Chocolate and other remedies
“I wanna be a part of it… Neeeeewww Yooork, Neeeeeewww Yooooork”
This is a long over-due post, but here we are. Finally I’ve taken the time to sit down and look through more than 600 photos. I’ve chosen some which represent most of the things we had the pleasure to do on our trip in the city that never sleeps and I will try and go through, as best as I can, each day we spent there.
Departure: Venice -> Amsterdam; Amsterdam -> New York JFK
Obviously we didn’t even sleep that night. We sat on the sofa, closed our eyes but the adrenaline was pumping in our veins so what we mostly did was pretending to sleep. Finally it was time to leave, we went to the airport and took our first flight. We arrived at Amsterdam and went straight to our gate for all the security checks. I was slightly worried due to my passport having a corner at the front slightly bent and it was starting to peel. Knowing how strict Americans are with security check I was a little afraid they might consider my passport not valid. Thankfully though, they do consider tear-&-wear damage separate from tampering so in the end no problem was encountered. We boarded our flight and finally took off for the USA! We arrived at JFK around 14.30 local time, so we had a good part of the day ahead of us. We went through all the security and passport control and then headed to our hotel. We stayed in Queens, because Manhattan was too expensive. We had a great time and spent half of what we would have spent in the city. We stayed in Flushing, which is one of the biggest Asian communities of the state of New York. When we first arrived in the area it truly felt as if we had landed in China rather than the Usa. The air was filled with a thousand different smells, asian writing everywhere…. It was a very relaxed area, but busy at all hours of the day and we felt very secure walking back at night to our hotel which was only 3mins walk from the metro.
Snow!!! Yes, you read that right, our first full day in the city and it snowed. It was great seeing the city covered in white, although it was absolutely freezing. I think I was wearing three pairs of leggings at once! In the morning we had breakfast at our hotel and took the metro to Times Square.From there we walked towards the 11th Ave to go and since the weather was not on our side, we decided to visit the museums. First we visited Intrepid Sea, Space&Air Museum, then we went to the Natural History Museum. This museum is huge. And I mean really huge. It will take you a long time to visit it all, lots of interesting stuff, but to be fair lots of areas we just walked through giving a quick look. Late afternoon I really wanted to taste the infamous NYC cheesecake. The wind was blowing, the snow was falling so we stopped in a place near Times Square and for only $9.75 we ate a piece of cheesecake. Yes, ONE piece of cheesecake shared between the two of us. I almost fainted when they told me the price… but what could I do. So we ate it reaaallly slowly and savoured every single bite as if we were tasting something as precious as gold. After this little pause, we decide to head back home since the weather wasn’t allowing us to do much more.
Finally the sun is shining. We decide to start the day with a walk on crossing the Brooklin Bridge. Beautiful walk which gives you stunning views of the city skyline! On our walk back from Bridge we encountered a group of street dancers which were truly amazing and entertaining. We decided not to take the metro and walk all the way up to Times Square, passing through Chinatown and Little Italy and then all the way along the Broadway. Every corner has something interesting to see and it’s incredible to walk through this jungle of buildings, yellow taxis and people from everywhere walking in all different directions. Pretty much this is what we did all day. Walk, walk and walk, you can’t waste time underground with so many sites to see!
Sunday, it was Antonio’s birthday and he really wanted to see a Gospel mass. So we took the metro from our hotel and headed to Harlem. There we found a church on the 129th street (you can see it in the picture) and let me tell you we had a great time! Everyone in the church greeted us like we were friends who hadn’t seen each other in years (lots of hugging and smiling!) and I could really feel the sense of community. I’m a raised catholic but I never go to church back home. I don’t feel connected to it, the Sunday mass is just a sermon where they say the same things over and over again. But man, if I lived in NY I would totally join the church I visited on my trip there and would be very happy to spend my Sunday mornings singing and sharing life with the rest of community.
After this wonderful experience, we walked back from Harlem all the way through Central Park. When we reached the 59th street we agreed we were quite hungry, so looked up on the web for a good burger in New York and that’s how we ended up at Jackson Hole, Home of the 7 oz burger. You can see our burger in the picture. It was BIG. Topped with guacamole sauce and cheese and a side dish of awesome curly fries! We totally deserved it after walking all the way through Central Park! The rest of the afternoon we walked some more and just chilled around Times Square.
Monday… ok I’ll be honest I can’t remember what we did monday. It took me too long to write this post and now I forgot the order in which we did things… we probably went up the Rockfeller Center though and walked around the Financial district, wall street etc. here you have some pictures, which are much better than my cloudy memory.
UPDATE: I remembered! I was writing the post and suddenly it came to me. We visited the beach of New Yorkers: Coney Island! Of course it was desert, March is not beach season yet in New York so most things were closed. But we had a pleasing walk on the beach nonetheless.
Tuesday: In the morning we walked around the city again, and in the afternoon we went to the 9/11 memorial because at 4pm they allowed people to get in for free (you can make a donation and if you give $5 or more they will give you a memorial bracelet). It was a very moving visit. My words would not render it justice so I hope you have the chance to visit one day and see for yourself.
Now I can’t remember when this was, but one day there was an explosion in East Village due to a gas leakage. Curiosity killed the cat, but obviously we couldn’t resist the temptation to go and take a look at what happened. They had closed a whole area and the smell in the air was tremendous. It gave me a slight (and by slight I mean very slight) idea of what New York must have been on 9/11. Dare I say it gave me shivers and made me truly admire the hard work Firefighters do for everyone’s safety, putting their lives at risk everyday.
Wednesday: cruise day! We left early in the morning and went down to the financial district where we headed to Battery Park where we were going to take the cruise which would be taking us to The Statue of Liberty ad Ellis Island. We were very lucky and had a beautiful sunny day. The skyline was absolutely gorgeous seen from the water and Lady Liberty, well she was elegant as always. I was pretty surprised to discover that she is made of copper! I had never thought of it before. On the grounds of the statue we also did a shooting with Lady seagull which you can see in the following pictures…
Then we moved to Ellis Island where we visited the building which had been the first step of many immigrants wanting to enter the USA.
Thursday: In the morning we visited the New York Public library and MOMA then went up the Empire State Building and with our New York Pass we had the pleasure to go up again on the Empire at sunset and see the city turning its lights on. Incredible (and very, very cold!).
Friday: last full day in the city. We saved the best for last. Tonight we have the sunset cruise! We allowed ourselves the morning to buy souvenirs and walk around the Highline, an old railway which is now one of the hottest spots of city! Finally at 6.30/7 pm we boarded our cruise and sailed around Manhattan. It was absolutely gorgeous. I could not take my eyes off the skyline, truly breath-taking. Pictures definitely don’t do it justice, but you can get a fair idea.
(You can also notice how windy it was. I look like a dwarf with my hat like that!)
LAST DAY: Time to leave… our flight awaits for us NY JFK -> Amsterdam; Amsterdam -> Venice