It could probably be argued that New York is the centre of the universe when it comes to matters relating to finance, culture, fashion, food and sheer entertainment. It’s a great city for walking and there is so much to see and do that you probably need to go back every few years!
We were travelling with our dear friends Rosella and Neville and although we had different objectives for the trip, we shared a stunning spacious and modern, two bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen with spectacular views down to the Hudson River on one side, and up towards Central Park on the other side. It was a perfect spot to catch up with each other and grab a New York style breakfast or snack together, while admiring our view.
The High Line is a public park built on a long abandoned freight railway line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs for 2.3 km from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
It’s a wonderfully green pathway flanked by various plant species and features art installations, colorful murals and viewing platforms that jut out over city corners, offering incredible panoramas of the neighboring architecture. Close by and just below is the food haven, Chelsea Market featuring endless delicious things to buy and a good stop for lunch.
Nothing small about these Ruben sandwiches!
We hopped on a ferry across to Staten Island which gives great views of the Statue of Liberty up close along the way. There’s not that much to see on Staten Island, but the trip back on the ferry again gives great views of the NYC skyline across the water. New for us was One World Trade Centre, which is a distinctive eight-sided tower, filling a footprint exactly the same size as that of the Twin Towers. It is the tallest building in New York (and the Western Hemisphere). It is quite an emotional sight to see, given the sad history of the location.
Lunch on more than just one day, was at Eataly. It is a vibrant Italian marketplace that features an array of cafes, deli counters, drool-worthy restaurants, and a cooking school. The pasta dishes of the day were out of this world. It was hard not to overindulge at lunch and then even harder not to buy all sorts of deli goodies to take away with us too! If I lived in NYC, I would spend far too much time here.
We stopped to admire the Flatiron Building and its famous skinny wedge shape. Constructed between 1901 and 1903 at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989. It is the city’s oldest surviving skyscraper.
If you are a shopaholic, 5th Avenue is the place to visit! We wondered into Macy’s for a quick look and ended up spending ages buying shoes and clothes.
If you are an international visitor you are eligible for a 10% off ‘foreigners discount’ on anything in Macy’s! What a pleasure.
Times Square is a constantly buzzing tourist magnet, one of the most visited places in the world for the ambiance and the billboards spectacle, and the many restaurants and shops.
We spent far too long inside M&M’s World. Yes I’m a bit of a chocaholic and being given a big bag and being able to fill it up with any of the types of M&M’s was just delightful. There are mint, peanut, normal chocolate, dark chocolate ones and hundreds more! You are charged by the weight of your bag. The merchandise is also colorful and lots of fun – definitely not just for kids!
Its hard to imagine that the terrain for Central Park, when it was bought in 1853 was a swampy area that had to be completely transformed to create the amazing sanctuary it is today. It was envisioned as a place where people, irrespective of class could relax, a rather revolutionary idea for the 19th century. Spring was just beginning to show itself, but unfortunately the park was still recovering from the winter months so the trees had not come out in their finery yet.
Chinatown and Little Italy
Exciting places to visit, particularly if you are a foodie are the districts of Chinatown and Little Italy.
Chinatown is the vibrant and densely populated neighbourhood, drawing tourists like ourselves into the South-east Asian restaurants for dumplings, noodles, dim sum and pork buns. The sidewalks are packed with souvenir stores, the shops and fresh and dried herb and spice markets.
Little Italy is the original home of the immigrants who settled in this area in the late 1800’s. The main four blocks are packed with Italian eateries and after dinner we headed for one of the more famous pastry shops for gelato and cannoli.
Buildings of NYC
This city is jam-packed with tall buildings and many of them are stunningly beautiful. Its incredible to walk down a street and recognise familiar sites that have been featured in so many American movies. New York is defined by its skyline created by the buildings on Manhattan island.
Empire State Building
Until 1972, this was the tallest building in the world, when the North tower of the World Trade Centre surpassed it. It is still one of the most famous sky-scrapers in the world. We took the elevator to the observation deck where there were amazing views of Manhattan and its surrounds.
The Rockefeller centre is a beautiful place to visit even just the outside with its gardens of bright flowers and water fountains. We just took a look at the lower plaza and vowed to come back one day to see the famous Christmas tree and ice-rink.
Grand Central Station
New York’s Grand Central Terminal is so much more than just a train station. The continuous crisscrossing of people (more than 750 000 per day!) makes this place feel like the beating heart of the city. Grand Central Terminal is a work of opulent art, with its large nickle and gold-plated chandeliers, and famous clock made of opal. It was built in 1913 by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. I’ve always admired this iconic place when it appears in movies. In real life, the domed ceiling and its spectacular mural of the zodiac and 2,500 stars that was designed by artist Paul Helleu and painted in gold leaf is awesome. We spent some time watching people: People waiting, people meeting other people, people rushing, people pausing – non-stop activity!
The story of the Sphere
When we visited New York in 2005, we came across a damaged sculpture, known as The Sphere. The Sphere is a 7.6 m high, cast bronze sculpture by German artist Fritz Koenig. I was interested to discover that it was originally commissioned to stand in the middle of a fountain in front of the plaza between the two towers in 1966. at the Austin J. Tobin Plaza. Ironically, it was created as a symbol of world peace through trade.
The Sphere was recovered from the rubble after the attacks on the tower, visibly damaged but largely intact.
The Sphere was made in Germany and it was installed in 1971. The 45,000-pound bronze and steel sculpture became one of the Twin Towers’ most noteworthy survivors when it was discovered among the rubble. Inside, workers found a bible, an airline seat and papers from the fallen towers. The Sphere was relocated to a temporary location in Battery Park, where in unrestored condition it was re-dedicated (September 11, 2002) with an eternal flame. Having become a major tourist attraction, the unrestored sculpture was re-located on August 16, 2017 to a permanent location in Liberty Park, overlooking the September 11 Memorial and its original home.
The Brooklyn Bridge ranks as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century and is one of New York’s most popular and well known landmarks. The bridge officially became a national monument in 1964.
The impressive bridge spans the East river between Brooklyn and Manhattan and stretches for a length of about 1.8 km. The span between the large towers measures just under 500m. This made the Brooklyn Bridge the world’s largest suspension bridge at the time.
We walked up onto the elevated pedestrian footpath and it offers a great view of the bridge’s towers as well as downtown Manhattan’s skyline.
New York is city that is impossible to be tired of. Each time we come, we stay a few days longer. Already looking forward to the next time.