year beginning in late 2011 so that a secondary staircase can be installed. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.
Another unique building in New York is the Flatiron Building which at it’s time of completion in 1902, was one of the the tallest building in New York and is regarded as one of the groundbreaking skyscrapers. It is situated on a triangular block at the intersection of 5th Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street. The building is a functional office building although I believe there are still some individual units being utilised as apartments. The building is also known popularly as being depicted as the headquarters for the Daily Bugle where Peter Parker worked as a freelance photographer in the popular Spiderman movies.
Grand Central Terminal in New York is the largest train station in the world by the number of platforms; 44 with 67 tracks along them. It is often incorrectly known as Grand Central Station and sometimes shortened to Grand Central. The station was built by New York Central Railroad in the heyday of long distance train travel.
The image shown here is the Main Concourse which is cavernous and usually bustling with crowds of people. The large American flag seen at the left was hung in the station shortly after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Centre.
The classic meeting spot is at the central information booth with the four-faced clock which is the most recognisable feature of the station.
I was blown away by this station in terms of its architecture and the beautiful condition of all the fixtures. Not many train stations around the world can claim this.
Greenwich Village, often referred to by locals as simply “the Village”, is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in the city of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families. Greenwich Village, however, was known in the late 19th to mid 20th centuries as an artists’ haven, the bohemian capital, and the East Coast birthplace of both the Beat and ’60s counterculture movements. What provided the initial attractive character of the community eventually contributed to its gentrification and commercialization. The name of the village was Anglicized from the Dutch name Groenwijck, meaning “Green District”, into Greenwich.
High Line Park – Meatpacking District
The High Line Park is a 1-mile (1.6 km) New York City linear park built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. The High Line Park currently runs from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District, up to 30th Street, through the neighborhood of Chelsea to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.
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