This was my first time in the USA and New York and I was so unbelievably excited! When I got there I couldn’t stop grinning, I was just so happy. I’ve heard so much about this city from friends over the years, so I couldn’t wait to go for myself, but it wasn’t until I finally got here that I realised just how big this city is, and how much there is to do and see!
Most people already know about the big tourist hotspots, like Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park and Fifth Avenue, which are found all over the city. But one major landmark to me was Central Park. It was huge! We walked around it for ages but didn’t even see half of it. However, we did get to see the Alice in Wonderland statue, which I have ALWAYS wanted to see. (I don’t know why it’s there – to quote my boyfriend afterwards “it doesn’t even have anything to do with America”…)
We also went up the Rockfeller Centre building, as part of the Top of the Rock experience. And wow, it was an incredible view! I’m not one for heights, but going up at night with all the buildings lit up meant I was too distracted by everything around me to worry about how high we were (mostly).
High Line Park
Another place for some great views, the Highline Park is a less well-known attraction: it is essentially a park in the sky, built on top of an old freight railway track that runs through the city. A very pretty walkway, with some much needed shaded areas too!
Broadway and Times Square
Broadway is the name of the long road that spreads throughout Manhattan, but it is also the name of New York’s ‘theatre-land’ surrounding Times Square. Our hotel was in the heart of this, opposite the Richard Rogers Theatre, home of the revered musical ‘Hamilton’ (which I’ve written a bit about here). Times Square itself was so so bright! Even at night it looked as though it was still the middle of the day because of the bright electric billboards. It was busier at night too, filled with tourists and shoppers, with it being the shopping centre along with 5th Avenue.
MOMA and Public Library
My top tip I discovered whilst here: the Museum of Modern Arts (MOMA) is FREE on Friday evenings after 4pm until it closes at 8pm! Naturally it meant that we had to queue for longer and it was much busier when we got inside, but it was worth it. There were some great famous pieces of art such as Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, but also some interesting temporary exhibitions too. There are so many museums in New York, so even if art isn’t your thing there will sure to be something that interests you in a museum around the city!
We also visited the Public Library, which was a beautiful building in the heart of the city. I loved looking around the shelves but what interested me most here was the exhibition on Alexander Hamilton. Inspired by the buzz surrounding the musical, the exhibition gave lot of information about his life along with letters and books – many written by the founding father himself!
Whilst I was here I really wanted to take a trip across the East River (we went on the Hudson river when going to see the Statue of Liberty), and we did just that when we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to visit the area of Brooklyn itself. I really liked it – it wasn’t as manic as the the central city itself, and with fewer skyscrapers too. Whilst here we even saw a historical reenactment of the Battle of Brooklyn, and we spent a lovely time in the park in Brooklyn Heights.
I loved New York City so much – it was such a surreal experience to be there, having seen pictures and movies of it for so long! There is so much I still would want to see, so I would love to go back one day (and hopefully I will).