May 18, 2015

6 Days in New York

When the Englishman and I met for the first time, we were both travelling Australia. We met in a hostel somewhere in the middle of nowhere farmland all around us and not much else to do then work and drink and chat with people. We enjoyed chatting to each other a lot, but ultimately we knew we would travel on in different directions and never thought anything would come of us. One morning we were discussing our previous travel adventures and the places it took us and he told me about his 6 weeks visit to New York. A long time SATC watcher and movie enthusiast I naturally expressed jealousy. I ALWAYS wanted to visit New York. It was then, when he turned towards me, put his arm around me and said: “One day I’ll take you to New York!” We both burst out laughing.

Little did we know that only four years later he would gift me a New York travel guide for Christmas with a simple question inside: How about Easter? Um, yes please. So long story short this past Easter we headed to NY for a week. We stayed in a wonderful little apartment on the other side of the Hudson River and ventured out for days long walks (using the PATH train to cross over) exploring the city that never sleeps. With flat feet and full hearts, we ticked off a whole section from my bucket list of places to see, smell and feel. Naturally everyone has a different style to acquaint him-/herself with a travel destination. If you are curious about the touristy, wanna-see-it all, but still feel like an explorer-version then check out our daily itinerary.

Day 1: We started the day at 9th street for a little neighbourhood stroll around Greenwich Village, stopping at Carry Bradshaw’s house (of course!), before enjoying a cool drink at Washington Park. The New York University basically surrounds the green spot and many students roam the area. We sat on one of the benches for almost an hour, watching the locals and students bathing in the spring sun, before we moved on to Chelsea market, where we stuffed ourselves with Italian pasta and buckets full of ice cream. Just off Chelsea market starts the High Line, a former subway line that has been transformed into a park area. We walked it all along until we reached the river side and then headed back into the city to visit the Empire State Building. We had pre-booked tickets, which I highly recommend. It wasn’t even busy when we got there and yet, we saved almost two hours of queuing time and got straight up and onto the viewing platform.

Day 2: Starting in Mid town we were on a hunt for architectural highlights and major movie sites on our second day, including the Flat Iron building, New York Public Library, Central Station, Crysler Buidling, Time Square and Broadway. By midday our eyes and camera cards were full and we decided to simply mingle with the tourists, stroll through the souvenir shops and stock up on M&Ms in their huge Time Square branch. After some much needed down time back in Hoboken (and a pizza feast from the local Italian) we went back to Time Square for a dose of Broadway feeling with Aladdin at the Amsterdam Theatre. (We loved it: flying carpets, djinn from the bottle and everything, but would recommend booking the tickets as early as possible for good offers).

Day 3: With our minds still boggled from the previous day (how did that djinn come out of the bottle?), we decided to ease into the day with a relaxing stroll through the East village, some drinks and people watching. Around midday we wandered on towards Chinatown and Little Italy to pick up some snacks and throw ourselves back into the hustle and bustle, passing by kids playing basketball, old man reading newspapers on park benches and young couples walking their dogs.

Day 4: Easter Sunday was kicked off with a brunch in Hoboken and a ferry ride across the river, before we ventured down Fifth Avenue where the Easter Parade was in full swing. Every year on Easter Sunday New Yorkers show off their craziest hat creations in the bonnet festival, balancing anything from huge flowers arrangements to whole story scenes on their heads. Anyone can join, however we excused ourselves and took the opportunity to visit the nearby MoMa. While I marvelled at the Pollocks, Picassos, Klimts and Monets, the Englishman was not amused and so after an hour and a half we moved on to the Central Park to take in some greenery and hunt down the nearest ice cream van. We ended up spending the whole rest of the day in the park, listening to street artists, moving from bench to bench and breathing in deep the fresh air.

Day 5: We started the day by paying tribute to the thousands that died on 9/11. At the World Trade Centre Memorial Ground, today two huge water fountains mark the places where the Twin Towers used to stand. Taking a few moments we read through the names that surround the water and talked about how we remembered the day. We both agreed that the whole site is breathtaking: the thoughts it evokes, the beauty that was created out of the burned down ground and the architecture that surrounds it. From the Memorial Ground we moved on to Wall Street and then down to the Staten Island Ferry to get a glimpse (for free!) at the Statue of Liberty. Once we were back from the island we wandered on to City Hall, One Police Plaza and Trinity Church before making our way across the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn’t realise how far into nowhere the bridge actually leads on the Brooklyn side. It took us a while to find our way back to the waterfront. With tired feet and hungry bellies, we plunged ourselves onto the grass area that overlooks the city skyline at the new Brooklyn Bridge park. A nap and an ice cream later, our energy levels were restored enough to take the subway to Williamsburg, where we tried THE BEST DONUT EVER (no exaggeration!) at Peter Pan Bakery and shared some German (Seriously! All this way and then it’s my homebrew!) beers, fries and macaroni & cheese on Berry Parks rooftop bar.

Day 6: Despite our best efforts to take it easy on the walking we did quite the hike on our last day in the Big Apple. We started on the lower end of Fifth Avenue walking up the east side of Central Park, past the MET and the Guggenheim and then in the afternoon cut across to check on the dinosaur in the American Museum of Natural History. To be honest we weren’t too impressed on that one. Well, the bones maybe, but the museum itself was overcrowded and confusing with its layout. Therefore we skipped the museum displays quickly and we settled for a whole different cultural input: Furious 7 at the IMAX on Times Square. When it comes to movies America knows how to show them! After this there was only one more thing we had to do for our ultimate New York experience (totally personal view point here!): Get some NY pizza slices.

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