The city that never sleeps, New York is the city of the tallest skyscrapers, the biggest shops, the best museums, and the hippest restaurants. New York surpasses everything, which is why you must see this amazing city at least once in your life. This became clear to me 5 years ago when we had 5 days to discover the city. One thing is certain: you cannot get bored here! I have to admit I fell in love with this extraordinary place.
This time I was traveling alone since Zsolt was on a business trip in Cambridge, and the plan was that we meet at our accommodation in the Meatpacker District. From the airport to Manhattan I took the bus. It took several hours to get to my destination but it didn’t take away my enthusiasm.
Our Airbnb accommodation in the Meatpackers District
Since the hotel prices in Manhattan were outside our budget we rented an Airbnb flat in Chelsea. The Meatpacking District is a hip commercial area in the western tip of the city. The cobbled streets are lined with trendy restaurants and clubs in the grand halls of the former meat industry from which the area takes its name. Our accommodation was above this cool pub.
You can easily get around in Manhattan by the subway or by taxi. You can see the cars with the recognizable yellow color driving everywhere. More than ten thousand so-called “yellow cabs” operate in New York City. The way to take a taxi is to hail one on the street. Raise your hand and since the taxi is not occupied it will stop and let you get in. Taxis are required to take you to any address in Manhattan. Taxis operate based on a taximeter. We were shocked at how cheap this way of traveling was comparing to the prices in Europe. In every taxi, you can pay by credit card in addition to cash.
Eating on the Chelsea Food Market
Nearby our quarters there was this fantastic food paradise. Here we came to have breakfast and this was also the place where we had sushi for the second time in our life. (The first time was in South-Africa) Along with sushi we also ordered some sashimi by accident. And this was the best that could overcome us! This was the freshest and most delicious fish I have ever had in my life!
So as I mentioned we had our breakfast at the Chelsea Food Market. I don’t want to know how many calories it contained but it filled us well before we took our feet around our necks. We tried to do shopping in the supermarket and prepare our meal at the accommodation, but the prices are extremely high so it is not worth cooking at home.
New York Pass
We had a 5 day New York Pass. This is a discount card that gives you discounts on various sights and tours and in some cases even free entrance. Another advantage that in most places we were allowed to walk past the queue and enter directly. I highly recommend buying one in advance, a lot can be saved with it.
The only place in New York City where it is brighter at night than during the day is Times Square. This square is known for the many neon signs that want to draw the attention of the public here. Times Square is largely car-free. There is a large red staircase in the pedestrian zone where tourists almost always sit to enjoy the view. A great place to take pictures of this melting point.
St Patrick’s Church, and Rockefeller Center
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, you will find New York’s most famous street, 5th Avenue, with Rockefeller Center on it. The square is characterized by tall commercial buildings and a golden statue of the Greek mythological Prometheus “the forward-thinking”. The contrast between St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the streets of New York City could hardly be greater than here. The imposing structure of St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in Gothic style around 1860.
Top of the rock observation desk
Top of the Rock is the observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. From the 70th floor, you have a beautiful 360-degree view of New York City. You have a great view of Central Park and the Empire State Building.
Boat tour on the Hudson river
We booked a Landmarks Cruise at the Circle Line company. In 1.5 hours we saw famous landmarks on both the Hudson and East Rivers, plus breathtaking views of Manhattan’s downtown skyline. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the unparalleled views from the water.
Grand Central, Oyster Bar
If you are a movie fan then visiting the Grand Central Station is an absolute must for you. Besides the fact that almost 40 Hollywood Films feature Grand Central Terminal, it is also maybe the most beautiful building in NYC. Dozens of restaurants and pubs can be found under the station, including our favorite one, the Oyster Bar.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Lovers of maritime and military history should definitely not miss the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The museum is located at Pier 86 in Manhattan, New York. Today, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is home to the USS Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the Growler submarine, and the British Airways Concorde. It is also possible to make a flight in a supersonic jet fighter in a simulator or to travel in the 4D theater. We came here to see the space shuttle Enterprise, and we were satisfied. Despite that, I was very tired of the jetlag I was very much impressed.
