Big Apple Thriller; There's No Shortage of Fun and Culture in the City That Never Sleeps, from Bonkers Bus Tours, Glitzy Broadway Shows, Fascinating Insight into Parks Creator John Muir and a Moving Tribute to Victims and Survivors of 9/11

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), July 31, 2016 | Go to article overview

Big Apple Thriller; There's No Shortage of Fun and Culture in the City That Never Sleeps, from Bonkers Bus Tours, Glitzy Broadway Shows, Fascinating Insight into Parks Creator John Muir and a Moving Tribute to Victims and Survivors of 9/11


Byline: NEIL MURRAY

For a wee boy from Dunbar, East Lothian, John Muir didn't do badly.

Recognised as the "father of America's national parks" and, in 1976, called "the greatest Californian in the history of the state" by the California Historical Society, he made his mark after crossing the Atlantic, aged 11, with his family in 1849.

His enthusiasm for nature and preserving forests and areas of wilderness led to the establishment of Yosemite National Park and, subsequently, America's National Park Service, who are celebrating their centenary.

At New York's Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, a section is dedicated to the Scot, while the main areas highlight how 12million new immigrants passed though their doors between 1892 and 1954.

In the massive registry room, a guide explained the procedures they had to go through and told why they ventured to the New World.

If that was a thought-provoking experience, so too - back on the Manhattan "mainland" - was a visit to the new National September 11 Memorial Museum. The photographs and profiles of the people who died are a heart-rending reminder of that terrible day. Elsewhere, Survivors' Stair focuses on the hundreds who fled down them and lived. And an exhibition spells out exactly what happened when the World Trade Centre buildings were attacked.

Rising, literally, from the ashes, the nearby One World Observatory, at the top of the new One World Trade Centre, is a stunning replacement.

Images recording the development of New York through the centuries flash before you on the sides of the lift as it races to the 102nd floor, where you see a collage of pictures, videos and sounds before the screens rise to gasps of astonishment as the Big Apple appears in all its glory.

Two floors below, on the 360-degree observatory floor, I used the iPad I hired to focus on particular areas of the city and homed in for information about specific places there.

There's another newcomer in Manhattan - the Broadway show Paramour, a tribute to the golden days of the Hollywood musical.

This isn't your ordinary musical but, then again, nothing is ordinary with Cirque du Soleil.

Amid all the music and dancing you'd expect, acrobats perform daring somersaults at a Calamity Jane hoedown and, during a Cleopatra sequence, two blond athletes on ropes swoop high over both the audience and the stage.

Later, aerial gymnasts on a trapeze perform a breathtaking routine and a dramatic chase on a hotel rooftop has the participants flying through the air as they bounce off hidden trampolines. …

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Big Apple Thriller; There's No Shortage of Fun and Culture in the City That Never Sleeps, from Bonkers Bus Tours, Glitzy Broadway Shows, Fascinating Insight into Parks Creator John Muir and a Moving Tribute to Victims and Survivors of 9/11
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