Mid September I made one of my biggest dreams come true – I visited NY! I’ve always been drawn to it, ever since I was a little kid. Some of it was because of the cult TV shows like Friends, Seinfeld and Sex and the city, alongside the music, the art, the joie de vivre and the buzz of the city. It always seemed so fun and full of life. Feeling this yearn for years I started developing a plan for my travel across the pond and after my friend Andreja said fuck yeah we’re going, decided to do it. The preparations started a year before the trip, just like savings, and it’s good that they did, because we would get so overwhelmed there and also in debt. Andreja was in charge of researching what to do and see part of the trip, and I was in charge of what to eat and where part. So this is my first post out of two dedicated to NY, and this ones talks about the sights of the city. First time coming to America we waited for 4 hours just to get to the check in point. JFK is a busy mess. If you want to buy a SIM card they cost around 40$ for 1,5-2 GB of data, We drove from and to the airport with Uber, but the city is so well connected that you can use public transport. Uber was our preferred choice because a) we didn’t feel like dragging our luggage and b) we didn’t feel like dragging our luggage. NY constitutes of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn i Staten Island. We were situated in Queens, Sunnyside and it was perfect as it’s quitter and calmer and has more greenery than Manhattan. Manhattan has avenues that cross it vertically (the number grow from east to west) and streets that cross it horizontally (the numbers grow from south to north). Citymapper is a great app to have to get around the city. Let’s start.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
Grand Central is the most famous train station and is situated on the corner of 42nd street and Park Avenue. It was built in the early 20th century and has 44 platforms. During mid seventies they planned to knock it down, but thanks to Jackie Kennedy it was restored. The main hall has a beautiful turquoise colored ceiling with golden drawings of zodiac signs. There you can also find the famous clock, pictured in many romantic comedies as the main meeting point. I was taken by the windows, and how much light they bring to the space. Grand Central is actually a huge complex where you can find shops, coffee shops, food market etc. I loved the whispering corner, where you turn to the wall and whisper something and the person opposite on the other side hears it loud and clear.
CHRYSLER BUILDING I EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Although we didn’t go up any of these buildings because we’re not the types to stand in line for hours, both building are important for their commercial value and their architecture (art deco). Chrysler was the tallest building until 1931 when the Empire State was built. Even today Chrysler is the tallest building in the world with brick and metal construction, and those metal parts on top remind me of a syringe. Empire on the other hand was a place from which people liked to fashionably plummet to their deaths. Iconic ”the most beautiful suicide photo was taken there when the 23 year old Evelyn McHale decided to give up. Anyhow, it’s great to stop and stare at those buldinigs from the street or a roof top bar..
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
Walking from the Grand Central station towards NY public library you’ll turn to East 41st Street aka Library way. There on the floor you can find different golden panels with different quotes. When entering the library (free of charge) you have to go trough security check, and then you climb the floors. The ceilings are decorated with beautiful pictures, just looking at them you could lose hours and hours. You can move through some of the rooms, but quietly since people are there working. It contains more than 10 million books, which sounds like paradise for a book nerd like me. This is also the place where Carrie Bradshaw wanted to get married. While there, check the museum shop, it’s full of interesting stuff.
Probably the most famous visual, next to the Statue of Libery, Times Square is a mekka of tourists and crowds. Wherever you look some kind of screen is glowing with a commercial for a Broadway show, new jeans or make up, and you’re constantly pushed if you stand longer than a minute. It reminds me of Tokyo (although I was never there). Underneath the main screen (which carries the coca cola commercial) is a small sitting area where you can sit down for a minute and take in the scenery. And then all of a sudden a bunch of people get up and have a fashion show. Or a crazy guitar lady makes noises you’ve never heard before. Or a muscly guy asks you if you want to touch his python, referring to a snake around his neck. Times Square never has a dull moment.
Coney island is located in the southwest of Brooklyn and is considered a family place for fun and leisure time. I thought it looked plastic and creepy, a perfect location for a King novel. But it’s far from a horror story. Kids laugh and scream when riding the Cyclone, one of the oldest rides. You can walk along the beach, feed the super fat sea gulls or just stare at the colorful spectrum around you.
Brooklyn bridge is the famous bridge which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s the place where Steve and Miranda met and decided to get back together. Besides the SATC trivia, Brooklyn bridge was the biggest suspension bridge when it was being built. It’s pretty narrow considering the amount of people crossing it every day. There’s one lane for the walkers and one for the cyclist and if heaven’s forbid you find yourself in the wrong one, you’ll hear about it from the loudmouth New Yorkers.
