One World Trade, Oculus, 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, New York


We’re going to take a walk through the Financial
District, at the southern tip of Manhattan visiting the new World Trade Center and going
up the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and into the Memorial Museum. Starting out at the oldest park in New York
City, Bowling Green, which opened in 1733 and the grand Customs House behind it, in
the Beaux-Arts style. A left turn on Broad Street into the canyons
of the financial district with the New York Stock Exchange, originally founded in 1792. Across the street is Federal Hall that was
built in the 1830s on the site of America’s first capital building, and the statue of
George Washington out front marks the spot where he was sworn in as our first president. Around the corner you’ll find Trinity Church
built in 1846 in the neo-Gothic style, with a tall steeple. Alexander Hamilton and other notables are
buried here. It’s the oldest neighborhood of the city so
you’ll find some narrow alleys, and this is where Broadway begins. The Wall Street bull has become one of the
most popular statues to photograph in New York. It’s an iconic symbol of the aggressiveness
and power of Wall Street. The sculptor is Arturo Di Modica, who made
the bull with his own money, 360,000 dollars, and without permission installed it in the
site. It was an act of guerrilla art. At first it was impounded and taken away,
but by popular demand, it’s here to stay. The fearless girl statue was created by a
different artist and added later. Isamo Noguchi’s red cube, on Broadway, sits
right across the street from Zucatti Park, which was the site of the Occupy Wall Street
movement. Walking along Liberty Street, passing Eataly,
a major food market, soon brings us to one of the most unusual buildings in New York,
it’s the Oculus. This vast soaring space has been compared
to a cathedral, or being inside a whale, or big dinosaur bones, but whatever it is, it’s
astonishing and inspiring. This is the most significant public building
constructed in Manhattan in several decades. It’s a train station and a shopping mall and
a public gathering place, representing a kind of postmodern architecture and sculpture. It took twice as long and cost twice as much
as expected to build it. Over ten years and four billion dollars for
the Oculus and the transportation hub the goes with it. And so it has been criticized by many people,
including some who call it sterile and empty and loaded with overpriced, high-end shops. But it has become a popular tourist attraction. It’s a destination in itself, of course, being
right next to the new Trade Center and the museum brings in the crowds automatically
and those who come do seem to be impressed. This space is Instagram-ready, highly photogenic,
no matter where you point your camera you’ll get interesting shot, although it helps to
have a wide-angle lens. The functional purpose of the Oculus is to
provide a train station for the commuter line from New Jersey, the PATH trains, with connections
into the New York City subway system. It also provides an underground connection
to One World Trade Center through this long hallway, which has been called the most expensive
hallway in the world, estimated cost of about two hundred million dollars. From the outside the building is equally impressive
with those long ribs that reach up to 160 feet high, intended to look like a big bird
taking off, a kind of Phoenix rising from the ashes. Next door you’ll find the September 11 Memorial
fountains on the site of the original World Trade Towers. And beneath these fountains is the National
September 11 Memorial and Museum, which you’ll find to be one of the most somber and profound
experiences of your New York visit. Upon entry. You look down into a large space where the
slurry wall still stands on the left side, and in the center is the Last Column standing
from the ruins. The slurry wall had groundwater away from
the tower’s foundations and somehow it survived. Many visitors experience intense feelings
of sorrow. While the museum honestly documents and preserves
the history of this painful event, it is designed to promote healing. It gives you a chance to honor the victims
and pay your respects. This deceptively large museum enables you
to walk all the way around the perimeters of both towers. Volunteer guides describe some of the exhibits. “It is the largest loss of life for the
department. Responding to a single event. The damage that you see to the front cab of
the vehicle was a direct result of the collapse of the North Tower.” Although usually busy, the crowd remains eerily
quiet out of respect. Opens at 9 AM every day. Be a good idea to get there just before opening. From the plaza you can’t miss the tallest
building in the Americas, One World Trade. And you enter in, follow the signs up the
escalators to the lobby. We visited on a January weekday afternoon,
so it was amazingly uncrowded. The elevator takes you up 100 floors in 47
seconds with what looks like a view but actually it’s a very clever video screen all around
you as you go up, a prelude of the real thing. “ Welcome to One World Observatory.” The observation platform is wonderfully designed
with the dark floor and ceiling and vast picture windows to give you the view, especially nice
on a day when the weather is clear and the facility was not very crowded – easy to
get right up to the window and gaze out all you want in all directions. The main vista is looking down at Lower Manhattan,
Tribeca, the Village and then up to the band of skyscrapers in Midtown. You can easily walk all the way around the
building, especially on a day like this when it is not crowded, and it’s so easy, and you
can stop at the various windows looking out the east side, the south side, and it’s fun
to watch the other visitors taking their pictures too. And you can see the Statue of Liberty. The city Municipal Building, circled in red,
looking down, looks pretty small, but it’s 40 stories high and holds 2000 workers. In the distance you can make out the Empire
State Building, which also has an excellent observation deck. You can also go up to the RCA Building at
Rockefeller Center, where you’re standing in the middle of the skyscrapers of Midtown. That’s really excellent, too. There is a large gift shop, of course, with
related souvenirs. There’s a snack shop, a restaurant and a bar. The information talk is worth listening to. And you can sit down. “We have the East River on the side, the
Hudson’s on the other, and in between the two, here we are on the island of Manhattan,
probably the coolest island there is. Now some of you out there might be wondering
about this big beautiful area over here on the other side of the Hudson River. Now that’s not part of the city. It’s not even part of the state. That is New Jersey out there, and let me tell
you it is a beautiful place. They also share practical tips on sightseeing
and nearby dining. Visitors spend an average of about 1/2 hour
up top, 1200 feet above the city. And then it’s a lot quicker getting down than
it was going up. You’ll go down escalators, back down the elevator,
and you’re back at street level before you know it. Returning to the plaza you’ll pass by the
Memorial Pools again and you could go back into the Oculus to the subway lines to continue
your journey. Another excellent reason to have a metro pass
so you don’t hesitate about hopping on for a short ride like this. We upload a new movie every week so please
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