Central Park and French Bakeries – While Central Park is not non-touristy, its big enough that you can find something new every time! This time we saw the Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare garden and the Jackie O reservoir. Belvedere castle is a miniature castle with lookout points which provided great view of the park. My favorite discovery though was the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir – this huge reservoir with a jogging track frequented by the likes of Jackie O and Bill Clinton provided an unobstructed view of the skyline around the park. The view keeps changing depending on the time of the day and I definitely intend to come back around sunset!
One of the world’s most recognized locations, Times Square is a must for any New York City itinerary. You may have seen it in countless movies, but there is nothing like standing in the middle of it, especially at night, and absorbing its sights and sounds. Times Square is an overwhelming experience for all of your senses. Marvel at massive billboards, catch a famous musical, shop in the area or soak in the unique Times Square vibe with a hotdog in hand. There is plenty to do here.Call it a night guzzling beer at the New York Beer Company in Hell’s Kitchen. Their goat-cheese pizza is to die for.
Empire State Building
Pit stop over, and we were on our way to the Empire State Building. We planned to go here just in time for sunset, and stay to see all of the dazzling New York City lights - this did not go to plan! We underestimated quite how long it would take to get there from the hostel, and arrived in the dark! The views were still very impressive, and to our luck we didn't have to queue at all! We did find out however, it is extremely difficult to take any decent photos of yourself at the top - especially a selfie with a view!
Next up was Brooklyn Bridge. We decided we'd already done enough walking for the day (and again only had limited time) so we opted for the New York Subway. It was surprisingly quiet and easy to navigate! We were given advice to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, and then hop on the subway back to the city.
Statue of Liberty
My first stop and probably the one I was most excited about was visiting the Statue of Liberty (or as we called her 'The Lady')! Getting here from the hostel was the first challenge; meandering through the foot traffic, trying to cross the busy New York Streets, while not forgetting to take pictures and follow the map at the same time! It was tough but we made it! We took a route that led us through Times Square and Wall Street, which was amazing to see. The ferry to the Island where 'The Lady' lives, was only a short 15 minute journey, but I wouldn't recommend doing this with a hangover, especially if you're partial to sea sickness! Ground Zero & 911 Memorial Museum
An art deco landmark and a spectacular viewpoint across the city, the Rockefeller Center was constructed in the 1930s. Out of the 14 Rockefeller Center buildings in New York City, the ‘Top of the Rock’ observation deck is situated at the top of the GE Building. The 360° panorama of New York City icons like the Empire State Building, Central Park, Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge can’t be missed.Right in front of the Rockefeller Centre is the world famous rink was first opened on Christmas Day in 1936. It is 122 feet long and can accommodate approximately 150 skaters at a time. Let your hair down and skate to your own version of ‘Let it go’!
The High Line
Highline which is an elevated railroad re-purposed into a park is quite a brilliant idea. Surrounded by greenery you can explore the avenues of New York and get a different perspective of the skyscraper city from a height. Parts of the Highline curves out towards the Hudson so you can get river views along with modern skyscrapers and old lofty warehouses. There were also sculptures and plenty of artwork from local artists on the way to take a peek at. Loads of nooks and crannies to stop and rest – the occasional sun loungers to laze around in while eating popsicles, benches with street views and beer gardens as well. We went on a Wednesday and it was nice sunny day with a lovely breeze so we had a good time strolling and soaking in the serenity in the middle of the bustling concrete jungle which I thought was pretty cool! Be warned though I have been told it gets busy over the weekends.Murals and cool billboards as you walk along the Highline. I particularly loved this technicolor version of the famous WWII sailor kissing the nurse photograph!
Grand Central Terminal
The terminal has 44 platforms, the most in any railway station in the world. It has restaurants and various fast food outlets as well as delis, bakeries, newsstands, a gourmet and fresh food market, an annex of the New York Transit Museum, and more than 40 retail stores; which can be explored at one's leisure
Bryant park next to the New York Public Library is like an oasis surrounded by tall skyscrapers was the perfect place to relax and rest our tired feet. The park has a big grassy lawn in the middle surrounded by trees with chairs and tables to sit under the shade. The grassy patch was alternatively being used for sunbathing and activities like yoga lessons, a game of chess and even some live music.
Radio City Music Hall
The biggest indoor theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall is larger than life. So much so, that it is said, "The Music Hall needs no performers." Just its marquee is a full city-block long. More than 300 million people have enjoyed stage shows, movies, concerts and special events at the Music Hall. There's no place like it to see or stage a show.Renowned for its elegant Art Deco architecture and its history of movie premieres and awards shows, Radio City Music Hall tops the list of must-see attractions for many art aficionados. Join an expert docent to tour The Hall that has been awing visitors since the its opening in 1932.
Arguably the best skyline in the world. There are several points from where you can enjoy thebeautiful skyline of NYC - my favorites are Brooklyn Promenade and Newport/Pavonia (Jersey City). Indians may be able to recognize these two points from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna movie. Many scenes in the movie have been shot here.
