It’s hard to name someone who didn’t ever play with the thought of being in the famous American New York City nicknamed as The Big Apple.When it comes to the USA I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge fan,I always preferred Australia if we put the two of them in a balance,but I have to admit I became super excited in the moment I spontaneously booked my flight as a result of discovering a sale on swiss.com.
We are on April 1st early afternoon landing at JFK and I’m slightly anxious of the custom procedures which follow,having unpleasant experiences two years ago in Canada.To my huge relieve the Mr Boarding Officer I’m kindly directed to by another employee,is surprisingly kind,chatty and in a great mood,even flirty I would say,so the whole procedure takes in total around 5 min and soon off I am on the AirTrain rapidly heading to the city.
Luckily I have a recently discovered native New Yorker friend,Curtis,who meets me on the way and guides me to my hostel. For a stay on a budget HI NYC hostel is the perfect choice.I’ve been more than satisfied with the quality of service,staff,room and location.It’s 2 min walk from the subway stop where you take a direct train to downtown and in aprox 20 min you are right in Times Square.
After an 8 h flight you might want to relax and rest,but the temptation of starting to explore the Big Apple in such a sunny day is winning and after quickly dropping my luggage at my new accommodation for the next few days,we are back on the train.We get off at the world famous Times Square and this spot becomes instantly my favorite and later on the most visited location too.Dominant skyscrapers all around,big crowd – though not as big as on a weekend – and just the best dynamic vibe.As stressful as it sounds and as it is for locals,you are on holiday and you don’t feel the pressure.At least I didn’t.
Times Square can’t and won’t be missed for sure once you are in NYC as it’s by walking distance to many important points of the city such as Rockefeller center,where you need to go up to the top if you want to be blown away by the view of NYC from the 67th level.
It worths also serving a delicious cocktail on the 48th level of Marriott Hotel,more precisely at the restaurant The View.Calm ambient,friendly waiters and great view.The restaurant slowly rotates,you might get dizzy only if you drink a few number of cocktails though.
It’s just my first day and I managed to get to Grand Central too.That’s the main train station in NYC and it has indeed lots to offer besides trains to various locations.When there don’t forget to have a look at the ceiling and let yourself convinced to try how it works the whisper room.A good way to find out all about that and much more take a free walking tour offered by freetoursbyfoot.com.It’s hard to believe that you can get something besides air for free in NYC,but it’s true,all the walking tours offered by the above named company are free of charge.Well,you can pay as much as you like,but it’s optional.However,the quality of the tours is high and the guides are top.
While you are still on the plane,close to landing at some point the Statue of Liberty becomes visible and that’s the moment when you realize that your whole visit to NYC would be missing something special if you couldn’t go close to it.A short ferry ride and wishes come true.The feeling of being in front of the probably most important piece of art,symbol of freedom can be described just with one word:special.I had that feeling once again when I visited the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls ( well,3 times there actually).
Hopping back on the ferry and getting of at Ellis Island to visit the National Museum of Immigration.Even if you are not such a museum person ( I’m not ) if time lets you it is interestesting to take a look.
Once back to South Ferry station hit the road by walking around.Plenty to see: such as The Bull right where Broadway starts,go on,go on and you hit Wall Street and wander between rich bankers and important companies in the financial district.If you can keep up with it and reach the end you have right in front of your eyes the Brooklyn Bridge.Maybe you need a rest …There are benches:take a seat,but still… all you see around:serious men in dark suits – financial district as I said.
For a change of scenery let’s take a stroll in Central Park,New Yorks biggest park and the scene of many Hollywood movies.This place is absolutely fantastic! Of course I wasn’t able to check out even half of it cause it’s massive,but still I consider it’s a totally awesome place.You have all you need:runners,walkers,taxis,horse carriages,walking paths,lying areas,hills,lakes,stones,zoo,fountains and God knows what else.
Another cool museum to visit and it’s just next Central Park ( if you exit on the correct gate ) is the Museum of Natural history.If you’ve seen the movie Night at the Museum you are familiar with what to expect from it:massive dinosaurs are from far the highlight.
I happened to be in NYC for Easter and took the opportunity to take part in a funny event called Easter Bonnet Festival,where all kind of hilarious dressed people and also animals where happily walking up and down the luxurious Fifth Avenue.
Besided that,on Easter Sunday I listened my spiritual calling and went to a Baptist church in order to see live a gospel service,which was quite cool – well at least the 30 min I’ve been there – and as the church was located in a neighborhood called Harlem,I visited that too and discovered a Hungarian pastry shop which unfortunately was closed otherwise I would have celebrated in Hungarian style.You probably think now: “Of course it was closed,after all it was Easter Sunday!” Wrong!Remember:we are in New York,the city which never sleeps.That applies also for Sundays and holidays: stores open and so on,so on.The Hungarian pastry shop employees must have been very happy,that was the only place I’ve seen closed on Easter Sunday!
Speaking of food (and adding drinks to it) – comes to my mind to mention a few wonderful places.It’s well known that street food in NYC is a must do,also that burgers are popular,but did you know that a regular portion of a meal is enough for one day?Oh boy,sizes are huge in that country! Hey,I’m still talking about food!Gabby O’Haras near Times Square serves the best ever turkey and onion rings,
Five Guys (Times Square) has extraordinary fries to offer,at Big Nick’s I went for a soup,but saw them serving massive,appetizing burgers.In the matter of drinks and atmosphere I really liked a small bar near Times Square,called Beer Culture:nice bartenders,good atmosphere and big beer variety.In Brooklyn,more precisely in Williamsburg try Biblio bar and their cocktails:yummi!Near Grand Central there is a really cute bar,called Snafu and it’s fantastic.I had my last cocktail there before heading to the airport and I liked not only the cocktail and the service in general,but also the atmosphere.
My trip to NYC was a great experience in many ways and the cherry on the top of the cake was watching a Broadway show.Now I know what they mean when saying:”There’s nothing like Broadway!” I can only agree.Combining culture with fun,music with dance,great talents with a wonderful teamwork results:Mamma Mia.For discounted prices try the ticket lottery or rush tickets and for as less as $32 the show goes on!Getting up at 7 am in order to get to the box office by 9 and try my chance was the right thing to do: I got the discounted tickets and made friends with nice people while waiting in the line,plus received tips for my trip to Sweden!
New York City,it was nice to meet you!