Hi guys, if you’re planning a trip to awesome Manhattan anytime soon, make sure to keep on reading. I’ll try to help out with these tips & tricks, must-see spots, great restaurants, authentic dinner spots and hidden gems. All to make it more easy for you to start planning your trip and to make sure you see more than only the typical tourist stuff (which are also cool of course).
Also make sure to check out Part I as I already highlighted some places over there and added a couple of tips to take in mind. Ready for it? Let the daydreaming begin! ^^
THE WORLD TRADE CENTER SITE
The World Trade Center site (formerly known as “Ground Zero”) has become this beautiful memorial place at the exact same spot were before 9/11 the twin towers raised to the sky. It pays tribute to the men and women lost on September 11 in an extraordinary way.
Even though it’s hard to capture this place on film, I think these few detail shots already give you an idea about the vibe. If I would try to describe it, I think I could say that the design of the 9/11 Memorial has waterfalls flowing into two large, seemingly never-ending reflection pools. On the sides, all the victims names are engraved. When you’ll look up, you’ll have a cool perspective on the Freedom Tower.
Definitely a location to check out. I thought it was amazing how the city turned this place (knowing what happened here) in such a beautiful tribute.
9/11 MEMORIAL MUSEUM
This museum displays artifacts associated with the events of 9/11, while presenting stories of loss and recovery. Because the lack of time, we decided not to do this. I also think it’s pretty heavy to walk through this museum. Seeing what kind of impact the memorial place already had on us. But next time, we’ll definitely plan this in.
STATEN ISLAND & ELLIS ISLAND
If you want to meet Lady Liberty from up close, make sure to visit Staten Island. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the crown, you can climb up to get a unique perspective of New York City.
Good to know: After 9/11, the crown was closed to the public. Now, there are a limited numbers of tickets available. Best chance to get one of those is ordering it online. So come prepared. ;)
When you buy your ferry ticket (about $14), and leave from Battery Park, you can also visit Ellis Island. The place where once so many people entered the country, hoping to become a member of the land of opportunities. Inside the building you now have a little museum with pictures, old suitcases, information points and so one.
A famous ice skating spot and a huge christmas tree. Those are the two things most people think of if they ever watched Home Alone. (at least I did.) Rockefeller Plaza is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 89,000 m2 (22 acres) between 48th and 51st streets and it’s in Rockefeller Centre where you can find the “Top of the Rock” observation deck. We were planning to do this at night to get a glimpse of New York after sunset from high up, but during our last two nights, fog made us change those plans. Reason number 2 to go back soon!
The only place on earth where you can actually wear sunnies way past bedtime because of all the big billboards lighting up. It’s touristy, it’s busy, it’s energetic and it’s exactly like in the movies. It’s Times Square. The real reason why they call New York the place that never sleeps.
Shopping on a Sunday after 6pm. Sure, why not. Go out for dinner and grab a movie with thousands of others (we did this on my birthday by the way: I was dying to see Pitch Perfect 2), go ahead. Stand in the middle of it all and feel more alive than ever. Hell yeah! This is it.
On the east side of Manhattan you can find this unique masterpiece: The Chrysler building. Ask a bunch of architects what their favorite skyscraper is and I’m pretty sure 90% will name this one. It’s definitely one of my favorite buildings to look at. Not to say that my excitement hit the roof when our room’s view was showing the Chrysler build in all it’s glory.
Crazy detail: 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid (manually!! Like by hand! Can you imagine that?!), to create the non-loadbearing walls of the skyscraper.
At the Upper East side, you’ll find that ‘upscale neighborhood’ we all got introduced to after watching Sex and The City or Gossip Girl. You don’t wanna know what an appartement costs in this neighborhood. Sure, you get a doorman when living in one of these buildings. But that price, no thank you very much. I’ll open my own door. ^^
This street runs straight through Times Square and is the place to be if you want to go to the theatre to see one of the many big shows like The Lion King, Chicago or Rock of Ages. If a show is on your to-do list for you NYC visit, make sure to check out the TKTS stairs to really take in the scene and to get your ticket at nice discounts!
WALL STRAAT | FINANCIAL DISTRICT
Say Wall Street and the first thing that pops to mind is The New York Stock Exchange. Obviously. But to be honest, both times I saw it in real life, I was less impressed by it than when I see it in movies. Maybe that’s because the street were the The New York Stock Exchange building is located in is actually quite narrow. Meaning you can’t really observe it from a descent distance to realize how impressive the building is. Either way, the fact remains that it’s still something to check out on the middle of a weekday when the streets are filled with fancy business people living in the rush of New York and stocks.
Do be aware that you can’t actually enter The New York Stock Exchange building seeing how it’s not open to the public. The good news is that you do have many great spots in this area to grab a quick (and healthy) lunch or a delicious coffee/smoothie.
ABROAD BUT STILL MANHATTAN | TOWNCEPTION
Little Italy is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan (on Mulberry Street) that makes you feel like you’ve just hit base in another country. Personally, I wasn’t that impressed with it. Maybe the fact that it was still early and by that pretty dead had something to do with it. Who knows. Anyway, what I did love about this street (because that’s what is left over this neighborhood, one single block) was the street art we came across. We’ll definitely have to go come back here to walk through it at night and eat some pasta while we’re at it. (Hmmm pasta.) I’m convinced I have to give this place a second chance. ^^
Chinatown, a place that you can find in all the bigger cities. What once was a dangerous neighborhood (we immediately had to think about those typical Chinese mob types you see in movies), is now hip, alive and kicking. It’s the perfect place to grab a cheap Chinese take-away for lunch or to buy fresh fruit at the typical little stalls for a great price.
I can’t think of any other place that has so many museums as New York. Too many to visit when you’re only going there for a short time. We went to the Natural History Museum. My boyfriend was dying to see the dinosaurs (and I admit, I was too) and on a grey day with some rainfall once in a while, it was the perfect activity.
If you don’t have anything with dinosaurs (#whoarewekidding), there are plenty of other museums to check out. To only name a few of the popular ones: The 9/11 Memorial Museum, The Met, The Guggenheim, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and The Cloisters.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
Standing at one of the two main stairways of Grand Central Terminal and observe the New York life passing by is simply put awesome. While my boyfriend was checking out the Apple store they have in here (#geek), I was just standing there for minutes. Looking around. Taking it all in. Making sure I would never forget the image of this place.
RANDOMNESS | BECAUSE I CAN
For the upcoming last and final part of the New York series posts, you can expect some practical tips on how to get around in New York, how to save some bucks, which stores to hit and where to get delicious food without leaving the restaurant being broke. I’ll try to post that as soon as possible, but seeing how I lost my draft version (not sure how that happened), I’ll have to start over again. But hey, don’t they always say that your second version is always written better than the first one? ;)
Talk to you soon loves!