Verrazano Bridge

VIP Treatment to the Top!

by grace on March 5, 2017

the top of the empire state building, that is.  because erin’s roommate joe works at the NYC LinkedIn office there in the building he was able to secure us passes to get to the top.

he’d already taken us on a tour of the offices, and then we went back down to the lobby to ride the elevator to the top.  first we had to go through security like at the airport, and then we got to the long line of people waiting for the elevators.

joe waved his pass at one of the guards, who ushered us past so many people, some of them groups of kids sitting on the floor looking like they’d been there for a very long time, and right onto an elevator. VIPs!

the elevator took us to the 86th floor, where we could go outside on the open-air observation deck.  we decided to go all the way to the top first, which meant getting waved past yet another group of people in line, and up we went to the 102nd floor.

the view was fantastic; i had hoped we’d see the city during the day, but i think it’s probably prettier at night.  i tried not to go too crazy taking millions of photos.

here’s the verrazano bridge, the very one that we sailed under on the Queen Mary 2.

the biggest tower is the new world trade center, and the statue of liberty is just to the right of center.

this is facing uptown; the small building that looks like it’s glowing is the one with the ball on top that they drop on new year’s eve.  at least i think it is…i think somebody told me that, but i can’t verify it.  and that patch of white on the lower right is the skating rink at bryant park, next to the public library.

the chrysler building!  over there on the left.  and that splash of red on the right is the coca cola sign over in brooklyn.

we skipped yet another line to go back down to the 86th floor.  it was mighty cold and windy out there, yet it had been a relatively warm day.  it must be mighty bitter in the heart of winter.

the place was pretty crowded, and we got a guy to take our picture.  it’s funny that bev, erin and i look like midgets in comparison to justin and joe.  justin must be about 6 5″ or so, but i didn’t think of joe as being so tall.  midgets.

this is facing downtown again, and once again, the verrazano bridge is on the left, and you can just make out the statue of liberty on the right.

one final wave of the magic pass, and our elevator quickly took us down to the lobby.

it was such an incredible experience, seeing all of that and avoiding all the lines, and i don’t know how i could ever repeat it.  a fantastic time was had by all, and it was just so nice of joe to take us all around – i know he’s already done that a few times, but he was so gracious and happy to give us to the tour.  i’m just sorry that kevin wasn’t there with me.

erin had to go teach another class, or maybe she had to train somebody, so we walked her over to 43rd stree,  then bev, justin and i headed to brooklyn.   justin showed us the restaurants they love.

he then had to do more work, so bev and i went to their favorite restaurant, peter’s, where they served up all kinds of delicious foods dipped out of big dutch ovens.  mmm, the best part were the roasted sweet and white potatoes.  we couldn’t exactly identify the spices, but i sure would like a big plate of them right now.

just another busy day in new york, walking and walking and seeing stuff and eating good food and sooo tired by the end of the day…

ok then,

mrs. moving hughes.


Land ho! i staggered out onto our balcony at about 4:30 on friday morning to see us going back under the Verrazano Bridge, and this ship passed us.


here we are, getting closer and closer.







here’s a little bit about the history of the bridge, from a Smithsonian article.

The History of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, 50 Years After Its Construction
Built in 1964, the span still stands as Americas’ largest suspension bridge

(The Museum of The City of New York / Art Resource, NY)
By Jerry Adler
As long ago as 1910, when a steady parade of steamships bearing immigrants passed through the Narrows—the mile-wide channel at the entrance to New York Harbor—engineers envisioned a great bridge as a gateway to the New World. When it finally opened, 50 years ago this month, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge—honoring the 16th-century Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, though not to the extent of spelling his name correctly—boasted the longest suspended span in the world: 4,260 feet, or four-fifths of a mile. Even after the great era of steamships had passed, the bridge held sway, dictating the design of the Cunard liner Queen Mary 2, once the world’s largest passenger ship, which first sailed in 2003, so that at high tide its funnel would pass beneath the roadway with 13 feet to spare.

Connecting Brooklyn with Staten Island, it is still the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, 11th in the world. The crowning achievement of the structural engineer Othmar Ammann and of New York’s imperious master planner Robert Moses, it was built for $320 million (about $2.5 billion in today’s currency), more or less on budget, a standard of frugality that present-day New York can only dream of. Ten thousand men worked to build the bridge, from “punks” lugging heavy bolts to foremen dubbed “pushers” to John Murphy, the superintendent, whose temper and sun-and-wind-hardened face led his charges to call him Hard Nose behind his back. Three men died. The bridge’s construction was vividly chronicled by Gay Talese, then a cub re=orter for the New York Times, whose book, The Bridge, is now being reissued in an expanded edition by Bloomsbury. It tells of Mohawk Indian ironworkers who made a specialty of walking the high steel and of James J. Braddock, once a world heavyweight boxing champion (Joe Louis took his title), by then a welding machine operator. “The anonymous hard-hatted men who put the bridge together, who took risks and sometimes fell to their deaths in the sky, over the sea—they did it in such a way that it would last,” Talese recalls in an interview
Toward the end of 1964, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge-linking the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island-was completed. Fifty years later, it remains an engineering marvel.
When it was finished, a ride across cost drivers 50 cents, or the equivalent of less than $4. But we should be so lucky: Today the cash toll is $15. Old-timers still mourn the sundered neighborhoods of Brooklyn, where hundreds of homes were destroyed to make way for the approach, and the sleepy, almost rural character of Staten Island when it was linked to the rest of New York City only by ferryboat.
To Talese, the Verrazano is about more than transportation. “A bridge, in its ultimate form, is a work of art,” he says, and one can see his point. Sunlight glints off the pair of monumental steel towers, 70 stories tall, carrying the curvature of the earth into the sky, where their tops are exactly 15⁄8 inches farther apart than at their base. At night, lights pick out the graceful curve of the four great cables, each three feet in diameter, spun from enough steel wire to reach more than halfway to the moon. The bridge thrums with the traffic of a million and a half vehicles weekly, its passengers “suspended,” as the poet Stephen Dunn wrote, in 2012, “out over the Narrows by a logic linked / to faith.”

i went back to bed for a little bit, but got up again before six to see this magnificent view.


it was great that our cabin was on the right side to see this; whenever we go back, we’ll somehow have to remember which side we were on.


we got breakfast and took it out on the deck, the only people to do so, just like we were the only ones eating out there before we set sail from southampton.

this bee thoroughly enjoyed my marmalade.




we were excited to disembark – we were going to board the train back to springfield later that afternoon.

soooo close to the end of the trip now…i have one final video, a few random shots i took during our voyage across the atlantic, then a few photos from the very final leg of our journey!  i may actually complete these posts before August 1st, one year to the day when we left.

ok then,

mrs. not travelling right at this moment hughes, but already planning another trip.