There’s something a bit comforting when you hear taxis blaring their horn at 4am in the morning, when jetlag is keeping you awake. Originally I’d be further annoyed but not when I’m in New York. After all, this is the city that never sleeps.
I’d first made the trip over to the Big Apple on an university trip back in 2012 and it was love at first sight. For the past four years, I longed to return to what had become my favourite city in the entire world, without hesitation. And at long last, here I was again on Boxing Day, marvelling at the bright lights of Times Square.
December in New York is cold. Armed with thick coats, wooly scarfs and big boots, we were ready to tackle the elements and started with the enormous Central Park. Although there were no leaves on the trees and the sky was a murky grey, it’s a stunning site, a place of peace in a very busy city. You just about hear the sirens and horns but the further you delve into Central Park, the quieter it becomes.
On the other end of the spectrum, visits to Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building are musts. Both with equally stunning views, I recommend you go up one during the day and the other at night. We went up the Top of the Rock on a clear sunny day, with which you could see miles of the concrete jungle and get a perfect view of Central Park. Up the Empire State however was a simply magical experience and also incredibly lucky. As we reached the 86th observation deck, we were greeted with falling snow. Although it would partly obscure our view, you really can’t beat some snow, which did stop to reveal the stunning night views.
An attraction that I hadn’t done last time was visiting ol’ Libby – the Statue of Liberty that is. Perhaps the tourist spot in New York, it is a must see when you visit, purely so you can say that you have done. The ferry over gives you some tremendous views of Manhattan, a different perspective on the bustling island, as well as a chance to get away from the busy crowds if you so wish.
An unexpected activity we undertook was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge; I recommend doing this if you are visiting the 9/11 Memorial, with the start of the Bridge not far away. With great views of Manhattan one side and the hipster Brooklyn the other, it’s a must.
If you can, also be sure to catch a sports game, whether this is Basketball, American Football, Soccer… the Americans certainly know how to create an atmosphere and this is no different with New Yorkers. A trip over to the Barclays Center to see the New York Islanders in an Ice Hockey match was a fun experience, as we got drawn into the atmosphere, chanting along the faithful Islanders fans.
One thing with the tourist attractions; pre-book before you go. Understandably security is tight everywhere so rather than queuing to go through security and then again to purchase your tickets, have them ready to go. The Statue of Liberty is particularly an attraction to have your tickets already purchased, otherwise you’ll be there a long time.
We left before the infamous ball drop in Times Square which, although it is a bucket-list item for many, was extremely busy and a bit mad around the area beforehand. For the sake of seeing a ball drop from afar, it’s not high up on my own list.
Again I left the Big Apple yearning to return as soon as I could, having fallen back in love and rest ensured, I shan’t be leaving it four years to go back. If you love big bustling cities with so much to see, then New York is the city for you.