New York City – The Subway

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“People who want to understand democracy should spend less time in the library with Aristotle and more time on the buses and in the subway”

– Simeon Strunsky

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Twenty-three lines, 468 stations, 5 million daily riders, 1.5 billion yearly riders. Probably the most famous subway system in the world. Not the first, certainly not the best, but the one everybody seems to know. Administered by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA. The New York City subway trails only the metro systems of Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul in annual ridership and carries more passengers than all other rail mass transit systems in the United States combined.The trope here is that the subways of New York City are hot, grimy, filthy, encrusted with graffiti, and magnets for street crime. While this was once basically true, subway cars haven’t fit this bill since 1990.Subway 01 copySubway 2 copySubway 02 copy

“Of course, in Los Angeles, everything is based on driving, even the killings. In New York, most people don’t have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you have to take the subway to their house. And sometimes on the way, the train is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway. That’s why there are so many subway murders; no one has a car.”

― George Carlin, Brain Droppings

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I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you’re going. That’s family values.

– Al Sharpton

Deprived of the opportunity to judge one another by the cars we drive, New Yorkers, thrown together daily on mass transit, form silent opinions based on our choices of subway reading. Just by glimpsing the cover staring back at us, we can reach the pinnacle of carnal desire or the depths of hatred. Soul mate or mortal enemy.

– David Rakoff

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I hate people walking down the street listening to the soundtrack of their lives which responds to them but not their setting. I hate the overspill of sound which metro and subway riders are oblivious to because they notice no one and nothing around them.

– Margaret Heffernan

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In New York, you’ve got Donald Trump, Woody Allen, a crack addict and a regular Joe, and they’re all on the same subway car.

Ethan Hawke

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“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence”

Paul Simon

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Grand Central Station

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I always feel like people in general are much weirder and insane than anybody really wants to admit. How dare somebody watch anything and go, ‘That’s not real!’ Go on the subway. For five minutes.

– Max Greenfield

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If I ever have to stop taking the subway, I’m gonna have a heart attack.

– Edward Norton

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“I never overestimate the audience, nor do I underestimate them. I just have a very rational idea as to who we’re dealing with, and that we’re not making a picture for Harvard Law School, we’re making a picture for middle-class people, the people that you see on the subway, or the people that you see in a restaurant. Just normal people.”

– Billy Wilder

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Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

– Warren Buffett

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“There is nothing Tourettic about the New York City subways.”

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

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“Everyone has this sense of togetherness right now. For example, one guy on the subway today, he wanted to share my pants.”

– David Letterman

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Thank you… fat dude with giant headphones on the subway, for looking like what would’ve happened if Jabba the Hutt mated with Princess Leia.
– Jimmy Fallon

See more New York City photos in full resolution at: http://www.howardfrankphotos.smugmug.com/New-York-City/

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New York City – An Architectural Wonderland

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“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”

― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

This is my first post in a series of pictorial essays on New York City. It’s an all too brief glimpse into the enigma and the phenomenon that is the city’s architecture, people, neighbourhoods, street life, bridges, subways, restaurants, taxis, and overall incomparable vibe and dynamic.

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New York City is the largest city of the United States by population. It was settled in 1613 by Dutch and originally called New Amsterdam. New York City is popularly known as the “The Big Apple”, “Gotham City”, “Empire City”, “Fun City”, “The Naked City” and the “City That Never Sleeps”. Manhattan Island is often referred to as “The City” by New Yorkers, despite being only one part of the city itself. New York City is often referred to as “the Capital of the World”, due to its size, wealth, and for its hosting of the United Nations headquarters. To those living there, it is simply the Centre of the Universe.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

“I’m going to show you the real New York – witty, smart, and international – like any metropolis. Tell me this: where in Europe can you find old Hungary, old Russia, old France, old Italy? In Europe you’re trying to copy America, you’re almost American. But here you’ll find Europeans who immigrated a hundred years ago – and we haven’t spoiled them. Oh, Gio! You must see why I love New York. Because the whole world’s in New York.”

― Oriana Fallaci

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

“Living in New York City, I am reminded by the Statue of Liberty that the United States of America has always welcomed those yearning to breathe free and seek a better life.”
– Charles B. Rangel

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“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.  It was designated as a National Monument in 1924.

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“Many of America’s and New York’s sons and daughters are around the world fighting for the freedoms that the Statue of Liberty stands for.”

– Michael Bloomberg (Former NYC Mayor)
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A great way to get a first hand view of the Statue of Liberty without succumbing to the tourist trap vultures, is to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free, and travels between Staten Island and Manhattan, and passes pretty close to the statue.
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“And you have to remember that I came to America as an immigrant. You know, on a ship, through the Statue of Liberty. And I saw that skyline, not just as a representation of steel and concrete and glass, but as really the substance of the American Dream.”

