Amtrak and Penn Station

To go from NYC to Washington, D.C. I took the Amtrak. I made reservation in advance and when I get to Penn Station I only had to scan the barcode and the tickets were instantly printed.

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Penn Station is located in the underground levels of Pennsylvania Plaza, an urban complex located between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue and between 31st Street & 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan, and is owned by Amtrak.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak (reporting mark AMTK), is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971 to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. “Amtrak” is a blend of the words “America” and “track”. It is headquartered at Union Station in Washington, DC.

All of Amtrak’s preferred stock is owned by the U.S. federal government. The members of its board of directors are appointed by the President of the United States and are subject to confirmation by the United States Senate.

Amtrak employs nearly 19,000 people. It operates passenger service on 21,000 miles (34,000 km) of track primarily owned by freight railroads connecting 500 destinations in 46 states.

Penn Station is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, an electrified passenger rail line extending south to Washington, D.C., and north to Boston. Intercity trains are operated by Amtrak, while commuter rail services are operated by the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit. The station is also served by six New York City Subway routes.
Penn Station is the busiest Amtrak station in the United States. The station saw 4.3 million Amtrak boardings in 2004, more than double the traffic at the next busiest station.

Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s (or Bloomie’s) “like no other store in the world” is an upscale, full-line American department store owned by Macy’s, Inc. (formerly Federated Department Stores), which is also the parent company of Macy’s. The brand includes over 60 stores.

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Bloomingdale’s plans to open the company’s first international location in Spring 2010 with apparel and home stores in Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates.

It competes and follows after Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys New York.
Bloomingdale’s started in 1861 when brothers Joseph and Lyman G. Bloomingdale started selling hoop-skirts in their Ladies Notions’ Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side while their father peddled the highly fashionable hoop-skirts along the Eastern Seaboard. The pair were sons of Benjamin Bloomingdale, a Bavarian-born salesman who had lived in North Carolina and Kansas, and settled in New York City.
In 1872 the Bloomingdale brothers opened their first store at 938 Third Avenue with the philosophy that if they weren’t going to be the first with an idea, then they simply had to do it bigger and better than anyone else.
As the popularity of the hoop-skirt was declining, the brothers opened their East Side Bazaar in 1872 in a small, ordinary row house on Third Avenue and 56th Street, selling a variety of garments such as ladies’ skirts, corsets, “gent’s furnishings”, and European fashions. Their location and merchandise was a bold statement for their time.

Most of their customers and competitors were in the Upper West Side, and at that time most respectable stores only specialized in one trade.
The brothers must have been aware that the neighborhood was changing. Within a few years after opening the store, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened, the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was dedicated near the store after moving from its downtown location, Central Park would be completed, and the New York subway system would begin construction. These additions brought wealthy customers to the East Side.
As the store and its success grew, it moved in 1886 to its current location on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. The store was designed with large plate glass display windows and spacious merchandising areas. The two innovated a Bloomingdale’s trademark with the presentation of merchandise. Instead of the common practice that cluttered the display windows with an assortment of the goods they sold, each window was decorated with a couple of products as props on a theatrical mise-en-scene. Many of these products were European imports, which added to the store’s elegance.

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The iconic “Brown Bag” debuted in 1973. The bags were designed by Mossimo Vignelli, who designed the current store typeface, and prominently labeled in three sizes: “Little”, “Medium”, and “Big”.

Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor, based in New York City is the oldest upscale-luxury, specialty-retail department store chain in the United States. Concentrated in the eastern United States, the retailer operated independently for nearly a century prior to joining American Dry Goods (later renamed Associated Dry Goods Corp.). Today, the chain is the sole surviving department store nameplate from Associated, as well as from May Department Stores.
Lord & Taylor consists of 46 stores and lordandtaylor.com.

Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor founded the company in 1826; it was the first major store on Fifth Avenue. Lord & Taylor opened its flagship store and headquarters between 38th and 39th streets on February 24, 1914. In December 2007, it was named a New York City landmark.

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Among other firsts, it was the first store to present innovative Christmas windows filled with holiday displays rather than merchandise, and the first to open a branch store (1941 in Manhasset).

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Lord & Taylor is also known for playing the national anthem before the start of each business day.

In 1946, Lord & Taylor became the first major store on Fifth Avenue to name a woman, Dorothy Shaver, as president.
It didn’t take long for Shaver to re-channel the department’s focus from the competition to Lord & Taylor’s own customers, putting them first by providing one on one help as they made their selections. With that, the concept of the Personal Shopper was born, flourishing today at Lord & Taylor as Red Rose Personal Shopping Service.

