New York is one of those vast cities you could live in all your life and never experience half of what’s interesting to do. So the best you can hope for on a short three day visit is to sample some of what it has to offer. That’s all we managed to do — nibble at the massive buffet that is the Big Apple.
There are so many great travel destinations in New York, it’s difficult to decide how to discuss them in a short blog post like this. We were staying near Times Square so, of course, we wandered past the flamboyantly lite jumbo-trons many times and enjoyed a musical theater production on Broadway (“Memphis” — a catchy and lively show, highly recommended). We wandered around this region of Manhattan, gawking at the skyline and enjoying the city’s fine architecture, especially the beautiful Chrysler Building. We spent several hours wandering through the great New York Public Library (we’re big fans of libraries and love books), one of the finest in America. We did a little shopping on Fifth Avenue, including at elegant Saks Fifth Avenue, and visited 30 Rockefeller Center. We walked past the World Trade Center/9-11Memorial site but didn’t have a chance to visit (be forewarned: reservations are required). We were relieved to see that after 10 years there was active construction and that Ground Zero was FINALLY being rebuilt (in a city that constructed the Empire State Building in only 18 months).
We spent an evening at the Empire State Building and enjoyed the wonderful view of the night sky over Manhattan. This is an experience I’d certainly recommend to first time visitors to New York. We visited Grand Central Station (very aptly named) and dined at it’s famous Oyster Bar restaurant. And we walked and walked and walked. Like most cities it’s best explored on foot. We spent a fascinating afternoon wandering through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gaining little more than a fleeting impression of its vast and fine collection. And the food in New York lived up to its high reputation!
Our visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was unique enough that I’ve written it up as a separate blog post, which you can read here.
Our brief visit ended with a flurry — literally. We were caught up in the first snow storm in October in the Big Apple since the Civil War. The city was not prepared for this storm and everything ground to a halt. Our flight from JFK Airport was canceled and we had to scramble to rebook for the following day and to try to get a hotel near the airport — not fun but part of traveling.
In summary, we liked New York a lot, loved the visit, but wouldn’t want to live here. The city’s far too crowded and we’d quickly miss the wide open spaces, mountains and forests of the West. New Yorkers often seem too busy and too stressed out — and not very happy (though I think most are). But like Paris and London, everyone should visit New York at least once in their lives. And if you love big cities pulsing with life, then this is definitely where you want to go.
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