I love New York. There is no place in the world like Manhattan. The energy, the people, the food and the history. It's true, the city never sleeps and after I spend a day there, I always feel invigorated, inspired and grateful I live so close to the best city in the world.
While I enjoy spending time with friends there, I also have come to cherish the time I spend alone in New York City. There is always something to do and I enjoy meeting new people, especially tourist. When they ask me for advice on what sites to visit, I'm always ready with suggestions.
I love walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The iconic bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It is a treasured landmark. The bridge sits gracefully over New York City's East River connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The neo-Gothic architectural style is impressive and the walk across is beautiful any time of the day.
On the Brooklyn Tower there is a plaque dedicated to Emily Roebling that reads, in part, "dedicated to the memory of Emily Warren Roebling 1843-1903 whose faith and courage helped her stricken husband" complete the construction.
The bridge was designed by German-born immigrant John Augustus Roebling. In 1869, just before construction began, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few compass readings across the East River. A ferry crushed his toes on one of his feet, and he died of tetanus three weeks later. His 32 year old son, Washington A. Roebling took over as chief engineer. Along with many other bridge workers, Washington Roebling developed caisson disease and he remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life.
That's when his wife Emily Roebling stepped in. With her husband's guidance, she took charge of the bridge's construction. He dictated instructions to her and she passed on his instructions to the workers.
Using a telescope, he was forced to watch the construction progress from his apartment's window in Brooklyn.
In a short time she was able to assume the role of chief engineer.
On May 17, 1881, Emily Roebling was given the first ride over the bridge as she held a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. A week later on May 24, 1883, the bridge opened and more than 150,000 crossed the bridge as fireworks went off overhead. It cost a penny to cross by foot on opening day. Today it's free.
I also love to visit Little Italy and I can say for certain, I never had a bad meal there. Central Park is always magnificent and the view from The Top of the Rock is simply breath-taking. St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown and Riverside Church in Harlem are stunning, especially around the holidays. I also enjoy visiting The Bronx Zoo, and on a recent visit I was delighted to see so many baby gorillas in the exhibit.
I have a new favorite adventure in Manhattan these days: Riding the Roosevelt Island Tram. I'm not sure why it took me so long to try this, but I'm hooked now. You want excitement? You want an adventure with unparalleled views? And, you can't beat the price to ride at $2.75 each way.
The aerial tramway opened in 1976 and served as the only direct link to Manhattan from Roosevelt Island for 13 years. It was also the first commuter tram in the United States. Each tram has the capacity to hold 110 people. The operating speed is approximately 17 mph as it crosses over the East River. It sure felt like a thrill ride to me. You definitely want to get as close to the window as possible for the best views.
Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City's East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east, and is part of the borough of Manhattan. It is approximately 2 miles long. In 1828 the island was named Blackwell's Island, and the city operated a prison, a lunatic asylum, a charity hospital and a smallpox hospital there.
The city changed the name to Welfare Island in 1921 and began a series of reforms: moving the prison to Rikers Island, creating new hospitals and developing a residential community. It was renamed Roosevelt Island in 1971 after Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Adjacent to the tram on Roosevelt Island there is a well-staffed visitor center. The center offers maps and tour information. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is located on the southern tip of the island and from there you can enjoy spectacular views of Manhattan, in addition to a memorial to FDR. You can also view the ruins of the smallpox hospital. The building was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr. who also designed St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Lighthouse Park on the northern tip of the island has dazzling views of both Manhattan and Queens. The fifty-foot-high lighthouse, also designed by Renwick, was built in 1872 by inmates of the penitentiary with stone quarried on the island, to assist boats navigating the treacherous Hell Gate waters.
There are free buses at several locations on the island for easy transport around the entire island. Public restrooms are available as well as shops and some restaurants. For the cost of a round trip tram fare of $5.50 (MTA card only) -- this is a very enjoyable day trip.
And, when you're flying over the traffic on the East Side and then, the East River, I think you'll agree -- it feels more like an adventure.