Every Shape, Size, and Color

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Times Square, New York

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New York State of Mind

Some folks like to get away,
Take a holiday from the neighborhood
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood
But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line
I’m in a New York state of mind

It comes down to reality, and it’s fine with me cause I’ve let it slide
I don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside
I don’t have any reasons
I left them all behind
I’m in a New York state of mind
– Billy Joel, New York State of Mind

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The Grand Central Station in New York

The Grand Central Station is iconic of New York. A movie or book only has to show or mention it to establish its setting.

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It is as classical as The Oculus is modernistic.

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The terminal clock speaks of its character and reminds one of pre-digital times.

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Though it was built more than a hundred years ago and has undergone renovations, it still serves thousands of commuters daily and is visited by over 20 million people every year.

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The eagle on the corner roof is one of the remaining iron eagles, which have a story of their own.

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The Grand Central Station is quintessential New York and reminds us of things that last.

The Oculus in New York

The Oculus, located at the World Trade Center complex in New York, is part of the rebuilding and re-development of the site after 9/11.

It is a transportation hub, and has been dubbed the most expensive train station in the world.

Nevertheless, a lot of thought went into its architectural design. It really is quite interesting both inside and out, but more impressive from the inside.

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It makes great use of natural lighting. The soaring “ribs” and play of light gives it an otherworldly feel. Seems much bigger than it really is.

To me, the futuristic design is a good complement, if counterpoint, to the Grand Central station.

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Is it a bird, a plane, or a dinosaur? Santiago Calatrava, its Spanish designer, said it resembles a bird released from a child’s hand. Others see a kind of dinosaur. Whatever your interpretation, it successfully stands out surrounded by the glass buildings in the area.

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The rebuilding continues on the World Trade Center site.

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The Oculus will be part of this developing hub. Perhaps controversial, but to me a symbol of the spirit of the city that will always rise above challenges that come its way.

The Islands of the Undesirables Across Harlem River

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(Randall’s Island and Ward’s Island as seen from Upper East Side, NY.)

A set of islands, just across the Harlem River, is where New York used to send “the tired, poor, sick and criminal… to be treated (or sometimes just confined).” They came to be known as the Islands of the Undesirables.

Among these islands are Randall’s and Ward’s, which were distinct islands until the 1960’s when New York dumped its rubble to fill the gap.

Talk about a dubious history!

But today the combined island is home to a park and a stadium (where Usain Bolt broke a world record), and hosts the Governor’s Ball Music Festival. It also has the NY Fire Department training academy where various structures are built to simulate all kinds of environments fire fighters might encounter (including a subway tunnel, a helipad, and a ship).

Undesirable no more.


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What’s With Love Locks?

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(At the NY Waterway near the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Sweethearts write their names or initials on the padlock and throw away the key to symbolize a love that “cannot be broken.”

Apparently started 100 years ago when a soldier went to war and fell in love with another woman, breaking his vow to his sweetheart at home. Since then love locks were seen as a wish, if not a promise, to keep love safely “locked.”

It has become common in the last few years specially in tourist areas, that it has been considered a form of littering and even vandalism. There is a “No Love Locks” movement in Paris and other places.

Does it work? Maybe. Not in a superstitious way but in the psychological commitment that could come from the act. Something similar to marriage vows in front of family, friends and community. But I guess just like other expressions of commitment, it really depends on how serious the commitment was in the first place — and the desire to work together to make the relationship work. That’s much harder than putting a padlock on a fence.

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