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Old 3rd May 2012, 23:23   #46
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

ELLIS ISLAND IMMIGRATION MUSEUM

Next up was the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, part of the same cruise. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is one of the country's most popular historic sites. The museum is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people. Visiting the museum, and looking at the fascinating pictures takes you several decades backwards, the times when millions of people landed on American soil.

It is estimated that 10.5 million immigrants departed for points across the United States from the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, located just across a narrow strait. Today, over 100 million Americans - one third of the population - can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America at Ellis Island before dispersing to points all over the country.

Here's some pictures of the museum
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Old 3rd May 2012, 23:36   #47
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

Ellis Island Contd...

Some more interesting trivia

Quote:
Generally, those immigrants who were approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. Arrivals were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. It was important to the American government that the new arrivals could support themselves and have money to get started. The average the government wanted the immigrants to have between 18 and 25 dollars. Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island's hospital facilities for long periods of time. More than three thousand would-be immigrants died on Ellis Island while being held in the hospital facilities. Some unskilled workers were rejected because they were considered "likely to become a public charge". About 2 percent were denied admission to the U.S. and sent back to their countries of origin for reasons such as having a chronic contagious disease, criminal background, or insanity. Ellis Island was sometimes known as "The Island of Tears" or "Heartbreak Island" because of those 2% who were not admitted after the long transatlantic voyage. The Kissing Post is a wooden column outside the Registry Room, where new arrivals were greeted by their relatives and friends, typically with tears, hugs and kisses. After 1924, Ellis Island became primarily a detention and deportation processing station.
In these following pictures, you will be able to relate to the text above. These are just some of the several hundred wonderfully captured pictures on display at the museum. Hope you like them too!
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Old 4th May 2012, 20:20   #48
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

I hope you guys are enjoying reading the log; I’d appreciate any feedback that you may want to share!

Well, here’s another interesting episode I’d like to share. I call it interesting, because it’s funny when I look back at it now, but at the time when it happened, it was anything but funny!

So here it goes. I was at the Cinci airport on my way to board a flight to NY. I was sitting in the main entrance area where they have the ticketing counters of various airlines, some eateries and stores. I was running short of cash, and I’d planned to withdraw it at the airport because I’d seen the ATM there before. (I used cash for most of the spending, because it was easier for me to keep track of my expenses vs. the daily per diem allowance.) The ATM was approx 50 feet away from where I was seated. I had only one piece of luggage on me, and since the machine was close by, I decided to leave it there while I was gone to get the cash. In the background I could hear the TSA & Homeland Security announcements about the enhanced security level across US airports, etc continuously playing.

So I walk to the ATM, insert the card and punch in the PIN. Just when I was about to enter the $$, I suddenly hear that the announcement has changed. Furthermore, I notice that the announcement is now more specific, directed towards me!! The broadcaster was referring to my unattended baggage actually. This sudden event made me so nervous that I pressed the panic button. No, literally I did;I mistakenly pressed an extra zero in the withdrawal amount; instead of $100, I had punched in $1000!! I couldn’t wait for the machine to dispatch the cash, and run back to my bag. But the machine kept making that counting noise on and on, while I stood there impatiently. It was only when the machine came back with the cash that I realized I had punched in the extra zero. To make matters worse, the machine decided to just have some fun, and gave me all $20 bills; 50 of them. GAAA!!!

Just when I was settling with organizing the bills and turning around, I see a tall heavily built man in uniform standing there waiting for me to finish my business. Here I was already nervous, standing with so much cash in my hands trying to figure how to fit it in my wallet, and there he was staring at me with that serious cop look. I just stood there frozen, shocked and perspiring like I had just run a marathon!! The officer walked towards me and started speaking,

Officer - “sir, is that your bag over there”?
Me - “yes, officer.”
Officer – “you do understand that the luggage should not be left unattended, correct?”
Me – “indeed. Please accept my apologies, it wasn’t intentional. Sorry!!”

After a quick glance at my passport and some polite advice, the officer left; and I breathed a sigh of relief. Luckily there weren’t any people around, or the situation could have gotten much embarrassing. Phew!! What an experience it was; even to this day I vividly remember that crazy experience. And yes, I have never left my baggage unattended after that day!
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Old 4th May 2012, 23:28   #49
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Lovely travelogue chikkars!!! The way you have narrated your experiences have kept me hooked. It's good to see pictures from Cincinatti. One of my aunts lived there for almost 30 years.

