August 23 - September 12: A Trip to Caracas, Venezuela
April 30 - May 14: Two Weeks in Saudi Arabia
Return to the Index for 1981


August 19-21, 1981
A Class in New York City
 

The end of August and the first half of September this year will be hectic. I have a two-day class to do in New York City on the 20th and 21st, and then I will leave right from there for Caracas, Venezuela, to do a couple of weeks of classes for Maraven, the state-owned oil company. On this page, I'll cover the trip to New York City, and my class for a company located in the World Trade Center. I brought my camera with me, of course, since I would need it in Venezuela, but I also wanted to go to the top of one of the Trade Center towers for the first time.


Almost all of my pictures from this trip to New York City were taken from the top of World Trade Center Two- where the observation deck is located. My first picture, at the far left, is the exception. It was taken from the Vista International Hotel in the World Trade Center complex (much of which is still under construction).


Here again I find that in obtaining aerial views for my photo album means that I get views that are significantly different from the actual situation over thirty years ago. In the case of the picture at the far left, the view differs significantly in a number of respects. Right now, in 1981, a huge redevelopment project is getting underway in Lower Manhattan, and of course most of the results of that project can be seen on the aerial view.

On this side of the island, many of the old shipping facilities are being removed or repurposed, and the land is being given over to an enormous mixed-use development. At far leftt are two of the first new buildings going up on this large site. At the immediate left is an aerial view of this area today, in 2017. I have marked the two buildings from my photograph ("A" and "B"); you can see that they are now lost in the forest of new buildings that have gone up since 1981. But the most significant difference between this area in 1981 and now is, of course, that the hotel in which I stayed, along with both of the World Trade Center towers and one other building were either destroyed or deliberately demolished almost exactly twenty years from now (1981) in an event that requires no description.

I understand the project is going to cost many billions of dollars, and that a major part of it is being undertaken by multimillionaire Donald Trump- one of New York's wealthy real estate moguls. The project will also include a total reconstruction of the old elevated West Side Highway, which has been closed for some years now due to problems with the roadway supports. It was never fixed, since the plans were to put it back on ground level as a new, major avenue. At the moment, it is used by joggers, pedestrians, dog walkers and so on- but no vehicles.


The Vista International Hotel is connected to both the World Trade Center towers. It is a very nice (very posh) hotel with a good health club and running track right inside. A couple of times I used the track when I didn't finish early enough to go jogging outside, but I preferred to jog up the now-closed West Side Highway (which is being torn down to make room for new buildings).

I went to the top of Tower Two twice- at noontime on the first day of my class and in the afternoon of the second day. The rest of the pictures from this trip were taken from there. At the near right, you can see the Hudson River and the west side of Manhattan. The observation deck at the World Trade Center is outside, but on this particular day the wind was not too bad, the temperature was moderate and, most important, the weather was clear- an excellent day for picture taking. (You cannot, however, get close to the edge of the roof; the window washing equipment gets in the way.)

The two buildings are 110 stories tall, just slightly shorter than the Sears Tower in Chicago, but spectacular nevertheless. In this picture you can see New Jersey off to the left, the Hudson River (looking North), the West Side piers and the West Side highway. There is no traffic on this elevated highway any more; it was apparently declared unsafe years ago and it was decided to close it and tear it down rather than rebuild it. Currently, it is "open" to pedestrian traffic, and a large number of joggers can be found using it on good days (including me). This side of New York is mostly residential.

At the far right is an aerial view that matches at least the near half of the picture. In that view, you can see much of what has been done in this area since 1981. Most of the new skyscrapers are out of the picture and aerial view to my left and behind me.


Looking North at Midtown Manhattan

On this beautiful day you can see all the major features of midtown very clearly- the Empire State Building, the Pan Am Building on Park Avenue, and the new Citicorp Building to its right (the greenish shiny building). The East River is at the right and Central Park is in the background.


Looking West Across the Hudson River to New Jersey

Here you can see the piers and shipping facilities on the New Jersey side and, way off in the distance, the beginnings of the rolling hills of rural New Jersey. All you have to do is get about fifty miles from the Hudson and you are very much in open country, most of it quite beautiful and heavily forested.

Not all of my pictures were taken from the observation deck; a couple of them were taken from the office where I was working, some seventy stories up in Tower One.

(Picture at left)
Here you can see the top of Two World Trade Center and the West side of Manhattan beyond it. This view looks north, up the Hudson River.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
In this view, I am looking down the side of Two World Trade Center. Notice that these skyscrapers are perfectly straight up the sides. Even though they are shorter than the Sears Tower, to me they look taller, because there is no interruption of the vertical lines of the building by the kind of step-back construction employed at the Sears Tower. You can see that across the street to the west, the land's been cleared for new construction.


At one point I got out my telephoto lens, and the picture at left of the Empire State Building was the result. I took this picture through the windows of the conference room where we were working, and I guess that's why there's a shadow at the top.


At right is another view of Midtown Manhattan, looking North from the office. It's another telephoto shot, of course.

It shows clearly the Pan Am Building, the Citicorp Building and the Chrysler Building (the one with the very pointed spire on top), which was completed in 1930). The Chrysler building used to be the tallest building in the world, until it was eclipsed by the Empire State Building in the late 1930s.


Here's an excellent view looking northeast. That's the East River, spanned by both the Brooklyn Bridge (upper) and the Williamsburg Bridge (lower). That's Brooklyn and Queens beyond it, and, in the far distance, LaGuardia airport. Across the sound is Connecticut.

Here we are looking northeast from the World Trade Center. You can see Mid-town Manhattan, again, the East River and two of the bridges spanning it (the Queensborough and Triborough bridges), and far beyond that, the Bronx and Connecticut.

(Picture at left)
From the observation deck again, this is lower Manhattan and part of Battery Park. The Hudson River is to the right.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
This is the financial district (Wall Street), and you can see Ellis Island and Brooklyn in the background.


In this view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, you can only barely pick out the statue on Bedloes Island in the harbor. This picture South, so that is New Jersey in the background.

Here is more of New York Harbor. You can see some of the buildings in lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, part of Brooklyn, and the egress into the ocean in the distance.

Here are the final two pictures that I took from the World Trade Center Tower Two observation deck:

(Picture at left)
This view looks across the East River to Brooklyn.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
Here's a picture of the area of lower Manhattan that is home to most of the buildings of the New York City government. You can see the Mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, as well as the Municipal courts buildings. The East River is in the background. I think that having the afternoon shadows cast by the twin towers in the picture is a nice effect.

I stayed on in the Vista International Hotel the night after my class was over, and the next morning got a cab to JFK Airport and my flight to Caracas.

 

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


August 23 - September 12: A Trip to Caracas, Venezuela
April 30 - May 14: Two Weeks in Saudi Arabia
Return to the Index for 1981