USA East Coast
Chengi Airport, Singapore
Our USA East Coast and Canada Tour started with a pleasant journey from Changi Airport, Singapore. There were a total of 44 passengers joining the ASA Package Tour. We , 14 of us from Sabah,made the booking 6 months in advance because we prefered to visiting Canada in Autumn.
I was so excited at Chengi Airport Singapore because the aircraft for this trip was SIA A380. It was the world’s largest passenger airliner with 4 big engines,wide-body and double-deck.It could carry about 450 passengers.
New York City
We spent the first and the last day of our itinerary for Sightseeing Tour in New York.On the 11th day of the tour, we spent the whole day in New York City. As we all know that New York City is the world’s leading city. With a population of 8.2 million, it is the most populas city in the United State of America.
The city is referred to as New York City in order to distinguish it from the State of New York of which it is a part. The nicked names of New York are quite many. The most popular ones are: “Big Apple” 、 “ A Standing City” and “ The City that Never Sleeps”. But,people always call it “Big Apple”
While in New York, we first boarded the harbour cruise to view the Statue of Liberty,Brooklyn Bridge and New York’s amazing skyline. Walking tour included the following districts and landmarks of the city of which have attracted 50 million tourists annually.
The Statue of Liberty, New York.
1. Statue of Liberty: It is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. In other words, it is a monument symbolishing the United States. The statue commemorates the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. It was a gift from France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution.
The statue is located at the entrance of New York Harbour to welcome visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans travelling by ship.
2. Brooklyn Bridge and New York’s amazing skyline: Nice view on NYC harbour and skyline.
Shortly after the NYC harbour cruise, we started our walking tour to the Financial District such as Wall Street, NYC Stock Exchange,Federal Hall,Changing Bull Statue and World Trade Ground Zero.
At Wall street New York
1. Wall Street: NYC is one of the world's principal financial centers. Wall Street is named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or signifying New York-based financial interests. It is the home of the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. Several other major exchanges have or had headquarters in the Wall Street area, including NASDAQ, the New York Mercantile Exchange, the New York Board of Trade, and the former American Stock Exchange. I was told that some big financial institutions have removed their HQ to New Jersey and Manhattan. Following US Housing Bubble, Subprime Crisis and US Credit Crisis, the glory of Wall Street is no longer existed. In actual fact, it is fading away. Today, it looks more like a tourist destination
Photo taken with friends at NYC Stock Exchange
2. NYC Stock Exchange: NYSE is the second-largest stock exchange in the world . It was once the largest Exchange until 1996, its trading volume was exceeded by the NASDAQ.There are about 2,800 companies listed in this global market with capitalization of $15 trillion. In July 2004 , 30 companies including the Dow Jones Industrial Average are listed on the New York Stock Exchange in addition to Intel and Microsoft.
In late April 2005, with the acquisition of All-Electronic Stock Exchange(Archipelago), NYSE became a profitable institution. In June 1, 2006 , NYSE announced its merger with the Pan-European Stock Exchange to form NYSE Euronext. So, it is now called “ NYSE Euronext”.
People taking picture at the Bull Statue
3. Charging Bull Statue: It is a 7,100 lb bronze sculpture that stands at Bowling Green Park near Wall Street in Manhattan. Standing 11 feet tall and measuring 16 feet long, the oversize sculpture depicts a bull, the symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity, leaning back on its haunches and with its head lowered as if ready to charge. The sculpture is one of the most iconic image of New York and a “Wall Street Icon” symbolizing “Wall Street” and the Financial District. It draws a lot of visitors and has become a popular tourist destination. Due to too many people taking photos at the same time, I could not take a good “Bull “ picture here.
911 Terrorist Attacks
4. World Trade Ground Zero: This is the former site of the World Trade Centre .It is known as “Ground Zero” after the 911 Terrorist Attack. Currently the site is under reconstruction. We saw a Memorial called “Reflecting Absence” which honours the victims of 911 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Centre Bombing.
On the last day of NYC Sightseeing Tour ,we continued downtown City Orientation Tour to the United Nations Headquarters,Empire State Building,Radio City Music Hall, the Trendy Rockefeller Centre,Chrysler Bulding.Fifth Avenue and Times Squarse.
1. United Nations Building: The UN complex includes a number of major buildings such as Secretariat Building,General Assembly Building,the Dag Hammarskjold Library, the Conference and Visitor’ Centre..etc.
The Empire State Building, New York
2. Empire State Building: The Empire State Building was a 102 story skyscrapper and stood as the World’s Tallest Building for 40 years from its completion in 1931 until the construction of the World Trade Centre’s North Tower was completed in1972.Following the 911 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the US or the world). The Empire State Building is generally thought of as an American Icon. It was ranked number one on the list of America’s Favourite Architecture according to AIA.
