California – San Francisco

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If California is one grand, sweeping gesture, a long arm cradling the Pacific, then San Francisco, that seven-by-seven-mile peninsula, is a forefinger pointing upwards. Take this as a hint to look up: you’ll notice San Francisco’s crooked Victorian rooflines, wind-sculpted treetops and fog tumbling over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Heads are perpetually in the clouds atop San Francisco’s 43 hills. Cable cars provide easy access to Russian and Nob Hills, and splendid panoramas reward the slog up to Coit Tower – but the most exhilarating highs are earned on Telegraph Hill’s garden-lined stairway walks and windswept hikes around Land’s End.

Consider permission permanently granted to be outlandish: other towns may surprise you, but in San Francisco you will surprise yourself. Good times and social revolutions tend to start here, from manic gold rushes to blissful hippie be-ins. If there’s a skateboard move yet to be busted, a technology still unimagined, a poem left unspoken or a green scheme untested, chances are it’s about to happen here. Yes, right now. This town has lost almost everything in earthquakes and dot-com gambles, but never its nerve.

– Lonely Planet

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San Francisco is one of the most beloved cities in the entire world, and has been written about and commented on innumerable times by from the most profound literary geniuses to the shallowest of pop culture celebrities. There is hardly anything one can add to the thoughts that have already been so eloquently expressed by the world at large about this unique city.

Here are just a few of the thousands of quotations that capture the essence of the effect of the San Francisco vibe:

One day if I go to heaven…..I’ll look around and say “It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco”. (Herb Caen)

San Francisco has only one drawback – ’tis hard to leave. (Rudyard Kipling)

You know what it is? (It) is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away. (John Steinbeck)

East is East, and West is San Francisco. (O. Henry)

San Franciscans are very proud of their city, and they should be.  It’s the most beautiful place in the world.  (Robert Redford)

If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco.  If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life……San Francisco is a world to explore. It is a place where the heart can go on a delightful adventure. It is a city in which the spirit can know refreshment every day.  (William Saroyan)

Every man should be allowed to love two cities, his own and San Francisco.  (Gene Fowler)

Of all cities in the United States I have seen, San Francisco is the most beautiful.  (Nikita Kruschev)

I prefer a wet San Francisco to a dry Manhattan. (Larry Geraldi)

The cool, grey city of love. (George Sterling)

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I never dreamed I’d like any city as well as London.  San Francisco is exciting, moody, exhilarating.  I even love the muted fogs.  (Julie Christie)

I don’t know of any other city where you can walk through so many culturally diverse neighbourhoods, and you’re never out of sight of the wild hills.  Nature is very close here.  (Gary Snyder)

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I’m proud to have been a Yankee. But I have found more happiness and contentment, since I came back home to San Francisco than any man has a rigo deserve. This is the friendliest city in the world. (Joe di Maggio)

San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.  (Paul Kantner)

The ultimate (travel destination) for me would be one perfect day in San Francisco.  It’s a perfect 72 degrees, clear, the sky bright blue.  I’d start down at Fisherman’s Wharf with someone I really like and end with a romantic dinner and a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.  There’s no city like it anywhere.  And, if I could be there with the girl of my dreams, that would be the ultimate.  (Larry King)

The port of San Francisco……is a marvel of nature, and might well be called the harbor of harbors….And I think if it could be well settled like Europe there would not be anything more beautiful in all the world” (Juan Bautista de Anza)

Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart.  You want to linger as long as possible.  (Walter Kronkite)

The Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I’m here. (Billy Graham)

San Francisco can start right now to become number one. We can set examples so that others will follow. We can start overnight. We don’t have to wait for budgets to be passed, surveys to be made, political wheelings and dealings…….for it takes no money……it takes no compromising to give the people their rights……it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression. (Harvey Milk)

There’s no question this is where I want to live.  Never has been.  (Robin Williams)

San Francisco is one of my favourite cities in the world…I would probably rank it at the top or near the top.  It’s small but photogenic and has layers…You never have problems finding great angles that people have never done.  (Ang Lee)

