New York: 9 Things To Do: First Impressions

9:16 PM

'You're in NYC, Live Like it' In New York you see this tagline quite often on road side boards. If Vegas was late night party, New York is its hangover that refuses to fizzle out. I ain’t a tourist here, I live in New York Area. As someone who lives and breathes the same air from across the Hudson river, I confess the first time was hard on me when I arrived by Bus No 158 from West New York, Port Imperial, New Jersey to Port Authority New York, to like the very thing that I hated the most about any city - the never ending chaos. 

The City Skyline of NYC from Port Imperial, New Jersey
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As a short term tourist who checklists attractions its always beautiful to be forgiving. But for someone like me, who had come from the peaceful welcoming Wisconsin and was forewarned that people here ain’t sweet as sugar and my own complex thoughts on how my arrival in New York reminded me of Chicago blended with Mumbai, I must admit I was quick to judge on how withered at times the old constructions were - the subway, the bus station etc.. contrasting drastically with how fairytale the shiny tall skyscrapers looked. People weren't as nasty as I thought them to be, they were to the point, direct and busy like every other busy city.

I immediately told myself ‘Do I really have to like this city’ and ‘Thank God I live across the river thats more spaced out' and the skyline can be thoroughly enjoyed from New Jersey. The view everyday asks me the same question now ‘Have I outgrown my own thoughts’ and the answer comes ‘Yes, hell, I have started liking New York’. Yes, Its crowded, its cornered with buildings, at times dirty, the traffic sucks, the queues at stores suck(do you guys know in malls you have to pay extra tax over brands, so a lot of us shop in New Jersey), however there is so much to do that in comparison, New Jersey would be a dull sister, which I am sure I say so, because I haven’t explored much of New Jersey either. So to be honest, in my one month stay here ever since I came to New York area, New Jersey, I have just been to New York 3 days.

In front of Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn, NYC

 In those 3 days, what I loved about New York was the experience called New York itself. One can never get bored in New York. It’s a walkable city, where your own footsteps add onto many on the road. Where you can watch the Bollywood actors dance, and wonder ‘Wow I am in New York’ and you can say to your friend’s proudly ‘Oh New York thats just there’. Where you can enjoy both roadside and gourmet food equally and even wait in the queue despite the fact that New Yorkers have less patience in anything but food.

It's a city which you can never be infatuated with at first glance, but slowly but surely you would start liking it, and by the time you try to figure it all, you would have fallen in love.

New York has that attitude love me or hate me but you can't ignore me. It makes itself seen and heard.

 So these are some 9 experiences I had, some typical, some not so typical that you may love to hear:

 1)Take the Ferry: If you haven’t seen the red tinge of the sunset over the skyline and the Hudson river from the Ferry with wind in your hair from the open deck, you might have missed the whole experience altogether. A lot of us, in New Jersey take the PATH train($2.5) or the NY Transit bus($3.5) to New York. The NYWaterway ferry is awesome, a little expensive for $9 one way, usually taken by people in 9 to 5 jobs, it just takes 10 minutes to New York and after that they have buses that drops you to their stations in destined route. These buses are free to take, and so I have taken first drop to Times Square, sometimes first drop to Central Park.

They also have return stations, so you can stand and pick back the bus to the Ferry Station which can be tracked in app NYWaterway. New York does have Water Taxis , Sightseeing Water Buses , Hop on Hop off Boat Tours , Dinner Cruises and Cruises which too are lot of fun. Some folks do kayaking in the Hudson too which you can try. Sometimes enveloped in smog, sometimes fog and sometimes just sometimes bloody moon nights or full moon nights, the views of New York from New Jersey its one of its kind. I am privileged to live here with view as these:

 2)The Parks: Central Park is safe and open spaced heaven for nature lovers. Its spread across many acres, and the southern part takes 3 hours to enjoy whereas the northern part may take more. It has its own castles, lakes, fountains, visitor centers and even traffic lights inside the park. It was where I had brief encounter with Bollywood shoot featuring Arjun Kapoor. It is a very popular place with Bollywood and a lot of movies including Kal Ho Na Ho was shot here. So no wonder, if you walk past by an actor someday don’t be surprised. Watching them is fun. And while you are here, save those little squirrels who happen to wander on the biking / hiking paths and get themselves injured or lost as we did rescue the baby squirrels and made them reach their moms and waited for 3.5 hours for it to happen try to divert them consequently again and again away from the path. As per the map, I did the Pond, the Diary, The Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and the Boat House.

