It's 12 years since I last visited Battery Park, near the southern tip of Manhattan, and then the skyline was dominated by the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. How different it looks now, whether standing up close to the gaping, crane-filled chasm at Ground Zero, or viewing the distant cityscape from the Staten Island Ferry. At least the Statue of Liberty looked as impressive as ever across the water.
Though this is a family visit and not a birding trip, I managed to occupy some quiet moments on the return ferry crossing photographing gulls, especially American Herring (above) and Ring-billed (below). Some adults of the former species look very distinctive, but of course the difficulty in Europe would be differentiating them from extreme examples of European Herring Gulls; first-year birds may be much more straightforward but, interestingly, there are no younger smithsonianus visible today. Here are a couple of photos from that trip; more on Flickr anon.