Since my daughter moved from Chicago to New York I finally visited this inspiring city and, like Thomas Wolfe described
“One belongs to New York instantly”
That was certainly the case. Off course we are still in Covid-19 times, that’s why I’ve written very little about travel destinations in the last year, but with the vaccin campaigns starting, we have new hope to be able to travel again. Maybe it’s better to plan a next trip in your own country, but still I hope my tips can help you in your own region.
The first time you pass one of the bridges on your way from the airport to the city you can understand everybody’s enthusiasm. Where to start exploring the city? I had a personal guide (daughter Janneke) and I hope to be your guide in this article. A first impression of what to do in NY.
From JFK to downtown Manhattan you can use public transportation. First the AirTrain (free unless your trip ends at Jamaica or Howards End stations) on these two stations you can find Metrocard ticket Machines. Take the Subway to your Manhattan location. (costs less than $15).
A Taxi or Uber are the alternatives. Especially great if you have heavy luggage or if the journey has been very tiring. For Terminals 1-4, head outside from arrivals or baggage claim for the Uber (outside baggage claim for Terminal 5). Fee’s are described on many sites as $52. But be aware that traffic can cost you quite some time, so an extra fee has to be paid. ($85 to $100 in total is no exception).
What to visit
- I always like to start with a Hop on, Hop off Bus Tour (Red Bus Tour), so you know what is interesting for you and needs further investigation;
- I love all shades of green so the High Line (read my blog: your garden inspired by Piet Oudolf) and Central Park are favorite green destinations.
- The Whitney Museum of Modern American Art, 99 Gansevoort St, NY 10014. I like to start or end a walk on the High Line with a visit to the Whitney, with a collection of more than 25000 works and interesting expositions. Next picture is from the exposition from 2019 about activism in American Art. (based on the work “Love” of Robert Indiana).
The Whitney is located in the Meatpacking District, a neighborhood worth checking out.
- Statue of Liberty, do you want a slightly less touristy boat tour (with emphasis on slightly) you can take the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry between Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan and St. George on Staten Island offers beautiful views. (the picture of the Statue of Liberty on top of this article is taken from this Ferry). And ……. (I am Dutch!!) it is free.
- Ground Zero, is a no brainer. You have to visit it. It is impressive to see how the destroyed site of the World Trade Center turned into a place to remember what happened. The dimensions – and the symbolic meaning – of the Reflection Pools are derived from the imprint of the original World Trade Center towers.
- The Oculus, World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a glass and steel structure called the Oculus, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It looks like a bird on its flight. The skylight (a small but long gap in the top) is oriented on the sun in a way that it catches the sun every September 11th at 10:28 AM. This is the moment the second tower collapsed. The sunlight shines through the skylight and illuminates the main hall. In the Oculus is a also a shopping mall.
- Freeman Alley, something different. It is an alley on the Lower East Side covered with street art. At the end of it a lovely restaurant Freemans. A contrast in the atmosphere with the alley. Suddenly you feel at home in a colonial American Tavern.
- Seaport, a neighborhood close to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is a bit out of the way for most tourists but if you are passing by (Red Bus Tour or walking) check the lovely streets.10 Corso Como (yes the Milan equivalent) had to close last year but Sarah Jessika Parker opened here her first shoe store here. Retail will have a hard time to make it more attractive, I visited it last time in 2019. So let me hear about your experiences.
- City Field, the stadium of the Mets, buy tickets if you like baseball or visit a concert, I saw John Mayer and friends (the Grateful Dead) and I really felt like a New Yorker on this holy ground.
- Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge, Highlight the Brooklyn Bridge connecting Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Great for pictures! Dumbo is at the other side of the east River.
- Dumbo (Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a “hip” neighborhood, a former industrial area with lots of interesting buildings, art galleries, terraces and a great view on the Manhattan Skyline.
Take a bike or … a helicopter
You can walk around but what about a bike or a helicopter.
Although I use digital notebooks, my travel companion for NY is the Moleskine city guide. I like to have a map that you can use in the Underground (without fear of no-connection) and at home I write down new addresses to visit next time.