Ah New York… We love this city, its modern skyscrapers, iconic yellow cabs, famous Statue of Liberty, organised blocks…
Arriving in New York, there is a sort of “déjà vu” feeling. If you watch American TV shows, you have probably seen most of New York’s popular sights. But discovering them on site remains an amazing experience! A simple stroll through the bustling streets is enough to make you realize that the Big Apple is a lot more than just a cinema decor.
So what can you do there?
Our New York favorite spots:
We know this may sound cliché but a trip to “The City That Never Sleeps” wouldn’t be complete without a visit to spectacular Times Square. New York’s heartbeat, Times Square is brash and packed with many restaurants, theatres, cinemas, hotels, street vendors, and much more. With all its illuminated billboards, giant screens and flashy lights, Times Square is simply fascinating.
We found a great deal to stay at the Hilton on Times Square using Travelocity. The hotel was nicely located to observe the city waking up in the morning and lighting up at night.
Escape from the concrete jungle and stroll through Manhattan’s “lung” in Central Park. As you enter the park, you’ll be surprised how quiet it actually is. Central Park is really what you want to make of it. Jog, walk hand-in-hand with your loved one, skate, … or just relax in this peaceful 340 ha oasis in the middle of the vibrant city.
Empire State Building
Made from 60,000 tons of steel, the Empire State Building is is one of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers (even King Kong climbed it, do you remember?). So like any respectful tourist, we had to go and visit it.
Aboard express elevators, we reached the observatory deck on the 86th floor in just a few seconds. And we have to say that the panoramic view from the top was a truly memorable experience.
Statue of Liberty
We first spent some time in Battery Park, entertained by eccentric street performers. We then took the ferry to Liberty Island to see the impressive Statue of Liberty. Did you know that the monument was shipped from France to New York divided in more than 300 pieces and only re-assembled and completed on site over a year later?
Standing more than 93 metres above New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of freedom and democracy. The ferry journey is an integral part of the visit. We braved the wind and stood on the open deck long enough to take great pictures of the entire statue.
The Brooklyn Bridge connects Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, over the East River. We took the subway to Brooklyn (Simon was proud to demonstrate his skills to read any map). We went there in late afternoon so that we could enjoy both day and night panoramas.
For our picture-perfect view of the bridge, we headed to the Brooklyn Promenade Park along the East River. As the sun romantically begins to fall, you can see all the twinkling lights coming to life… Magic!
Known around the world as the home of stock trading industry, Wall Street is the heart of New York’s financial district. It was quite nice to walk around the narrow streets on a business day as it was full of high-powered financial leaders in a hurry and gave us a more authentic feeling of the area.
Of course, we did not miss the opportunity to take a photo with the local celebrity: the Charging Bull Statue. Be prepared to be patient if you want to take pictures of the statue without the crowd of tourists around.
Madison Square Park & the Flatiron
Madison Square Park is a rather small family-friendly park. Nestled among some of the city’s historic skyscrapers, this park offers some great views of the Flatiron building.
You have probably seen this iron shape skyscraper somewhere… The Flatiron building was indeed featured as the fictional office for the Daily Bugle newspaper in the Spiderman movies. So of course, we really wanted to see it.
For our full length picture of this New York’s landmark, we went to the crossroads of 23rd Street, 5th Avenue (the place for high end shopping) and Broadway.
The overcrowded streets of sprawling Chinatown are worth spending a couple of hours wandering around. Chinatown is packed with hundreds of little shops selling everything from exotic fruit and poultry, to knickknacks and dodgy stuff not always easily identified!You easily forget you are in America.
For a true feeling of Chinatown, stroll in Columbus Park. It is a major recreational facility filled with people doing Tai Chi or playing table games.
To be honest, Little Italy was a lot smaller than the lively Italian quarter we were expecting after reading our travel guide. Little Italy has literally been swallowed up by the ever-expanding Chinatown. Nowadays, it is really just a few nostalgic streets. But still it was nice to walk around. But be cautious if you decide to eat here…Lots of the restaurants have nothing Italian but the name.
The Rockefeller Center is a complex of well matched commercial buildings. We also spotted some journalists recording a TV show in the NBC studios and spent some time around the famous ice skating rink.
We could talk about New York for hours but we thought we would instead give you a nice sample of what we enjoyed during our 5 day trip. Just enough to build your interest. So if you haven’t been in New York yet, start planning your trip right away… You will love it!