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Day 25 - Alvar Aalto in New York

After a good night sleep I woke up to the typical noises of New York which we normally hear in movies. After being greeted by a very friendly cat I took a shower and had some breakfast. After I had outlined my plans for the day and also agreed on a meeting time and point with my Italian friend who I had met in Miami the week before I was ready to leave the apartment. I got on the A train on 207th Street station just in front of my accommodation. The ride down to Chamber Street took quite a while, it must have been almost an hour. From the station it wasn’t a long walk to the brand new One World Center. The last time I had been in downtown Manhattan the constructions had just begun, now the building was ready. I had seen it already from the airplane when I flew the last time out of JFK but standing right in front of it was different. I really liked the design. It was claimed to be the tallest building in the Western hemisphere but honestly after visiting the Willis Tower in Chicago I wasn’t anymore that impressed. Cues for the observatory were long and as I had other plans for the day I didn’t even bother getting into the line. Instead I went on to the nearby 9/11 Memorial located right next to the One World Center on Ground Zero where once the Twin Towers had stood. Also right next was the 9/11 Museum but the cues for that were even longer. I took some pictures of the memorial and the new One World Center before it was time for me to quickly get some lunch and then heading down to Central Park. Finding a restaurant wasn’t difficult and I had finished lunch soon. Then I got back to the subway station just to find out that there wasn’t a direct train to the MET. Instead I had to first ride the line 1 all the way to Times Square/42nd Street. From there I had to transfer to the line 7 in order to get to Grand Central Station where I finally got on the line 4 to 86th Street. It was still quite a walk from the station and I was already late. I arrived about 15 minutes late at the MET. Luckily my Italian friend was still there waiting. We started right away walking into Central Park. First we went to see the Castle from where we got a nice view on Central Park. After that we continued working down town heading towards the southeast end of the park. We had so many stories to share about our travel experience of the past few days since we had parted in Miami. Once we had exited Central Park we went down on 5th Avenue until 51st Street. There we visited the St. Patrick’s Cathedral before having a look at the Rockefeller Center right across the street. We then headed down 49th Street until reaching Park Avenue. Down Park Avenue we walk straight into Grand Central Station. We spent some time in the great hall which is really beautiful. We exited the station at Lexington Avenue and walked pass the Chrysler Building down towards 1st Street in order to see the United Nations Headquarters. My Italian friend had to go back so I continued on my own. I had still a little bit of time left before my appointment at the Institute for International Education (IIE). My Fulbright Grant was administrated by the IIE however, this was not the reason of my visit. Instead I visited the IIE headquarters on United Nations Plaza because I wanted to see the conference room that had been designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. I have been writing a blog about Alvar Aalto’s architecture for almost 5 years and visited almost 60 different buildings designed by him. For more details and pictures about this special visit see also my blog. After signing in I had to wait in the lobby in order to meet my host. I had made an appointment in order to be able to see the conference room during my New York visit. I was really happy that this visit could be arranged and had been looking to it for months. I was friendly greeted by my host who was of Estonian decent. She took me up to the fifth floor in order to show me the facilities. The room and its design were really impressive. After the visit I headed back to the Grand Central Station which was also the closest subway stop. I felt really hungry so I had some dinner in the lower concourse. After dinner I took again the line 7 train to Times Square from where I could connect to the A train that took me all the way back to 207th Street and to my accommodation. I spent the evening with taking care of some work related issues that needed my immediate attention.

New One World Center

9/11 Memorial

One World Center

Central Park

Rockefeller Center

Grand Central Station

United Nation's Building

Alvar Aalto's design at the Kaufmann Conference Center

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