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CIRCLE LINE TOUR
If you are visiting New York, you simply MUST take a Circle Line boat tour. The terminal is between 41st and 42nd Street on the West side of Manhattan. There are tours ranging from an hour or so, to trips up to Bear Mountain and back... definitely worth the modest cost.
Part of the experience is a knowledgeable guide who will inform and entertain you. At the left, our tour guide pointed out the significant landmarks and explained the history behind them in remarkable and interesting detail. I must confess that I haven't been on a Circle Line tour since I was a small child, and I took this particular trip on a lark; I'm glad I did. I was able to take a number of great photos with my digital camera - some of which are thumbnailed below. They will be part of my New York Photo Album, which will be available on my publisher's web site shortly.
This is the top deck of the tour boat, which according to our guide, was once used as a WW2 Landing craft. The ride up and down the Hudson and East Rivers was remarkably smooth despite the moderate "chop" of the water due to an approaching rainstorm. For some reason, big boats usually make me seasick; I'm more comfortable in a canoe or a kayak. However, the two-hour tour I took wasn't a problem in that regard.
These photos of the Staten Island Ferry was taken from the Circle Line tour boat. The Staten Island Ferry is free (both ways), and is a short ride (about 10 minutes each way). If you've never been on a tour boat, and you're afraid that you'll get seasick, try riding the ferry first. If you survive without getting sick, chances are that you'll be OK on the Circle Line.
The Circle Line "Liberty Tour" gets you close enough to Lady Liberty to take photos like this if you have a decent camera. Our tour guide pointed out that the torch is 24 Karat gold leaf overlaid, and that the copper the statue is mad of is as thick as two US pennies laid on top of each other (that's a lot of copper). Copper gives The Statue of Liberty its green patina. Also, our tour guide pointed out that what Lady Liberty is holding in her left hand is NOT a book... it is a building stone; notice that there are notches on the top corners of the stone slab (see detail enlarged below).
A 4x Optical and 6x Digital Zoom from the tour boat took this photo in "burst" mode, and I chose the photo that was cropped the best in the series of twelve photos I took.
According to our guide, the torch's flame is made of 24kt gold leaf.
Note the notches in the stone slab (red arrows).
(Books don't have notches on the upper corners)
The FujiFilm blimp flew over our tour boat. The skies were grey behind it, and so I took 30 photos in "bracket" mode before I got the thing centered in the viewfinder. Some processing in Adobe Photoshop was required, but I finally ended up with this good shot.
The Brooklyn Bridge is famous around the world. In its time, it was a unique concept. More people have "invested" in the Brooklyn Bridge than you can shake a stick at.
The tour takes you under all the bridges in New York - As you approach you can take photos of the whole bridge, and as you go under, you can get close enough to see the rivets with the unaided eye.
The Colgate Palmolive building in Jersey City was a landmark for a very long time. The building served as an orienteering point for ships navigating the river, and its clock could be seen miles away. The building was torn down (it was too dilapidated to restore as a National landmark), but the distinctive clock was salvaged and restored.
From the vantage point of the river, you gain an entirely new perspective of the city.