Oh my… New York!
As a travel blogger, it could be hard to talk about New York in one blog post, just because the city, seriously, has so many to cover.
First of all, New York is the center stage of the world. People from all around the world, the artists, designers, performers, creators, and entrepreneurs alike, come to New York to launch their dreams. An end result, New York is the place to showcase their new ideas: trendy stores, innovative labels, fashion boutiques, technology flagships, and celebrity restaurants, pop up here and there all across town. Every time you come to New York you see something new, something different. Even frequent visitors might feel a little bit overwhelmed had they not been prepared or done their research, not to mention first-timers! For me, the rule of thumb is to set a plan, design an itinerary, and make reservations at places you plan to go to, especially if you want to try a new restaurant.
Secondly, New York is a dynamic and diverse world city. The metropolitan captures both old and new, trendy and classic, high-end and low-end, exciting and relaxing… Anyone from anywhere could have their own unique taste of New York. Take a stroll in the many city ethnic enclaves, where you could almost be immersed in a different world. Explore the many art and history museums and experience the melting pot of culture, history, and people. I promise you would see and feel something that you have never seen before.
Third of all, New York is filled with memorable classics. For first-timers, it is exciting to explore the hip and “right-now” sights in the city, but I would say, don’t forget to discover the must-see city classicism too. Yes, New York has been featured in many television shows, movies, novels, literature, photography, video games, and many more – making a visit to New York a dream for people all around the world. These iconic places represent a moment that is left in the audience’s mind. Remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s, King Kong, the Day after Tomorrow, Sex and the City, Saturday Night Fever, Ghostbusters, just to name a few. Your first trip in New York won’t be completed without seeing some of these classics.
I categorized these classics into groups. Now, in the next part of this series, I am highlighting the monuments, squares, and plazas. of course, if you think there are any more “city classics” that should be included on this list, feel free to leave a comment so I can add them in. You are also welcome to share your personal favorites in the comment section, I am looking forward to hearing what you think!
Union Square is an important and historic intersection where Broadway and Fourth Avenue meet. The current Union Square Park is a popular meeting place for a get-together as the neighborhood is filled with cool restaurants and bars. The square is also a focal point of the surrounding neighborhood with the Flatiron District in the north, Chelsea in the west, and East Village in the southeast. The area represents the style of cool and hip, with a lay-back attitude that feels so different from the financial district downtown.
Union Square also features the George Washington statues in the middle of the Union Square Park, while modern sculptures and art installations are sometimes on display in the public area for the visitors to appreciate as they chill and unwind; Walk along Broadway and you will see the absolutely packed Chocolate Bar Max Brenner; Visit the nearby theatres and Greenmarket and have a drink or nice dinner in the evening will make your day.
Recognize the Arch at the back? That’s the Washington Square Arch. The heatwaves in summer had everyone jumped into the fountain to cool down!
Washington Square Park on the south of Union Square and a little bit closer to the Soho and Greenwich Village area – you would imagine the bananas in these hip and exciting neighborhoods.
Washington Square Park is also the center of New York University’s campus, as the square is ringed by freshman dorms and other university buildings. The area is bustling and full of energy with 24-hour dining, shopping, nightlife, and arts, yet still cozy and green, interspersed with low-rise brownstones and historic architecture.
While maybe there are tons of Times Square in the world, this is THE Times Square. While it is called “square” it’s more like an “intersection”. Situated in the Midtown Manhattan, Times Square is the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue – and you could imagine how busy it gets with over 50 million visitors running through annually – not to mention all sorts of function, events, and roadshows that take place in this very location all year round.
While you would find all types of entertainment, stores, and dining experience in Times Square, you may not know that it was once named Longacre Square, until The New York Times moved its headquarters here. That’s how the square got its name. Now, Times Square has a unique regulation that requires the surrounding buildings to have a minimum amount of display lighting in order to preserve the area’s reputation of glitz and bustle.
United Nations Headquarters
Visitors could go inside the United Nations on a guided tour (which is also included if you have a New York Pass). Over 1 million visitors from around the world visited the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) every year, and the property stands on an international territory belonging to the 193 Member Stars of the U.N. (so “technically”, I have been to almost every country in the world!) The guided tour took us through the corridors of international diplomacy, and we learned the history and work of the United Nations. Of course, most importantly, we saw the famous General Assembly hall and Security Council chambers, where we tried to search for the seat of our countries in the Hall!
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a national monument and it represents the value and spirit of the United States – freedom. It is no doubt the most familiar landmark in the country. The massive copper-and-steel green lady is located on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, and some tourists may miss out on visiting the statue because it’s only accessible by boat.
In fact, it’s easy to reach the island as there are plenty of ways that you could enjoy the statue and the island of Manhattan.
I visited the Statue a few times when I was in New York and there are several ways of doing so.
- Water Taxi
The cabs in New York are yellow, and so does the water taxi. The Yellow Water Taxi is a Hop-on-hop-off sightseeing cruise connecting four neighborhoods in New York City. The water taxi runs through Brooklyn Bridge and gets close to the Statue of Liberty – you could get a unique view of the Statue on the water.
- Ellis Island Ferry
If you’d like to climb the Statue, take the Ellis Island Ferry from downtown, while the Ellis Island tour also includes admission to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum – 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. The museum displays the immigration history of the country, with information about the Statue of Liberty monument, and detailed narratives as told by some of those who came to New York through the island.
There are different types of tickets that will probably fit your requirements. The Reserve Ticket reserves a specific day and time to enter the screening facility and board the ferry. 3-Day Flex Ticket is valid for one entry in a three-day period. You may also consider purchasing the Reserve Ticket either with Pedestal/Museum Pass or with Crown Ticket.
- Liberty Harbor Cruise
Liberty Harbor Cruise is a scenic boat tour in New York Harbor that covers not only the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Governor Island, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Battery. Relieve wide-eyed wonder that millions of people felt as they entered the harbor of the gateway city and were greeted by the world’s most enduring symbol of freedom: the Statue of Liberty. Hear national park rangers and other experts reveal the changing face of America and the voices of recent immigrants who speak candidly about their lives.
- Island Cruise
For visitors who are interested in New York’s magnificent sights. Enjoy countless photo opportunities while cruising by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Governors Island, and more.
- Private Charters and Special Event Cruises
To go for an even more luxurious option, it is possible to take private charters and special event cruises are offered throughout the year. Every cruise features the spectacular sights and sounds of New York Harbour. See it all from the comfort of our modern vessels. Celebrate a favorite holiday or join in on the experience of a special theme cruise. Special event cruises are great for families and groups.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Amongst the concrete jungle of Midtown Manhattan, the cathedral was built in 1878 and remains a prominent landmark. The monument was dedicated to Saint Patrick and I was thrilled to see such a spectacular historic building that celebrates Roman Catholicism. It is the largest decorated Neo-Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in North America.
Don’t miss out on the delicate stained glass which was made by artists in Boston, France, and England.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Finally, I would like to introduce the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. It is a military and maritime history museum with a collection of museum ships in New York City! Once the water taxi is approaching its final ferry stop, I could already see the massive aircraft carrier USS Intrepid on display right on the riverside of the Hell’s Kitchen district. Apart from the aircraft carrier, you could also see the submarine USS Growler, a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise – which are amazingly cool!