In the hustle and bustle of New York City, Central Park almost feels like an oasis. This green heart of NYC is located on the island of Manhattan, between 110th street and 59th street. We rented two bikes and explored the place that way. This greenery was absolutely one of my favorites in the Big Apple.
In terms of design, the Guggenheim Museum is a beautifully unique building both inside and outside. As for the art on display, there is a huge variation in shapes and colors from the different artists. From a practical point of view, the spiral-shaped construction makes the museum very simple and well-arranged. You walk up the spiral paths and then you see all the artworks on the wall on the right.
The Museum of Modern Art is one of the world’s leading museums of modern and contemporary art. It has works by almost all great artists hanging or standing. It has an immense collection, masterpieces from Warhol, Liechtenstein, Klimt, Matisse, Chagall, van Gogh, and many others. An absolute must-see if you are in New York and you love art.
If you’re visiting New York, be sure to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Really nice to walk on it, a nice view over the skyline of Manhattan, and good for the leg muscles.
After visiting the Brooklyn Bridge we walked through the Financial District. This is the beating financial heart of the city with Wall Street and twinkling skyscrapers. During the weekend the streets come to life. During the week, young professionals head to the restaurants and bars of South Street Seaport and the pedestrianized Stone Street after work. The gloomy National September 11 Memorial and Museum, on the site of the Twin Towers, can also be found here.
The date September 11, 2001, is etched in everyone’s memory, and this disastrous day is still paused in various places in the city. The 9/11 memorial is an impressive memorial site for the victims. On the site where the Twin Towers once stood, are now two enormous water troughs with all 2700 victims around the names. The underground museum is intended to keep the memory of the disaster alive. In the various rooms, you will find photos, voicemails, the wreckage of the aircraft, and belongings of victims.
The Cloisters is a branch of the American Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, specifically for art and architecture from the European Middle Ages. It is located in Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights, near the northern tip of Manhattan, on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. The collection of the museum contains approximately 5,000 European works of art from the Middle Ages. The building itself is also a medieval work of art. It is composed of parts of five French monasteries. Beautiful construction, an impressive collection of medieval statues, architecture, and a beautiful collection of Brussels tapestries.
Walking in Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and the China Town
We participated in two walking tours in Manhattan. One through Greenwich Village, and one through Chinatown and Little Italy.
The tree-lined streets in Greenwich Village are home to numerous popular cafes, bars, and restaurants. Jazz clubs and small theaters are located between the brown sandstone buildings. We walked by the famous Cafe Wha. The club has presented numerous musicians and comedians like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, and many others.
Little Italy is very touristy and has a high concentration of souvenir shops and traditional Italian eateries and bakeries. The narrow streets line all kinds of apartment buildings, once home to the immigrants who settled here in the late 1800s.
Manhattan is home to the largest Chinese neighborhood in the world outside of China. With about 300,000 Chinese, Chinatown in New York has now surpassed San Francisco’s Chinatown. A visit to Chinatown means typical Chinese shops, masseurs, and of course restaurants.
After a long way walking around Manhattan, we found a very nice Mexican pub offering the most delicious guacamole ever and good quality tequila. We deserved it, I think.
The High Line
In 2009 a unique park was created in New York: High Line Park or High Line for short. This city park is located on the Lower West Side of Manhattan and was built on an old above-ground railway line that had fallen out of use. Fortunately, the starting point was within spitting distance from our accommodation, so we could easily plan our visit. This unique city park you should definitely see when you visit New York. You walk among the greenery with a view over the streets of New York.
Night view of the Empire State Building
One of New York’s most recognizable buildings is the enormous Empire State Building. With its 381 meters, it towers high above the other skyscrapers. The building from 1931 was even the tallest in the world for a long time! If you’re in the area, you really have to go up to one of the two observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. From here you have a truly fantastic view of the city skyline. And because we have already visited the Top of The Rock in the daytime we decided to go for a night visit to the Empire State Building and we did not regret it.
We made this trip 5 years ago. Now that I’m writing a blog about it, I realized how exciting it all was. I took 2,500 pictures during our stay and it was hard work to select these 120 which turned out to be the best. But I also realized what a good job we did in those 5 days that covered the city’s main monuments. Of course, there are still many attractions waiting for us to return. I hope that this will come soon …