Almost everyone we spoke with that has visited New York City raved about it and advised that we too would fall in love with the city. Eager to discover for ourselves how amazing a city could really be, we booked a four night stay in upper Manhattan.
After expertly negotiating the subway in rush hour from (gigantic) JFK Airport, we arrived at our accommodation to settle in and explore our local neighbourhood. We quickly discovered that we were located just a four minute walk from the northern end of Central Park. We were able to make the most of this green space on several occasions; joining the many locals for a morning jog, and falling asleep under the trees on a lazy Saturday avo.
New York has it all, plus some. With a population of 8.3 million and the most diverse mix of cultures from around the world - this place constantly buzzes and yet still has a strong sense of community throughout the neighbourhoods. It is a centre for fashion, food, and finance, and feels like the centre of the world. It is extremely well laid out and easy to navigate. But above all, it is just so cool!
Everything we experienced felt oddly familiar due to the many films, tv shows and music clips we have seen over time. From the yellow taxi cabs, crowded foot paths, buildings and bright lights we had seen it all before - but this time it was real life and SO much better!
Our time in New York was spent exploring the many sights of lower Manhattan. With so much to see here we had to prioritise and leave some activities for our return trip in the not too distant future!
Still, we managed to pack a lot in. Starting in the financial district we cruised Wall Street to see Federal Hall and the New York Stock Exchange. We imagined that before the 2008 crash the area would have been far more a buzz with the ‘power-heads’ of the universe doing their thing, but it was still great to stand in front of the places we have heard so much about.
We paid a visit to Ground Zero to view the construction site of the One World Trade Center, which is expected to be completed by 2013. Once complete this building will be the tallest in the USA and will stand nearly twice as high as the other buildings in the New York skyline. We also visited the Tribute WTC Visitors Center which was very touching indeed.
We walked the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, shopped the length of Broadway (Cam surely did!), and dined in Little Italy.
We viewed the Statue of Liberty from the distance of Battery Park as the lines to cruise past her were extremely long.
On an evening venture we went to see Chicago on Broadway. This was just excellent and will make any future show we see seem amateur. After the show we stumbled into Times Square for a wee look around. All those bright lights and crowds of people were fairly overwhelming but amazing just the same. Everything that could be lit up - was.
We also enjoyed a lovely brunch catching up with Cam’s family who are based in the city. Thanks Ian, Sarah and Sukie - it was lovely to see familiar faces and to spend some time with you all. We hope to visit you again soon, maybe when there is snow on the ground!
On a final note a song which we had playing over in our head while here was Jay-Z’ ‘Empire State of Mind’, featuring Alicia Keys. So very appropriate.
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
The lights will inspire you
Lets here it for New York, New York, New York.
We are both sad to be leaving this incredible city. It is our favourite destination yet- easily. But alas so many more places to see, the journey must continue. We will board a bus and head south to Washington DC.