I have to agree with you regarding the food you eat when you travel. I for one, want to try the local food instead of taking packaged foods from home. Good to know you ditched the MTRs.
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Old 5th May 2012, 22:18   #50
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Lovely travelogue chikkars!!! The way you have narrated your experiences have kept me hooked. It's good to see pictures from Cincinatti. One of my aunts lived there for almost 30 years.

I have to agree with you regarding the food you eat when you travel. I for one, want to try the local food instead of taking packaged foods from home. Good to know you ditched the MTRs.
Thank you, addy!! Totally agree with you on the local cuisine part.
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Old 6th May 2012, 23:03   #51
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

After a very expensive meal at one of the eateries on the Island, I returned to the land. By now the day had turned real sunny, and so the Manhattan skyline looked really nice. Also I notice how extremely crowded the ticket counter/boarding areas had gotten already!
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:57   #52
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

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Originally Posted by chikkars View Post
I hope you guys are enjoying reading the log; I’d appreciate any feedback that you may want to share!

What an experience it was; even to this day I vividly remember that crazy experience. And yes, I have never left my baggage unattended after that day!
Hello Chikkars,

Yes, we are enjoying your logs, the pictures & the stories are indeed interesting.

That is the best part of our (software industry) job. You get to travel around the world & make some good money also.

Anyways, coming back to your exparience at Cinci airport, we have always heard about security checks at US Airports but this time I am really amazed to know that within a span of couple of minutes (which may not be more than 2 / 3 minutes) they came to know about an unattended baggage & the annoucements in this regards started.

By the way how was your experience at the time of entering US? How was the security check?

Thanks,
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Old 7th May 2012, 12:51   #53
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Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post
Hello Chikkars,

Yes, we are enjoying your logs, the pictures & the stories are indeed interesting.

That is the best part of our (software industry) job. You get to travel around the world & make some good money also.

Anyways, coming back to your exparience at Cinci airport, we have always heard about security checks at US Airports but this time I am really amazed to know that within a span of couple of minutes (which may not be more than 2 / 3 minutes) they came to know about an unattended baggage & the annoucements in this regards started.

By the way how was your experience at the time of entering US? How was the security check?

Thanks,
I am glad you are enjoying the log, Jignesh. I've got to travel only a couple of times on work; I am not sure of others, but in my case I have never saved any money. I always end up spending from my pocket, over and above any allowance the company pays My funda is simple - you dont get to travel to these places on your own very often; so when you've got the chance, make the most of it by traveling around and having a nice time! (even if it means you have to spend from your own pocket)

Regarding the security checks, the port of entry for me was at Chicago ORD airport. (which is why I had to collect by baggage and re check-in, which in turn caused the loss of my suit case!!).

A few hours before landing at the port of entry, the airline staff handed us the required forms such as I-94 (Arrival/Departure record) to be filled. The CBP (Customs Border Protection) officer will conduct the immigration, customs and agriculture components of the inspection process.

Arriving international as a non US citizen is a lottery at ORD. You can be very lucky and get straight through in no time at all if your plane is the only international arrival. However at other times it is a nightmare. Certain times of day you have 4-5 wide bodies full of foreigners, like in my case where I had to wait in a hot immigration line for 2 hours+. You need 3.5 hours minimum to guarantee international connection. There were some people standing in the line with me who missed their connecting flights because of these huge lines.

However, the officers are very polite and professional. IIRC, while taking my baggage towards re check-in area, there was one officer checking for the agriculture components in the luggage. Now, I had a bag full of MTR packs, so was a little unsure of how I would explain it to them. Luckily, for me the lady officer was of Indian origin and she said she was familiar with the MTR stuff. She smiled, wished me a good stay in the US and let me go. Interestingly, I noticed ORD had several staff who looked Indian.
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Old 7th May 2012, 13:10   #54
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Originally Posted by chikkars View Post
I am glad you are enjoying the log, Jignesh. My funda is simple - you dont get to travel to these places on your own very often; so when you've got the chance, make the most of it by traveling around and having a nice time! (even if it means you have to spend from your own pocket)

However, the officers are very polite and professional. She smiled, wished me a good stay in the US and let me go. Interestingly, I noticed ORD had several staff who looked Indian.
Hello Chikkars,

Thank you for the information & the virtual Tour of USA that you are taking us through this Travelogue.

Regarding your (Official) Travel Funda is concerned, my belief is exactly the same. I have also made most of my official trips to Germany, China & UAE. When onsite, I make sure that I travel to new places on every weekends & also try to find some time in evenings (on weekdays) for local sight seeing & shopping.

I too believe that I might not come again to these places in future, thus make most of the current visit. So people like us do not save money, but gather a experience of lifetime.

Thanks,
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Old 7th May 2012, 13:39   #55
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Lovely travelogue, @chikkars. Enjoyed it to the hilt. Almost like being there and done that.I was however a wee bit perplexed as to why your pics of Manhattan taken from Liberty Island didn't show the new One World Trade Center (your pics resemble mine taken in March 2010). It was only later that I realized that this is a 2009 travelogue.Do keep posting.
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Old 7th May 2012, 13:49   #56
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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Lovely travelogue, @chikkars. Enjoyed it to the hilt. Almost like being there and done that.I was however a wee bit perplexed as to why your pics of Manhattan taken from Liberty Island didn't show the new One World Trade Center (your pics resemble mine taken in March 2010). It was only later that I realized that this is a 2009 travelogue.Do keep posting.
Thanks, vnabhi. I think 1 WTC is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2012.
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Old 7th May 2012, 15:14   #57
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

My next stop after battery park was American Museum of Natural History.

This is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. Located in park-like grounds across the street from Central Park, the Museum comprises 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories, and its renowned library. Given that I did not have the liberty to spend a lot of time in the museum, the experience was anything but leisurely! I selected only the sections that I was interested in seeing, and proceeded accordingly. Luckily, the schedule of the planetarium show coincided with my timings, so was able to see it.

I could not click many pictures as I was running out if time already; here's some I managed to capture. (pls don't mind the picture quality!)
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Old 8th May 2012, 23:04   #58
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

It was approx 4 PM when I entered the Central Park; after seeing several places surrounding the park for 2 days I was finally inside it. And this was definitely THE place I had been very looking forward visiting. And man was I blown away with the experience. I don't know what is it with the park which makes it such an amazing place - is it the sheer size of it, the lush greenery bang in the middle of a supercity, the several lakes and ponds, the cycle carts, the dynamic environment with great performances, or the people? I really do not know!! There is some magic in the air which you can feel soon as you enter this park; and a sense of peace amidst all the maddening pace of the city!

Sitting there in one of the largest lawns, after all the running around of 2 days, I finally felt relaxed. I just dint feel like leaving the place; I could sit there forever doing just nothing. That is how good I felt there! Although I clicked some pictures and captured some nice videos there, the camera died on me before I could click some more! The worst thing was that I wasn't carrying the charger with me on the trip. Luckily though, it was almost the end of my NY trip, so there wasn't much that I missed on the cam anyway.

After spending a couple of hours at the park, I decided to go back to Times Square and its surroundings. There I found my favorite Cold Stone ice cream store. After standing the queue for almost 20 mins, I finally had a Gotta Have It sized ice cream in my hands! FYI the portion sizes at Cold Stone ice cream store have these interesting names; and needless to say I always went for the largest portion!

Like It- approximately 5 oz.
Love It- approximately 8 oz.
Gotta Have It - approximately 12 oz.

When in NY, do what a New Yorker does; that's exactly what I did. I ate the ice cream walking all the way through to the subway station, while in the train, and then walking towards the hostel. That is how long it look for me to finish the mammoth sized ice cream.

I had a return flight to catch at 8.30 am from Newark airport. Given that the travel time would be more than an hour, and that the daily pass would expire at mid-night, I would have to check out of the hostel really early, like by 6 am. So I forced myself to hit at sack by midnight!
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Old 8th May 2012, 23:26   #59
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Default The Big Apple - Day 2

Central Park

Some trivia about Central Park :

Quote:
It is a urban public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City. The park is on 843 acres of city-owned land (almost 4 times that size of our own Lal Bagh in Bangalore) . The park, which receives approximately thirty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States. While planting and land form in much of the park appear natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The six miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, especially when automobile traffic is prohibited, on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 pm.
The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by the property appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, to be $528,783,552,000 in December 2005.
Central Park is the most filmed location in the world. Over 305 films have been shot within the park.
And, the pictures..
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Old 9th May 2012, 11:09   #60
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Default Re: Travelogue - Summer in America

Hello Chikkars,

Though all the Photographs & Information in this Travelogue is incredible, but I found your information on this Central Park really amazing.

It is absulotely surprising to see a Park of 843 acres in middle of busy & sky-scraper lined city, where space is most limited in supply.

I am sure any such Park in an Indian city would be already eaten up by Builder's lobby.

Also if the extimated value of Central Park was USD 528,783,552,000 in December 2005, I wonder what will be the current valuation?

Thanks,
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