Grab a meal in the Chelsea Market –There are many staircases to get off the Highline and one of them is next to the Chelsea Market. Walk past the Google NY office to enter the Chelsea Market. The building is quite unassuming from the front, but inside the architecture was beautiful with tons of food places, pop up shops, tea shops – very hipster-y. The place is chockfull of restaurants – from artisanal cupcakes to vegan sushi! We managed to grab some excellent crepes here and looked into this store selling over hundreds of different oils and vinegars and salts (who knew expresso balsamic vinegar even existed!) which allowed tasting.
The Phantom of the Opera
I am a high fan of the Phantom of the Opera music and the movie. So watching it on Broadway has been on my bucket list for a while now. This was truly a phenomenal experience and should not be missed – the stage settings, the production quality and the actors, everything was awe-inspiring! The Majestic Theater is a grand old theater perfectly suited for the sheer extravagance that is the Phantom of the Opera.
The final stop on your New Work City itinerary has to be Chinatown. The Chinatown in New York City is a destination in itself. It is the largest community of Chinese immigrants in the United States and is well-known for its restaurants, markets and crowded streets. This makes it a perfect setting for soaking in Chinese immigrant culture.Chinatown is also a food-lover’s paradise and it will delight you with its authentic yet cheap food options. Dig in to a pile of dumplings at the Flaming Kitchen while you’re here. Also be sure to check out the teeming Canal Street, which is lined with narrow shops and stalls selling T-shirts, jewelry, and “luxury” handbags. Your 3 days in New York City come to an end with this experience!
American Museum of Natural History
There is no better stage than The American Museum of Natural History to unleash the nerd within. It is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural museums renowned for its vast collections that “serve as a field guide to our planet’s history and present a panorama of the world's cultures.”Since the American Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869, its collections have expanded to more than 32 million specimens and artifacts culled from all around the world. The dinosaur exhibits in particular will blow your mind!
Ellis Island was initially used as an immigration station for the visitors to America. Now it is a place for Museum of National Importance. One takes a ride to Ellis Island along with the ride to The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. The route to these islands is through Ferry that covers New Jearsey-Ellis Island-Liberty Island-New York.
The Charging Bull is one of the most popular statues in the world and was created by Arturo Di Modica after the 1987 stock market crash. His 7000 pound work represented "the strength, power and hope of the American people for the future."The story goes that the statue was dropped off outside the New York Stock Exchange by the artist in 1989. The police swiftly removed the unwelcomed bull. Soon after, the parks commissioner had it placed in its current spot at the Bowling Green Park. The bull has remained there and has been a huge hit with the public ever since.Get a picture taken standing beside the fierce looking head, climbing on top of the bull, or posing next to the anatomically detailed backside!
Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Right down the road from the hotel, on Banker St, a few minutes away is the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a smorgasbord of excitement under one warm roof. Live music, local craft beers, food kiosks, video games, popcorn, pingpong, grafitti and mini golf, along with local artisans selling their wares. The vibe is casual and unpretentiously fun. And the music is damn good.
Views are slightly over-rated and the best ones of the Statue of Liberty as also the Manhattan skyline are to be had from the free ferry to Staten Island. The place where the ferry takes off for Liberty is actually nice to hang about and idly watch skate-boarders practising falling in innovative and gravity-reinforcing ways. Anything else is overhyped, including the rooftop bars - did someone say Gaensvoort? – and the other observation decks. You can do the Empire State building if you must scratch the tourist itch but I’d rather wait for the new WTC towers to be finished and go there instead. Else, you always have the Chrysler building to walk into and admire from the inside. The outside, if one need add, is equally stunning.
Greenwich Village is a residential neighborhood known for giving rise to the Beat Generation. It is a haven for artists. Fabled artists like Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac and Dylan Thomas walked these tree lined streets back when. The bohemian flavor of the area is still found in the coffee shops and bars of Washington Square Park. Rows of townhouses and charming alleyways around the park literally transport visitors back in time here. This is a great area to visit for newcomers, if for no other reason than to say they were here.
Washington Square Park
The other attraction in Greenwich village is the Washington Square Park. Located in the NYU neighborhood this park has a tiny Arc-de-Triomph type arch and a very nice water fountains in the middle where kids were dancing in the water to beat the heat.The park has multiple street artists performing, some good, some downright bizarre! But its a great place to relax with coffee and a book or just lounge on the grass and people watch.
Over 12 million immigrants entered the US through Ellis Island, the nation's principal gateway during the years 1892-1954. Following restorations in 1980s, the building reopened as a museum dedicated to the nation's immigration heritage. A must visit for those interesting in knowing more about over 4 centuries of immigration history to America. 2nd and last stop of the ferry ride before we reach back NYC
Tenement museum might not be on the top of the Museum list for your first visit but it did give us an unique perspective of New York from the view point of the immigrants. We did one of the neighborhood walks that they offer around east village and learnt how the waves of immigrants from different countries had shaped the neighborhood. They even have a Chinese Dominican grocery store and one of the oldest candy stores! Tenement buildings are buildings which have fire escapes in the front and were themselves quite pretty.