Lord & Taylor ceded its postwar position as a fashion leader in the 1980s and 1990s to Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom.

In September 2007, the department store unveiled a new look to the public. The new image was the work of advertising guru David Lipman, who created a branding campaign, new advertising, shopping bags and boxes, a decrease in distributing savings passes and a new credit card.
New and upscale clothing brands were added to the assortment, such as Kate Spade, La Prairie, Juicy Couture, Diesel and Coach. Lord & Taylor had also introduced five private label product lines developed by its corporate sibling Creative Design Studios. The brands include “Kate Hill,” “Kate Hill Casual,” “Identity,” and “Context” for women, and “Black Brown 1826” for men.

Battery Park

Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of the New York City borough of Manhattan, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for the artillery battery that was stationed there at various times by the Dutch and British in order to protect the settlements behind it. At the north end of the park is Pier A, formerly a fireboat station and Hope Garden, a memorial to AIDS victims. At the other end is Battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard Battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There is also a stop on the New York Water Taxi route between the Statue of Liberty Ferry and Pier A.

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To the northwest of the park lies Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the Battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park, a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline. A bikeway is being built through the park that will connect the Hudson River and East River parts of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. Across State Street to the northeast stands the old U.S. Customs House, now used as a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and the district U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry.

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The southern shoreline of Manhattan Island had long been known as the Battery, and was a popular promenade since at least the 17th century. The Battery was the center of Evacuation Day celebrations commemorating the departure of the last British troops in the United States after the American Revolutionary War. The relatively modern park was created by landfill during the 19th century, resulting in a landscaped open space at the foot of the heavily developed mainland of downtown. Skyscrapers now occupy most of the original land, stopping abruptly where the park begins.

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Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 16.3-acre (6.6 ha) complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of New York City.

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A consortium of civic leaders and others led by, and under the initiative of John D. Rockefeller III, built Lincoln Center as part of the “Lincoln Square Renewal Project” during Robert Moses’ program of urban renewal in the 1960s. Rockefeller was its inaugural president from 1956 and became its chairman in 1961. He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing on his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project.

Located between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the Lincoln Center complex was the first gathering of major cultural institutions into a centralized location in an American city.

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In 2004 Lincoln Center was expanded through the addition of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s newly built facilities (Frederick P. Rose Hall) at the new Time Warner Center, located a few blocks to the south. In March 2006 Lincoln Center launched construction on a major redevelopment plan that will modernize, renovate, and open up the Lincoln Center campus in time for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.

One of the performance facilities is Alice Tully Hall – 1,095-seat concert hall located within the Juilliard School building; home stage of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.

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Designed by architect William Burnet Tuthill and built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, it is one of the most famous venues in the United States for classical music and popular music, renowned for its beauty, history and acoustics. Carnegie Hall has its own artistic programming, development, and marketing departments, and presents about 250 performances each season. It is also rented out to performing groups. The hall has not had a resident company since the New York Philharmonic moved to Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall in 1962.

Carnegie Hall’s main auditorium seats 2,804 on five levels. It was named for the violinist Isaac Stern in 1997. The Main Hall is enormously tall, and visitors to the top balcony must climb 137 steps. All but the top level can be reached by elevator.

Carnegie Hall is one of the last large buildings in New York built entirely of masonry, without a steel frame; however, when several flights of studio spaces were added to the building near the turn of the 20th century, a steel framework was erected around segments of the building. The exterior is rendered in narrow Roman bricks of a mellow ochre hue, with details in terracotta and brownstone.

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Ivanka Trump’s big day

I’ve wrote about Ivanka Trump before. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of interviews of her and I’ve discovered such a down-to-earth person in spite of breathing “very high” air. She is smart, she is beautiful, she’s vice president at the Trump Organization with an office at the 26th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and has her own line of jewelry and a flagship retail store called ‘Ivanka Trump’ on Madison Avenue.

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On October 14th she has released The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life. Ivanka writes about life lessons for business success that she learned from her upbringing. She tells young women how to focus at work.
“Nepotism Got Me in the Door” she said, but “if I was not performing in a way that was satisfactory… I could not stay within the organization”.

I really believe that she will soon become an icon of NYC. We know that if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. And she did…

Today she marries Jared Kushner, the 28-year-old son of real estate mogul Charles Kushner. Jared Kushner runs the New York Observer, a weekly newspaper aimed at Manhattan’s wealthy elite.