I had bought a New York Pass so the first thing I did was taking the metro to Times Square to exchange my Pass reservation for the real pass. It was an amazing experience to be and walk in Manhattan. I had booked a Midtown walking tour, so I walked to the UN Headquarters where the tour was starting. It was my first time ins a “skyscraper city” and I couldn’t stop looking up!The tour was very interesting, probably my favorite, and included visits and explanations of the Tudor City, the 42nd street (with the Daily News Building, the Chrysler Building, the Chanin Building and the Bowery Savings Bank). Then we arrived to the Grand Central Station with its turquoise ceiling full of stars. The visit continued at the Public Library and ended at Bryant Park, just behind it, where I had lunch, as many new yorkers.
After lunch I walked back to Times Square and then to the famous 5th Avenue where I visited St Pauls Cathedral and the Seagram Building, by Mies van der Rohe, not far from there. Then I went to the Museum of Modern Art where I visited the permanent exhibition, that I appreciated very much, but even more the building, by Yoshio Tanigushi. Then I wanted to go to the Top of the Rock (all of this included with the NY Pass) and when I got there I realized that we have to book a time to go up according to their availability. It would have been better to go there before MoMA, to book it for after, to watch the sunset from the top, as I planned to. This way I still went for about an hour to Central Park, while waiting for my turn to go up. I actually still arrived upstairs before the sun set, I was only unfortunately to have chosen the only cloudy afternoon of my visit to go up and actually missing it. It was either way my favorite view to New York.
Before going home I just passed again through Times Square to see it at night, all lightened up!
My second day in New York was as intense as the first! I started with a visit to the Empire State Building and its Observatory Deck at the 86th floor. From here you can have a good idea of the whole island and beyond, as the Empire State Building is pretty much in the center of Manhattan.
After watching New York from above I did a walking tour through the neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown. The SoHo, an abbreviation of South of Houston Street, is known by its cast iron buildings. Little Italy is where most of italian immigrants came to live and where we can find all italian products. Around the corner there is Chinatown, a completely different and chaotic neighborhood. I had lunch there, in a small “gyosa place”, very cheap and tasteful!
On the afternoon I walked through the Financial District, where we can find the City Hall and further south the One World Trade Center. The famous Wall Street is also here, as the Trinity Church, in one of its ends, and the statue of the Charging Bull.
From Battery Park I took a cruise to Liberty Island to go meet personally lady Liberty. It was nice to visit this iconic and historic symbol but what I liked the most was the views to the city, from the boat and from the islands. Next to Liberty Island theres is Ellis Island, where all the the immigrants’ boats to the US would arrive for inspection, before entering the country. Nowadays it houses the Museum of Immigration.
As I still had a little bit of time and wanted to use my New York Pas as much as possible, I went to Madame Tussauds, before going back home.
Half of the trip, third day! It started at the Lincoln Center, which I thought it had guided tours at all times. It didn’t so I took some pictures and “bought” my ticket to come back later. The Lincoln Center is where most of the big theaters are. It houses the NYC Ballet, the New York Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera.
Meanwhile I went to the Cathedral of St John the Divine, the biggest in the world, very beautiful. This cathedral is in the north of the city so I did a short visit to the north of Central Park, to take the subway back to Lincoln Center. I also had lunch at the park, at some food truck – the food in New York isn’t amazing… at least the one I could afford.
I did the tour, which was amazing, but where unfortunately it was forbidden to take photos, except in the Metropolitan Opera.
After the tour I met Mariana, a friend who is living in New York, to explore a little bit more of Central Park, waiting for the “Pay what you want” hours to visit the Guggenheim (it is also included in the NY Pass, but my friend didn’t have one). . This park is huge and amazing, specially during summer!
We finally arrived to the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum by the great Frank Lloyd Wright, the “ramp museum”, for architecture lovers is definitely a must!
The last thing we did was to walk to the Metropolitan Museum, on the 5th Avenue and the Central Park, not to visit the museum as it is huge and I was already too tired, but to go to its rooftop bar and watch the sunset – the best way to end the day!
On my fourth day, Sunday, I started with the NYC Gospel Tour which included visiting part of Brooklyn and a gospel concert at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Brooklyn was the first suburb of the world and it was a place for rich people. It has a nice view to Manhattan. The concert was actually a sunday service, like going to the mass. The music was a bit different from what we associate to Gospel, but it was amazing to see the devotion of people singing. From Brooklyn to Manhattan I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, by John Roebling, the first suspension bridge in the world.
After eating exactly the same as the previous day and paying 5$ more just because I was in the Financial District and not in the Harlem, I visited the small Skyscraper Museum, just because. Then I walked along the Hudson River, watching over New Jearsey, until the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
It is a hard experience to be in this place but at the same time a beautiful place to thing, reflect about life, understand how ephemeral it is! I was there for two and a half hours and was kicked out because the museum was closing, so if you go there, go with time.
On my last day of NY Pass I started my day with a Circle Line Cruise called “The Best of NYC”, which would go around the island of Manhattan, starting at Pier 83, next to the Intrepid Museum. The cruise went first south, through the Hudson, passed near the Liberty Statue, went up the East River, passing and highlighting important sights, going under all the bridges to Brooklyn and Queens. My biggest surprise was how green the North of Manhattan in the the Harlem River, between the Harlem and the Bronx, is.
As I had some time before my “Inside Broadway Tour”, after some slices of NY Pizza, I went to the Empire State Building to go to the Skyride… not worth it…
The “Inside Broadway Tour” was actualy not inside the theaters but with a broadway actor which was a disappointment.
I finished my day at the Rockefeller Center, where I took another tour! Very interesting art, architecture and history!
On my last day/morning in New York I went to the High Line Park, a park built on an old train line, built some meters above the ground. It was another of my favourite places int this city, so nice to walk!
To end my trip I went back to the Central Park to visit some important places I hadn’t, like Bethesda Square and the Belvedere Castle.
Then I took the metro back to Brooklyn to get my suitcases and then went to Newark airport. After some hours of delay we finally departed to Boston, with an amazing view over the city. Then to arrive to Lisbon was a nightmare, but I won’t bother you with that.
Note: originally I was going to stay one more day in New York, but when trying to do the check in in Mexico City, the crew told me it would be very risky to take the flight I had bought, because the time to change planes in Chicago was too short, so they changed my flight to one the following day, with a stop over in Dallas, which then got late and that’s the reason I arrived to the city that doesn’t sleep at 2am. This to say that with this extra day I would have had the time to explore Brooklyn sights and to visit some more art museums like the New Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.