Oct 18, 2011

United States of America - New York

Northwest of Manhattan viewed from the Empire State Building

The island of Manhattan, one of the five boroughts of New York City, is the United States' most densely populated area and the world's biggest concentration of office space. It concentrates the major tourist sights of the city, from the Rockefeller Centre to the Empire State Building. The sights are within walking distance one to another and, to facilitate even more the visits, NYC is one of the few American cities with a decent public transportation system.

South of Manhattan viewed from the Empire State Building at sunset.. Magic!

NYC is a mythical metropole with a lot of key places in the History of the United States and of the world. For example we were hosted by a dear friend two streets away from the building in front of which John Lennon was shot, in the Upper West Side near Central Park.


Less anecdotal, at the South of Manhattan one can find two monuments that made a strong impression on generations of immigrants: first of all the Statue of Liberty, the first thing european immigrants would see after weeks in the Atlantic Ocean and then Ellis Island where a lot of those immigrants were questionned and medically examined for a few hours or kept for several weeks especially if they had arrived sick in the new world.

Statue of Liberty and Manhattan in the background

Ellis Island

And New York City celebrates its mixed society. The day before Columbus day – a national holiday – we attended the Eighth Avenue Fall Festival: migrants from all over Central and Latin America were parading according to their countries of origin. A very festive atmosphere which spreads to Times square, one of the most flashy expression of capitalism and consumption!

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival

Times square

Times square

A most recent part of History.. we visited the museum dedicated to the 9/11 events located near the construction site of the four new building which are nowadays being erected on Ground Zero. We could already visit two pools located on the exact locations of the twin towers. Those pools are part of the 9/11 Memorial and are dedicated to the persons who died because of 9/11. Their names are written around the pools.

9/11 Memorial

The construction of one of the four new towers is well under way. This tower is already almost taller than all the other buildings in the south of Manhattan. A second tower has a few floors erected whereas the other two towers are at the stage of the fundations.

South of Manhattan

NYC is still the city at the forefront of news. Near the 9/11 Memorial, we met the Occupy Wall Street protesters in their home base, Zuccotti Park. Well, after nearly a month of occupation the park looked like a homeless camp and was quite squalid. A few street away, Wall Street and the surroundings of New York Stock Exchange are piously barricaded and under strict police surveillance.

Zuccotti Park

New York Stock Exchange barricaded

We were very excited about visiting New York's museums which are some of the most important in the world for modern and contemporary arts and we were not disappointed at all! The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Guggenheim Museum are amazing. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) could bear a comparison with the Louvre.

Guggenheim Museum

Even with its concentration of activities and people, New York City manages to provide a good quality of life for its inhabitants. The huge Central Park is really the green lung of Manhattan and is the ideal place for running or walking. Crossing Brooklyn Bridge is also a wonderful experience. Maybe one of the success of New York City is in the balace between peaceful places like Bryant park and crazy crowded places like the beautiful Grand Central Terminal.

Central Park

Brooklyn Bridge

Bryant park

Grand Central Terminal

We were eager to explore another side of the city, its myriad of churches, and wanted to attend a mass with gospel music. Our first attempt was not successful. For sure there was a choir at St. Bartholomew's Church, an Episcopal chuch, but not the one we expected. The mass was not really cheerful except from the jokes of the vicar during the sermon (!) and the free coffee and limonade offered at the end.

Our second try was the good one. Our friend Jinha recommended us Times Square church and.. what a thrill! We entered in a real theatre, converted in church and during one hour and a half it really looked like a huge karaoke with people singing, dancing, the hands in the air! Some people were also in real trance and were speaking aloud.


  1. Sans compter la qualité de l'accueil à New York! Au fait merci pour le plan de la Californie :)

    Bisous à tous les 2


  2. Oublie la Californie: la Nouvelle Orléans, y a que ça de vrai! ;) Merci encore et gros bisous le new yorkais