Hello my friends! It’s Isabella here from the sunny side of the Cloud.
If there is any place on the earth that qualifies as the capital of the world, it must be New York City. It is one of the coolest and most welcoming places to visit in the entire world!
New York City is not named after the city of York, England. It is actually named after the Duke of York (later, King James II of England), who was the brother of the English King Charles II. The Duke was assigned by the King as patron of the former Dutch territory of New Amsterdam that was traded for one of the spice islands in probably the worst deal the Dutch ever struck! The Duke of York promptly named the burgeoning city after himself.
There is so much to do and see in NYC that I find new and fun things to do each and every time I visit. If it is your first time there, however, there are some sites that you must see:
- The Empire State Building – this iconic structure has been a must-see landmark since King Kong carried Fay Wray up the side in 1933. The viewing platform is one of the most filmed places with a panoramic view of the entire cityscape.
- Times Square – nothing says “New York City” like Times Square which is busy 24-hours per day!
- Rockefeller Center – “30 Rock” is not only a high-rise media centre, it also has a seasonal ice skating rink which has been a winter tradition for over 90 years.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art – this is actually three beautiful museums:
The Met Fifth Avenue, which has the modern art collection; the Met Breuer on Madison Avenue; and, my favourite, The Met Cloisters in Washington Heights.
- Central Park – one of the largest green spaces in any city in the world and fantastic in all seasons!
- One World Trade Center – commonly known as the “Freedom Tower”, this modern skyscraper is built atop the former site of the World Trade Center that collapsed after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. View the city in all of its glory from the observation deck.
- Hudson Yards Vessel – this is the newest architectural landmark in the city having opened on 15 March 2019 as the centrepiece of the redeveloped Hudson Yards shopping and entertainment complex.
The Hudson Yard Vessel: a cure for fear of heights!
New York City is easy to reach by non-stop flight from almost anywhere in the world. JFK Airport is the primary international gateway but nearby Newark International Airport in New Jersey offers a wide assortment of international destinations. LaGuardia, one of the busiest airports in the world, is used for US Domestic flights only. The airports are conveniently connected by bus and taxi. The New York Subway is one of the earliest and most convenient. Ride-sharing services are ubiquitous and you never have to wait long for one to arrive. NYC is also one of the world’s most walkable large cities!
Hotels in New York City are available for most budgets and needs. While there are a huge number of brands represented throughout the city, I prefer to stay in boutique hotels because their service is better, they are generally locally owned and tend to be more sustainable. Mr. C Seaport is one of my favourites as is the CitizenM which is only one minute walk from Times Square. Perhaps my favourite, though is The Sanctuary. All three of these hotels offer great locations, excellent service and are reasonably priced – especially compared to the large chain properties.
Here’s another pro-tip: Most restaurants don’t take reservations for parties of less than six persons in NYC. However, the top restaurants do take bookings and they are often secured weeks in advance. If you want to book a popular new restaurant, you should use an App like OpenTable and ensure you book well in advance!
New York City has the coolest bars in the world! In fact, it is nearly impossible to list the Best Bar in NYC but I do have some favourites which you should try if you’re looking for relaxation, a bit of atmosphere and some alcoholic libations. The East Village is my chosen location for hunting cool bars. Two of my very favourites are in the neighbourhood including Angel’s Share and Death & Company. Both of these bars consistently rank in independent surveys as the best in NYC. I also enjoy The Dead Rabbit in the Financial District because it is run by two friends from Dublin. Dubliners know how to party (see my blog entry: https://www.journeyhero.net/enjoy-a-traditional-irish-guinness-in-dublin-town), so you’ll definitely have a good time at the Dead Rabbit! Finally, because the atmosphere is like a cross between a mad scientist’s lair and an old pharmacy, I love Apotheke in Chinatown!
Enjoy exploring New York City and maybe I’ll bump into you when you’re there!