Outside Central Park - lined Horse Carts

Spotting Arjun Kapoor and Joining the clapping crowd for a Bollywood movie shoot with several retakes.

As soon as you enter Central Park, you feel a serene escape from Concrete Jungle

Me, rescuing two Squirrels at Central Park and making them stay off biking route.

 Near to Central Park is Columbus Circle where you can enjoy shopping. And for food, you have to try this Greek food with Mykonos type setting called Souvlaki GR where you get great Greek food (I had Souvlaki Pita) and its just a walk away from Central Park. Central Park looks beautiful during fall so we are planning to go to Central Park again this weekend and spend some more time.

 3)The 9/11 Memorial: The saddest event of the century needs a gratitude to be expressed with flowers only the departed can feel.  Two of our relatives had died during the event so we had gone there to pay respect to the departed on 9/11 memorial day on September 11. Millions of flowers were placed in names of those departed. However the search for flowers was a struggle for us, because no where we could find a store that sells nearby within 45 minutes of walk.

During the memorial day,Tribute in light is raised honouring the souls of 9/11. The beauty of this light is from a distance it looks like its soaring upwards or beaming down from heaven .

The towers are not from where the lights are flashed, so the best view is from New Jersey.

View of Tribute from Newport, New Jersey

 A few blocks away is Saint Paul Chappel or ’The Little Chappel that stood’ is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan, where during the 9/11 attacks and collapse of Twin Towers, St. Paul's Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site. A short walk away is also St. Peters Church which is the first Catholic Parish Church in New York State.

Also, there is a World Trade Center mall in the complex which has an amazing architecture and also has the path station inside.

 4)Times Square: Times Square is the ever happening square of New York. Everyone who comes here makes a visit, it seems to be the central point. Huge Screens with lights and displays and skyscrapers around, its a place which can never get boring. Beware of clowns or people wanting to get picture with you. With me my Times Square experience was strange. I was getting my picture clicked by my hubby, a lady in funny dress / clown hugged me , asked for a picture and voila asked for money of $5. What’s strange was I had never invited her.

During the night, enjoy the various shops on the stretch or just the buzz Times Square gives. Brazilian Fest was my first fest I attended near Times Square at Little Brazil and the loud music was appealing to all of us, along with food.

Brazilian Fest 2016

Though, I am not very fond of Times Square street food , I have tried Halal Food during normal days and Fried Ice cream during Brazilian Fest they were okay. I would rather have Biryani on the food stall near 9/11 at Liberty Street. We also had ice cream at Wall Street Food Stall opposite Trinity Church and that was good too.

A must try Food Truck specially the Biryanis

 5)Brooklyn Bridge: The first time I saw Brooklyn Bridge from New York, It reminded of the Roebling suspension bridge of Cincinnati. So I came to know that its designed by the same person called John A Roebling.  I would highly suggest, taking a walk on the Bridge as a must do from Brooklyn to New York than New York to Brooklyn. The Bridge in person from far may not look as attractive but when you walk on the Bridge the architecture is stunning. Standing on the Bridge you can see statue of Liberty at one far end and Manhattan Bridge on another while there would be plenty of cars going beneath. Its a feeling to witness.

The Sunsets from Brooklyn Bridge are awesome. Walk from Brooklyn to New York..

Lady Liberty on the backdrop of sunset - A picture taken from Brooklyn Bridge

So guys ever since I came to NYC, I have been very observant of moon here every night. Its special.
 I have seen bloody colored big moon touching the skyline on one of the nights.
This one was when I was walking on Brooklyn Bridge on Oct 15, the night of Full Moon or super Hunters Moon.
My camera couldn't capture how big it was because I don't have zoom lens but it was near to earth and it was big and bold. But be aware of these full super moons next to which is happening in November so that you get your cameras ready.

I just love walking on Brooklyn Bridge..

The sunsets are gorgeous on Brooklyn Bridge and so is the pizza under the Bridge at the Brooklyn Side at Juliana or Grimaldi. Rated as one of the best Pizzas in US, we were standing in the queue for 45 minutes to get inside for our Coal Fired Pizza at Juliana and the pizza was great.

