All Around the Town

20 Jun

Ships and Buildings of All Descriptions in Lower Manhattan.

The Conning Tower of the USS Intrepid

(New York City, June 19, 2012) The Parkers have an enormous love affair with boats, as it turns out. Today began with a visit to the Intrepid Museum on New York’s West Side, with its dozens of aircraft and three huge decks to wander. We’re one month early for the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s debut. It’s there, under a huge tarpaulin, with one wing peeking out – a great reason to come back, along with all the other exhibits and the British Airways Concorde waiting to be explored. But we did ride the virtual roller coaster and piloted a jet fighter simulator before lunch.

Laurida Reesman and Nathan Parker on the Flight Deck of the Intrepid

After lunch, Jim and Pauline arranged for an architectural tour of Manhattan by boat. We boarded the SS Manhattan, a beautiful old yacht, with a great name, of course, and began a three-hour cruise around the entire island. Heading south, we learned about every building the architect could find the time to describe, and he never stopped talking for the entire journey. His enthusiasm was engaging, and many of his stories were unforgettable. For example, the Broadway Bridge from Manhattan to the Bronx was recycled. When the City decided to extend the Broadway Subway line over the East River, the old bridge became too small, so they built a new one. Instead of dismantling the original, they disengaged it, floated it down the river a few blocks, and set it up on a new street.

Stefanie Baker, Pauline Parker, Laurida Reesman, Shannon Baker, and Emily Parker enjoy the art of New York City.

Then there’s the Chrysler Building, and how it became the world’s tallest in 1931. Its chief rival, the Bank of Manhattan Building, opened a week earlier and, at 927 feet, claimed this valued status. But the architects of the Chrysler Building constructed its tall spire in secret, inside the building, and added it to the top from within, surprising everyone and reaching a world-record height of 1,045 feet.

There are few ways to spend a better three hours than this tour. And, for the third day in a row, we can honestly report that there are also very few ways to have a better time in New York than traveling with Road Scholar and the amazing Parker Family.

The Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges on New York’s Lower East River

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