“In New York you are your own person. You may reach out and embrace all of Manhattan in sweet aloneness or you can go to hell if you want to.”- Harper Lee (Go Set A Watchman)
Coming across this statement in the novel that I was reading, I thought of the evenings spent walking aimlessly in the streets of NY. It brought back a flood of memories. Sieving through them, I made a list of the 8 things that should be done when at NY.
Find out about the museums aligned to your interest and head for them. I picked The Met (which is slightly overwhelming) and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (my favorite). You could look up the days when there is free entry.
To get a feel of what NY is all about one cannot escape the walking. Just go out and get lost on the streets. Switch off our phone, don’t see the street numbers or avenue names. Observe the people, the buildings, the contrasting architecture, feel the wind, see the tulips-in short, just experience the city.
The not-so-random walks worth taking in this city include the walk across Brooklyn Bridge and the walk along the High Line. One of my personal favorite, the High Line is a linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. A walk along the High Line offers some very interesting back window views into the alleys and homes of Manhattan.
Walking along the river front on the Jersey City side (From Exchange Place to Newport) is another ethereal experience that is truly worth it. With spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline to give you company, the setting sun reflecting in all its glory on the scores of glass structures and the lights coming on, it is a transition that is worth watching. As a child I read William Henry Davies’ Leisure in which he said, “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” That was one lesson that has managed to live with me all these years and has served me well. So just sit on one of the many benches on the riverfront, and just enjoy the view. See the sky change its color, the lights come on, the people rushing home, the joggers coming out…just sit and watch and enjoy the breeze.
3. Broadway Plays
Broadway theater, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 40 professional theaters located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Take your pick depending on your preferences, but definitely give it a shot. (The touristy favorite is The Lion King).
4. Parks-Central Park, Washington Square Park, Liberty State Park
A trip to NYC is incomplete if weekends have not been spent basking in the sun in one of its green spaces. From long strolls in the verdure Central Park to enjoying the electrifying atmosphere at Washington Square Park, each park offers its own unique environment. With the NYU campus scattered around Washington Square Park, the whole place is maelstrom of youthful energy and activity. Not to forget, the unique High Line is always there to offer its services.
If its peace and tranquility that you are looking for then the picturesque Liberty State Park is the go-to place. My personal favorite, the park has amazing landscaping and offers great views. That you could take a ferry/cruise to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty is an added advantage.
5. Observatories-One World Trade Center, Empire State, Top of The Rock
The view from the top is always the best (or at least one of the best). With quite a few high rises having their observatory open for the public, you should definitely visit at least one of them. A time before sunset is the most apt. You get to see a bird’s eye view of NY during the golden hour and the famous Manhattan Skyline by night. I visited the One World Trade Center Observatory that offered amazing views of Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty….
6. Eateries & Clubs
Try the different cuisines, the pizza shops, the bakeries and the food trucks. Spoil yourself. From the vegan, low cal stuff to the cheesy, deep-fried, super unhealthy food, just given-in to your temptations and your taste buds will not be disappointed. Eateries around The Village, Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen,… just pick up the cuisine of your choice, do a little research on Yelp and get going.
The nightlife at NY should definitely be experienced. From the myriad clubs to people playing drums on the 33rd Street Subway at 3:00 am, there is a lot that keeps happening.
I was super excited about the shopping at NY. From amazing deals at Century21 to picking up books banned in India from The Strand, NY does not disappoint the shopper in you.
8. New York City Bus Tours
If it is a lot of interesting trivia that you wish to know about or wish to see the options available to you for the rest of your trip, then one of the NY bus tours is the way forward. The Big Bus Tours provide better trivia than the others (tickets can be bought from the sellers around Times Square and nearby streets). To enjoy the bus tours, weather should definitely be checked in advance. To be able to go for the Downtown, Uptown and Brooklyn Tour and take the ferry to Statue of Liberty (all in one day) start early.
With its fast life and interesting lifestyle, the city will not disappoint. Just embrace it with an open heart and enjoy all that it has to offer. You will come back with a lilfetime of brilliant memories.