And munching on Juliana's Pizza

Brooklyn also has Flea Markets - one of which was a dud for us which we attended this weekend which was Brooklyn Flea Fort Greene it was vintage and expensive flea. The other one is Smorgasburg on Williamsburg Brooklyn where 100 food vendors collect , we plan to do it this Saturday. We have really heard good things about it.

Didn't quite like this one..

 6)Flatiron Building: The Flatiron Building is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper.The building, which has been called "one of the world's most iconic skyscrapers is a quintessential symbol of New York City” .

As with numerous other wedge-shaped buildings, the name "Flatiron" derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron

It's very thin shaped, I wonder how they created this one.

As you walk towards it from the 5th avenue, you would pass through Eataly where you can enjoy Italian specialities and gourmet Italian food including Gelatos, Pizza, Italian Fare, Italian Delights, Cheese and varieties of Nutella. I find this place a little expensive, unless I am in for Gelatos or Cakes.

Walk though Flatiron to broadway on the side towards Union Square, where you can enjoy cute boutique shops which I adore.

Broadway shops such as Fishs Eddy, Flying Tiger Copenhagen etc are very creative, very affordable and I love walking on the whole street.

Just 5 minutes before Eately on the 5th avenue is this place called museum of sex. We saw it last time, and it was getting closed, so we couldn’t check it, but if you are passing by and happen to come across something as this, do let me know how it turns out to be.

7)Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity Church: It was a coincidence that we were walking on the 5th Avenue popular for shops like Zara etc and all of a sudden we passed by this huge Neo - Gothic Style Roman Cathedral on our opposite and so we decided lets walk towards it.

The shops at 5th Avenue are adorned..

St Patrick's Cathedral is a beautiful impressive Cathedral inside out - a must do for visitors. The architecture inside is so beautiful that one can sigh in peace and along with prayers and candles many many are seen taking millions of pictures.

                           Saint Patrick's Cathedral happens to be my favorite

On the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway is Trinity Church, that has been part of New York for 300 + years. As you walk past, do have a look inside.

Trinity Church, NYC

8)Washington Square Park and Soho: Most of the time, I find myself walking in the city and there’s something or the other happening. Soho is a neighborhood street which refers to as south of Houston Street, where you have a lot of boutique and creative shops lined up whereas at Washington Square Park is a meeting place for cultural activities you have these performances by people that many love to relax and watch and some folks love to jump and get wet in the fountain. The park is an open space dominated by Washington Square Arch.

Washington Square Arch

9)Empire State Building: All the three times that I have been to New York, I usually get down at Empire State Building Bus Station but I am yet to see the observatory from where you can get great New York views.One day maybe. Somehow there’s always a queue and somehow that doesn’t make me go in! However I have hiked quite a bit around it to get the feel of the places, so we have Madison Square Garden and Macys which is popular and a couple of mega stores. Also the lane which is just at the back of Empire State is full of cheap junk jewelry and other imported cheap stuff. If you do get time, wander around.

 Remember New York is a hub of entertainment so whether its New York Fashion Week or performances by top musicians, there’s always something you can keep yourself busy with. New York Fashion Week happens in Feb and September where you can register for RSVP for public entries. And thats what I love about New York today despite the fact that

 When I complained that I have rat in my home, the person at reception told me, like this huge, the kind of ones you find in Superstores of New York. I said, no, oh said he, it must be mice. You got my point but these are such small things really.. :) 

Nah.. don't. Driving isn't easy in NYC and parking, all the more difficult to find.
So a lot of us just walk . walk. walk.

 I feel I haven’t yet scratched New York even a bit, because common to be fair, I haven’t yet been to Statue of Liberty nor have I been to Grand Central Terminal nor to any of the Touristic Wonders nor to renowned museums nor have I explored the good food scene in depth. I even despised the idea of clicking my picture with the Bull at Wall Street though I have been there once, because that bull was so loaded with people that my chance to be with him, would have come after half an hour or more.

Not just anything for a selfie.. can you spot the bull?

 I love this list by Airbnb on 30 things to do in New York

 With being Tourist, you can’t escape the checklist, but being a local, I can do it all some other day. Till then hope you had enjoyed my post. My vlog would come very soon. And if you have been to NYC or have stayed there, help me where must I go next :)

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  1. The big apple, the city that never sleeps.. NY. Enjoyed reading through your report.

  2. WOW, its looking really adventures and interesting all pics are damn good. Enjoyed reading your post, Thank you :)

  3. Nice experience. Very useful for a travel blogger like me. Tks for making this article.


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