One World Observatory with Walks of New York

New York, usa
One World Observatory

One World Observatory

The One World Trade Center’s new observation deck has recently opened and I visited as part of a Walks of New York tour.

Led by local New Yorkers, these small group tours hone in on specific subject (say, photography) or neighbourhood (eg. the Lower East Side) and go deep, but not too deep–less facts and figures, more personal histories.

The main draw of Walks of New York’s WTC Tour & One World Observatory tour may seem to be the pre-reserved tickets to the observatory, but prior to entering the WTC the guide leads a fascinating two-hour tour of the surrounding area. I rarely visit this area myself, feeling there’s something not quite right about gawking around the disaster sites, but I was very glad to have taken this tour and to have learned a more personal side to the events of that day–and the weeks, months and years afterwards.

The tour began at St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City’s oldest public building, which, amazingly, was not damaged at all during the attacks. Even these 18th-century chandeliers were left intact.

St Paul's Chapel

St Paul’s Chapel

The church soon became a refuge for the rescue workers who couldn’t get home after their 12-hour shifts. Messages of support came in from around the world–including these cranes from Nagasaki and Hiroshima survivors.

St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul’s Chapel

This bell was presented to St. Paul’s in solidarity from the Mayor of London.

St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul’s Chapel

The new transit hub at Fulton Center has recently been completed.

Fulton Center

Fulton Center

The mix of old and new architecture in Lower Manhattan is striking. This is the Woolworth building, completed in 1913, parts of which are being developed into luxury apartments.

Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building

Speaking of luxury apartments, here is “New York by Gehry,” the tallest residential tower in the Americas.

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry

Modern and Romanesque

Modern and Romanesque

Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub is years overdue and millions of dollars over budget. Still, here’s a look at the Oculus in construction.

The Oculus in construction

The Oculus in construction

And the PATH station’s Platform B.

PATH Station at WTC

PATH Station at WTC

Brookfield Place, when it was called the World Financial Center was terribly damaged on 9/11. The Winter Garden, which had all the windows blown out, has been beautifully restored and has been expanded to hold a variety of great food vendors, including Le District, a kind of French Eataly.

Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place

The Oculus from Brookfield Plaza

The Oculus from Brookfield Plaza

Waterfront Plaza

Waterfront Plaza

Memorial

Memorial

So to the observatory. Super high-speed elevators whisk visitors 102 floors up in about 40 seconds. During that brief time, video screens inside the elevators show a CGI timelapse of New York City history–the landscape of Lower Manhattan from the year 1500 until today. It was one of my favourite parts.

Then, upstairs you are obliged to watch a bit of a kitschy video celebrating NYC before the screen goes up to reveal the skyline to cheers from the crowd.

Thankfully that is the only cringey part of the experience and you are then left alone to wander the observation deck and take in the 360-degree views at your leisure.

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

One World Observatory

Thanks to Walks of New York for hosting me on their tour.

My Favourite Street Art of 2014

Colombia, Florida, Maryland, Netherlands, New York, Puerto Rico, sweden, usa
IMG_8411

Stinkfish in Malmo. October 2014.

Toxicomano in Bogota. September 2014

Toxicomano in Bogota. September 2014

Abey Charron in San Juan. November 2014.

Abey Charron in San Juan. November 2014.

Hero de Janeiro in Amsterdam. October 2014.

Ottograph/Hero de Janeiro in Amsterdam. October 2014.

Icy and Sot in Brooklyn. July 2014.

Icy and Sot in Brooklyn. July 2014.

Shepard Fairey in Miami. June 2014.

Shepard Fairey in Miami. June 2014.

Tatiana Fazlalizadeh in Manhattan. March 2014.

Tatiana Fazlalizadeh in Manhattan. March 2014.

Icy and Sot in Brooklyn. October 2014.

Icy and Sot in Brooklyn. October 2014.

Artist ? Baltimore. April 2014

Artist ? Baltimore. April 2014

Swoon in Manhattan. September 2014.

Swoon in Manhattan. September 2014.

Bastardilla in Bogota. September 2014.

Bastardilla in Bogota. September 2014.

Collaboration. Malmo. October 2014.

Collaboration. Malmo. October 2014.

 

 

Ragnar Kjartansson at the New Museum: Me, My Mother, My Father, and I

Art Exhibition, New York

photo

In May 1975, Kjartan Ragnarsson and Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir shot a slightly schlocky love scene for Iceland’s first ever feature film, Morðsaga (Murder Story). As Guðrún, playing a bored housewife, fantasises about ripping off the shirt from Kjartan’s, playing a plumber, chest, she cries out: “Take me here, by the dishwasher!” Legend has it that the day after the scene was filmed, the performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson was conceived.

Sami Stories at Scandinavia House

Art Exhibition, Finland, New York, sweden

huiva

Scandinavia House, on Park Avenue near Grand Central, is one of my favorite under-the-radar places in New York City. It’s almost always quiet, never busy, has a great (but pricey) Nordic café named Smörgås Chef; and shows excellent films and free art exhibitions.

Hypnopompic by Kustaa Saksi

Art Exhibition, Finland, New York
Hypnopompic at Artifact

Hypnopompic at Artifact

Finnish-born, Amsterdam-based graphic artist Kustaa Saksi creates abstract, dream-like, and fantastical illustrations that, as well as gracing gallery walls across the world, have been featured in campaigns for brands such as Nike, Lacoste, and Issey Miyake. His work has appeared in the pages of the New York Times and even on the stamps of the Finnish Post.