When you get tired of walking around in San Francisco, you can always lean against it.  (unknown)

It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time. (Jack Kerouac)

There may not be a Heaven, but there is San Francisco. (Ashleigh Brilliant)

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I have done more for San Francisco than any of its old residents. Since I left there it has increased in population fully 300,000. I could have done more – I could have gone earlier – it was suggested. (Mark Twain)

I find no objection to turning Hollywood into a suburb of San Francisco, the most photogenic city in the world. (Mayor Joseph Alioto)

The City that knows how. (William Howard Taft)

San Francisco is the only city I can think of that can survive all the things you people are doing to it and still look beautiful. (Frank Lloyd Wright)

You wouldn’t think such a place as San Francisco could exist.  The wonderful sunlight here, the hills, the great bridges, the Pacific at your shoes.  Beautiful Chinatown.  Every race in the world.  The sardine fleets sailing out.  The little cable-cars whizzing down The City hills….And all the people are open and friendly.  (Dylan Thomas)

(San Francisco) is a rich, lusty city, rippling with people, with movement, with girls in summer dresses, with flowers, with color; one of the great and wonderful cities of the world….the great seaport of the Pacific now, one of the great naval bases. Through it have poured a million men…..And the sea is always just on the other side of those hills. (James Marlow)

I certainly was surprised to be named Poet Laureate of this far-out city on the left side of the world, and I gratefully accept, for as I told the Mayor, “How could I refuse?” I’d rather be Poet Laureate of San Francisco than anywhere because this city has always been a poetic center, a frontier for free poetic life, with perhaps more poets and more poetry readers than any city in the world. (Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

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In all my travels I have never seen the hospitality of San Francisco equalled anywhere in the world.  (Conrad Hilton)

San Francisco! Is there a land where the magic of that name has not been felt? (Clarence F. Edwards)

Your city is remarkable not only for its beauty.  It is also, of all the cities in the United States, the one whose name, the world over, conjures up the most visions and more than any other city incites one to dream.  (Georges Pompidou)

It’s a mad city, inhabited by insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty (Rudyard Kipling)

Somehow the great cities of America have taken their places in a jythology that shapes their destiny: money live sin New York. Power sits in Washington. Freedom sips cappuccino in a sidewalk café in San Francisco. (Joe Flower)

I was married once – in San Francisco. I haven’t seen her for many years. The great earthquake and fire in 1906 destroyed the marriage certificate. There’s no legal proof. Which means that earthquakes aren’t always bad. (W.C. Fields)

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It is a good thing the early settlers landed on the East Coast; if they’d landed in San Francisco first, the rest of the country would still be uninhabited.  (Herbert Mye)

What fetched me instantly (and thousands of other newcomers with me) was the subtle but unmistakeable sense of escape from the United States.  (H.L. Mencken)

The City of San Francisco (the metropolis of the State) considering its age, is by long odds the most wonderful city on the face of the earth.  (G.W. Sullivan)

Any one who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me. (Anthony Bourdain)

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There are just three big cities in the United States that are “story cities” – New York, of course, New Orleans, and, best of the lot, San Francisco. (Frank Norris)

You have in San Francisco this magnificent Civic Center crowned by a City Hall which I have never seen anywhere equalled.  (Joseph Strauss)

A city is where you can sign a petition, boo the chief justice, fish off a pier, gape at a hippopotamus, buy a flower at the corner, or get a good hamburger or a bad girl at 4 A.M. A city is where sirens make white streaks of sound in the sky and foghorns speak dark grays – San Francisco is such a city. (Herb Caen)

Caen’s San Francisco may not be the city we remember, but it is the city we want to remember. (Mayor Willie Brown)

Of all American cities of whatever size the most friendly on preliminary inspection, and on further acquaintance the most likable. The happiest-hearted, the gayest, the most care-free city on this continent.  (Irwin S. Cobb)

No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does.  Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living.  (William Saroyan)

God took the beauty of the Bay of Naples, the Valley of the Nile, the Swiss Alps, the Hudson River Valley, rolled them into one and made San Francisco Bay.  (Fiorello La Guardia)

