New York and Chicago, November 2007 − Travels − Captain Tom

New York and Chicago, November 2007

Wolfgang is visiting for the Thanksgiving week. I have planned a big program with sightseeing, musical, show, dinner, short visit in Chicago and so on. We have done many different things and even got a good flavour of Thanksgiving, the most important American holiday.

I have split the hole story into sections

  • Sightseeing in and around New York
  • Chicago
  • Thanksgiving
  • NHL Ice Hockey in Philadelphia
  • Balloon Ride
1 Sightseeing in and around New York

Standard program in New York. We go to the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the view to Manhattan.

Empire State Building and Chrysler Building
Ellis Island - former point of entry for immigrants.
Wolfgang has spotted the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty seen from the ferry
Tom takes pictures
The ferry
Empire State Building. We decide not to get up as the waiting time is too long
Top of the Rock - Rockefeller Center. The view over Manhattan is great.
We planned to go to the musical Grease in the evening but a strike of the stage hands made this impossible.
We went to a three bridges tour up the Hudson the next day. View to the George Washington Bridge in front of the Manhattan skyline
Nice view to fall colored trees in Piermont (we went there to see the Tappan Zee Bridge)
The new fire truck of the village fire department. Still with temporary registration because they got it just this week. On Sundays you can see many fire departments displaying their trucks in front of the fire house.
We are back in Manhatten in the evening. The Christmas decoration is in place on Fifth Avenue although Thanksgiving and Black Friday is still coming up
We go to the Radio City Music Hall to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Very light entertainment featuring the "world famous" Rocketes (never heared of them before).
Lobby of the Radio City Music Hall
Tom orders desert for after the show.
The Radio City Music Hall
Dancing Rockettes
Numerous dancing Santa Clauses
2 Chicago

We want to be in Chicago from Monday to Wednesday. I have taken into account the stone age American air traffic control system and have booked flights at noon.

Monday morning and we accumulate 2 and a half hour delay in Newark.
Finally on board
Chicago O'Hare, until recently the busiest airport of the world (now second place after Atlanta)
We use the evening to see a little bit of the city. The Sears Tower is visible. We did not get up and this reveals to be a mistake.
Accomodation at Hilton Grant Park. An old big block with acceptable rooms. Was a special offer.
The next day. It is foggy and it rains and drizzles. We go to see the city despite of the weather.
At Millenium Park we see first the interactive Crown Fountain - but without water
The Cloud Gate is a remarkable sculpture.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion and in front of it the big lawn. An open air concert hall (this is not a contradiction)
The Wrigley Building - Chewing gums for the world
We walk town the Magnificent Mile to John Hancock Center, einem 1,127 feet high tower. Unfortunately we can only see half of the building.
We go up to the Signature Lounge (no admission fee there), drink something and enjoy the "view"
Then we go down and use the subway to go to the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
There you can see numerous animals
Afterwards it is still foggy and it drizzles.
We walk to the Sears Tower. The Sears 1,451 feet high and the highest building in America (including South America). But again we see only half of the buidling and getting up to the observation deck does not make sense.
We walk on to the Chicago River and I take a photograph of the three levels of traffic (if you count in the water you have four levels)
Back at John Hancock Center. We enjoy the Christmas tree and the good dinner in the basement
After the dinner we see the top of the Hancock center. So the clouds seem to move away. We decide to get back to the Sears Tower and to get up there. Some holes in the clouds allow some Chicago night views
Sears Tower at night
Next day we return from Chicago O'Hare to Newark. The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest traffic days of the year and we have again light rain. A lot of people at the airport
Three and a half hours delay are tiring.
3 Thanksgiving

We are invited to the Campbell family and the Sand family is too.

Nice garden view at Campbell's home
Thomas and Vincent prepare the meal
Hansjörg has brought the guitar with him and makes some music.
His daughter can play very well too.
4 Ice Hockey in Philadelphia

Wolfgang is a big ice hockey fan and I have ordered tickets for a NHL game in Philadelphia. We use the opportunity for a short sight seeing tour there.

Liberty Bell
Horse carriages for tourists
Important information on the ground
George Washington
Philadelphia Flyers against Washington Capitals at Wachovia Center
The stadium has seats for 20,000 spectators.
National anthem
The game is on
Goal for the Flyers
A hard core fan
Another goal for the Flyers.
Die Flyers loose the game against the Capitals in overtime 3:4
5 Balloon Ride

We use the last day of Wolfgang's visit for a special experience. We go to Frenchtown in New Jersey (about 70 miles from Westwood) and have a hot air balloon ride. It is a freezing cold but wonderful morning

The balloon gets deflated
Gaining some heigth
The morning sun opens the view to Manhattan on one side
and to Philadelphia on the other side.
Other Balloons are in the air too.
Balloon Man Tom, our pilot
We enjoy the ride
Nice Views
Some deers
More views
After landing