It almost seems cliche to wax eloquent about New York. After all, it is the most iconic city in. the. world. I am absolutely giddy thinking about our planned return trip this summer. So as a fun refresher on the past, and an exciting foreshadow of what’s to come, I thought I’d recap some of the highlights of our New York Trip in 2011.
Self explanatory. Everything I had hoped and more. We bought tickets the morning-of at the South Street Seaport (better selection, shorter lineups, and opens earlier than the Times Square location). We ended up choosing Mary Poppins – the music and venue were spectacular, and our seats were incredible.
The HighLine Park (free)
Weaving through the lower streets of Manhattan as an “aerial greenway,” this outdoor park is lesser-known, but one of our favourite memories of the city. Recommended by my brother, it’s a green oasis in the midst of the chaos. The infrastructure they’ve developed is fantastic; little splash-pads for the kids, lots of seating for, ahem, us older folks. We also managed to score a great piece of artwork at the kiosks dotting the last portion of the walk.
Central Park (free)
Sensing a theme? Free and green is our forte. The scale and calm of the park was such a start contrast to the rest of the city. It really made Manhattan feel not unlike the Maritime s – that is until you looked up and saw skyscrapers and yellow taxis dotting the landscape.
The Rockefeller Center (~$30/person)
Going to the top of some tall building is basically a requisite of visiting New York. I’d never considered any option other than the Empire State, but based on the advice of others (and since John had already gone up the Empire State) we went to the “Top of the Rock.” It was break-taking at night.
Inside was pretty cool too. We tossed around the idea of waiting in line to snag (free) tickets to some late-night comedy show, but ended up opting to just tour the city instead…
The New York Public Library (free)
The architecture is gorgeous and the free exhibits are spectacular. We wandered in after strolling through Bryant Park (another great little green space that has a small-town-feel), and only had a few minutes to look at the special exhibit.
Times Square (free)
The hub of the city, we passed through Times Square multiple times every day. It’s exhilarating and overwhelming. And just plain cool. We ate at the Olive Garden right in Times Square which we plan to make a tradition when visiting the Big Apple.
Grand Central Station (free)
Nothing screams NYC like GCS. Can a non-New Yorker get away with calling Grand Central Terminal, GCS? I mean this place even shows up in Madagascar. Stunning architecture; love the classic remnants in such a modern city. Remember to look up; the ceilings steal the show!
Wall Street (free)
It was really interesting to stroll through the downtown section of Manhattan – walking past Trump towers and Tiffany Co. (yes, I did salivate over their window offerings). It’s incredible how condensed everything is, and how underwhelming the New York Stock Exchange is…
Staten Island Ferry (free)
The ferry was nothing to write home about, but it gives a nice (and free) perspective of the Statue of Liberty. Perhaps if I was an American I’d be more inclined to actually get up-close-and-personal with Lady Liberty, but the free views from the ferry were a nice alternative. Also gives a nice view of the lower portion of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
While we plan to repeat most of these venues on this summer’s trip (maybe even two theater shows; one on-Broadway and one off?), we have a few other spots we’re hankering to visit, including the MET, Cloisters, and Botanical Gardens. We also plan to take a water taxi tour and visit the Intrepid Sea/Air/Space Museum. We’ll likely also stop by “Ground-Zero” – they were still constructing the Freedom Tower when we visited last. If we have the time we’d also like to see the exterior of “Tom’s Restaurant” from Seinfeld (and maybe the exteriors of the Huxtable’s residence from the Cosby Show and Monica’s apartment from Friend’s). So much to do…so little time.
A few other touristy notes:
We stayed in New Jersey; most hotels have shuttle services to Times Square or are within walking distance to a subway station, making them a more affordable, yet relatively convenient, location to stay.
Buy umbrella’s early. I was stubborn (despite not having a jacket) and waited until we were fully soaked (literally, soaked) to buy an umbrella. The first one was $5, and the next was $8. They know how to inflate prices at the most inconvenient of times.
Wear good shoes. Oyyy – the walking we did was incredible (definitely the best way to see the city AND save money) and even wearing good sneakers (with orthotics) I was exhausted.