I came back from New York City two days ago, and one of the main things I learned is how much you can accomplish in a day if you set your heart on it. We had a short 2.5 day trip, but managed to go to so many places with time left over. Here’s how our trip went down–
The flight- The flight from YVR to JFK was the worst I’ve ever been on. Right when we were about to land, the pilot suddenly dipped the plane back up because the heavy fog caused zero visibility. We had to land at Newark Airport first to refuel and wait for further instructions. At Newark, passengers had to stay on the plane for five whole hours before we flew back to JFK. So there we go- half a day of our 3-day trip gone. My mood immediately lightened up when we landed at JFK- because what’s the point of moping about something you can’t do anything about?
First impressions– 1) The airport wasn’t as nice as I imagined, because I thought big airports would usually be nice 2) There is a lot more diversity than what I am used to (Asians everywhere in Vancouver) 3) Subways are just as dirty as people describe them, BUT we got a performance by two guys who came on our subway train and started dancing to some music (pretty cool NYC welcome if you ask me). It was like a scene you would see on television.
The High Line & Chelsea Market– Our first destination was this really cool elevated park that runs along the lower west side of the city. On our way there, we went by the New York Public Library and Time Square. At the end of the park was Chelsea Market, where we grabbed some authentic tacos at Los Tacos No. 1.
Brooklyn Bridge– After dinner, it was the perfect time to go to see the New York City skyline turn from broad daylight to night time. The bridge is quite a bit of a walk, but the sunset view was definitely worth it.
Liberty Island & Ellis Island: We head out early to catch an early Statue Cruise in order to beat the crowd. It felt kind of surreal to be standing under the Statue of Liberty, because it’s just one of those things you’ve seen all your life in pictures and on movies but not in real life. Ellis Island had an interesting little museum, where we could see the process of how immigrants came to America a while back. The dormitories reminded me of prisons, because there were just a bunch of bends hanging from the ceiling, with minimal space for the occupants to move.
Wall St. & 9-11 Memorial: Similar to the Statue of Liberty, it seemed surreal walking on Wall Street and seeing where all the big finance-y stuff happens. Too bad it was the weekend, so we didn’t see business people in suits in ties walking around Wall Street.
Shake Shack: Just had to add this here because damn, the burgers here definitely life up to its hype. They were surprisingly even better than I expected. Only complaint- the bottom bun was soggy, but I guess that’s just what happens when the patties are extra juicy.
Soho: Soho’s a neat little shopping district with shops of various sorts. There are restaurants, boutiques, brand names, as well as a bunch of street artists lining the sidewalks. After Soho, we ended up wandering to other shopping districts which I am not sure the name of.
Times Square: We went back to Times Square at night to see the huge billboards and neon lights. It was definitely a sight, but the crowd was real. You had to snake your way through the crowds to get anywhere. I clutched on to my purse real tight, because I always hear horror stories of pickpockets in NYC, and I definitely did not want something like that happen and ruin my trip.
Central Park: I’m absolutely in love with how there is just a great big giant park in the center of the city. It’s a good place to escape to when you’re tired of the city. It was a gorgeous day and people were sunbathing on the grassy hills. There also seems to be frequent events in the park- the day we went, they had a Japan Day event with booths and performances and music.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: The highlight of the museum was this special exhibition they were having called China: Through the Looking Glass. It was an exhibition of designer dresses and outfits inspired by Chinese culture and art. The museum itself was like a huge maze so we ended up only going through a fraction of the museum. I also got called out for filming in the museum by an old lady employee… oopsies.
Top of the Rock: We decided to go to Top of the Rock instead of the Empire State Building, because I read online that the views from the Rock were better. You can actually see the entire Central Park and the Empire State Building. The view from the top was breathtaking- we could see all the places we visited and if you look carefully, you can even spot the Statue of Liberty. I’d say that was a pretty good way to wrap up our trip in New York City.
After wandering around NYC for three days, my three favourite aspects of the city are:
1) How there are parks every few blocks. Even though it’s a big city, there are numerous parks for you to sit and relax before continuing to take on the city streets.
2) How it is almost impossible to get lost. The streets are neat and perpendicular to each other, with the avenue number decreasing as you head south.
3) How there are a ton of different districts in the city. You can easily wander from one to the next, and feel the difference of the vibe in each district. Soho has this artsy relaxed vibe, while Times Square has a fast-paced and upbeat vibe. Every road you turn to, you might find yourself in a different area, making the city feel so much more diverse and interesting.
There’s so much more to do in this city, and so many corners I have yet to discover. Which means- I know I will see you again soon, New York City.