New York Hopping

It was a bustling mid-week afternoon when we placed our feet firmly on a packed street of New York not far from Penn Station. We looked up and up and up not even bothering to hide our wonder. That we were in awe doesn’t even cover the happy incredulity over the fact that we were walking on the streets of NYC – arguably the greatest city in the world!

We were staying across the river in Jersey City at Newport with my cousin and bravely tackled the subway system. 33rd St PATH was close by and we managed our metro cards quite easily. No need for a copy of New York subway for dummies as we manged decently over next few days. We had an idea of destinations we wanted to cover and tried to follow the lines that ran through them. We also became skilled at asking for help – unlike our expectations, people kindly directed us to places.

View from Newport
View from Newport

The first night was spent hogging like starved maniacs at Shake Shack in Bryant Park. Cold shakes go well on cold nights I discovered. We also went to Eataly to freak out at the Nutella section … It felt like coming home! 😀 The last stop was the Empire State Building decked with national colors to mark Veteran’s Day. It was dark and freezing on the 86th floor observation deck but forgotten at the sight of the city spread around us like a twinkling blanket.

View from Empire State 86th Floor OD
View from Empire State 86th Floor OD – One World Trade, Statue of Liberty to right
The bright lights are Times Square - from Empire State Building
The bright lights are Times Square – from Empire State Building

The next two days were spent touristy style in Manhattan. We did the Big Bus hop-on hop-off bus including a night tour and ferry ride. It was the best decision as it really helped in getting oriented with the city layout. Times Square became our main point as all loops started from there – we did not mind at all. It is every bit mesmerizing and energetic as claimed.

Downtown loop went through SoHo, Greenwich, Little Italy, China Town, Chelsea, Financial District and Battery Park. One World Trade Center and the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum were incredible. There were flowers next to some of the names on the memorial and we could not even fathom the emotions of the people who had placed those flowers.

Other key stops included the High Line which is a work of genius, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge (you have to walk from City Hall to get there). The ferry that goes near the Statue of Liberty is close by. We timed our Brooklyn Bridge to reach just before sunset – we saw the rosy colors as well as the skyline getting lit from each side. Awe and some more awe! Night tour follows a similar route but goes to just kiss the tip of Brooklyn and come back across the Manhattan Bridge. Uptown Loop was more of a “Oh My God!!” and made us realize how not deep our pockets are. Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Guggenheim, the Met and of course Fifth Avenue were covered.

Empire State from Brooklyn Bridge
Empire State from Brooklyn Bridge
Chrysler Building from Brooklyn Bridge
Chrysler Building from Brooklyn Bridge
One World Trade Center from Brooklyn Bridge
One World Trade Center from Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge
Street show at Times Square - we caught many at Central Park and Washington Square Park
Street show at Times Square – we caught many at Central Park and Washington Square Park

Some key eating points include Waffles and Dinges, Georgio’s Pizza, Financier Bakery, Sophie’s Cuban Cuisne, TGIF, Bravo Kosher Pizza, Dos Caminos and super yummy food carts. Starbucks made good pee stops. Special mention to Magnolia Bakery as seen in SATC – the best chocolate pudding till date. We were randomly wandering down a street in Greenwich and accidentally happened on the apartment building as featured in Friends.

One day was spent in NJ where we visited Princeton – B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. No other words. We also visited Morristown and saw George Washington’s quarters – interesting, quiet and pretty. Every place was pretty! Inspiration was everywhere.

Princeton University
Princeton University

But apparently people are too busy to actually take note of it. Our last day in NYC approached and we kept Central Park for that special occasion…


Coming up next, Central Park! 🙂 It deserves a post of its own.

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33 thoughts on “New York Hopping

  1. Happy you could cover so many places in so little time. I have been to many of them more than once…well, i actually worked next to Times Square for 2 yrs 🙂

    Glad reading your journey to NJ as well…i stayed in New Port too when i came here 3 yrs back 🙂

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  2. I visited New York when I was seven. Needless to say, I don’t remember much of the city. Thanks for sharing the photographs and your experience! I wonder what it would be like to visit again sometime. 🙂

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  3. Loving reading about your trip! Brought back a few memories my trip there many years ago! I don’t remember much from it though, expect things like being at Washington monument on July 4th, going to the statue of liberty … i was also fortunate I guess to visit the WTC…. Would love to visit again. Oh, and I am totally going to refer back to your post for reccos! 🙂

    Btw, Happy Happy New Year 🙂

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  4. A wonderful post Prajakta. I have been to NYC once back in 1987. Did not take in nearly the landmarks you did yourself (was there as a volunteer), but I did get up the World Trade Center, and saw Times Square.
    There were some areas I was in that did have a lot of poverty and evidence of crime, and would not have been safe for a non-street wise person if I did venture out at night.
    You did amazing to master the subway system like you did in such a short time. And so refreshing that people were kind to help and offer assistance to help find your way around! 🙂
    Have a wonderful New Year! 🙂
    ~Carl~

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    • Thank you Carl 🙂 We got lucky and like you said, ensured that we did not veer off the path into areas known for shady businesses! I hope you make a trip soon 🙂

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  5. OMG those night lights and that stunning view of New York skyline and buildings… I’m dyyiingggg!!! What an absolutely beautiful trip Prajakta. I’m at loss of words! WOW man WOW!!

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  6. “New York, New York, a helluva town.
    The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.
    The people ride in a hole in the groun’.
    New York, New York, it’s a helluva town!!”‘
    These lyrics from the soundtrack of “On The Town” pretty much say it all, don’t they, no matter when you’re there or even how long ago you were last there. It truly is the city that never sleeps and, after viewing your photos, it’s easy to see why! It’s also the city that never stops changing and growing and “raising the bar” for the rest of the world.

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