The Bronx is what’s up in New York City these days. Most New Yorkers can tell you about Arthur Avenue, the Bronx Zoo, or the Botanical Gardens, but there is another cultural gem which has taken root in the Big Apple, the Bronx Museum of Art (BxMA).
Since 1971, BxMA has been an ever-growing cultural institution in the city’s northernmost borough. The Bronx, home to nearly 1.5 million people, is a place alive with culture, color, and diversity. It only makes sense that the Bronx has given America and the world a number of significant contemporary artist, many of whom have had their work displayed in the BxMA’s galleries through the years. The Museum's permanent collection is home to over 800 paintings, photographs, and sculptures.
BxMA began as a partnership between the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Initially, BxMA hung parts of its collection in the rotunda of the Bronx County Court House, and at various other ancillary venues around the borough. The museum lacked a space of its own from 1971 until 1983, which is when BxMA first occupied its current site at 165th Street and the Grand Concourse.
The BxMA has been expanding. In 1988 a $5.8 million renovation was completed, and in 2006 a $19 million annex was added. Thus the size of the art museum was doubled to 33,000 square feet. The museum is now well poised to continue growing in the decades ahead.
If you are like me and enjoy beautiful art, BxMA is a day trip you should undoubtedly plan. Admission to the museum is free. The museum is in the vicinity of Yankee Stadium and easily accessible by both the 4 and D train subway lines. I hope to see you there.
Click on this moovit link for direction to the Bronx Museum of Art via public transit.
If you have been keeping up with developments in New York City, you know that Hudson Yards on the West Side of Manhattan is the most active part of town so far as construction activity is concerned. The $20 billion development project is half complete. In all, there are to be 16 new skyscrapers added to the Manhattan skyline when all is said and done. As phase one of the Hudson Yards master plan is wrapping up, the iconic centerpiece is already in place.
I am referring to the 150-foot tall interactive sculpture designed by Thomas Heatherwick, known as Vessel. Intended to be explored by the public, Vessel will stand nestled among the tall towers of Hudson Yards. The sculpture was fabricated in Italy and arrived in six separate shipments following a two-week journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
Hudson Yards will change the focus of the city going forward once it officially opens in 2019. There will be a new neighborhood added to the borough of Manhattan. That’s is a momentous accomplishment. At the center of the newly developed area will be the public square anchored by Vessel.
Vessel is a very complex structure. Indeed, at its height, with 154 interconnecting stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings, it is one of the most complex pieces of steelwork ever completed. The sculpture cost $200 million and took eight months to complete.
Although, the centerpiece is still not open to the public. Vessel is worth the trip into the city merely to be able to say that you were there before Hudson Yards became what it is sure to be. Make sure you take lots of pictures. They will make great before and after shots.
I’ve been a sports fan since I was old enough to understand what sports were. I count myself fortunate to be from the New York Metropolitan area, where we have so many teams to choose from in the top five spectator sports. Up to now, our interest has been limited to only the competitive aspect of these contest, and perhaps a friendly bet here and there. However, this past May the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6 to 3 to allow states to legalize sports betting. New Jersey, home to nine casinos, acted swiftly. Within a month sports betting was authorized in the Garden State.
The money began flowing into the state's coffers immediately. After only four weeks New Jersey had raked in $325,000 in tax revenues, yet that was considered a slow start to what is expected to eventually yield a torrent of revenue for Trenton. These high expectations are based on the estimated size of the unregulated black market in sports wagering. A figure believed to be as high as $150 billion annually in the United States.
At this time, it is perfectly legal to place a sports bet at the following locations in New Jersey:
Which brings me to today's day travel suggestion, which is a trip out to Fanduel’s sports book at the Meadowlands Racetrack. I’m not sure just how much money was invested by Fanduel in this new endeavor, but it is evident to me that they intend to be there for a while. The betting parlor is a first class facility, which is every bit as up to date as similar sports books in Las Vegas. There are 27 big screen televisions hanging throughout the entire facility, comfortable seating, a bar, and a food court. All of which makes the trip out to the Meadowlands worth it in my opinion.
The Fanduel Sports Book at the Meadowlands is unique in that it will draw thousands of gamblers from nearby New York City, because New York has not legalized sports betting yet. However, New York's legislators are soon expected to follow New Jersey’s lead in search of additional revenue sources.
