…so good they named it twice. Never was a statement truer. I have only been to New York three times – February 97 and then June 15 and 16 and fell further in love with it each time. I am going to share my 2015 trip now with details of my itinerary and some wonderful images that capture New York.
I decided I didn’t want to stay in Manhattan but in some of the other Boroughs and chose Brooklyn and the Bronx. I booked Air BnBs which are always great value and are a great way to experience places as those that live there. I chose Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and City Island in the Bronx. I arrived in Brighton Beach on a glorious sunny day, dumped my bags and walked to the beach – what a vista. Walked along the boardwalk to Coney Island, one off my ‘bucket list’. I have seen it so many times in movies and heard about it, it was something special and to think 10 hours ago I was in London – don’t you just love flying and the adventures it gives you.
The following day I took the bus to Prospect Park, getting buses is a great way to see any city and you always discover new places this way. I had heard about Prospect Park many times in books and on TV, it was also on the way to Greenwood Cemetery. Many famous people are buried it and you get some great views of Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan from the highest point. For baseball fans Charles Ebbets, owner of Brooklyn Dodgers and Henry Chadwick “Father of Baseball” are buried here along with many other famous people including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors – 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and winding paths. Worth a visit for sure.
From Greenwood Cemetery I walked over Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, wow, what a bridge. Even though it was busy you still get to appreciate how great this bridge it. It somehow feels magical, I guess because it is such an iconic attraction in so many movies and tv shows, remember Sex & The City, Miranda arranged to meet Steve on Brooklyn Bridge – so cool.
I next visited Trinity Church and St Pauls Chapel before going on a guided tour of Ground Zero and the Museum. Our guide was called Tony, he was amazing and the tour was incredible and very moving culminating in walking around the 9/11 Museum. I spent the rest of the day walking around Manhattan, seeing City Hall and City Hall Park, Washington Sq Park, Flat Iron Building, walked down 5th Avenue, Madison Sq Park, Marble Collegiate Church, Met Life Building, New York Public Library, 42nd St, Saks, NBC and finished at Radio City Hall before getting the subway home – a crazy busy day but thoroughly enjoyable.
Another sunny day, got the Q Train from Brighton beach to Times Square. Walked down Broadway and went to Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, what an incredible experience. The Church was packed with thousands of people, I have never seen a Church look so beautiful with the sun streaming through the stain glass windows. After Mass I took a guided tour of Rockefeller Centre that ended on the observation deck.
View from the top
Washington Sq Park
Another day and more to do. Caught the train to Union Sq which has a great Farmers Market, walked by the Chrysler Building (one of my favourite buildings in NYC), shopped at Macy’s, sat in Herald Square to watch the world go by on a glorious sunny afternoon, went back to the New York Public Library which is such a beautiful building. Went and sat in Bryant Park, a great space surrounded by stunning architecture. Ended back at Times Square to get the Q train home.
Next day I got the train to Battery Park to get the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty. As the ferry approaches Lady Liberty the commentary talks about the immigrants who passed the statue on their way to Ellis Island in the hope of a bright new future. I must say you do feel the hope that they must have felt when you see Lady Liberty, she gives you a sense of greatness, the statue is something very special. I had booked in advance a ticket for the pedestal so made my way up many many many steps which was so worth it, the views are incredible, breathtaking, such a great way to see Manhattan. Ferry back to Manhattan and the Meatpacking District to walk The High Line – what a wonderful experience and so much to see, such a great idea to use old rail tracks.
Statue of Liberty
The High Line
Graffitti on the High Line
Another day and time to move, checked out of Brighton Beach and checked into City Island, wow what a great place. The apartment looked out over the water and the town seemed to be frozen in time where nothing has changed or changes. It was like stepping back in time – very surreal.
My next stop was my first Yankees game – lifelong fan, you would not believe how excited I was to see them play especially at a day-time game. The weather was perfect, my seat was in the sun, I had the classic hotdog and pretzel with a soda, the smallest I could buy looked like a gallon. I must say I have never seen so much food in one place. The Yankees played The Nationals, the game lasted about 3 hours and ended up in a draw. Today was the perfect day.
Spent most of the next day in Central Park, another glorious sunny day. Spent the next couple of days chilling out ready for my last day. I have packed so much in a couple of days chilling was so nice and the weather was so beautiful.
My last day started with a day trip to Hyde Park to visit Roosevelt’s house/library and the Vanderbilt Mansion. Took an Amtrak train from Grand Central along the Hudson to Poughkeepsie, took about 2 and a half hours but the journey was so nice and the train was amazing, very spacious, bench seats and the views out of the windows were just stunning.
Arrived at Hyde Park and wow, what a vista. I had heard and read so much about it but nothing can really prepare you. The house had been preserved exactly as when FDR lived in it, nothing had changed. `The museum was extremely informative and very enjoyable. The Vanderbilt Mansion was exactly as you would expect – it was such a great day and the perfect way to end my New York trip. I returned to Manhattan to fly home back to London. A great 10 days.
The view from Hyde Park
Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt
New York – my favourite city and perfectly summed up by Alicia Keys –
“These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it from New York!”
Smile every day