This month in travel escapades we hit the Big Apple. I won’t lie. New York City was totally at the top of my travel list. Films and Sex and the City were mostly to blame, as I dreamed of walking the busy city streets a-la Carrie Bradshaw; but in the small amount of time I was there, NYC became so much more than a place from the movies….
The city that never sleeps really does have a unique heartbeat. It’s crazy, busy, bright, overwhelming, and comforting all at once.
You’ll see every kind of person, from art student to businesswoman, celebrity to Brooklyn native, and they’ll all have you gasping in awe. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be one of them. But honestly, this is the one city where you really should just embrace your inner tourist. See Lady Liberty. Go to the top of the Empire State Building. Eat a pretzel from a street vendor; let your eyes grow wide with wonder and take it all in.
When you visit Ground Zero, something in the air shifts. Time stops, noise grows quiet. Standing at the edge of the memorial, something that we’d only ever seen on the television suddenly became real. But there is a lightness there now. It is a space for reflection, a place for acknowledgement of tragedy, but also of compassion, strength, and unity.
My family and I were lucky enough to be able to spend some time with the firemen of the department. They’re perfect gentleman who answer tourist’s questions with genuine honesty and gentleness, willing to tell their stories and share their memories of a day that irrevocably changed their city. My advice is, don’t be frightened to ask, but be kind about it.
Ok. I’m just gonna come right out and say it. The Subway sucks. That underground train might be save some walking time, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It’s smelly, cramped and confusing, plus, if you travel in the tunnels, you miss all the sights and sounds of above.
I’m a big fan of wandering cities in my own time, and there’s always something to delight the senses, but for those who don’t have a lot of time, or prefer to have a tour guide, there’s many bus tours with local guides that allow you to see the sights without having to dodge the hustling swarms of people.
There’s no denying that Times Square is a magical place. I recommend making at least two visits, one during the day, and one at night. By night the square totally comes to life, and is responsible for my most vivid travel memory:
As I stood watching newsreaders film, and Disney characters pose, lights and billboards flashing, people rushing back and forth, it suddenly hit me how exciting real life could be. The world opened up, and everything that made me feel anxious, unimportant, or unworthy washed away. I realised why people love this city. Although she can be harsh and unforgiving to many (she has one of the largest homeless populations in the US), there’s an other-worldly charm to the city that feels homely and yet consistently evolving and new.
Be sure to take a moment just to stop and soak things up amongst the chaos. You won’t regret it.
Labelled the unofficial capital of the world, New York is bursting with character and activity, definitely one for the bucket list!
Next stop, Washington DC!