3.Rockefeller Centre: It is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between 48th and 51st streets in New York City, United States. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Rockefeller Centre is famous of its lighting of the Christmas Tree each year.It draws several thousand people to this NYC event each year. Watch in person, or live on TV, as 30,000 lights on the iconic 75-foot tall Norway Spruce tree brighten the NYC sky. If you can't make the lighting, the Rockefeller Center tree is lit up 18-hours a day through the first week of January.
4.Chrysler Building: It is an Art Deco style skyscraper in NYC, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. At 1,046 feet , the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world. After the destruction of the World Trade Center, it was again the second-tallest building in NYC until December 2007, when the spire was raised on the 1,200-feet, Bank of America Tower, pushing the Chrysler Building into third position.
In addition, The New York Times Building, which opened in 2007, was exactly level with the Chrysler Building in height. Both buildings were then pushed into 4th position, when the under construction One World Trade Center surpassed their height.
The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in NYC. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
5.Fith Avenue: Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the center of the borough of Manhattan in NYC. The section of Fifth Avenue that crosses Midtown Manhattan, especially that between 49th Street and 60th Street, is lined with prestigious shops and is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world. The "most expensive street in the world" moniker changes depending on currency fluctuations and local economic conditions from year to year. For several years starting in the mid-1990s, the shopping district between 49th and 57th Streets was ranked as having the world's most expensive retail spaces on a cost per square foot basis. In 2008, Forbes Magazine ranked Fifth Avenue as being the most expensive street in the world.
At Time Square New York
6.Times Square: Times Square is a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan,NYC.Times Square – iconified as "The Crossroads of the World" and the "The Great White Way" – is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway theater district, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, and a major center of the world's entertainment industry.
According to Travel + Leisure Magazine's October 2011 survey, Times Square is the world's most visited tourist attraction, bringing in over 39 million visitors annually. Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly erected Times Building – now called One Times Square – site of the annual ball drop on New Year's Eve.
Times Square is well-known for its New Year's Eve Celebrations.On December 31, 1907, a ball signifying New Year's Day was first dropped at Times Square,and the Square has held the main New Year's celebration in New York City ever since. On that night, hundreds of thousands of people congregate to watch the Waterford Crystal ball being lowered on a pole atop the building, marking the start of the new year.
Photo taken at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
We departed Singapore at 23.50 and stopped over at Frankfurt for 2 hours and afterwards had a very pleasant flight to New York. Upon arrival, we were transferred to hotel at Philadelphia. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural center of the Delaware Valley, home to 6 million people and the country's fifth-largest metropolitan area.
During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. It is therefore a historical city, former capital of USA. The city once served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction.
Philadelphia's history attracts many tourists, with the Liberty Bell receiving over 2 million visitors per year.The city has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city,
Philadelphia is always referred to as "Felix" (Philly). It is always dubbed as “Home City” or “ Craddle of Liberty”. “The City of Brotherly Love,” the latter of which comes from the literal meaning of the city's name in Greek.
On next day, we started our sightseeing tour from the historical cobblestone street along Independence Mall State Park where we saw the Liberty Bell and strolled through the centuries old Indepemdence Hall.
1.Liberty Bell: In its early years, the Liberty Bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens to public meetings and proclamations.Today, the Bell reminds as an international icon of freedom. For more than 200 years,people from around the world have felt the Bell’s message. No one can see liberty, but people have used the Liberty Bell to represent this important idea.
2.Independence Hall: It is known primarily as the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. The building is part of Independence National Historical Park and is listed as a World Heritage Site. The hall is a red brick building designed in the Georgian style. It consists of a central building with bell tower and steeple, attached to two smaller buildings adjoin the wings of Independence Hall. The United States Declaration of Independence was approved there on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration was read aloud to the public in the area now known as Independence Square. Other major events included U.S. Constitutional Convention and Funerary Procession of Abraham Lincoln.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, It is the capital of the United States.To me , it looks like Canberra of Australia. Most of the inhabitants are Government employees.Washington, D.C., had an estimated population of 617,996 in 2011, the 25th most populous place in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's population to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of nearly 5.6 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the country. While in Washington DC, we visited the following tourist destinations;
1. White House: The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. The West Wing houses the President's office (the Oval Office) and offices of his senior staff, with room for about 50 employees. The East Wing, which contains additional office space, was added to the White House in 1942. Among its uses, the East Wing has intermittently housed the offices and staff of the First Lady, and the White House Social Office.
In recent years, however, the White House has been closed to visitors because of terrorism concerns.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
2. US Capitol: The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. The Capitol Building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers are galleries where visitors can watch the Senate and House of Representatives. It is an example of the neoclassical architecture style. The statue on top of the dome is the Statue of Freedom.
