I’m on a quest to Take12Trips this year, and it’s going VERY well so far. 🙂
In January I visited Mumbai and in February I took another quick trip to Mussoorie; I explored the Delhi Zoo in March and had a fantastic time traipsing around Europe in April. In May I went off to Shimla up in the hills to escape Delhi’s unbearable heat and in June a work trip took me to Manila, Philippines. I’m yet to blog about that, but I’m going to skip straight ahead to the updates on July as they’re way more awesome!
I flew to New York City in the last week of July to join my husband, who’s been traveling all over the US the past couple of months on account of work. Almost giddy with excitement in the days weeks leading up to it, I spent close to 10 days walking around wide-eyed in the Big Apple. I’ve grown up watching American movies and TV shows, a lot of which are based in New York, and there were times I couldn’t believe I was actually there!
But let me tell you, it wasn’t love at first sight. Definitely not! There is an unpleasant side to New York. The subway is confusing and inefficient; coupled with taxis that take forever on account of traffic snarls. I wonder how New Yorkers ever get anywhere on time. Some subway stations and streets are filthy, and there were days that were too hot even by our North-Indian standards. But even so, there’s just something about New York. It makes you fall in love.
There’s never a dull moment in a city like New York; it has something for everyone. And with close to ten days at hand, there was a wide range of things I was able to see and do. So I’ve compiled a list of ways that you can experience and make the most of this diverse and amazing city.
1. As an Architecture Geek
New York City has one of the most remarkable and widely recognized skylines in the world. Even someone who has never travelled to this city of skyscrapers, let alone the United States of America, can identify some of these iconic landmarks just by looking at them. From the Art Deco designs of the Empire state Building and the Chrysler Building to the Neo-Gothic style of St. Patrick’s Cathedral; from the limestone and glazed terra-cotta Flatiron Building built in the Beaux-Arts style to the remarkable stone façade and stunning interiors of the Grand Central Terminal; NYC is a place to look up and be amazed.
Most of these sights can easily be visited on your own, but for a great perspective and some wonderful insights from a local, consider taking a Welcome to New York walking tour with Walks of New York; like I did! You can read all about that here.
Even a majority of the residential areas are a treat to the eyes, with its famous Brownstones, row-houses and tenements.
And not to forget, the Bridges. NYC is after all located on a natural harbor, one of the world’s largest in fact. They’ve developed a large amount of bridges and tunnels, some of which are truly spectacular to look at.
2. As a Nature Lover
It’s a concrete jungle, sure; but New York City also has a huge amount of greenery. In fact, nearly 14 percent of the city is covered in green spaces. I spent a lot of time in some of NYC’s Public Parks, and I have to say, loved every minute of it. From cycling around the 843 acres of Central Park to watching street performers and exploring the Greenmarket at Union Square Park; from cooling off at the fountain in Washington Square Park to waiting in line for 40 minutes for the famous Shake-Shack Burger in Madison Square Park; from picnicking in Bryant Park to gazing at the gorgeous Manhattan view from Brooklyn Bridge Park; what a great way to enjoy New York. In fact, the city loves parks so much they even converted an abandoned stretch of elevated railroad track into an aerial urban greenway. The High Line is perfect for a stroll, a rest or a picnic, 30-feet above the city.
3. As a Museum Nerd
I was so busy soaking up the atmosphere outdoors; I never made it inside any of the museums. But if museum hopping is your thing, there’s plenty of it to keep you going. The regular and revolving exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History, the over 2 million works of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the impressive contemporary art collection at the Museum of Modern Art, the spiral structure and unique layout of the Guggenheim Museum, the insights into the Lower East Side’s immigrant past at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, need I say more?
4. As a Culture Vulture
There’s no place like New York if a culture-fix is what you’re after. Music, Film, Theater, Dance, Art, you name it NYC has it! I made the most of it, yet I couldn’t get enough. I’m so glad I visited NYC in the summer, though. There was so much going on all over the city. Wicked at the Gershwin Theater on Broadway – check! Broadway in Bryant Park – check! There’s so much more I could have done, had there been just a little more time. I would have loved to see one of the celebrity studded performances of Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park, or go for an evening of free movies under the stars held in so many of the parks across the city, or attend Midsummer Night Swing at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts.
5. As a Shopaholic
If it’s names such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys and Macys that appeal to you, head to Fifth Avenue; or try Soho for its stylish boutiques. And for the budget conscious there are places like the Brooklyn Flea, an outdoor marketplace with hundreds of vendors selling everything from antiques to organic produce.
6. As a Bibliophile
Book lovers will find something to pull at their heartstrings too. NYC has some of the best bookshops I have been in; I could have spent the entire day roaming around The Strand Bookstore in Midtown Manhattan. I’d also recommend visiting the New York Public Library, the second largest public library in the United States (and third largest in the world). With an impressive book collection of nearly 53 million items and stunning architecture, the NYPL’s rare book collection is a special treat to those interested.
7. As an Adrenaline Junkie
From Cycling in Central Park, to kayaking and canoeing in the Hudson River; NYC has plenty to offer the adventurous among us. And for the real thrill-seekers, there’s Coney Island. A thriving entertainment destination open all year round, Coney Island has loads of fun things to do. Apart from the Beach and Boardwalk, take a ride on The Cyclone. This historic roller coaster, one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation in the US, is truly an American Legend. The Luna Park amusement area has loads of other rides with varying degrees of intensity, including the Thunderbolt and Soaring Eagles.
8. As a Greedy Gourmand
No list on New York would be complete without a mention of the food. Oh, the food! The Glorious Food! Every few steps there is something new to try. Hot Dogs and Chili Dogs, Chicken Gyros and Beef Gyros, Pizzas and Burgers, Pancakes and Cupcakes, quaint little cafes and restaurant heavyweights, I even had Armenian Food one night in the East Village area. Delicious! Everything was delicious!
And the Ice Cream!
And if you’re thirsty stuffing your face with all that food, don’t fret as there are watering holes a plenty. My advice would be to make your way to one of the bazillion roof top bars. When in New York and all that…! I’ve heard 230 Fifth in Manhattan has one of the best views of the skyline. Supernova, the Rooftop Bar at the Novotel Hotel in Times Square overlooks the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and is pretty great too, but my personal favourite was The Ides at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn.
So there you have it, a few fabulous ways to experience this uber fabulous city.
Which one are you?
You can link your travel posts here, or you can join the party by following #SundayTraveler on Social Media!
So, where are you off to today?