New York City is the world's gathering place and I could sense that right away. Looking around, there are people from all walks of life and you hear a variety of different languages wherever you go. I've yet to visit a bigger, more diverse city and I don't think I ever will.
I've been to the Big Apple a few times and am nowhere near to having explored even a small fraction of it. To be honest I haven't really tried to, opting instead to "just be" and leisurely roam around. No itineraries, no tight schedules - just hanging out with my good friend who lives there and walking the streets.
There were, of course, a few things that I made a point to do and that I'd recommend and do again.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan at dusk was great because not only is it an easy walk full of great views, the views also change dramatically as the day turns to night. The Manhattan skyline begins illuminating as you walk towards the city and the cars start to streak lights as they zoom by down below.
The Empire State Building
For anyone who likes nighttime cityscapes as much as I do, heading up the Empire State Building after sundown is incredible. 360-degree views of the massive city from an open-air deck at the top of a skyscraper that was built at a ridiculous speed, being completed in just over a year.
The Statue of Liberty
It may be the most touristy thing to do in New York, but the Statue of Liberty is on everyone's list and no visit is complete without seeing it. Don't be like me and not see it on your first visit - long story short: Overbooked flight, couldn't join my friends who went before I arrived. Thanks United ;)
I didn’t have a burning need to go right up to Lady Liberty, so I rode the Staten Island Ferry because it gives a view of her at a cheap price. Just hop off when the ferry docks, u-turn and hop right back on. I definitely wasn’t the only one doing that.
Here are some other places I visited:
Other places like Chelsea Market, the High Line (a park & rec area built from a converted railway), SoHo, or seeing a Broadway/off Broadway play are other fun tourist activities to do. I don't consider myself someone big on plays, but the first time I went (RENT), I was completely blown away. To see the talent that these actors have is mind-blowing.
Of course I walked through Central Park and Times Square as well.
I wandered random streets and people watched.
Walking into any random store, talking to some random person (and being OK with being ignored or told to hurry up and move along - personal experience!) adds to the trip.
Halal guys is already famous and it's for good reason. Not only are they open late, but they're affordable and damn delicious. They mix Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors and their foods really hit the spot. Quite possibly the best food truck food I've ever had. I'm definitely stopping by the next time I'm in the city.
First seeing this in the movie Serendipity, I decided I had to try their frozen hot chocolates. Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack made them look so good! It was a bit of a wait outside, but popping into this quaint little, hole-in-the-wall style dessert cafe was great, especially since I liked the movie.
My favorite fresh juice and smoothie bar. I've tried a few of their smoothies but their Mr. Greengenes with hemp milk is my favorite. Creamy and smooth with perfectly balanced flavors.
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