Sunday, 15 January 2017

New York, New York...

This is a very belated post because this trip was a last birthday fling at the end of September! But in the interests of completeness, and because 2016 was in so many ways a very depressing year, it feels important to remember the special good times too.

New York had been on my wish list of places to go for a while but I wasn't entirely sure what I would make of it. I thought perhaps I would feel I had ticked it off the list but in fact I sort of fell in love with it! It is mad and busy and noisy but has a buzz about it that is infectious. And in a week we only really scratched the surface of what NYC has to offer and I find myself thinking I want to go again.

From the point you arrive in New York City there is a sense of familiarity. I hadn't registered how many of the landmarks are such frequently seen images that it feels a bit like deja vu. The grandeur of Grand Central Station (blurry because the light was surprisingly poor and everyone was speeding around!)...


And as we walked our first glimpse of the beautiful Chrysler building...


The crazy, oppressive, claustrophobic madness of Times Square...


and Broadway...


...which is a much longer street than I had imagined. Central Park is an oasis of green in the centre of the city - a lovely well used space with different areas to walk, exercise, and just chill...


Our first day it poured and we took refuge in a little coffee shop on the street corner. Looking out onto yellow cabs and a school bus waiting at the end of the block. What could be more typical of a NYC scene?!


We took  in the Guggenheim exhibition and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art - did you read about the gold toilet exhibit?! We opted NOT to queue for our opportunity to spend 3 minutes enthroned on a working gold work of art!!

Almost obligatory is a trip to the top of the Empire State Building - we opted to go at night and the sheer scale of the spread and density of urban lighting was quite breathtaking...




I think the Chrysler is my favourite building - so pretty at night...


Liberty and the stars and stripes are very much in evidence, particularly in the financial district where the 911 memorial exhibition is both moving and overwhelming... 





I was glad to come back out into the sunlight for a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge...



It was so hot that day it was lovely to find some peaceful shade in a park in Brooklyn before getting the ferry back.


A visit to Ellis Island via the Statue of Liberty was a must of course...



There were many highlights (and I took hundreds of photos so it is difficult to limit it to a few!) but the 'sun and stars' tickets for the 'Top of the Rock" were definitely worth paying for and certainly a highlight of the trip. This enabled us to go up the Rockefeller building twice, during the day and at sunset. We opted to go early (to the ticket sales girl's surprise!) and were up at the top in early morning light at 8.30am when there were only a couple of other people up there.


It was a beautiful day and it was surprisingly peaceful up there with amazing views over Manhattan...


...with the familiar rectangle of Central Park clearly visible...



It certainly wasn't peaceful in the evening, with people crammed like sardines on the top of the building, but the sun setting over Manhattan was spectacular...


A lot of work has been done to regenerate areas of NYC, not least Central Park, which had a distinctly unsavoury reputation at one stage but now feels safe and clean. The High Line park is another - a repurposed rail track threading its way through the cityscape, created from materials in keeping with its origins and surroundings. It was a lovely walk above the streets and really rather beautiful...


Back in downtown Manhattan we just had to take in the blinding sparkle of Tiffany's on 5th Avenue (we snuck a little snack in so we could say we had Breakfast at Tiffany's 😄)...


...and I quite liked these flags against the towering buildings and blue sky...


Compared to the UK there is not much truly 'old' in Manhattan (lets face it I live in a house built in 1500 or so - not sure there is anything in NYC that dates back that far!)  but there are some lovely buildings. I liked the contrast of this church with the modernity of the glass fronts opposite...


In the art museum we were taken with some shadow paintings so did our own bit of shadow 'art' afterwards... 😂


...before going for champagne and truffles in Macy's, then a show on Broadway. There was so much to choose from but we went with the long running Fiddler on the Roof in the end, which was amazing.


On our last day we were a bit exhausted by all the bustle but even in the midst of the city there are glorious places to just sit and read or people watch or just be. Bryant Park was a late find, just a short way off 5th Avenue is this little oasis of a community park, with people playing chess, a reading corner, table tennis, a piano playing...  All around the park were different gentle activities going on and it had a lovely atmosphere and was a great place to spend a peaceful couple of hours before heading for the airport.



...with one last glance at the Chrysler before we went...


New York City certainly didn't disappoint. It is frenetic and full on - Sinatra's 'city that never sleeps' but I loved it and it was a great place to shake off any remaining blues about being 50!

S x

8 comments:

  1. I can't say it's a place that I've ever wanted to visit, but you've taken some great photos - I love the 'aerial' one of Central Park from the top of the Rockefeller building, you really can see it's rectangular shape!

    Glad you had such a lovely time and finished 2016 on a happier note xx

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    1. Thanks Michelle, it was an amazing trip. Happy New Year to you too xx

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  2. Wow, I loved all your pictures Sandra. I'm so happy you had a special trip away.
    I can't see myself ever going there so it was lovely to get a little flavour of it through your words and pictures.
    Thank you for sharing
    Hope 2017 is a better year for you
    Jacquie xxx

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    1. Thank you Jacquie - never thought I'd go either but keep discovering life has a habit of throwing surprises at you, some of which are actually pretty fab! Happy New Year xx

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  3. What a great way to celebrate being 50! New York is on my list of places to visit. One day ......... xx

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    1. It was certainly veery memorable and definitely worth a visit! Happy New Year xx

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  4. It is my favourite place, I've been 3 times and I'm desperate to go again. Great photos! x

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    1. I loved it. Definitely on my list of places to return to! x

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