New York needs no introduction whatsoever. It lives up to the description given to it by every other traveler and local – complete with the hustle bustle.
Our trip to New York was a short one of 5 days. We did manage to cover a whole lot more than we had planned to, so that was an unexpected bonus! NYC really has some sights worth visiting and is on most travelers bucket list (was on mine for a long time…Finally made this happen! )
Landing at the airport, we headed to our hotel which was very close to Times Square (which was great, we could walk down to the ever bustling area any time of the day/night) Another wonderful thing about this location is that it has a lot of interesting eateries – both carts and restaurants – along the street,not to mention the other attractions, all in walking distance.
Places to see:
- Chinatown and Little Italy
The first place we headed to was Chinatown and Little Italy. Both these places are very quaint little ones, spread over a couple of blocks in Lower Manhattan. Here, you can taste the authentic cuisine of the respective country, shop for some Chinese/Italian wares, learn about the history of the country and so much more.
We got here from Times Square by the subway and got off at Canal street station. From here, it is a small walk down to Little Italy. You can’t miss it, there is a big sign marking the beginning of Little Italy! People enjoying a meal in the outdoor cafes and restaurants, narrow streets, Italian fare all around, makes you feel you are actually in Italy.
We walked a little way ahead to ChinaTown. You won’t ever have a problem finding this one, given the number of Asians walking around. Infact, that is exactly how we found the area, without the help of any map! Chinatown is a lively neighborhood , known for its yummy food and how it portrays the Chinese culture in the attractions around. We spent an hour or so exploring the place and decided to try the famous fried dumplings we had read so much about. Unfortunately, this was a hole in the wall kind of place and can be really difficult to find if you are not a New Yorker. After searching for a while, we were on the verge of giving up but decided to try asking yet another Chinese shopkeeper for directions one last time and lucked out when a native New Yorker passing by overheard and offered to walk us to the place as he was heading in the same direction! So much for the theory of New Yorkers being too busy! Although he admitted to the theory himself ! Just our lucky day..
We walked from Chinatown to Manhattan bridge which was around 5- 10 minutes away. From the Manhattan bridge you can get a good view of Brooklyn bridge and the skyline too. The bridge is rather long and people choose to cycle across too while the train runs parallel to the bridge. (we took longer as we stopped for photos at every bend!)
Walking across Brooklyn bridge is one of the main activities on any visitor’s list when in NYC. It seemed to be perennially crowded, and we were wondering what was the hype about this bridge, but once we saw the wonderful city view from all along the bridge, and ofcourse, how you can stroll or relax on the benches leisurely (watch out for cycle traffic though!), we understood what the hype was about! Brooklyn bridge dates back many decades and the history of the bridge can be found on the pillars as you walk by. You get to see the statue of Liberty in the background from the mid point of the bridge, which causes hordes of tourists to pose right there to capture that!
World trade center memorial or National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which was set up to commemorate the September ’11 attacks is another crowd puller. Tickets to visit the museum can be purchased in advance online. We spent sometime here before heading to Wall Street where we found the New York stock exchange easily but had to move around a bit, hunting for the charging bull!
Another famous attraction here is the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. You can choose to visit the Island by ferry or take the Staten Island ferry (it is free) from which can get a great view of the statue. You could also book in advance for a tour in the crown of the statue of liberty, from which you will be able to get views of the city. Fun fact: When the statue was originally assembled, it was a dull brown color, reflecting the natural color of its copper plates. Over the years, it slowly turned to the green color you see today, through the natural process of oxidation!
Close to Liberty island is Ellis Island, which once was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States and the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station for over sixty years. The views from the ferry are simply amazing (We had to launch the selfie stick high up to get a shot like this without the passengers in the frame, all struggling to get a perfect capture !)
Central Park– No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to this famous park. Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan and is one of the most visited attractions. Expect to spend the better half of your day here, if you actually plan to go around the place. We got there fairly earlier on in the morning and hired cycles to go around the park. Apart from the regular traffic of other cyclists, joggers and people walking dogs, it was relatively empty and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet. Central Park is actually so huge, you would spend more time than you plan on, if you go about checking out every nook and corner of the park! We saw a few people lined up for a horse drawn carriage ride around the park, which looked like fun too. Do read up on it before booking, though, and know what you are paying for when you decide to hire one. Central park zoo is a must-visit for those visiting with kids. Tickets are sold at the entrance of the zoo itself.
On the suggestion of a few locals, we skipped Empire state building roof top this trip and went to Rockefeller instead. And we were glad we did, the view of the city with the Empire state building included, was breathtaking!
Times square, Grand central terminal, visits to the museums and so on; the list of things to see and do here is endless! Depending on the length of your trip, you could always choose to visit what you feel is worth your time. But whether you are going to be based at Manhattan or elsewhere, it is a good idea to check out the other “boroughs” which are not too far from there, which all make up New York. There is something each one has to offer. We visited Brooklyn, and spent time at Coney island too. We landed up visiting Queens for a tennis match at Arthur Ashe stadium, but that’s another post altogether! 🙂