The Big Apple, the City that never sleeps, NYC. Whatever people choose to call it, New York really does need to be seen to be believed. Exploring the incredibly dense and busy Manhattan Island really does make you feel like an ant sometimes, but it is sure to get the pulse rate up and peak just about everyone’s lust for Travel and all things new and exciting.
The most impressive thing about my time in the USA was the fact that for all that you see in the movies is no different to how it looks in real time so I was constantly feeling a sense of “I’ve been here before”, when I had actually just seen a location in a movie. This was especially evident in New York. For all the stigma attached to New York being dangerous I never felt it at all, despite there being throngs of people everywhere at any time of the day.
I stayed in Brooklyn, very close to Chinatown which was around a 45 minute Subway ride into the centre of Manhattan. The Subway is easily the best and most cost effective way to get around New York. Using a “Metrocard’, you can pre-load value onto the card with a single journey into Manhattan costing around $2.50 – the best part being that the Subway runs 24 hours.
Ideally if you were interested in seeing and doing just about all NYC has to offer, I would allow 5 days minimum. The fact that I stayed 3 days and visited Ground Zero, Yankee Stadium, the Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and the Rockefeller Centre are proof you could experience it all in less time but if you have more time, why rush it?!
There are a few things you absolutely MUST see in New York.
1. Check out a sports game. New York has it’s choice of sporting teams from NFL, Ice Hockey, Soccer, Basketball and Baseball. There are two teams that stick out above all others though and they are the Knicks and the Yankees. As I was visiting in September the NBA wasn’t an option so it was off to Yankee Stadium for me. Situated in the Bronx on East 161st Street, the Subway will take you there in around 30 minutes from downtown Manhattan. Tickets were available on the door and very well priced – $30 for a seat in the Upper left side of the park, overlooking Third base. For the record, the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals by 6-4.
2. Visit the Ground Zero Memorial. A truly humbling experience, the 9/11 disaster is something that the world will never forget. I still recall where I was on that fateful day. Seeing the reports on TV all those years ago doesn’t prepare you for the sheer size of where the Twin Towers used to be. The Memorial is an open plaza, which is free to the public and contains a wall inscribed with the names of the victims, two large waterfalls and is a place to reflect and pay respect to those that lost their lives. For all the names inscribed on the walls, when one of the fallen has a birthday, a white rose is placed over the name.
3. Go to the “Top of the Rock” at the Rockefeller Centre. Situated Midtown, and housing shops, cafes and bars, the Rock is well worth checking out. Especially for the 360 degree views of New York City at the top – 70 floors up. It costs around $25 to get up there but the views up here include the Empire State Building, whereas if you went up the ESB, you would see the Rockefeller Center, and the ESB will look much better in your photos!
4. Take the Staten Island Ferry to…you guessed it…Staten Island. The best part about this attraction is that it is free! That’s right. Costs completely nothing! It also happens to pass the Statue of Liberty at a very slow speed which enables plenty of time to be awestruck and marvel in the gaze of the Old Lady. Once the ferry arrives to Staten you could have a look around or do what most people do, and take the next ferry back to Manhattan for more time admiring the amazing Statue which is on Liberty Island. She was designed by Bartholdi, a French sculptor and dedicated in 1886, as a gift to the United States from France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch, upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
5. Be impressed by the architecture at Grand Central Station. Grand Central Terminal, as it is correctly known, is a Train terminal located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Amazingly it is the biggest Terminal in the world by number of platforms with 44 platforms serving 67 tracks across two levels. The architecture inside the main concourses is simply beautiful and even if you’re not catching a train from here you must go inside and have a look!
6. Feel extremely small in Times Square. It’s the main intersection in all of New York, think bustling traffic, loads of tourists and locals alike, high definition TV screens everywhere, situated right next to Broadway. Times Square is what steroids were modelled on. Busy, heaving, intimidating, and massive. It was previously called Longacre Square before the New York Times moved into the Times Building next door. Be sure to look out for the semi-naked cowboy who plays on a guitar in the middle of the street, even in winter!
So there you have it. Just some of things that you can do in this beast of a city, but I haven’t even scratched the surface here. I’m glad that I managed to see all of this in just 3 days however. One of the world’s great cities – it’s New York. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and thank you for your support. Until next time, see you somewhere in the wide world!