Monday, June 06, 2005


How to Get to Carnegie Hall

A few months ago, I got a special e-mail invitation from my father. His church choir was to be part of a 300 voice chorus assembled for a performance of the Verdi Requiem by the Manhattan Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall. I hadn't seen Dad since Thanksgiving a few years ago, and New York is only a few hours drive from Westfield, so I was eager to attend the concert. I've driven through NYC a few times on the way to points south, but I've never driven to the city, so I was unsure of the best way to get there. A few contacts yielded recommendations of driving to one of the nearby cities and taking the train into Manhattan, and the MTA website provided a list of potential stations with parking options, but I still felt that there had to be a better way. I had never flown Yellowbird to the New York City area, but this seemed to be a mission perfectly suited for her. Again, contacts yielded recommendations on airports to fly in to, as well as options for getting from the airport into Manhattan. Yellowbird was fueled up, and if the weather cooperated, we were ready to go.

It was a rare springtime weekend that saw perfect flying weather for more than a few hours at a time. The threatened rain moved out of the area much earlier than forecasted, so we launched on schedule for a one hour flight. Teterboro was our destination, and we joined the busy stream of corporate jets for arrival. After parking, a short bus ride took me into Manhattan, and a short walk got me to Dad's hotel in time to join him and his wife and daughter for lunch. They had just finished the morning rehearsal, and they had the rest of the day off, so we set out to see the sights. The subway took us south to Ground Zero, and from there we went south to Battery Park. After wearing out our feet, we caught the 6:00 bus back to Teterboro, where I had prepared for some evening sightseeing.

A few months ago I attended an FAA seminar on flying the Hudson River VFR corridor, and armed with pages of notes, I prepared a kneeboard-sized itinerary listing altitudes, radio frequencies, and reporting points. The river has a reputation for confined airspace and heavy traffic, so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. As it turned out, the river traffic was very light, and I even had time to take a few photos along the way.

George Washington BridgeSouthbound, approaching the George Washington Bridge at 900 ft. The Manhattan skyline is visible in the distance. It was a clear calm evening, and surprisingly quiet. We had the river to ourselves until this point northbound, when a couple of helicopters passed us heading south.

Uptown with the IntrepidStill southbound, abeam uptown Manhattan. The Empire State Building doesn't command the same presence it once did, but it still holds its own against a host of newer skyscrapers to the north. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum sits on the river at lower center.

Rounding the LadyAt the southern point in our tour, we turn around at the Statue of Liberty. The airspace is pretty tight here, with very little room between Liberty Island and the Newark class B airspace to the west. The GPS came in handy in keeping situational awareness.

In SilhouetteThere are definite advantages to flying the River in the evening, and this view is one of them.

Ellis IslandA little farther north and Ellis Island gets the same treatment.

World Financial Center with Ground ZeroThe World Financial Center, with Ground Zero beyond. The only time I visited the WTC was in 1983, and that was at night. We took the subway then, so I never got to see the Towers from the ground. Still, it was an erie feeling to approach Ground Zero on foot. Apart from the memorials, there was no hint of what took place here. It was hard to imagine that the site was once buried under piles of smoking rubble. Most of the damage has been repaired, and the site looks like any large construction zone. Whatever they build here, the hole will always remain.

USS IntrepidOver the Intrepid on a very high short final. Power to idle and full flaps just might get us down there. It's a good thing they parked all those airplanes on deck, or I'd be tempted.

Tappan Zee BridgeAt the northern end of our tour, the Tappan Zee Bridge basks in the evening light.

Dad at the controlsHeading back to TEB, Dad gets a turn at the wheel. I took most of the rest of the family up in a rented Skyhawk in Houston at Thanksgiving last year. This trip filled out the family flight roster. Only my older sister, who balks at boarding anything with wings, has yet to fly with me.

After returning to Teterboro, I dropped Dad and crew off at the FBO from where they were taken to the bus stop for their ride back to Manhattan. Yellowbird and I departed at dusk and had a beautiful night flight home. On Sunday morning, I departed again, with a friend along for the ride and concert. We repeated the route from yesterday, and after lunch in a small but excellent eatery, we took our seats in Isaac Stern Hall.

After the concert, a pose with the performers. The concert itself was superb - the assembled choirs sang marvelously, and the Manhattan Philharmonic was absolutely stunning. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Dad and crew, and I'll treasure the memory always.

As for getting to Carnegie Hall, that's pretty easy: From KBAF, take Victor 106 to the Pawling VOR, then direct to Teterboro. After landing, either walk to or have the FBO car drop you off at the New Jersey Transit bus stop at Rt. 46 and Industrial Ave. Take the #161 bus to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. From there, either take the E Train to 7th Ave, or ask any New Yorker and you will get proper directions.


Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1:06 PM, June 11, 2005  

Great pictures

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