I always see about six scuffles a night when I come to San Francisco.  That’s one of the town’s charms.  (Erroll Flynn)

San Francisco is a complex town that lets you be yourself, that accepts you even if your family doesn’t. No matter how uncomfortable your own skin feels, you can move to this city, discover who you really are, and plant your feet on the ground.  (Jack Boulware)

San Francisco, open your Golden Gate, you’ll let nobody wait outside your door, San Francisco, here is your wanderin’ one, saying I’ll wander no more. (Gus Khan, Bronislaw Kaper, Walter Jurrman)

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San Francisco! – one of my two favorite cities.  There is more grace per square foot in San Francisco than any place on earth!  (Bishop Fulton J. Sheen)

I don’t think San Francisco needs defending.  I never meet anyone who doesn’t love the place, Americans or others.  (Doris Lessing)

There are a thousand viewpoints in the viewtiful city. (Herb Caen)

San Francisco has always been a haven for misfits and weirdos. I’m both of these, which is why I came here. (Michael Franti)

I think San Francisco is the best place in the whole world for an easy life. (Imogen Cunningham)

San Francisco is perhaps the most European of all American cities. (Cecil Beaton)

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San Francisco is Beautiful People wearing a bracelet of bridges.  (Hal Lipset)

I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved (Mark Twain)

It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attraction of the next world. (Oscar Wilde)

Every city on earth has its special sink of vice, crime and degradation, its running ulcer or moral cancer, which it would fain hide from the gaze of mankind…..San Franciscans will not yield the palm of superiority to anything to be found elsewhere in the world. Speak of the deeper depth, the lower hell, the maelstrom of vice and iniquity – from whence those who once fairly enter escape no more forever – and they will point triumphantly to the Barbary Coast, strewn from end to end with the wrecks of humanity, and challenge you to match it anywhere outside of he lake of fire and brimstone. (Colonel Evans)

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If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, if you’re going to San Francisco, you’re gonna meet some gentle people there. (John Phillips)

San Francisco is the greatest…the hills…fabulous food…most beautiful and civilised people.  (Duke and Duchess of Bedford)

The old San Francisco is dead. The gayest, lightest hearted, and most pleasure-loving city of the western continent, and in many ways the most interesting and romantic, is a horde of refugees living among ruins. It may rebuild; it probably will; but those who have known that peculiar city by the Golden Gate, have caught its flavour of the Arabian Nights, feel it can never be the same. It is as though a pretty, frivolous woman has passed through a great tragedy. She survives, but she is sobered and different. If it rises out of the ashes it must be a modern city, much like other cities without its old atmosphere. (Will Irwin)

I love San Francisco.  It would be a perfect place for a honeymoon.  (Kim Novak)

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San Francisco is a breathtakingly beautiful city, with lots of great contrasts between dark and light, often overlapping each other. It’s a great setting for a horror story. (Christopher Moore)

Now there’s a grown-up swinging town.  (Frank Sinatra)

Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word “Frisco”, which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of High Misdemeanour, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars. (Emperor Norton)

If civil disobedience is the way to go about change, than I think a lot of people will be going to San Francisco (Rosie O’Donnell)

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I don’t like San Francisco.  I love it!  (Dorothy Lamour)

“Queen of the Pacific Coast! Fair city whose changing skies for half the year shower down mist and rain, and the other half sunbeams of molten brass! Metropolis of alternate sticky mud and blinding dust! In spite of these and more thou art a city of my heart,  O Ciudad de San Francisco!” (T.S. Kenderdine)

Two days in this city is worth two months in New York.  (Robert Menzies)

I’m just mad for San Francisco.  It is like London and Paris stacked on top of each other.  (Twiggy)

I fell in love with the most cordial and sociable city in the Union. After the sagebrush and alkali deserts of Wahoe, San Francisco was Paradise to me. (Mark Twain)

San Francisco is poetry.  Even the hills rhyme.  (Pat Montandon)

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San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every house a poem, every dweller within immortal. This is the whole truth. (William Saroyan)