3.Jefferson Memorial--- The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States.
Abraham Lincolin Memorial
At Abraham Lincolin Memorial
4. Lincolin Memorial: Built to commemmorate Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States.In the middle of the Memorial is a 19 ft. Lincoln seated sculpture and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 during the rally at the end of the “ March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”..
5. Washington Monument: Built to honor the first president George Washington, It shows the gratitude of the people of the United States to the father of their country and their living faith in the causes for which he stood. Washington Monument admission is free, but does require a ticket. The Washington Monument Lodge, located along 15th Street, opens at 8:30 A.M. for distribution of free, same day, timed tickets on a first come first serve basis
6. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. Here visitors can see the the development of aircrafts from the early stage of Wright Brothers till the Modern time,Spaceship and Apollo 11..etc.
7. Hershey’s Chocolate World : It is the name of Hershey's visitor center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States. Open year-round, Hershey's Chocolate World offers marketplace shops and restaurants, specializing in Hershey's chocolate products.Attractions include the Really Big 3-D Show, the Hershey Trolley Works, Factory Works Experience, and a free Chocolate Tour ride.
Vietnam War Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam War Veterans Memorial
8. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial : It is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the war. The memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Three Soldiers Statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the best-known part of the memorial.
9.US Supreme Court: The United States Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. At its discretion, and within certain guidelines established by Congress, the Supreme Court each year hears a limited number of the cases it is asked to decide. Those cases may begin in the federal or state courts, and they usually involve important questions about the Constitution or Federal Law.
The Court building is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays and on federal holidays. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of educational programs available during their visit including Courtroom Lectures, a visitors’ film, and exhibitions that are changed periodically.
Quincy Market Boston
After the a happy trip in Canada, we arrived in Boston, the “Capital of New England” and the largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston is one of the oldest cities in America. The entire group of us enjoyed dinner with one whole Lobster per person. On the next day, we began the day with a historical tour including Freedom Trail, the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston.
A walk along the 2 ½ mile Freedom Trail is one of the best ways to get acquainted with Boston and to efficiently visit the city's historic landmarks. The Freedom Trail is marked with a painted or bricked red line that is easy to follow. Signs along the Trail identify each of the 16 stops. But, due to time factors, we could not spend 1-3 hours to walk on the trail. We only walked a very short distance.
The Old State House of Boston
The Old State House was the centre of Boston’s civic life in the 18th century where the scene of some of the most dramatic chapters in the lead-up to the American Revolution. Here , history was in the making. The most notable one was the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from the balcony to the citizens of Boston in 1776.
We then visited Harvard University, MIT,Trinity Church and the New England Holocaust Memorial.
At Harvard University
1.Harvard University: This is well known as the one of the world’s top university. It is also the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It was established 376 years ago. Today, it has an enrolment 6,700 undergraduates (Harvard College) and 14,500 graduates and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries. Eight U.S. presidents have been graduated from Harvard., and 75 Nobel Laureates have been awarded to students, members of faculty, or reserachers.The Harvard University Library is the largest academic library in the United States, and one of the largest in the world.
Photo taken at MIT
2.MIT: Its full name is Massachusetts Institute of Technology , also one of the best University in the world today.MIT enrolled 4,384 undergraduates and 6,510 graduate students for the 2011–2012 school year. MIT received 17,909 undergraduate applicants for the class of 2015, with only 1,742 offered admittance, an acceptance rate of 9.7%. It employs around 1,000 faculty members. 77 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars, and 38 MacArthur Fellows are currently or have previously been affiliated with the university.
Trinity Church Boston
I feel very happy to visit both Harvard and MIT in Boston.
3.Trinity Church: This is the most beautiful church in America.Its architecture features are considered as the “The Masterpiece of Church Architecture in America”, particulary the famous church tower and the the glass curtain building designed by famous American-Chinese architect Leoh Ming Pei, also known as “John Hancock Tower”. It is a 60-storey building and has been the tallest building in Boston for the past 30 years.
New England Holocaust Memorial
4.New England Holocaust Memorial: It was built to foster memory of and reflection on one of the great tragedies of our time, the Holocaust (Shoah). The effort was begun by a group of survivors of Nazi concentration camps who have found new homes and new lives in the Boston area. Dedicated in October, 1995, over 3000 individuals and organizations from across the community joined in sponsoring the project. The main Memorial features are six luminous glass towers, each 54 feet high and the Freedom Trail located in downtown Boston. We did take a brisk walk in the short distance of the trail. The site however offers a unique opportunity for reflection on the meaning of freedom and oppression and on the importance of a society's respect for human rights.
Apart from the above,we also stopped over at Fanueill Hall marketplace and Quincy Market, one of America’s oldest gathering place, for shopping.