– Daniel Libeskind


Empire State Building

Empire State Building

“In New York the sky is bluer, and the grass is greener, and the girls are prettier, and the steaks are thicker, and the buildings are higher, and the streets are wider, and the air is finer, than the sky, or the grass, or the girls, or the steaks, or the air of any place else in the world.”

-Edna Ferber 

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

“The skyscrapers began to rise again, frailly massive, elegantly utilitarian, images in their grace, audacity and inconclusiveness, of the whole character of the people who produces them.”

– Malcolm Muggeridge

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Woolworth Building

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“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.'”

–John Ruskin, “The Seven Lamps of Architecture.” New York: The Noonday Press, 1961, p. 177

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

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New York by Gehry – 8 Spruce Street. Tallest residential tower in the Western hemisphere.

“I’m still walking around New York like a tourist staring up at all the skyscrapers. I wave at people, I shake hands, I help ladies with strollers.”

– Jack McBrayer

Flatiron Building

Flatiron Building

“New York is cold, glittering, malign. The buildings dominate. There is a sort of atomic frenzy to the activity going on; the more furious the pace, the more diminished the spirit. A constant ferment, but it might just as well be going on in a test tube. Nobody knows what it’s all about. Nobody directs the energy. Stupendous. Bizarre. Baffling. A tremendous reactive urge, but absolutely uncoordinated.”

– Henry Miller

Freedom Tower - One World Trade Center

Freedom Tower – One World Trade Centre

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“New York is vertical – all skyscrapers.”

– Tony Scott

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“I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, “There’s no place like New York. It’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.”

– Robert De Niro

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“We’ve all often heard the expression, ‘It’s cheaper to build new than it is to reconstruct.’ That’s not true. I’ve always found that it’s cheaper to use an existing structure. Now, doing so is more complicated, and you actually have to be a better builder to do that kind of work, but if you know what you’re doing, it costs you less money. A lot of the building is already done–you already have your structure–so that’s why it’s much cheaper. For example, I saved a substantial amount of money when I built Trump Park Avenue in New York City by reusing the Delmonico Hotel’s foundation, frame, and exterior.”

–Donald Trump

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City Hall

Watertower Building

Water Tower Building

Water towers in New York are everywhere. Just look up and you’ll notice on top of New York’s buildings round, wooden structures that look like ancient relics from the past that were accidentally left there. The water towers in New York might look old and yes, they are, but they encompass the past, present, and most likely the future. As New Yorkers reached for the skies in the 1800’s, water towers became an intricate part of the buildings’ framework. As buildings grew taller than 6 stories, the main water infrastructure couldn’t handle the water pressure. Water towers were needed to move water safely to the 7th floor and above.  Although they looks like remnants of the past, they are still very much in use today.

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“At night… the streets become rhythmical perspectives of glowing dotted lines, reflections hung upon them in the streets as the wistaria hangs its violet racemes on its trellis. The buildings are shimmering verticality, a gossamer veil, a festive scene-prop hanging there against the black sky to dazzle, entertain, amaze.”

– Frank Lloyd Wright

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“Sometimes, from beyond the skyscrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.”

― Albert Camus

View of NYC skyline from Brooklyn

View of NYC Skyline from Brooklyn

“Unfortunately there are still people in other areas who regard New York City not as part of the United States, but as a sort of excrescence fastened to our Eastern shore and peopled by the less venturesome waves of foreigners who failed to go West to the genuine American frontier.”

– Robert Moses

New Zealand – The South Island

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The South Island has truly diverse and magnificent landscapes – the perfect place for an epic road trip!

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We explored braided rivers, snow-topped peaks, turquoise-blue lakes, and sun-drenched beaches as we drove through some of New Zealand’s most spectacular countryside on the South Island. There are rainforests and abundant birdlife, primeval rock formations, and quaint, small towns to be discovered.

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A friendly South Island Robin.

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Hiking to Franz Josef Glacier.

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The Franz Josef Glacier road trippers a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment, in a temperate environment, while being within easy walking distance from the main highway. Franz Josef Glacier area has some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. The glacier descends from the tops of the Southern Alps into rainforest close to sea level.

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One couple, one campervan, one unforgettable road trip around New Zealand.

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Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Milford Sound is breathtaking in any weather. Wet or fine, Milford Sound is incredibly grand. Mitre Peak magnetizes photographers, and the fiord’s sheer cliffs excite both admiration and apprehension.

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The fiord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards, some as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect.

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“For thousands of feet upwards the eye looks upon straight cut rocky frontages, not worn smooth by time, or by wind or water, but as sharply defined and as fresh looking in all respects as if riven asunder but yesterday by the stupendous wedges of Titanic Masons.“

– James Hingston 1883

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A Rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

There was a real buzz when we first saw the penguins. They’re a very special bird as they’re so rare, we’re so lucky to be able to see them.