I love this city.  If I am elected, I’ll move the White House to San Francisco. Everybody’s so friendly.  (Robert Kennedy)

I like the fog that creeps over the whole city every night about five, and the warm protective feeling it gives…and lights of San Francisco at night, the fog horn, the bay at dusk and the little flower stands where spring flowers appear before anywhere else in the country…But, most of all, I like the view of the ocean from the Cliff House.  (Irene Dunne)

San Francisco is really fun and liberal, and it’s my kind of politics. It’s like being Jewish in front of Jewish people. (Elayne Bossier)

I love San Francisco and Brighton has something of San Francisco about it. It’s by the sea, there’s a big gay community, a feeling of people being there because they enjoy their life there. (Brian Eno)

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We’re crazy about this city.  First time we came here, we walked the streets all day – all over town – and nobody hassled us.  People smiled, friendly-like, and we knew we could live here……Los Angeles? That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for a trip to San Francisco……And the beautiful old houses and the strange light.  We’ve never been in a city with light like this.  We sit in our hotel room for hours, watching the fog come in, the light change.  (John Lennon and Yoko Ono)

The extreme geniality of San Francisco’s economic, intellectual and political climate makes it the most varied and challenging city in the United States (James Michener)

But I would rather be with you, somewhere in San Francisco on a back porch in July, just looking up to Heaven, at this crescent in the sky (Robert Hunter)

I have seen few things as beautiful as a 6.30 am lift-off from San Francisco International Airport in the autumn. From above, the rippled fog layer laps against the shores of the foothills like a voluminous cotton ocean (Eric Chang)

San Francisco is a city with the assets of a metropolis without the disadvantages of size and industry.  (Jack Kenny)

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Isn’t it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there? (Herb Caen)

San Francisco is one of the great cultural plateaus in the world….one of the really urbane communities in the United States…one of the truly cosmopolitan places – and for many, many years, it has always had a warm welcome for human beings from all over the world.  (Duke Ellington)

The Golden Gate Bridge’s daily strip tease from enveloping stoles of mist to full frontal glory is still the most provocative show in town (Mary Moore Mason)

No visit to the United States would be complete without San Francisco – this beautiful city, center of the West, very well known for its beauty and the place where the United Nations was born.  (Queen Sirikit of Thailand)

To a traveler paying his first visit, it has the interest of a new planet.  It ignores the meteorological laws which govern the rest of the world.  (Fitz Hugh Ludlow)

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Cities are like gentlemen, they are born, not made.  You are either a city, or you are not, size has nothing to do with it.  I bet San Francisco was a city from the very first time it had a dozen settlers.  New York is “Yokel”, but San Francisco is “City at Heart”.  (Will Rogers)

God! I love this city! (Herb Caen)

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This is the first place in the United States where I sang, and I like San Francisco better than any other city in the world.  I love no city more than this one.  Where else could I sing outdoors on Christmas Eve?  (Luisa Tetrazzini)

The San Francisco Bay Area is the playpen of countercultures (RZ Sheppard)

I have seen purer liqors, better segars, finer tobacco, truer guns and pistols, larger dirks and bowie knives, and prettier women courtesans here in San Francisco than in any other place I have ever visited. (Hinton Helper)

San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories. (Jack London)

San Francisco may soon become the first fully gentrified city in America, the urban equivalent of a gated bedroom community…..Now it’s becoming almost impossible for a lot of the people who have made this such a world-class city – people who have been the heart and soul of the city for decades – from the fishers and pasta makers and blue-collar workers to the jazz musicians to the beat poets to the hippies to the punks and so many others –to exist here anymore. And when you’ve lost that part of the city, you’ve lost San Francisco. (Daniel Zoll)

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San Francisco is a city where people are never more abroad than when they are at home.  (Benjamin F. Taylor)

It’s the grandest city I saw in America.  If everyone acted as the San Franciscans did, there would be hope for settlement of the world’s difficulties.  (Frol Zozlov)

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To this day the city of San Francisco remains to the Chinese the Great City of the Golden Mountains.  (Kai Fu Shah)

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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

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 – 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.

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

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