And that's what New York does to you. As the sun sets over the Hudson River, the neon lights in Times Square take over and make you forget the 23,000 steps that you walked all day. You see a cultural amalgamation, cheerful people and realize how unique each person is. You don't get lost in the crowd. You only feel inspired to push yourself and be better each day. I leave New York with the best memories, and hope everyone gets a chance someday to visit this amazing city. The city is truly magical.
While this trip was almost off the plan initially, we made it! Packing our bags, driving down from DC Washington, racing through the sudden downpour and traffic, we made it to NYC - The city that has always been on my bucket list ever since I watched "Friends" during school. I must say the city totally lived up to the hype. If you're one of those with a hectic schedule or have just one day in New York, here's a handy guide. My eventful day started off at 12 noon and ended at 3 am!
1. One World Trade Center or The Empire State Building?
While most say, each one is an experience in itself, the view from both the buildings is quite similar. I was recommended to try out the observatory at One World Trade Center given the amazing 3D Virtual Tour. After having visited Newseum (in DC, Washington) just one day ago, the memories of 9/11 was fresh in my head . We started off by paying a tribute to the unfortunate victims of the 9/11 attack. I even saw a little boy keep a white rose on one of the names listed in the memorial. It is so disheartening to know that families suffer even today after that tragic event. With goosebumps all over, we stepped into World Trade Center.
The elevator to the 102nd floor displays the rise of New York skyline since 1500!
A 3D Virtual Tour awaits you at the 102nd floor, transforming into one grand stage showcasing the mighty New York skyline. The number of skyscrapers in this city is unimaginable!
2. Raging Bull at Wall Street
Being in the finance field, I always wanted to go explore Wall Street and take a picture with the raging bull. Little did I know, that this is one of those Expectations vs Reality moment. Thousands of people surrounded the raging bull, to take back with them one of the most iconic images of New York. The raging bull is a massive bronze statue of an aggressive bull, to symbolize aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. Well, of course I made my way through the crowd - crazy things tourists do!
3. Battery Park
This is the best place to make good use of your time and still check off all the things on New York bucket list. It is a 25 acre park facing the New York harbour and one of the best spots to admire the icon of freedom - Statue of Liberty.
4. Walk through Soho Street, China Town and Little Italy
The streets in New York are packed with sky scrapers and lots of people. I loved the energy in the air. The architectural details in the buildings, the colorful walls, cute sidewalk cafes, street performances - it is an urban wanderers delight. We strolled (rather shopped) through the Soho Street. The mannequins in each shop literally invites you inside. You can get easily lost in the world of fashion, unknowingly converting dollars to clothes (Guilty)
The variety of culture in NYC is mesmerizing. We strolled through different streets each symbolizing its unique culture.
5. Times Square
There is a reason why New York is called the Culinary Capital! While there is no dearth of food joints and food trucks out here, here are the places I managed to cover in a day -
1. I love exploring new cuisines and trying out new flavors. But the joy of eating Bisi Bele Bath is totally priceless. If you're a Desi like me crying out for comfort food, Saravana Bhavan is a great stop!
2. Kati Roll Company serves the best frankies I've ever had
3. Ruben's Empanadas (Stuffed savoury pastries - Spanish cuisine)
4. Dinner at Thai Son, in China Town
5. Drinks at Hell's Kitchen are to die for!
Since the hotels in NYC are quite pricey, its best to stay in New Jersey and travel to New York via Ferry (it takes just about 15 to 20 minutes). We stayed at Ramada, New Jersey City.
Places in New York still on my bucket list - Central Park, Japanese food at Ippudo and Broadway show. Until next time:)