For now, Fanduel’s Meadowlands Sports Book at 5,300 square feet, and only minutes away from Manhattan will continue to be a magnet to sports bettors who have longed for a regulated and safe way to wager on sports for many generations.
Click on this moovit link for directions to the Meadowlands Racetrack via public transit.
If there is one thing we should all focus on, it is the future. By preparing for tomorrow, we may avert potential problems and take advantage of coming opportunities. The New York Metropolitan area we see today will not exist 100 years from now. Something more magnificent than any of us can imagine in our most fanciful dreams will have replaced much of it by then.
It is safe to assume that this is the way it will go, as technology continues its advance. The scientific discoveries and innovations are coming faster with each day. Surely before long, it will all seem like a world of magic. Just as New Yorkers of 120 years ago could not imagine a world without horses, so to we should expect equally important technological developments to alter the world.
However, there are things which are unlikely to change as well. From the early days of the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam, this town and region has been a center of commerce. That has not changed in 400 years, and it will not change tomorrow. The Tri-State Region is today on its way to becoming a de facto unitary urban entity. Observed from space the lines of demarcation are revealed to be nonexistent. In reality, the New York Metropolitan Area functions as a singular entity commercially, culturally, and in certain regards politically as well.
The states which form the region are New York, New Jersey, Western Connecticut, and much of Eastern Pennsylvania. The Tri-State Region is the largest megapolis in the world measuring by urban area (4,495 square miles). In all 20.3 million people live here. One in 17 Americans resides in the New York Metropolitan area.
New York has always been a significant portal of legal immigration into the United States. That has not changed up to today, and in all likelihood, it will continue in the future. More foreign-born residents are living in New York City than in any other city in the world. Furthermore, the United Nations, headquartered in New York City, is anchored here. That sort of makes the region the unofficial capital of the world.
If the New York metropolitan area were a country, it would have the ninth largest economy on Earth. That is saying plenty when you realize that from our relatively small patch of territory on the globe we can outproduce countries such as Russia, Canada, and South Korea regarding our local GDP. In 2015 the Tri-state region generated $1.83 trillion, approximately 10% of the United States’ GDP.
Looking toward the future that is unlikely to change, as the Metropolitan area continues to be a dominant player across several industries such as:
The best way to appreciate how far you have come, and to assess where you are likely heading is to visit a history museum. There is no better museum to visit when considering the New York metropolitan region’s past, present, and future than the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the museum is a treasure which you must put on your list of day trips.
Click on this moovit link for directions to the Museum of the City of New York via public transit.
We are all pretty much oblivious to the excellent work done by the men and women who work at New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). I was once the same way until one day I happened to be in Brooklyn at night traveling along Greenpoint Avenue from Queens in route to meet a friend for dinner in Williamsburgh. Along the way, I spotted several metallic egg-like structures bathed in blue light.
The scene looked more like the set for a sci-fi space adventure. I didn’t realize it then and there, but I was looking at the Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment facility. The largest of New York City’s wastewater treatment plants. It is capable of treating 330 million gallons of the city’s raw sewage before releasing it into the waters of Newton Creek. This one futuristic-looking facility accepts waste from the homes, offices, and other places of business of a million New Yorkers.
In all New York City has 14 sewage treatment plants. Newton Creek, which was built in 1967, has been renovated and expanded several times to keep pace with the city’s growth. In its current configuration, it accepts waste from the East Side, Lower Manhattan, Northern Brooklyn, and Western Queens. The Newton Creek Waste Water treatment plant’s last upgrade cost the city 1 billion Dollars. It is fair to say, based on the volume of sewage the facility can process, that Newton Creek is the jewel in DEP's crown.
The city allows the public to tour the plant three times per year. It is a remarkable tour. During the visit, you’ll receive a close look at what it takes to keep our waterways as clean, as they have become recently. There was once a time where falling into the waters around New York City would be followed up by a trip to the hospital for routine evaluation and maybe a tetanus shot. That’s no longer the case. You can even eat fish caught in the East River nowadays.
This the Newtown Creek tour is so fascinating that I must recommend it as a day trip. The tours are held three days a year. I will link to the DEP website for details. Tours though are February, April, and October. The tours are free, and they fill up quickly, so you will want to register as soon as possible. Oh, one other thing, surprisingly the air inside the plant smells very pleasant. Had I been blindfolded, I might have guessed I was visiting a rose garden. I tip my hat to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for a job well done.
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Click on this moovit link for directions to the Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility.