T.A. had insisted on going to the Empire State Building. I soon realized this was because he possessed The Card, which, like that "Ring" of the recent movies, allows the possessor access to a magical ability, in this case the ability to rise to the top of the Empire State Building, any time, any day, free, as many times as the possessor wants, with guests in tow, with no need to wait in any lines. Amazing! T.A. had gotten it through another magical ability that many seem to have: Procuring favors from a network of connections. The card was issued by an employer to a Russian-speaking person whom T.A. seems to know. T.A. said that he has been up to the top about fifteen or so times in this way.
Onward with the pictures:
Alas, The Card's magical powers could not control the weather, could not allow holders to enjoy views as unimpeded as the access was. The 2023 model, or maybe the 2033, may feature that ability. The "boys" are working on it, I'm sure. The lowly 2013 edition's magic remains sadly limited to inside the walls of this building. Magic isn't what it used to be.
Much later in the day, long past sunset, The Card worked its magic again; up we went; this time the clouds were gone:
My Korean friend B.W. from Ilsan (an upscale, dense city near Seoul) spent two weeks as a tourist in New York City in early 2010. He told me that although he liked the visit, he was a little disappointed; the USA was not what he'd expected. What he saw in NYC may have seemed to him too much like an often-shabbier, dirtier, more pretentious, more dangerous version of Seoul, I reasoned at the time. I lamely told him, "New York City is not the USA".
The land area of Manhattan Island [23 sq. mi.] is about equal to my place of birth's, Arlington [26 sq. mi.]. Arlington is an urban county, and is within the core-area of the six-million-person Washington DC Metropolitan Area. Manhattan has 1,600,000 residents, versus 220,000 in Arlington. Parts of Arlington look a little like Manhattan.
I was surprised to see that Manhattan is a lot less-populated today than it was a century ago, when it had 2.33 million people (according to the 1910 Census). For every 1,000 Manhattanites in 1910, there were only 685 in 2010.
Incredibly, in 1910, tiny Manhattan Island had 2.5% of the USA's entire population (2.33million/92.23million). By 2010, Manhattan Island had decreased to "only" 0.5% of the USA's population (1.6million/308million). Manhattanites still have that we-are-the-center-of-the-universe attitude. "Bah; there they go again, strutting around as if they're still 2.5% of the USA!" a person might quip after seeing a pretentious Manhattanite strutting around.