DUMBO ČETVRT I BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Dumbo (down under Manhattan bridge overpass) is a neighborhood located near Manhattan bridge. It’s great because there on Sundays you can visit a flea market which offers everything. And then you can take a really nice walk towards the Brooklyn bridge park where you can watch the most spectacular sunset.
SOHO, CHINATOWN I LITTLE ITALY
All of the above are three hoods’ one next to the other, on a small territory, without any visible borders so it feels like walking through different world stories. Soho is more posh and trendy, clean and modern and super expensive. Chinatown is loud and smelly, super crowded with amazing street artists. Little Italy is a place where Americans with Italian background live. When we were there, it was Saint Gennaro’s festival so the streets were flooded with stands, food and booze. We managed to come across this really cool guy that sells shirts with pictures taken in the NY subway during the 80s. Warm recommendation.
90 BEDFORD STREET I 64 PERRY STREET
The first one is the address of the Friends building, and the second one of Carrie Bradshaw. When we were in Soho they had a pop-up Friends museum with props from the Friends show, but the tickets were sold out over the summer. We stooped by the store and managed to catch a glimpse of the museum over the counter.
TOP OF THE ROCK
Top of the rock referrers to the top of the Rockefeller center to which we, in a touristy manner, climbed. We bought the C3 city pass, with which for 83$ you can visit 3 famous locations (out of the 8 offered). Top of the rock was one of those locations. When you walk in, you go through a strict check process and you have to keep your bag in your hands, wait to be permitted into the elevator etc. And then you get up to the 65th floor in 45 seconds. From there you have a view over the whole of the Manhattan. It really is a wondrous sight. The Rockefeller center constitutes of 19 commercial buildings and was built after the 1929 stock market crash , It employed thousands of people who, through this job managed to put food on the table, and who started the Christmas tree tradition.
The cruise on the Hudson river is also a great experience which you can use with the C3 pass. We took the 90 minute ride and it was just the right amount of time to ride around the Manhattan. Experienced tour guide will tell you all the cool stories about the buildings and architecture and you’ll have the best view over everything. It’s super windy so take a hat.
HIGH LINE I CHELSEA MARKET
High line is actually a beautiful walking route which leads you towards Chelsea. It used to be a train pass that stopped coming, so they re-purposed it to a walking line and botanical garden with abundant of herbs and flowers. A little oasis in the busy city. It leads you directly towards to Chelsea market.
Definitely one of my favorite spots in NY. Actually the city would be 50% less attractive without it. After a week of concrete we craved some greenery and seeing the sky so we wasted 2 days just lying around, reading books and soaking the sun. Our tradition was to go to Wholefoods, buy a pack of fresh food, take a blanket and a book and just roll out. People around you play frisbee in cirque de soliel way, yell, dance, play music, train dogs. Then you take the stroll towards lakes or some little sculpture. Or Woody Harrelson passes you on a bike. It’s all possible!
Another park, but much smaller. It’s located behind NY city library and it’s like an amusement park. It has a little library, coffee places, board games corner, ping pong, nugget hunt etc. It’s adorable.
A place where the twins used to stand (world trade center) is really a sad place, despite the millions of people chatting and laughing around you. First you get to the part where the towers stood, with names of the victim written onto panels. There is a memorial center and a museum and there’s where I really understood the full magnitude of the tragedy. The remains of the towers, messages to the loved ones, pictures of before and after. We split our ways and did the audio guided tour on our own, Unbelievable.
We went to Wallstreet over the weekend so we didn’t see all the people rushing in and out of the buildings. But we saw the charging bull where mass of tourists are trying to take pictures so we skipped it. Could not not wonder, how much money is here?
Best nights of our trip. We saw two shows: Sea wall/life because of the pretty Jakea Gyllenhall, and the drama really was amazing, and we had to go stalk him (thanks A!). Price, 180$. But the Phantom of the opera was only 60$ and it blew us away. It is simply incredible!
To be honest, the only museum we visited. I liked the Basquiat’s expo and Kandynski pictures, but some of the stuff is just stupid. I am clearly not the artsy type. But we did enter the Moma store so here some of the stores to visit:
Extra things to do:
- Jazz klub! Many times.
2. Rooftop bar
Where you get a robe and a view for a price of 20$ per drink. We also went to the cinema, sat and and observed people, stared at graffiti and ate everything. But we actually lost weight cause we walked for 20 km daily.
Next post, food of NY!