First time in NYC? Your eyes are probably spinning around your head and your brain is trying to process hundreds of images and sounds. You’re feeling excited and overwhelmed at the same time with the enormity and greatness of the Big Apple. You have got a long list of all the places you want to visit, the ones you have seen in films, video clips, heard about from your friends. A returning tourist? You come back hungry and yearning for more. New York City leaves you insatiable. ‘If a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life.’ Well, if anybody is tired of NYC, then I have no time for them! Whether you’ve just set your foot on the Manhattan ground, or you’ve lost more than one pair of shoes on your travels up and down the streets and avenues of NYC, I can take a wild guess that sooner or later you will visit most of the places from my list. In no particular order, 10 things you should see in New York City.
The lights, the glow, the intersection where everything happens! Times Square is a pedestrianised area where crowds of tourists flock every single day and night to breath in the atmosphere of the Big Apple. With the blinding light after dark, or early in the morning, it does not cease to amaze you! Take a seat on the famous red stairs, grab a ticket for a Broadway show, spot a celebrity! This time I wanted to experience Times Square on my own (and just a couple of other tourists who has a similar idea) and a cleaning crew, and I got up at 5 am to enjoy the views in a more solitary environment. Magical! After all, the city does fall asleep at some point! Ok, maybe it just dozes off for a couple of hours!
No walk in New York City is complete without taking it all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge. Built in 1883, it connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. Popular among tourists, Sunday strollers, bikers, joggers, New Yorkers. Admire the skyline of the city and do your bit for a healthy lifestyle.
Have you even seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York? (silly question!) Then you probably remember a massive Christmas tree and an ice rink, then you know Rockefeller Centre- a complex of shops and offices. The statue of Prometheus and colourful flags around the sunken rink are the probably most recognisable elements of this place. And Top of the Rock of course! Go all the way up to admire the magnificent skyline of NYC and the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building
If you enjoy the heights, then climbing up (not literally of course- lifts in operations!) The Empire State Building must be on your list. Once the tallest building in the world, it still gives you thrills when you reach the top and stand on the Observation Deck- the impressive city stretches in front of you- you can see most of Manhattan, including Central Park.
A lot of people I have spoken to and who have visited New York City for the first time, missed this amazing place. The first part of this park built on the elevated railroad tracks was opened in 2009; the next part was given to the public in 2014. High Line is situated in Chelsea and is a well-kept and maintained walkway, full of plants and spots to sunbath or grab an ice cream. It is popular with joggers in the morning and walkers all day long. With multiple entrances and exits, you can ‘hop on and off’ wherever you fancy on this over one kilometre long tracks.
New York Public Library
I know, I know. One of the most vibrant cities in the world, and I am telling you to visit a library! Say what you will but I will insist on stepping inside New York Public Library (Ghostbusters lovers, do you know what I’m talking about?). Beautiful deco, it offers a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle and the heat of the hot concrete of Manhattan. Grab a book, read for a minute.
No introduction needed! The most famous rectangle in the world I dare to say! There is always something going on in the park-performances, artists, shows, Central Park Zoo, Strawberry Fields- a memorial to John Lennon, a leisurely boat ride, ice rink. And if you’re tired, just take a seat anywhere on the green grass- relax. Preferably with a smoothie in your hand!
Grand Central Terminal
One of my favourite places in NYC. A little bit of magic. A dash of gold dust. A pinch of intoxicating green. Grand Central Terminal. If you have itchy feet, then you will feel empowered standing at the centre in the centre. I love watching the people, like ants, rushing towards different directions, with different dreams and thoughts in their heads, some absent- minded, some with a clear vision. Oh, and if you are a fan on Apple products, the you are in for a treat as there is a massive shop on the premises!
Chinatown and Little Italy
NYC is a melting pot, a truly cosmopolitan, multicultural city, a fusion of cultures, traditions and cuisines. To experience its vibrant and delicious part, paying a visit to Chinatown and Little Italy is a must. Little Italy, is little indeed as over the years it has been swallowed by the growing Chinese community, restaurants and shops. If you want to try some of the regional specialities or buy a souvenir, then take a stroll to these two districts.
If you need a minute to slow down, stop, relax and take a breather, wander to Chelsea Piers. Pay a visit to Inrepid Museum which is centred on a military aircraft and features various models of planes, boats and a space shuttle. At dusk, admire a beautiful sunset that sets the skies alight with shades of orange, yellow and red.
While compiling the list of top 10 things to see in NYC, I was battling with my judgements- there are so many other places to see and experience in the Big Apple that could have made it to first 10! You do have to start somewhere though! If you have any recommendations, let me know!