About Me

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jaipur, rajasthan, India
retired Army Colonel

Friday, July 1, 2011

My USA visit. ......continued leg -12 "BIG APPLE".

“Big Apple’ is nick name for NYC, Papa”. Vidushi apprised me. Yuvu, not to lag behind butted in and chuckled “It is also called Gotham”. The context was Vidushi joining a voluntary service with ‘ Big Apple Greeter’, an NGO in Indian glossary. I googled it to further my knowledge and found most of the fruits with prefix ‘Big’ are names of some  city or the other country. Like Israel is ‘Big Orange’.

I was contriving to skip visiting Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building being a quotidian touristy stuff and also the tickets being very expensive. But, then Mr Dhameja said “बंधू जी अगर हरिद्वार आकर गंगा में दुबकी नहीं लगाई तो लोग क्या कहेंगे?” I immediately took the cue and set out for the two more bites of the Big Apple. 

Statue of Liberty 29th June at 2.30 PM, we were aboard ‘Miss New

Jersey’, our Ferry to Liberty Island. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the passengers were slowly settling down in their seats on the deck. The 

breeze being a little teaser, the flowing manes and fluttering skirts, made it difficult for young mothers to control their children running hither-tither. As, we cruised and traversed the Hudson Estuary Eastwards the silhouette of Lady Liberty, slowly started getting readable and was zooming like an image through a 

camera’s eye. I moved to the bridge and asked Sunita to follow me for a better view. I was marvelling the sculpture and recollecting history classes in school by Mr HS Hiran. Mention of it comes along French and American revolutions. Its 
enormous size radiates indomitable spirit of liberty and the American character. 
Made of thin copper sheets wrapped around a steel structure, the statue gets its natural green colour from the patina, a brilliant idea which has done away with an arduous task of regular painting. Emma Lazarus calls it ‘Mother of Exiles’ as it stood at the gateway of America taking under her wings all those expatriates who escaped the miseries of Europe. Then is this Liberty Bike, made from the artifacts of the statue. It is another fascinating art-work on the island. See the photo. Sunita and I had some fries with diet coke like locals, bought few souvenirs and returned home. We had not got the tickets of Light Rail validated on our way up, and hence could reuse them saving $4.50. Ignorance has been bliss.
 Thank God! We were not caught by the Fare Inspector.

Empire State Building: Even today you ask any person of my generation as to which is the tallest building, the answer in most cases would be Empire State Building. That is why I believe perceptions are important than facts. The reason is, this building ruled the numero uno slot for decades till overtaken by many around the world. What astonishes me is that this towering piece of skyscraper was constructed in 1931, the year my father born. And when you know the construction was completed in 19 months it makes you believe that America, what it is today, is for a special reason. At least, I see our Rambagh Golf Club house being under construction for the last three years and yet far from completion. Located on the 5th Avenue of 34th Street in Manhattan is well connected from Jersey City where we live. We took PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train from Grove Street to 33rd Street and walked up two blocks round the corner. There is no elbow space in the streets of Manhattan to see the building top from ground level; you may strain your neck as much as any acrobat. We had carried chips and coke from home to avoid buying expensive there. I was awestruck as got into the sparkling lobby. The crimson and black granite with diamond polishing has been collaged with golden porcelain tiles and glittering stainless steel. The whole interiors were breath taking. We took automatic elevators to 80th, then to 86th floor and could not resist catching the counter reading in my camera. The elevators were pretty fast and we only felt the ear drum pressure with a mild ache. Once on top the view was fantastic. Had it been for Jaipur I would have identified each and every road, street and alleys. But this was not my town. So we could identify only Jersey City and area around. The experience was good and valued more than $44.00 for us. Empire State Building was one of the instruments that pulled out America from great recession of 1929. It created 7 million man hours of work.