New York. I had the chance to visit this dynamic place back in August for a summer school, and so we crammed everything we could into the two days off for tourist activities around the city. The city that left me wanting so much more, but here are few of the things we got to do our first time there:
1. Cruise around Manhattan
Circle Line offers a variety of cruises around midtown and lower Manhattan, and covers many landmarks – Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Empire State Building, United Nations and many more. The ride itself is smooth and very relaxing, and they have food (YES!), so whether you’re looking for a full tour or just a quick one for photos, the cruise is a must!
2. United Nations Headquarters
This was a major highlight of the trip. Not only did we get a tour of the UN Headquarters in New York, we actually had an audience with the Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson! Needless to say, we had to get past a lot of security and maintain strict regulations. Oh! We even got to have lunch at the cafeteria! All this should have been enough excitement for one day, but the real adventure began when we left the Headquarters…
3. Grand Central Terminal
We walked to the Grand Central Terminal, and boy, it’s every bit crowded and beautiful as in the movies. Everyone’s in a rush, so it was a good thing we were in a rush too and could keep up with the ever changing crowds. I still don’t know how exactly we travelled, since our superhuman guide, Isabelle, got a bunch of us through the counters against all odds. We even discovered a funky trick due to the architecture – definitely try it if you’re there with a friend!
4. 9/11 Memorial
Our first destination off the transit was the 9/11 Memorial. It was nearly sundown, and whether it was the timing, weather, or just the site itself, I had shivers running down my spine while I thought about how a single event changed the course of the world. Regardless, they’ve done an amazing job with the memorial; it’s truly beautiful.
If you go, I’d suggest visiting at sundown.
5. Wall Street
From here, we walked to Wall Street. The architecture is impressive, and the place was not what I’d expected it to be at all. It was very traditional New York, and you’ll get a dose of culture more than you’d expect. We stopped by the Charging Bull – did you know you’ll luck into money if you touch it? True or not, we definitely went all out posing with this hunk. After a long day, this was probably the most fun we had!
6. Times Square
We went back to the Grand Central Terminal via transit and made our way to Times Square – because why on earth not?! We were starving by then, and as soon as we spotted a halal hot dog vendor, we ran! It was, hands down, the best hot dog I’ve had in my life, anywhere in the world. We didn’t exactly look around the place much, we walked around a bit and passed by notable buildings, but unless you’ve got tickets to a show, there really is no point in stopping and staring at Broadway, is there?
Times Square is shiny, buzzing and plastic, but it’s got a charm to it.
So in my very brief visit to New York, I somehow got to tour all of these places, even if only to get a glimpse. I began planning to come back before I’d even left! If you are planning to go there any time soon, it doesn’t matter how cliché they may be, I recommend you visit all the places mentioned above – and more!
You might be interested in checking out Mad Lady’s custom-made playlist for New York here. Or not.