My First Time in New York City
I love New York City. I love everything about it; its liveliness, its diversity and even its impatience - it's all part of the character that makes this city so unique and so universally loved. I first visited New York in 2011 and it was a whirlwind trip to say the least - five short days went by in the blink of an eye. Having dipped my toes in this beautiful city, I always knew that someday the time would come when we would meet again and really get to know each other. That day is fast-approaching. In fact in less than 72 hours I'll be flying through the sky, about to start my three-week getaway in NYC.
The reason that I'm writing this post right now is that for a long time (too long a time) I've been meaning to post about my very first experience in New York City. I'd written the post, it had been ready to go but it was never posted. My perfectionism is likely to blame but nevertheless, here we are - I'm about to embark on my second trip to New York City and I thought it would make for an interesting comparison to (finally) post my original New York trip and then let you know what I learn from this one.
Without further adieu (it's been long enough as it is), I give you my very first impression of New York City.
Forever busy, bustling and bumbling about, New York City has no time to slow down and give you directions, nor any time to apologise for the inconvenience. And just like any human that relies on caffeine to keep them chugging, New York City displays the classic signs of dependency; you’ll feel the vibrations pulsating through your veins as you walk through Times Square and you’ll be sure to sense the impatience in the air as traffic banks up and honking horns fill the air.
This concrete jungle will eat you alive or show you the time of life depending on how you treat it and what you expect to receive. As you would with any person suffering a latte crave and can’t get their hit, tread carefully, smile sweetly and try not to feel slighted if you’re given short, sharp, one-word answers when you ask “Do you have this in a size 6?” New York City just does not have time for your niceties nonsense!
This massive city, spanning more than 1,213 squared kilometers, accommodates a snug 8.3 million inhabitants within its confines. It's touted as a haven for food lovers, a fashion capital for the shopping inclined, an architectural holy grail (with the world heritage listed Empire State building in its midst) and a serious art hub - with the likes of the MOMA and informal pop up galleries arriving on the scene daily. This Allsorts Candy of a city has more on offer than a mere pit-stop can handle, so make sure you have your itinerary sorted and more than a few days at your disposal before setting foot on The Big Apple’s revered sidewalks.
One of the most identifiable features of New York City is its distinctive skyline and as such, no trip is complete without a stopover at its most iconic building. Though undeniably less romantic than ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ and the predecessor, ‘An Affair to Remember,’ made it out to be, the Empire State building and its lookout point are no less impressive. Take the lift up 102 floors and gaze out across this huge expanse of a city from the ledge made famous in countless films and TV shows.
TIP: While I most definitely made the trek up to the top of this gorgeous 102 storey building, others have said the best view is seen from the top of the Rockefeller Centre so you can capture the darling Empire State in your holiday happy snaps.
The birdseye view of Central Park perfectly framed by the Skyscrapers of the Big Apple is a sight most travellers easy identify as one of the most iconic snapshots of New York. While the image itself gives an indication of the vast size of the park, walking amongst it is another story altogether. At a massive 3.41km², you need to square away a decent chunk of your travel time to really get up close and personal with this enchanting park. From endearing art structures to tranquil lakes, ponds and gardens (and even a zoo!), pack yourself a picnic and give yourself a good few hours to get acquainted with this impressive urban park.
TIP: With more sites to see and activities to do than I had time for, make sure you plan out What to do in Central Park to make the most of your exploration time.
SEE - WANT - SHOP
Perhaps it’s not so much where to shop (although it is) as it is what you can shop. Being from downunder there are countless stores and brands that we don’t quite have on our shores yet and when visiting New York City this truth can never be too far out of mind. Victoria Secret underwear and sleepwear, a famed four-floor Forever 21, THE Tiffany & Co., enormous Macys and Bloomingdales department stores, there’s so much to see, want and shop you’ll probably need to take a breather before taking to New York with your credit card. You might as well get a bite to eat, really.
If one were to describe the cuisine of New York City, it would be a tough task to say the least, because there is very little consistency across the board. In fact, there seems to be none whatsoever. Instead, what New York does is take iconic foods from all around and infuse it with a dash of that sassy attitude you quickly come to know and love. From New York pizza, Cheesecake and Bagels to BBQ ribs, burgers and diner fare, New York City gives you a decadent taste of all your favourites.
With so much to see in New York, it's entirely possible to forget about the art on offer - sometimes you just don't have time to gaze longing at artworks, especially if you only have a few short days at your disposal. But while keen art lovers will visit galleries in paris, barcelona, rome, florence and many others for a taste of their favourite painters, more often than not the most famed and fantastic pieces, the ones they long to see, are happily hanging on the walls of New York’s MOMA unbeknownst to many. From Picasso, to Monet, to Salvador Dali, some of the most revered painters, often lauded their shining masterpieces, hang nonchalantly along the alabaster walls of the MOMA, just off the upper-east side, right by Central Park.
No trip to New York City is complete without some time spent marvelling at the chaotic brilliance of Times Square. With the M&M shop, Disney, Toys ‘R’ Us and Forever 21 hours can be lost simply navigating the wracks of goodies and gawking at the impressive marketing displays lining the buildings.
TIP: Check out Joe’s Diner on West 47th Street. Happy Hour. Nuff said.
New York is a melting pot of cultures, evident in it’s array of culinary offerings, architectural achievements and artistic displays. Set your sites far and wide, keep your pace lightning speed, lock up your sensitivity and dive head first into this exciting city with an equally exciting and an infinitely growing list of things to do.