Google Photos has a very good way of reminding me to write my blog. Two years ago to around this time I was on the plane to New York, where I spent a week in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. I learnt about its history, met with friends, had awesome food, and lost myself in the huge and busy NY city avenues. In this blog I will share all my favourite things, tips, and the places I visited!
During my time in NY, I stayed at The Ritz-Carlton by Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Before you rush into assuming that I am a millionaire, let me stop you right there and ensure you that I am not! I managed to get a really good deal with British Airways for both flights and hotel. The hotel was in a great/quiet location, and the room had a view of the Statue of Liberty. I could not have asked for anything more!
Although the city is massive, it is really easy to move around in NY. I tried to walk as much as possible, as this is the best way to explore the city. However at times I used the subway and Uber!
Just walking distance from the hotel is one of the most devastating monuments I have ever visited; the 9/11 memorial. It is a place that you should definitely visit, however you need to be prepared, as this place will evoke strong feelings of loss, sadness, desolation, and despair. I personally was speechless throughout my visit and I just couldn’t help but picture what happened to people on that tragic day.
Where the twin towers used to stand tall is now two waterfalls, which are as deep and as wide as the buildings were. All around the memorial is a border with the names of the 9/11 victims.
World Trade Centre
Very close to the 9/11 memorial you will also find the World Trade Centres, which you should not miss! It is a really nice area to explore and stroll around consisting of skyscrapers, beautiful malls, coffee shops, and views..
There you will also find one one of the biggest and most architecturally spectacular malls I have ever been in; The Oculus. It is almost 64,749 sq. meters and is composed of 5 iconic office towers, a 32,00sq. meters Memorial Plaza, and over half a million square feet of shopping and dining.
In the streets around this area, I also discovered some beautiful small bookshops, including a mysterious one!
In this very bookshop I coincidently picked up a book that said:
It’s crazy how sometimes you have to be destroyed to be made anew. Everything happens for a reason – just like this moment. I do believe that what you are going through will pass..Unknown book at a mystery shop
Wall Street & Lower Manhattan
One of the areas that you should definitely visit is Wall Street and the lower Manhattan district! Wall Street is one of the world’s most famous streets and historically known as the centre of New York’s financial district. In this area you will find, among others, the columned Federal Hall, originally built to house City Hall and its offices, the New York Stock Exchange building, and of course the 3175kg charging bull statue. The bull is one of the most iconic symbols of the Financial District and represents an optimistic, constantly rising market! They say that if you touch its balls you will get some of its good luck, hence why the gold has rubbed off a little bit!
Tip: For a great experience I would definitely recommend booking a free (tip based) SANDEMANs tour.
Another place you cannot miss while in NY is the famous Times Square! There you will find flashing neon lights, giant digital billboards, brilliant Broadway marquees, costumed characters and musicians, local artists, and so many shops! Times Square is big, bright and unforgettable! You will also find the TKTS discount booth which offers up to 50% off theatre tickets including Broadway! Take your time to stroll around and enjoy one of the busiest squares in the world!
In Times Square there is also a massive M&Ss World which has some flavours that you cannot find in Europe such as the pretzels M&Ms!! Yum yum!
And of course here you will also find the Hard Rock Cafe! If you love guitars, like myself, then you will fall in love with the impressive guitar wall consisting of over 300 guitars!
Nearby Times Square you will find the largest and most important public park in Manhattan; The Central Park. It is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever visited due to its bridges, arches, lakes, beautifully designed paths, its nature and wildlife! I was actually quite impressed learning about its history and architectural design and if you didn’t know it, it is considered to be one of the greatest achievements in artificial landscaping! For Central Park I once again used SANDEMANs tours for a really great guided tour of the park…
Located 2 minutes from Central Park, you will also stumble upon the Strawberry Fields, an area dedicated to John Lennon. If you stroll long enough, you will find find the iconic black and white Imagine mosaic. It was designed by a team of artists from Naples. Named after another famous song by John Lennon, “Imagine” evokes a vision and hope for a world without strife, war and conflict.
Note: From this point you should also be able to see the famous Dakota Building block. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo, but this is where John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono lived. It was there, walking into his home, on December 8, 1980, that John Lennon was murdered and shot dead.
Top of the Rock
Being in a city like NY, you can’t really avoid climbing to the top of one of the skyscrapers and admire the city view. Most people choose to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building – one of the tallest buildings in the whole world. However, I chose to go up to the observation deck of the Top Of The Rock, and during sunset. From there, you not only get a breathtaking view of the NY city, but also of the Empire State.
Grand Central Terminal
If you find yourself downtown NY, you absolutely have to visit the Grand Central Terminal! It may sound just like another train station, however, it is a world-famous landmark, a shopping, dining, and cultural destination! Grand Central Terminal is one of the country’s great architectural achievements and New York City’s unofficial meeting place with thousands of people choosing to “meet me at the clock” – rendezvousing with friends and loved ones each day. My favourite part of it is the constellation sky at the ceiling.
Grand Central Terminal stands as a universal symbol between New York City’s past and present.
Apologies for the photos, I hate myself right now for not taking better quality pictures!
A really interesting area in NYC is Little Italy. When Italian immigrants moved to this Manhattan neighborhood in the late 1800s, they brought their customs, food and language. That heritage remains evident today—Little Italy’s streets are lined with restaurants serving Italian staples on red-and-white checkered tablecloth and it is definitely worth checking it out! My friends and I had a really nice authentic Italian meal there!
A really nice/hipstery/famous place to explore and take some photos is the Brooklyn Bridge. It is one of the most recognizable parts of the New York City skyline, as the bridge has been featured in a range of movies and tv shows. It is really considered to be a real piece of New York City history!
Whilst strolling in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, I discovered Rockefeller Center; a national historic landmark for shopping, dining, and more. I actually stumbled upon this place because there is one of the largest Nintendo stores!
As you can probably imagine, the food in NYC is simply AMAZING! On every corner you will have the chance to try something delicious! From amazing burgers, mini fluffy pancakes, mini gyros kebabs, to $50 pizzas. Though for me, the winner every single time was the $1 pizza slices!! They were so unbelievably delicious!!
Overall my trip to NY was amazing! It is a great place full of energy which I hope to visit again in the future. A lesson I learnt during this trip is that travelling with good friends can definitely make your trip even a more unforgettable experience. I hope that you enjoyed my post and that you found it somewhat useful.
Until next time..