Friday, September 28, 2012

Many Blessings to be Thankful For!

My husband and I were in Colorado last week where we experienced two wonderful blessings. The first was our daughter's sonogram, where we all happily found out she is expecting a baby girl!

Lots of pink images immediately danced in my head as I look forward to being a grandmother of a little girl, after already having two grandsons who I love dearly.  It will be fun to be "in the pink" with this new baby!

Our next blessing is that we closed on our house in Colorado!  We are still living in Brooklyn, NY until we sell our home here, but our daughter and son-in-law live close to us in Colorado and will be looking out for our home until we move. Please say a prayer for us that we sell soon -- we are anxious to move to this beautiful home and state.

Our new community is so beautiful! It has many hiking trails that have spectacular scenery and I know we will be very happy living so close to our children and grandchildren.  I will still be making frequent trips to New York City after we move, as we have family members and friends here we will want to visit.  My husband is going to continue to work for the same company he works for now in Colorado, and he is keeping his NYC related business accounts so he will have to take trips back east from time to time.  Whenever I can I will travel with him, so there will still be many NYC posts on my blog to look forward to, even after we move!

Another blessing is that my nephew who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro a few years ago, see that blog post heresuccessfully climbed to the top of Mt. Rainier in Washington State recently.  The mountain can be seen above the clouds in the collage above, and the lower photo shows my nephew standing on a small path on the mountain at almost 13,500 feet with a 3,000 drop to the left side! We were all praying for his safety and were relieved when he returned home.  When I receive more photos from my nephew I'll do a blog post about his climb.

My last good news is exciting for me!  I was honored to find out that I've been named by via TimeStyle as one of their "Top 30 Pinners on Pinterest That You Should Follow Now" in their Food category! What fun! I guess all the time I spend on Pinterest has not been wasted! I love Pinterest!  What have you been pinning lately?

I hope life is treating you well and that you have been enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.  It is hard to believe is almost October!  Where did this year go?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

A Visit to Roosevelt Island, New York City

On my last blog post on this link, I showed you what a tram ride was like from Roosevelt Island to midtown Manhattan and back. On this post, I'd like to show you more of this fascinating island that lies in the East River of New York City.

A view of the island from the Roosevelt Island tram.

 Roosevelt Island is positioned between Manhattan on its west and Queens on its east. The waterfront community runs 2 miles in length and extends from east 46th street to east 85th street. It is comprised of a predominantly middle class, a diverse population of fewer than ten thousand people who live in affordable, and spacious, high rise buildings. There are abundant parks on the island, but it lacks major shopping amenities and nightlife venues that attract many people, but this fact also gives it a quiet, suburban quality of life very close to Manhattan.

The island was not designed for automobile traffic, and they are not needed on the island, although there are roads and cars are permitted. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) operates an on-island shuttle bus service from apartment buildings to the subway and the tramway for a fare of 25¢ (10¢ for seniors and disabled people). One of these bright red buses can be seen in the photo above. 

Roosevelt Island has a varied and interesting history. It was once named Blackwell Island, then became known as Welfare Island and finally renamed in honor of the 32nd United States President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1973.  An FDR Hope Memorial is being constructed in a park on the island.
(The above photo--and all of my photos on this post--can be enlarged by clicking on it and then clicking on it again when it opens on a new page.  Use your browsers back arrow to return to this post.)

The following interesting historical information about Roosevelt Island came from this web site: "Before the City of New York bought the two-mile-long island for $32,000 in 1828, this stretch of land passed through many hands. Dutch Gov. Wouter Van Twiller first purchased it from the Canarsie Indians in 1637 and called it Hog Island. The purchase was later declared void by New York Governor Peter Stuyvesant, and the island went to Capt. Francis Fyn. But Fyn's ownership didn't last long. When the English defeated the Dutch in 1666, Captain John Manning seized and re-baptized the island with his last name. But 20 years later, Manning's son-in-law, Robert Blackwell, became the island's new owner and namesake. That name stuck for 235 years; meanwhile, Blackwell's great-grandson Jacob constructed the Blackwell House in 1796."

The Blackwell House still stands on Roosevelt Island, having been restored by the New York State Urban Development Corporation in 1975, and is a beautiful example of the early 18th-century architecture. It is now used as a community center. Views of the front and rear of the house and it's eastern walkway can be seen in the photo collage above.

A plaque on the exterior of the Blackwell house tells of the island's history. 

Over the course of a century, Blackwell Island became a center for the city's castaways. In 1832, a penitentiary was built for half of what the city initially paid for the island. Seven years later, the New York Lunatic Asylum, overcrowded with some 1,700 patients, was exposed by early undercover journalist Nelly Bly as a place of abuse and misery."  The photo and text above from this website shows the Welfare Penitentiary in 1932.  

In 1856, a Smallpox Hospital opened on the island, The ruins of this hospital can be seen above.  The imposing gothic structure was emptied of patients in 1886 and was used both as a nurse home as well as The Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School. Other public health and charity institutions built in this period include the Charity Hospital and Alms House Buildings. The city changed the island's name to Welfare Island in 1921, a reflection of the general nature of its use at that time.

More views of the abandoned smallpox hospital.  It looks rather eerie, doesn't it?

This area of the island is now parkland and the sign above tells more about the history of the island.

Not only the geese but a small child was also enjoying the sprinklers in Southpoint Park on the day I visited.

Another pretty park on the island was called the Cherry Tree Walk.

It was a pretty red brick walkway lined with cherry trees located along the shoreline that lead under the Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridge to the southern part of the island.

There were spectacular views of Manhattan from the walkway's vantage point, including a wonderful close up of the United Nations complex.

