New York Through the Eyes of a 20-Something – Part 1

New York City. Why do you want to visit it? F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Movies. Gossip Girl. Glamour. Times Square. Central Park. The Empire State Building. The reasons are endless. I had exactly the same reasons! Just to add to the list, I thought it would remind me of my hometown, Mumbai. And guess what? It did. Just like Mumbai, the city never sleeps. Here, dreams come true and the city makes you feel like you can achieve anything and everything.

I have been wanting to visit NYC since I was a teenager. In the 18 months that I was studying at Arizona, it felt like I was so close but yet so far (the ticket prices from Tucson to NYC were too high and I was a student, so :P). So, when my parents and I were planning their vacation here, it seemed perfect! NYC is one of the touristy places so it would be perfect to take them there, plus, I would FINALLY get to visit it myself. And of course being the overly excited child that I am, I started planning the NYC part of the trip way in advance than a normal person would. 😛

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How did I get there?

Now that I’m working full-time and the prices were affordable (LOL), I flew to the LaGuardia Airport (LGA) from the Denver International Airport (DEN). Luckily, it was a direct flight. In the State of New York, we traveled by subway and Lyft/Uber depending on how tired we were.

Where did I stay?

Everybody knows that living in NYC is expensive. The choices that I had were in New Jersey or Brooklyn. I selected Brooklyn because my parents were flying into the JFK airport which is located in New York State. We were also going to fly to Denver from the LGA airport in New York so it made sense to stay in New York instead of New Jersey. As I was planning this trip months in advance, I booked an AirBnB in Brooklyn for a cheaper price than usual. It was right next to a metro station which made it convenient for us to travel to NYC/Manhattan.

Where did I eat?

This place is HEAVEN for foodies. As you must know, NYC is expensive in terms of food as well. So, for the big meals, we ended up going to not-so-expensive places like Panera Bread and Potbelly. But, NYC is known for its desserts so we made sure we splurged on that! We ate at Baked by Melissa, Carlos’ Bakery and D’OH.

There are many more such as Laduree, Milk Bar, Lady M Confections and Eggloo if you want to try them out!

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What did I do there?

Because we spent four full days here, I’m separating them according to days so that it’s easy on the eyes. I bought a city pass that lets you select 3 attractions that you want to visit for a much lesser price than the attractions’ actual tickets. Here are all the places we visited.

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Before I share my experience with you, I want to let you know that there are two parts to this blog (clearly, we toured a lot of places!). This blog elaborates on day 1 and 2, and in the second part of the blog, I talk about day 3 and 4.

Day 1:

Do you like visiting museums? To be honest, I didn’t enjoy them much. But after visiting the ones in Washington, D.C., I became particularly interested in them. New York has some amazing museums as well so I picked the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Day 1.

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We first went to the American Museum of Natural History. Because we had the city pass, we could bypass the line here and go straight into the museum. It consists of 28 buildings that are interconnected and 45 permanent exhibits along with a library and a planetarium. We arrived there with the intention of spending around 2 hours. Each exhibit is built and maintained beautifully! There are shows at the planetarium which are a must-see.IMG_2221
I had always dreamed of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from the time I saw Gossip Girl and the MET Gala. It is the largest museum in the United States. The line out there was long and we had to wait for about 20 minutes to get in. This museum is a work of art (obviously). This museums’ permanent collection hosts over two million works of art ranging from sculptures, jewelry, paintings, costumes, musical instruments, old and antique weapons and armor and several accessories from Medieval Europe, Egypt, Africa, Asia, Rome, etc. Their newest addition this year was the Heavenly Bodies exhibit which was this year’s MET Gala’s theme. As mentioned on the museum’s website, this exhibit accurately depicts “when fashion meets medieval art”.

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After spending some time here, we decided to grab some lunch and head over to Times Square. Even though I’m from Mumbai, this is one of the busiest intersections I have seen! It’s adorned with bright billboards and advertisements. You’ll see two kinds of people here – they’re either walking around minding their own business (the non-tourists) or they’re taking tons of pictures and selfies (tourists i.e us). There are people dressed up as superheroes and the Statue of Liberty so that you take pictures with them. You’ll find a lot of retail stores and good restaurants too! After clicking some pictures, we went shopping for a while and then headed back to our AirBnB.

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Day 2: One of the Busiest Days

As Deloitte’s US headquarters is in the Rockefeller Plaza, we surely wanted to go there. The area around this is quite nice so we roamed around there for a bit.

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We then headed to the Madame Tussauds as we had heard a lot about this one. None of us had been to a wax museum so this was a pleasant surprise! We took a lot of pictures and guess what? We found my father’s twin! 😛
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Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was right next to Madame Tussauds so we went there too. It’s a family friendly museum and showcases some unbelievable exhibits of extraordinary animals and eccentric art and sculptures made from things that you won’t expect!

Next stop: The Empire State Building. We used the city pass here too and could skip the line. Going up to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building was thrilling and the view from there was even more amazing!

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It was evening around this time and we decided to make a few quick stops before heading back to our AirBnB. On the way to the Grand Central Terminal is the New York Public Library. It was closed by the time we reached there but took a couple of pictures outside.  IMG_2528

I know there are too many Gossip Girl references here (you now know how much I love it), but the first episode starts with one of the main characters coming back to New York at the Grand Central Terminal. When we entered the terminal, it felt like I was living that episode!

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Right next to it is the Chrysler Building. Well, we couldn’t really see it from the inside so decided to snap a picture from a distance.

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That was the end of a very tiring Day 2!

Things to keep in mind:

  • New York has a ton of places to visit. If you’re spending a limited number of days here, make sure that you plan the places you want to visit according to their proximity to each other. It will save you a lot of time and money. 🙂
  • People at Times Square who are dressed up as different characters ask for some cash if you take photographs with them. Just a heads up!
  • City pass saves you quite some money and time at certain places. They offer two types of passes – one that lets you pick six spots from the list they have and the other that lets you pick three. Choose the one that fits your plan the best. Here’s the link to the city pass – https://www.citypass.com/new-york-comparison.
  • When looking for a place to stay, try getting a place close to a subway station so it’s easier to travel.
  • If you’re visiting for 7 days or less, get the unlimited metro card. It’s cheaper and you don’t have to worry about refilling your metro card every time you travel. Here’s the link if you want more information – http://web.mta.info/metrocard/mcgtreng.htm

 This story continues in Part 2. Stay tuned!

2 Comments on “New York Through the Eyes of a 20-Something – Part 1

  1. Lovely blog! I can’t wait to explore the city and use your tips myself! 😀

    Like

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