8 Fabulous Ways to Experience New York

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!

Excited much?!?

Excited much?!?

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.

The view from the Top of the Rock

The view from the Top of the Rock

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.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

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.

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library

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.

Stunning views from the rooftop bar of the Wythe Hotel Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lindsaypunk/7498158990/

Stunning views from the rooftop bar of the Wythe Hotel
Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lindsaypunk/7498158990/

So there you have it, a few fabulous ways to experience this uber fabulous city.
Which one are you?

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I’m linking this post up to the #SundayTraveler weekly blog party, co-hosted by some awesome bloggers – Chasing The DonkeyPack Me To, and others.

You can link your travel posts here, or you can join the party by following #SundayTraveler on Social Media!

And I’m also linking this up to #WeekendWanderlust

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So, where are you off to today?

43 comments on “8 Fabulous Ways to Experience New York

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  12. I love NYC! Thanks for bringing back some great memories of going there, makes me want to visit right now! I think my sister was also visiting there during the same time you were there 🙂 Thanks for linking up with us at #WeekendWanderlust!

  13. Fantastic post Upasna 🙂 I absolutely love New York City – don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing it! Though as a Londoner, totally flattered that you love my home so much! But this is a fabulous summary of places to go and things to do! Will definitely bookmark it for next trip!and I can’t quite believe this but I stayed at that Novotel in 2007 & I had no idea about the rooft bar – grr!

    • Lol, well if it makes you feel better, I think the Novotel rooftop bar is fairly new! 😛

      But yes, I loved NYC but I still prefer London. Both cities are alive and there’s never a dull moment in either, its just that I feel there’s so much more beauty and history in London.
      But I think what I love the most about London is just how accessible the rest of Europe is 🙂 So many travel options, literally at your doorstep!

      Also, thank you so much for your kind words, you made my day! 🙂

  14. We still have pending a trip to New York so we I’ve taken some notes 🙂 well, we have many things in our bucket list, also Shimla is in it (I was hoping to get a business trip to Bangalore and take the opportunity to have some holidays afterwards). But we cannot complain either, our next trip is a road trip starting in San Francisco.

    Shere y Paul: tips for flying with a baby

  15. I’m headed to New York in a few months, so I eagerly read this. I’ll only be there half as long as you were, so I’m having great difficulty trying to decide what NOT to do. I want it all. Looks like you had a fabulous time.

    • I truly did!
      I won’t say NYC has become my favourite city in the world like a lot of people I know, that would still be London; but I definitely loved my time there!

      I’m also glad I decided to remain in the city for the entire duration of my trip to the US and not travel anywhere else, I really got to experience a lot.
      But I’m sure you’ll still have a blast 🙂

    • So true! I could have spent an entire day in Central Park, and I could sit for hours just soaking up the atmosphere in Bryant Park!
      Definitely one of my favourite ways to experience the city.

      Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

  16. I’ve never been to NYC (it’s on the list!), and really large, hectic cities tend to stress me out, but you’ve definitely made it sound a little more amazing!! I really hope to go someday and experience it for myself!

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