There are many other fabulous sights of Manhattan skyline from all vantage points of the west side of the island.

From the east side of the island, the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens can be seen, including the iconic Pepsi Cola sign.  As you can see many new high rise condos and apartments are also becoming popular styles of housing in this neighborhood.

The traffic on the East River was also interesting to see! The Circle Line Sightseeing boat is in the upper left of the photo collage above; a speed boat in the upper right; a US Coast Guard boat in the lower left and my favorite sighting was a red tug boat, seen in the lower right of the photo collage.

There is one subway stop on Roosevelt Island, the F train, which opened in 1989.  The bicycles above are in front of the station entrance.  It is one of the deepest stations in the New York City Subway, at about 100 feet (30 m) below street level.

Another beautiful landmarked building on Roosevelt Island is The Chapel of the Good ShepherdThe chapel's central location has made it a regular host of religious, governmental, and social functions. In this space, the island's Catholic and Protestant congregations worship, town meetings are held, and instrumental groups perform. Community groups and various support and spiritual groups gather in the chapel.

On the northernmost tip of the island is another park called Lighthouse Park, which contains this beautiful little lighthouse.

This fifty-foot tall lighthouse was called Blackwell, Welfare or Roosevelt Island Light, according to what era.  It was built in 1872 by inmates of the penitentiary with stone extracted from the island.
The lighthouse was designed by James Renwick, Jr., architect of the Smallpox Hospital and the Smithsonian Institute. The East River channel's huge granite boulders made it very treacherous to navigate so the lighthouse was commissioned as part of a solution for New York City's shipping ports along with an Army Corps of Engineers project to demolish and implode boulders and widen and deepen the channel. Lighthouse Park is now a lovely fishing and barbecue destination on Roosevelt Island.

I really enjoyed visiting Roosevelt Island and learning more about it, and I hope you did too!  It is one of the lesser known gems of New York City, but definitely worth a visit....take the tram!

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Ride On the Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island is a mixed income, racially diverse, waterfront community around two miles long, situated in the East River of New York City between Manhattan and Queens. It is jurisdictionally a part of the borough of Manhattan

The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway was constructed in 1976 to provide transportation to and from the island and midtown Manhattan.  I never rode the tram before, so a friend and I decided we would take a round trip one day just for the experience.  The day we went was misty and threatening rain, but we went anyway.  We first drove to Queens and then went over the Roosevelt Island Bridge to Roosevelt Island

As you can see, the Roosevelt Island Tram runs on cable above the East River alongside the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.  In a few months this will be one of the bridges the NYC Marathoners will be running across during the race.

A photo mosaic of some of the sights of the tram station.

On line as the next tram arrives.

All aboard!  The price to ride is the same as a one way ride on a New York City bus or subway: $2.25 paid by swiping a pre purchased Metro Card at a turnstile.

There are a few seats in the tram cab,  but the ride is only around five minutes long, so most passengers stand.

According to Wikipedia: Over 26 million passengers have used the tram since it began operation in 1976. Each cabin has a capacity of up to 110 people and makes approximately 115 trips per day. The tram moves at about 17.9 mph (28.8 km/h) and travels 3,100 feet (940 m) in 3 minutes. At its peak it climbs to 250 feet (76 m) above the East River as it follows its route on the north side of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, providing views of the East Side of midtown Manhattan. Two cabins make the run at fifteen minute intervals from 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. on weekends) and continuously during rush hours

The view of the East River looking north from the tram....

... the view looking south.

A far away view of the Crysler Building on the left, the Empire State Building on the right

Our tram begins to approach the station.  The ride is very smooth and not at all scary. I hardly felt like I was moving and enjoyed the view! You can watch a Youtube video of a round trip ride on this link if you'd likethat will show you how quick and pleasant the ride is.

Getting closer to the Manhattan 59th Street station....

...and even closer.

My friend and I had to depart the tram and leave through the turnstile, as the trip back had to be paid for separately.  We then waited on the platform a few minutes for the next tram back to Roosevelt Island.

While we waited I took these photos of old time New York City--ivy covered townhouses, water towers, and a vintage sign painted on the side of a building. (all photos will enlarge when clicked on once and then again, as they did in the past, as I disabled the lightbox feature on my blog)

After a few minutes the tram back to Roosevelt Island begins to approach.

Getting closer...

Time to re-board.

A view of midtown Manhattan from the tram, looking north..lots of traffic, as always, on 2nd Avenue!

A good look of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, that connects the borough of Queens to Manhattan

You can see a Manhattan bound tram at the top of the tower in the photo above.

A view of Roosevelt Island looking north from the tram.....

...and a view of the island looking south from the tram.

Two children were in the tram, accompanied by their nanny, and they excitedly chattered the whole ride as they looked out the window.

The speedboat going by on the river below had their attention, and mine!

Back to the Roosevelt Island Tram station.

The lamp post sign says: "Roosevelt Island--A fresh look at the Big Apple." In my next post I'lL show you more of the island.

I hope you enjoyed riding the Roosevelt Island Tram along with me--it was fun, wasn't it? I have a lot more of New York City to show on my blog before I move to Colorado.  We recently put our house on the local real estate market and although I'm hoping it sells quickly I know it is a buyers market right now, so I'm taking it one day at a time and continuing to de-clutter as I wait. My house has never looked so good and I am determined to stay simplified when I do move. Thanks again for all your moving tips--I printed them all out and they have been, and will be, very helpful!  Thank you also for your kind and sensitive comments on my 9/11 Memorial post.  It is a very emotional day for us and we will always honor those who were lost and never forget.

I'm linking this post to Seasonal SundayBlue MondayMosaic MondayOur World Tuesday,  Outdoor WednesdayAlphabe Thursday.

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