In my 12 months of absence from the blogosphere (wow), I traveled a fair few miles on my holidays. One of the places I visited, which I raved immensely about in previous posts linked here and here, was New York City.
The Big Apple, unsurprisingly, did not disappoint. This is a place I have dreamed of visiting for YEARS. Buildings and views I had seen in millions of photos and movies, and that I had imagined in my head over and over again were suddenly right there in front of my eyes, no longer separated by distance or a screen. Do you know what that feels like?
It’s like reaching a goal, achieving a life aspiration. At the age of 18 I never thought I’d be able to tick that box. I almost cried when I first set eyes on the skyline (is that pathetic??).
New York City, as I have been told, is unlike anywhere in America. So although I can’t say I’ve really embraced the American culture, I’ve been to one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the world. It stole my heart. I’ll definitely be returning one day.
I’ve compiled a list of my favourite things we did. Most of them are the obvious ones, but when you go to New York for the first time, how can you not?
Top of The Rock
Is it possible to go to New York and miss out on this? I declare it is not. From the top you can see right to the tip of Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty, and in the other direction get a stunning view of Central Park, right down to Harlem and maybe even further than that. The photos I saw before visiting always looked amazing, but they really don’t do justice to the sheer beauty of the view from the top. I honestly could have stayed up there for days. It was like being at the top of the world.
I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. It is the most incredible train station terminal you will ever set foot in. I was flabbergasted. The high arched ceiling and the marble floors and the hush of echoing voices just took my breath away. I tell you, if I ever had to catch a train from there, I would no doubt miss it because I’d be too busy marvelling at the beautiful building.
Yes, we did the most touristy thing we could have done, and hired bikes in Central Park. It’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of an enormous city when you’re cycling past lakes and luscious green fields. I loved the atmosphere of it. Walking through Sheep Meadow we saw college students playing frisbee, couples reading books together and a man doing an intense fitness workout wearing only a pair of rather skimpy shorts.
Another place I could have literally spent days in. The place is just a hub of life, non-stopping, ever-changing, life. Lights dazzle you, day and night. Literally, if you go there at midnight, it is as light as it would be at midday. I just loved the whole scene; the noise, the people, the shops, the lights. I would love to just sit there for a whole day and quite literally just watch the world go by. But being in New York, I had a busy schedule planned with a whole list of other things to go and marvel at…
9/11 Memorial and Museum
In the midst of all the terror in the world today, it was harrowing to visit the site of possibly the worst terror attack in history. It was moving, terrifying, shocking, unforgettable. We spent a long time here, purely because the place is so enormous and you need time to take it all in. This was one of the places I have wanted to visit for years, and all I can say is I think everyone who has the chance should visit. It’s so important and you’ll remember it forever.
Empire State Building
I have mixed memories of this as we went up it at about 11pm, while I was extremely exhausted after four days of exploring the city. Add to that the fact we decided to walk up the last ten floors since the lift queues were so long. If I look past the tiredness and fatigue, I remember nothing but beauty. Looking down on the city from up there at night is quite extraordinary. You can see all the tiny cars creeping up and down Broadway, as well as hundreds of illuminated buildings as far as the eye can see. What’s more, it was so quiet up there. It must be so tall it rises above the level of chaotic sound from the streets, AND there were bats flying around the roof! It was surreal, and if I hadn’t been so tired I would have even fonder memories of it. But the sad truth is, I kinda wanted to go to bed…
If you ever have the immense opportunity to visit New York, I wouldn’t hold back! I know I’ve touched on only a few major tourist attractions here but this city has so much more to offer. By all means leave in the comments some suggestions of slightly less well known things to do, in case I ever get myself back there again!