There I was, my two feet on the ground, the very ground that has seen so much devastation, so much hurt and pain. I have been here before and I am sure I will be here again but the over whelming feeling I experience each time, is new and different.
The 9/11 Memorials are breath taking, a perfect way to turn something so somber, an area that holds so much emotion and memories for the people of New York, into a beautiful place of remembrance.
There is no mundane rhythm in New York, the beat of the city doesn’t hum quietly, unknown and unheard, it doesn’t suffer from any sort of identity crisis, nor does it cry out for attention from the rest of the world.
No. New York is loud, vibrant and proud. From the suburbs to it’s very core in Manhattan, every inch of it has something to explore, see and experience.
There is no right or wrong time of the year to visit, or length of time to stay, although I would recommend a full 5 day break to get the most out of your time there.
With Air b’n’b really taking off, offering affordable accommodation in sought after locations, I chose to use them for my 3 night trip in New York. Although they are a cheaper option, a rental with them in Manhattan can still be pricey for the budget traveler.
I decided to stay in Brooklyn to bring down costs and what a wonderful area to not only explore, but to base yourself in while exploring what the rest of NYC has to offer. It does have a slight 90’s feel about it, like it hasn’t fully re birthed in to the naughties yet. Everything just feels that little bit ‘old school’, which as an avid lover of 90’s hip hop and lifestyle, was ideal for me, I was in my element. The fact that I was staying at Biggie’s home turf, was an added bonus.
Luckily for me, I stayed just a 3 minute walk from the nearest subway station on 59th street and a train in to Manhattan was just a 20-25 minute ride away on the N train. The subway is pretty easy to get to grips with, with a single ride costing $3.
New York was at the end of my trip and after a fun fueled 2 months in the USA, which started out in Los Angeles, I was pretty strapped for cash by the end. So when I say that everything I did was on a budget, It was on a VERY tight budget.
Food was a mixture of unhealthy things, from the standard $2 hot dogs from the aluminium trailers that are parked on nearly every street a long Broadway, to a $6, 12 inch Pizza Pie from a small family business in Brooklyn. I know what you’re thinking, what is a pizza pie? Well apparently it is just a regular pizza, they just call it a pie. Weird.
Once you are fueled up and raring to explore, I recommend (depending on fitness) getting the subway to the South entrance on Central Park and walking all the way down to Battery Park. It may take you a good hour or two but it’ll be worth it. Stick to 5th avenue or Broadway and you’ll pass things such as Times Square, The Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Wall Street and The World Trade Memorial on your way down.
From Battery Park and if you squint hard enough, you will be able to see the Statue of Liberty, sitting pretty out on Ellis Island. You will also get the usual bombardment from people targeting the tourists, for boat trips, walking tours, helicopter tours and so on. The secret to seeing the State of Liberty though is to take the Staten Island ferry across to, you guessed it, Staten Island. It is free and runs nearly every half an hour, sailing straight past the Statue. I recommend a sunset cruise for dramatic views.
There are so many nooks and crannies to NYC, every street and corner unveils something marvelous and exciting and you forever feel like you are starring in your own movie. If you are one to enjoy people watching, whether it be while looking through the lens of your camera, strolling through the many parks or while sat outside a dashingly handsome yet cute cafe, then New York will make you want to do so.
Take Washington Square Garden for example, a bustling area of New York that fits in all walks of life, from religious groups, musicians, dancers and chess players. Ladies bursting with quirky and individual fashion sense trot around with all importance, making you wonder where they might be heading and the less fortunate sit quietly in the background, awaiting hope.
It is something that you can’t avoid, not just in New York but in all cities and why should we? Homelessness is very real and very much happening. I saw something that warmed my heart just south of Wall Street. A group of young men, who were all homeless yet instead of begging they decided to give back. They put on a show, a full dance routine, involving the tourists and letting everybody get involved. They ended it by saying; “There is only one race that matters here, and that is the human race”. They only asked for small donations and in exchange we received a marvelous show.
There is no blog post, capable of telling you of all the things you can do in New York, not truly. It is something you have to go and experience for yourself. A city that is capable of making you fall in love with it from afar, a city where magic happens in all seasons. A city that will make you fall in love again and again, with each visit.