New York City – NYPD & FDNY – Local Heroes

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The New York City Police Department (NYPD or NYCPD), officially the City of New York Police Department, was established in 1845 and is the largest municipal police force in the United States, having primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City. The NYPD is one of the oldest police departments established in the United States, tracing its roots back to the seventeenth century. (Wikipedia)

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Members of the NYPD are frequently referred to by politicians, some media and their own police cars by the nickname New York’s Finest. The NYPD is headquartered at 1 Police Plaza, located on Park Row in Lower Manhattan across the street from City Hall. (Wikipedia)

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The Municipal Police were established in 1845, replacing an old night watch system. In 1857, it was tumultuously replaced by a Metropolitan force, which consolidated many other local police departments in 1898. Twentieth-century trends included professionalization and struggles against corruption. (Wikipedia)

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As the high-profile principal law-enforcement agency in the largest city in the United States – also a main media centre – fictionalized versions of the NYPD and its officers have frequently been portrayed in media including novels, radio, television, motion pictures and video games. (Wikipedia)

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The New York City Fire Department is the largest municipal fire department in the United States and the second largest in the world after the Tokyo Fire Department. The FDNY employs approximately 10,200 uniformed firefighters and over 3,600 uniformed EMTs and paramedics. Its regulations are compiled in title 3 of the New York City Rules. The FDNY’s motto is New York’s Bravest. The FDNY serves more than 8 million residents within a 320 square mile radius. (Wikipedia)

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Like most fire departments of major cities in the United States, the New York City Fire Department is organized in a paramilitary fashion, and in many cases echoes the structure of the police department. The department’s executive staff is divided into two areas that include a civilian Fire Commissioner who serves as the head of the department and a Chief of Department who serves as the operational leader. (Wikipedia)

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Operationally and geographically, the department is nominally organized, into five Borough Commands for the five traditional Boroughs of New York City. Within those five Borough Commands exists nine firefighting Divisions, each headed by a Deputy Division Chief. Within each Division are four to seven Battalions, each led by a Battalion Chief. Each Battalion consists of three to eight firehouses and consists of approximately 180–200 firefighters and officers. Each firehouse consists of one to three fire companies. Each fire company is led by a captain, who commands three lieutenants and nine to twenty firefighters. There are currently four shifts of firefighters in each company. (Wikipedia)

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The city’s first firehouse was built in 1736 in front of City Hall on Broad Street. A year later, on December 16, 1737, the colony’s General Assembly created the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York, appointing 30 men who would remain on call in exchange for exemption from jury and militia duty. The city’s first official firemen were required to be “able, discreet, and sober men who shall be known as Firemen of the City of New York, to be ready for service by night and by day and be diligent, industrious and vigilant.” 

Although the 1737 Act created the basis of the fire department, the actual legal entity was incorporated in the State of New York on March 20, 1798 under the name of “Fire Department, City of New York.” (Wikipedia)

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“New York is notoriously the largest and least-loved of any of our great cities. Why should it be loved as a city? It is never the same city for a dozen years altogether. A man born in New York forty years ago finds nothing, absolutely nothing, of the New York he knew. If he chances to stumble upon a few old houses not yet levelled, he is fortunate. But the landmarks, the objects which marked the city to him, as a city, are gone.”

 – Harper’s (1856)

“I was in love with New York. I do not mean ‘love’ in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.”

–Joan Didion

“Each man reads his own meaning into New York.”

-Meyer Berger

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New York City – Bridges to Civilization

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The Manhattan Bridge carries automobile, truck, subway, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic over the East River. The Bridge runs between Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn and Canal Street in Chinatown, Manhattan.

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The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level, split between two roadways. The lower level has three lanes, four subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway. The upper level, originally used for streetcars, has two lanes in each direction, and the lower level is one-way and has three lanes in peak direction.

The Bridge supports seven lanes of vehicular traffic, four transit train lines, a pedestrian walkway and a Class 1 bikeway. Every weekday, the Bridge carries over 450,000 commuters, including 106,700 commuters in 85,400 vehicles, 4,000 bicyclists and 340,900 mass transit riders in 950 subway trains. Over 75% of all Manhattan Bridge crossings are by public transit.

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“I remember perfectly my first trip to New York, when I was on the bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan, when I saw the skyscrapers. It was like an incredible dream.”

Diego Della Valle

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The Brooklyn Bridge, built between 1869 and 1883, connects Manhattan with New York’s most populous borough, Brooklyn. The bridge is one of the most famous and magnificent landmarks in New York City.

An elevated pedestrian path not only gives you the opportunity to cross the river without being bothered by the traffic that rushes past a level below, but it also offers a great view of the bridge’s towers as well as downtown Manhattan’s skyline. The views alone attract millions of visitors to this bridge each year.

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The most noticeable feature of the Brooklyn Bridge are the two masonry towers to which the many cables are attached. The towers with large Gothic arches reach a height of 276 ft (84 meters), at the time making them some of the tallest landmarks in New York. Roebling claimed that the monumental towers would make the bridge a historic monument. He was proven right when the bridge officially became a national monument in 1964.

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The Brooklyn Bridge ranks as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century and remains one of New York’s most popular and well known landmarks.

The impressive bridge spans the East river between Brooklyn and Manhattan and stretches for a length of 5989 ft, about 1.8 km. The span between the large towers measures 1595.5 ft (486 meters). This made the Brooklyn Bridge the world’s largest suspension bridge.