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Hemmed in by the wild Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the West Coast is like nowhere else in New Zealand.Unsurpassed views await those that embark on the fabulous Coast Road drive, with spectacular mountain vistas, panoramic ocean seascapes and lush rainforest.

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New Zealand was one of the most beautiful countries to drive through for the scenery and the vast scale of the place.

– Louise Nurding
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Crossing to the North Island.
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Spectacular!

New Zealand was one of the most beautiful countries to drive through for the scenery and the vast scale of the place.

New Zealand – Aoraki/Mount Cook

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I’m from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island.

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Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense – with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky.

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Mountaineers regard the area to be the best climbing region in Australasia, while less skilled adventurers find plenty of satisfaction with the mountain walks that lead to alpine tarns, herb fields and spectacular glacier views.

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Lake Tekapo is the second-largest of three roughly parallel lakes running north–south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin in the South Island of New Zealand. We got our first distant glimpse of Mount Cook from across Tekapo.
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Aoraki Bound!

Aoraki Bound!

The scenic drive from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki follows State Highway 8 through the heart of the Mackenzie Basin. There is much to see along this stretch of road including several mountain ranges, Lake Tekapo in Tekapo, and Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook once you reach Lake Pukaki. And you’ll see lupins alongside the road if you do this scenic drive in late spring or early summer.

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Lake Pukaki is a glacial lake that has become famous for its milky-blue colour and as the foreground to Mount Cook. I can promise you that Lake Pukaki looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in any photograph or video. You have to catch the lake on a sunny day, though, to get to see its mesmerizing blue colour.

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Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3724m, having earlier been measured at 3754m . It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.
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Aoraki/Mount Cook’s mile-long summit crest towers over 8,000 feet above a vast network of glacier-filled valleys, and three main peaks rise from the crest. Its isolated location near the west coast makes it vulnerable for sudden storms, which are often long and severe. Violent weather, crevasses, and avalanches have all taken lives on the mountain.

There have been more than 230 fatalities in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park recorded since then, including 78 from climbing Aoraki, a long, blocky mountain at more than 3700 metres tall, with three peaks. Hypothermia, avalanches, lightning, rockfalls, heart attacks and plane crashes are all listed as contributing to the tally.

Australia – Melbourne

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Melbourne is wonderfully altered since I last saw it. There are some very fair buildings in it now, and things are a little cheaper than they used to be.

– William John Wills
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Melbourne’s sensational cityscape is dotted with interesting architecture, including statuesque Art Deco buildings, neoclassical facades and contemporary towers.
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Since 1840 to today, Melbourne has taken form from a small settlement to a vibrant city.

Just Hangin' Around...

Just Hangin’ Around…

Cruising Down The Yarra River

Cruising Down The Yarra River

The Yarra River is not big by world standards. It runs for just 242 kilometres from its source on the flanks of Mt Baw Baw in the Yarra Ranges National Park to its mouth at the head of Port Phillip Bay in Newport. It is not very long, very wide, nor very deep. It is not even very clear. But this sepia-coloured river has had a big impact on shaping Melbourne – the city that grew up on its banks.

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Melbourne’s first electric tram began operation on 14 October 1889 between Box Hill and Doncaster. The service was abandoned less than seven years later and it took until October 1906 for another electric service to begin, this time operated by the private North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company.

n July 1983 the State Government decided to integrate the City’s three major forms of public transport – trams, buses and suburban trains – to create a coordinated public transport network. The operations of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board were taken over by the Tram & Bus Division of a new government body, the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The Met’s Tram & Bus Division consisted of 684 trams, 220km of track and some 5000 employees. ‘Tram green’ was developed into a distinctive dark green and bold yellow colour scheme for the new entity’s rolling stock and uniforms. The Met logo, symbolizing the three modes of transport, began to appear on all vehicles and uniforms in place of the M&MTB logo.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station

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Queen Victoria Market is much more than the city’s fresh-food shopping mecca – it’s a historic landmark, a tourist attraction and a Melbourne institution. Spread over several city blocks, with more than 600 retailers, Vic Market is a true reflection of Melbourne’s cosmopolitan makeup. Shoppers can find everything from fruit and vegetables to local and imported gourmet foods, fashion and general merchandise.

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Al fresco eateries, one-off shops and cosy litte bars all nestle side-by-side in laneways and arcades threading throughout the city. Each arcade has its own individual character and charm.

“I think Melbourne is by far and away the most interesting place in Australia, and I thought if I ever wrote a novel or crime novel of any kind, I had to set it here.”

– Peter Temple