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New York: Enjoying the city that never sleeps

New York city known as the Big Apple and it is a city that never sleeps. Every corner is a thrill in Manhattan

i.c Golina
New York in Red Font

Start spreading the news, I am leaving today, I want to be part of it, New York, New York certainly came into my mind as I sat outside my 75th floor hotel balcony on Broadway Avenue, sipping a glass of gin and tonic as I look out outwards to Hudson river and beyond. It was hard for me to imagine that I would be sitting alone in New York City doing just what I am doing now 30 years ago. As I sat there looking down on the sea of sky-scrapers with the evening sunset light filtering through the buildings and the cool breeze splashing onto my face compliment the perfect evening.

View from my hotel balcony

I first came to New York City, four years after 911 attack for a week where I did a self-guided tour of New York’s most popular visited attraction sites. It is a hustle and bustle city that never sleeps and it is undeniably one of the most beautiful and hectic city with hundreds of attractions, nightlife and entertainments. I can see why most people love to visit New York and am glad that I am part of it. I visit this mega city again in 2009 and 2010 where I spent a bit of time with my friends who live on Long Island. As I looked back, New York is the city that I have re-visited a few times, not only I love the city but every time I visit the place, there is always something exciting happening from broadway to broader expansion and developments in whole of New York city. It is a modern and dynamic city from skyscrapers (old and new) peppering the growing skyline to shopping centres and many more. In brief, the city of New York comprises of five boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At the very core of it all is Manhattan, a densely populated borough. Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and sprawling Central Park and also the Times Square.

Apart from the hustle and bustle city of New York, known as the Big Apple, it is arguably one of the most important cities on the planet. It is among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centres and diverse, always buzzing with an unlimited number of attractions to explore in the city. Most of the biggest landmarks are found in Manhattan, which includes the Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building. The city is always throbbing with flashing neon lights and glittering billboards and the Time Square is New York city’s dazzling entertainment district where tourists can catch a broadway performance and shop for souvenirs day and night.

As I continued to enjoy the views of downtown Manhattan above my hotel balcony, I began to think back on my first visit to New York city, ground-zero construction was in its infancy stages. It was the attack on American that changed the world. However on this visit, without having to rush, my intention was to take a self-guided tour around New York city over few days. To really enjoy this mega city, I needed time to absorb and immerse myself in and around Manhattan streets, subways, shops, restaurants and cafes, nightlife and their way of lifestyle to blend myself as a New Yorker. Without a doubt, high-rise buildings in all shapes and sizes are endless and a part of New York city.

The following day, my first day began with traditional New York breakfast – Barney Greengrass before catching the subway to Empire State Building located in Fifth Avenue, downtown Manhattan. Barney Greengrass is famous for its smoked salmon, sturgeon, and Nova, which can be enjoyed with eggs or a traditional New York bagel with cream cheese and capers. I wanted to try something a little different and exotic so tried the cheese blintzes and homemade chicken liver. If you haven’t taste this while your in New York city, you haven’t experience the Big Apple tradition. This was an absolute delight. I must admit, it was my everyday breakfast for the whole time I was there. What a great way to start my day.

Making my way around busy New York city was easy but for first-timers it can be a nightmare to the start of your holiday in New York. With careful and constructed set of mind on reading and understanding how the Metro subway operates in all directions of the city, your holiday in New York becomes easy, fun and even more exciting. As I got off the subway, I made my way around the streets to the fifth avenue where Empire State Building is located. I purchased my entrance ticket before ascending to the very top of the building. The empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper and the top floor, which is also the observatory deck stands at 1,224 feet while the other observation deck stands at 1,050 feet. This was the grand-design of all time in America and standing right on the top of the building was an experience that can’t be explain in simple words. The 360 degrees view just totally blew me away and I felt like I was almost touching the clouds, especially cumulus. It was absolutely stunning. What a thrill and honour to be standing on top and be filled with amazement, the experience was unforgettable. This is one of the places that I would highly recommend travellers to see if they are visiting New York city.

Inside the Empire State Building be taking the escalator to the top
View on top of the Empire State Building over looking Manhattan and beyond

After this breathtaking views, it was time to relax as I strolled around the city area with so much surprises in every corner before having American ribs for dinner.

The next day, as I wanted to explore more of New York city, I took a river cruise tour around Manhattan and to Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty is located. In brief, the Statue of Liberty is arguably America’s greatest symbol of freedom and opportunity. The river cruise company picked me up at the designated bus stop, a kilometre walk from my hotel and drove along busy New York city traffic, arriving at the pier with 30 minutes later. I boarded the elegant, modern and open small boat with leather seats. As we began to cast off from the dock, our cameras start rolling. We sailed around Manhattan harbour and to the famous Brooklyn Bridge before docking at Liberty island to see the Statue of Liberty. 

From my comfortable leather chairs on the upper open deck, I could see the stunning and enormous buildings – skyscrapers emerging upwards to the sky in all shapes and sizes. To catch the glimpse of Manhattan on the river cruise gave me a different perspective of how this mega city looks like. The highlight of this boat cruise was visiting the Liberty island where I was able to stand beneath the Statue of Liberty and really understand its significance.

Aboard the river cruise
View of Manhattan
Closer view of high rising buildings in Manhattan
Crossing the Famous Brooklyn Bridge
More view of high rise buildings
Statue of Liberty
Heading towards the Statue of Liberty

After this amazing river cruise, the boat dropped me back at the pier and taken back by the bus to the hotel. I explored more of the city on foot – shopping and buying souvenirs. I spent the evening at a local dining place, chatting with locals over anything. Perhaps best of all, I enjoyed the boat cruise and seeing how Manhattan is like from a distance. My night was well spent.

From personal perspective: Taking time to explore this dynamic city, it has truly open up my mind and brought my understanding to a whole new level. This mega city is truly a amazing city to visit. As we travel, we need to take time to really explore the area and have a feel of what it is like.

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