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Moving To New York - A New York State of Mind

By Janet Walker

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Moving to New York could mean finding a secluded spot in the northern most tip of New York State's Adirondack Mountains, or ocean front, on the eastern shores of Long Island to call home. New York State is a mecca of lives and lifestyles that can change faster than a New York minute and New York City is its heartbeat.

A kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, attractions: A movie maker’s delight.

New York City, beginning as the gateway for the European exodus in the early 1900's, continues to draw millions of dreamers who see their futures among the lights on Broadway or the Canyons of Wall Street. New York City is a town, a hope, a dream. For those new to New York, an introduction to Manhattan has already been provided by the filmmakers who make the city their soundstage.

New York City has been the center of filmmakers' imaginations since filmmaking began. These storytellers have attracted us, the dreamers, in their creations, giving us a morsel here and there to cement our dreams. We have seen the underworld through Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather and life as an immigrant through Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

No better place to ring in the New Year than Times Square, New York.

We toasted independent and naive young women in Blake Edward's, Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn and Michael Gordon's Pillow Talk with Doris Day, and even a young man's resourcefulness as Macaulay Culkin finds his way through the city in Chris Columbus' Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Oliver Stone's, Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, embodied the boom that bankers love and Jerry Zucker's Ghost, with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, showed us that in Manhattan you never know whom you are going to meet. Woody Allen, a perennial New Yorker, showed us New York families and relationships: Mostly dysfunctional but we loved them anyway.  We have seen love stories, sinister plots, and Howard Stern's Private Parts: Manhattan is a backdrop for the moviemaker and a destination that fills every dreamer's dreams.

Summer in Times Square.

Any trip to Manhattan begins in Times Square. The famous Times Square Ticker where history has been announced for more than sixty years, still delivers the news on a circulating electric banner. 

History has been made here, in Times Square, more times than a photographer can count. For some there is no other place to be on New Year's Eve than celebrating with Dick Clark and his Rockin' New Year's Eve Party that he and the city have put on for decades. 

New Year's Eve starts early with crowds lining the streets as early as 6:00AM hoping to get that coveted televised spot. The one thing to remember once you find that spot, you stay in that spot, as New York's finest, the NYPD mandate that all revelers remain inside their individual corral until after the party stops.

Rockefeller Center winter or summer a New York attraction.

In any season, Times Square is always open. Theme restaurants, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, World Wrestling Federation, line both sides of Broadway. The Virgin Atlantic Megastore and Toys 'R' Us flagship store complete the picture with a three story Ferris-Wheel and are a must see on the visitor's must see list.

Traveling East from Times Square we end up at Rockefeller Center. The face of Rockefeller Center changes with the season.

Lighted Angels herald the Good News that New York offers.

In winter, it becomes a holiday lover's delight as lighted angels heralding the Good News line the pathways leading to the centerpiece, Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree. 

The lower level at Rockefeller Center offers ice-skating in winter and a sea of outdoor dining options during the summer months. Rockefeller Center is home to NBC and the soundstage for The Today Show

Summer in New York is summer in Central Park and is a party in itself. Even in a city of this size, sweltering Manhattanites and visitors can find solitude and rest while taking in the summer scenes that Central Park offers. The park has few restrictions but they do offer a quiet zone, a restricted area for sunbathers and others to have a place without noise and interruption.

Central Park In Summer: A place for everyone.

Central Park is a maze of hidden trails, baseball diamonds, boat rentals, running tracks, playgrounds, and fountains that have as much history as the city itself. Carriage rides, roller blades, bike rentals, cross country snow skiing, ice skating, Central Park offers as many outdoor sports as imaginable in a city as diverse as this city.

A winter wonderland in New York's Central Park.

Central Park's Great Lawn has been the center stage for such greats as Diana Ross, Paul Simon, and Garth Brooks who was fortunate enough to get Billy Joel to add his magic on a memorable summer evening. These greats offer free summer concerts to as many as can find a spot of grass.

No trip to New York and Central Park would be complete without a stop at Strawberry Fields, the permanent home of a living memorial to John Lennon, the former Beatle who was murdered outside his Dakota apartment.

This place, Strawberry Fields, is where his spirit of living peaceably surrounded by music and art is celebrated, decorated with donated floral arrangements that are in constant supply and ever-changing: a dichotomy just like the man who wanted peace and a revolution.

The spirit of the songwriter lives today and forever.

A trip downtown begins at New York's Greenwich Village; a long time draw for the bohemian: A hot spot in the west village. A cultural life that centers on freedom of expression, sexual freedom, a place where a free thinker can experiment before they move into their corporate choice or experiment until freedom calls them to new thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, families, traditions, and escape from social restrictions. Washington Square Park, the gateway to the Village, is guarded by the Arch, the centerpiece for the cornucopia of ideas that flow from the Village.

Any trip to New York City would not be complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty. The Ferry to the Statue meets in Battery Park City at the southern tip of Manhattan. Lines are long and unless you are early and catch the first morning ferry you can expect four-hour delays. Once you get to Ellis Island, history becomes an interactive experience. 'The museum's self-guided exhibits chronicle Ellis Island's role in immigration history and include artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, interactive displays, oral histories, and temporary exhibits, according to the official Ellis Island website.

The Statue of Liberty, open after renovations, allows visitors a high harbor view of the city.

Stopping at the Museum first can cause an even greater delay should you want to visit the crown of the Statue of Liberty. The line to the observation deck snakes literally up the torso of the statue slowly coming together to form a single line winding up a circular staircase the last forty feet. The crown itself is only large enough to hold three-to-four people and with the long lines, and longer delays, more than three to four photographs is considered rude.

The next stop on our tour is the observation deck at the Empire State Building. Traveling 104 stories up this place is a popular experience for tourists, travelers and hosts who want to show off their city with a hint of pride as they gaze over the magnitude of Manhattan.

A partial view from the Empire State Building, 104 stories above Manhattan.

The magic of the Manhattan skyline has been altered since September 11 and still we look out over the city south to the absence and North as far as the eye can see; west to Jersey and to all points east and still we weep with pride over our city that mourned and never died.

A summer sunset over the city seen from the Hudson River.

Title, 'A New York State Mind' is an original song title by Billy Joel.

Published on Apr 02, 2011

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