Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New York City July 4th Fireworks from Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City

This year, the Macy's Fireworks were located only on the East River along Mid-town instead of in both Mid-town and Downtown.

Most of the area between Vernon Blvd and Center Blvd was roped off. The only way to access Gantry Plaza State Park was through Vernon Blvd & 48th Ave. There was a bag check entering, but no other security checks.

At Gantry Plaza State Park at 4pm. By then it was already pretty full, so if you want a good spot, definitely arrive before 4pm.

crowd at the end of the pier at Gantry Plaza State Park

It was a long, boring wait on a hot day, but at least clouds provided cover from the summer sun.
fireworks barge moving in place

NYPD boat

NYPD helicopters on a fly-by


NYFD boat

After 5.5 hours the fireworks finally started.

fireworks reflecting off an apartment buildilng

skyline after the fireworks

large crowd moving towards the subway

After the fireworks, lines to enter the subway at Vernon Blvd Station were over 45 minutes long. In the end, it was easier to walk 15 minutes to Court Sq Station.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

9/11 Tribute in Light

view from Jersey City

lights going up

The lights are projected from the top floor of Battery Parking Garage. The top floor is open to the public for free, though the area immediately around the lights is limited to members of the Audubon Society. The Audubon is there to monitor how many migrating birds get caught in the lights. The lights confuse birds and have to be turned off occasionally to allow the birds to fly off.

7th floor of Battery Parking Garage

Each beam is made of 44 xenon spotlights placed in a square

close up of the lights as they were being turned off

view from Battery Parking Garage, overlooking Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel

view from DUMBO

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Canon 7D with 70-200mm f/2.8 L, 2x TeleExtender and a solar filter
200mm x 2 x 1.6 = 640mm equivalent

max coverage in my area

clouds getting in the way

safe viewing

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hamilton's Grave, Trinity Church

Alexander Hamilton is buried in the churchyard of Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan. Recent fame from Lin-Manuel's musical Hamilton has increased the number of visitors to the point that there are always coins, flags and flowers laid at the graves. Trinity Church has also placed signs describing the Hamilton and other related people who are buried at the church, including Eliza, Angelica, Hercules and Phillip.

Alexander Hamilton has the most ornate grave marker, while Eliza is buried right next to Alexander Hamilton, with a flat, white marble slab marking her grave.

Alexander Hamilton

Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

Alexander and Eliza together

Phillip is also buried in the churchyard, but the location of his grave is unknown. His grave was most likely left unmarked because he was killed in a duel, which was frowned upon at that time. Trinity Church did not want to appear to condone it. Even for Alexander Hamilton, the church initially refused give him final Communion and last rites on his deathbed but later relented.
sign about Phillip Hamilton

Hercules Mulligan is also buried near Alexander and Eliza Hamilton.
Hercules Mulligan

Angelica Schuyler Church is buried on the opposite side of the church in the Livingston Family tomb, whom she is related to through marriage
Angelica Schuyler Church

Trinity Church churchyard

Trinity Church churchyard

inside Trinity Church

The church and churchyard are open to visitors from 7am to 6pm daily, unless there is church service, in which case only the churchyard to open

Monday, July 31, 2017

Koh Phi Phi

A pair of small islands in the middle of the Andaman Sea, Koh Phi Phi is a major attraction for all sorts of tourists. Taking a boat from Rassada took a couple hours.
When you first arrive in Koh Phi Phi, you arrive in Tonsai, which is unfortunately also becoming quite commercialized. To get some more peace and quiet, I suggest heading to the northern tip where you can get away from the noise and ruckus. Who knows how long this will as though, as a couple resorts are being built in the area as well.

Getting up to the northern tip requires a longtail ride. If you book a hotel in the area, they should provide free (or at least cheap) transfer.

long tail boat, so named because of the long propeller in the back
and the main mode of transport around the beaches

view from the highest point on Koh Phi Phi

The two islands are Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Lee, Koh Phi Phi Don being the larger island. There aren't any accommodations on Koh Phi Phi Lee, but there are plenty of tours from Koh Phi Phi Don to the smaller island everyday and half a day is enough to tour around the island.