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The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge started in 1869 and took fourteen years to complete. At the time many saw the construction of such a large bridge as a folly.

The driving force behind the whole project, John Roebling, was a German immigrant who had worked for the Prussian government as a bridge and road builder. He launched the idea of building a bridge across the East River after he had taken a ferry across the river that ended up stuck in the ice.

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“I once started out

to walk around the world

but ended up in Brooklyn,

that Bridge was too much for me.”

― Lawrence Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind

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“Over the great bridge, with sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“Up on the Brooklyn Bridge a man is standing in agony, waiting to jump, or waiting to write a poem, or waiting for the blood to leave his vessels because if he advances another foot the pain of his love will kill him.”
― Henry Miller, Black Spring

New York City – Pizza Joints, Diners & Delis

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“In New York I pretty much live in diners – I order French Fries, Diet Coke floats and lots of coffee.”

– Lana Del Rey

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“When I’m back in New York – and this is a terrible thing to complain about – I eat a lot more really, really good food than perhaps I’d like to. So many of my friends are really good chefs. It’s kind of like being in the Mafia.”

– Anthony Bourdain

When I first washed up on the greasy streets of NYC and bellied up to my first real NYC pizza counter, someone might easily have remarked, “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” New Yorkers do pizza differently than anywhere else.

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“I thought America was fabulous. Take pizza for example. For years I’d been thinking, I wish someone would invent a new kind of food. In England it was always egg and chips, sausage and chips, pie and chips… anything and chips. After a while it just got boring, y’know? But you couldn’t exactly order a shaved Parmesan and rocket salad in Birmingham in the early 70s. If it didn’t come out of a deep-fat fryer, no one knew what the fuck it was. But then, in New York, I discovered pizza. It blew my mind wide fucking open. I would buy ten or twenty slices a day. And then, when I realized you could buy a great big pizza all for yourself, I started ordering them wherever we went. I couldn’t wait to get back home and tell all my mates: ‘There’s this incredible new thing. It’s American and it’s called pizza. It’s like bread, but it’s better than any bread you’ve tasted in your life.”

– Ozzie Osbourne

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For New Yorkers, a slice to go, served on a paper plate with a stack of napkins, is our version of fast food. While folks in other parts of the U.S. might do the drive-thru thing and slam a burger and fries in the car, we grab a slice and walk down the street cramming grease-laden cheese bombs down our gullets. It looks weird at first to see someone walking down Fifth Avenue with a piece of pizza as if it’s no big thing, but you get used to it and, soon enough, it becomes, well, no big thing.

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One thing you might not be familiar with is the fact that some NYC pizzerias use anthracite coal to cook their pizzas. Pizza geeks have long been into coal-fired pizzas. The ovens cook at a hot-enough temperature that a skilled pizzamaker can create an amazing crust that is both crisp and chewy at the same time and that is not dried out and tough. Also, the way that most of these old-school coal-oven places make the pizza, they just sort of know how to make a nice balanced pie, one that doesn’t go too heavy on the sauce or pile on too much cheese.

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“Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life.”

– Irving Berlin

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“I am not Jewish, but I think that America invented nothing so fine as deli food.”

– Mike Newell

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“I‘m going to marry a Jewish woman because I like the idea of getting up Sunday morning and going to the deli.”

– Michael J. Fox

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“I hate sandwiches at New York delis. Too much meat on the sandwich. It’s like a cow with a cracker on either side. “Would you like anything else with the pastrami sandwich?” “Yeah, a loaf of bread and some other people!”

– Mitch Hedberg

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“You look around New York, and we are surrounded by restaurants and food trucks, and we celebrate food in this city like no tomorrow.”

– Chris Noth

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“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.”

– James Beard

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“New York City has fantastic restaurants and, unlike London, a lot of the best restaurants are relatively cheap.”
– Tibor Fischer

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“I don’t feel like I have to dress up to go to the deli.”

– Adam Driver

New York City – Taxi Cabs

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Taxi cabs are both loved and hated by New Yorkers. They serve as a quick and easy means of transportation across Manhattan, a route not amply served by the subways. The downside with having an abundance of cabs is the traffic that results. Most traffic-jams in mid-town are speckled with many of the over 10,000 yellow cabs that service the city.

“I get out of the taxi and it’s probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards, New York.”

– Milos Forman

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New York Taxi Rules:

1. Driver speaks no English.

2. Driver just got here two days ago from someplace like Segal.

3. Driver hates you.

– Dave Barry

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The act of flagging down a cab is called “hailing”; there’s not much to it, just stick out your arm above your head, and pretend you’re the Statue of Liberty. When the numbers on the roof of the cab are lit, it is available. Yellow Medallion cabs are the only ones authorized to pick up hails. Avoid cabs that are not the typical “yellow cab”, especially if you are new to New York. It’s a good idea to make sure all seat belts are working before closing the car doors.

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“Anytime four New Yorkers get into a cab together without arguing, a bank robbery has just taken place.”

– Johnny Carson

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“People say New Yorkers can’t get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and the radio; the other guy took the engine.”

– David Letterman

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“I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.”

― Rick Riordan

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“I don’t have to really be in the 60s. Every time I hail a cab in New York, and they pass me by and pick up the white person, then I get a dose of it. Or when they don’t want to take you to Harlem. I grew up with that.”

– Queen Latifah

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/

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.

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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

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“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