Taking a bite of the Big Apple: 5 days in NYC

With only 4 whole days in New York City, we knew that we would only get to experience a fraction of what it had to offer. You know how you travel and you want to see everything, but then you just end up in being in such a hurry you didn’t get to enjoy it? Well, we were arriving with a ‘we’ll see how much we get to see/do’ attitude. It was already something just being in the Big Apple and feeling the buzzing atmosphere.

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Day 1: We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and had to spend some time finding our way to our hotel (a luxury we allowed ourselves at the end of our almost 2 month trip, though it was in the cheaper end). This wasn’t made easier that my subway ticket didn’t want to work, however we made it in the end. After having gotten our things to our room, we decided to walk to Central Park and have a look around. I loved the park almost from the moment we entered. It almost felt like an escape, though you were constantly reminded that you were in the middle of a big city. The surrounding buildings you could see rise up, the bustle of people in the park and the street performers, were all sneaking in and reminding you that you had not left the big city. However, this fusion of city and nature seems only fitting for Central Park. We then had dinner at one of the burger places down the street from where we were staying, before getting some rest.

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Day 2: Our first whole day in NYC, we put on some good shoes and set out to explore Manhattan. With a map in hand we started our sightseeing on foot from near Central Park where we were staying. We were soon surrounded by the colourful light at Times square, which is an interesting place. Teeming with tourist and traffic, it is surrounded by the iconic adds. You also find those people dressed up as various characters trying to get tourists to take photos with them, in the hope of earning some money. Some are dressed up really good, but others just look weird and slightly scary. As we went onwards leaving the good and badly dressed characters behind, we suddenly found the Grand Central Station, which we had to go in and explore too. Taking a few photos we were surprised by the number of armed guards or police that we saw. We will probably never get use to that. While the main hall is impressive, what was interesting was going down one level and discovering a food court and shops. This place that makes you forget that you are actually in a big station. You don’t notice the flow of people coming and going in the same way. Coming back outside we then eyed the Chrysler building and walked on to see the Empire State building. We decided not to go up and see the view from the top, but just took a few photos and strolled on. We had seen the iconic buildings and that was enough, we still had a lot to explore. Buying a sandwich at a kiosk, we sat down in Madison Square garden to have lunch and do a little people-watching. NYC does have a great diversity in that aspect, and the way they use the parks is interesting. We sat next to a pair that seemed to be having something like an interview/informal career advice meet-up. Strolling onwards through Washington Square garden, we found the One World Trade Center in our attempt to find the 9/11 Memorial. We got momentarily lost finding ourselves inside the Center, confused about how we got around it to the actual memorial. The Center wasn’t completely finished yet, so we had to backtrack and go out. We did find the memorial and looked at the names, while the water fell down into the middle of them. It’s a strange place. While it seems like people genuinely come there to remember and pay their respect, it also seems like a stop on the sightseeing tour where people just get their picture taken there and continue on. We didn’t stay long, and didn’t feel the need to have our photo taken there. It seemed a bit out of place for us. We walked on enjoying that the spring weather was starting to show, until we ended up in the finance district and Wall St. We walked down Wall st. and was surprised at how small it was, compared to how it’s talked about. Soon Brooklyn Bridge was in sight and we realised we had to go away from the water a bit, to find somewhere to get onto the actual bridge. We were soon on the bridge along with many others. It does give you a nice skyline view of Manhattan and you can make out some of the important buildings rising up over the rest. We walked halfway across, before we turned around heading back. We were ready for dinner and still had to walk all the way back. We made it through Times Square on the way back, now that it was getting dark. It is interesting to see the difference, and how it looks much better in the evening than during the day.

 

Day 3: So of course we had wanted to go and see the Statue of Liberty, since it is one of those iconic things to see in NYC. However, a couple of days before we arrived in NYC, we found out that tickets to get up where booked way in advance. Several weeks, meaning that was not going to happen. That is the downside of not planning far ahead, that you find yourself in these situations. We weren’t too bothered by it, we would just be saving the money it would cost. Instead we took the Staten Island Ferry, seeing NYC and the Statue of Liberty from the water. The ferry is free, so we thought we might get on the water for a little while. It was a rather grey day, but we sat outside on the ferry, making sure we were on the side facing the statue. Of course you don’t get that close, but it was enough to take a few photos with her in the background, and some of the city. Having been on the go for so long with hardly any days of just relaxing, we decided to take the ferry back and go watch a film. Exploring Staten Island will have to wait for another time.

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Day 4: Since we were meeting up with some family for lunch, we decided just to have a relaxing day. There was no point in rushing. Instead we had a sleep in and located on a map where we were meeting. We meet up at Rosa Mexicano near the Licoln Center for lunch, and we can definitely recommend it. The best was when we had a starter of crisps and guacamole. They stood and made the guacamole for you right there by your table, checking how spicy you wanted it. We were big fans. Some hours later we said goodbye and heading for Central Park. It was packing with people. Maybe it was because it was the first weekend with sunny weather, or it may just always be packed in the weekend. We explored more of the park, saw people of roller skates and bikes, some playing baseball, and tons of people lying around on the grass and relaxing. There were also some entertaining street performers that we watched while eating our ice cream.

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Day 5: Our last day before we were going to pack and head home. Being in the US we felt like we had to see a sports game of some sort. Of course a very american sport. Experiencing the atmosphere of that. Turns out that there weren’t too much yet, since we were early. But we did find that the Mets were playing the Miami Marlins, and decided to get tickets for the game. We have never seen baseball and don’t really know the rules, but assumed that it was something like rounders we played as kids. We came early to Citi Fields, but people were already linen up and waiting for the doors to open. Most of them showing their support in their outfit, we felt a little touristy with nothing on. So when we got in, we ended up buying Mets t-shirts, so that we fitted in with the crowd. If you are going to do it, you might as well do it right. As the game started we slowly got the hang of it, and it didn’t get much better than the Mets winning. It just made the experience so much better, with the atmosphere of happy fans leaving the stadium.

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