“Concrete jungle where dreams are made of”
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New York City for work. Shockingly, it was my first time in the city. I’ll be honest, I was apprehensively excited about this trip.
I was excited because New York has been high on my to do list for most of my adult life. It is the most recognizable pop-culture reference point, romanticized in just about every modern tv show and movie out there. It’s where dreams are made, it feels like the centre of the universe.
I was apprehensive because I assumed it would feel like “just another big city”, a concrete jungle with little character and maybe I’m getting a little too comfortable with the laid-back west coast vibe and lush, beautiful scenery of the mountains and beaches. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect.
Well….to my pleasant surprise – New York is cool; really really cool. I don’t mean temperature-wise, I mean hip. It has a vibe like no other, a certain hustle and bustle. It’s where the old world and new world meet. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer a city with more green space and about a third as many people, but New York has a certain je ne sais quoi.
When I set out to write this post, I was excited to share everything I did and saw because there was just so much. When I started flipping through the photos on my iPhone I realized it was just too much. Too much to see, to do, to experience, to taste, to feel, to capture in words. It is a place everyone needs to visit at some point in their life, it has something for everyone and leaves you wanting more. I didn’t want to take that experience away from anyone. For that reason, here are just a few sights and sounds that I stumbled across in my quick stop in the city.
The biggest bonus of this being wrapped into a work trip was getting to stay at a swanky hotel (The Gansevoort) located in the ultra cool Meatpacking district.
Upon seconds of walking into the Gansevoort Market, a market offering a ‘curated selection of locally produced goods and fare’, I knew the Meatpacking district would be hard to top on the list of neighbourhoods I was going to visit.
If you make your way to the area, be sure to pick up a coffee from Champion Coffee before hitting the High Line.
Outside of Central Park, grass and general greenery can be pretty hard to come by. The city has, however, done a really great job of repurposing an out-of-use railroad trestle into a 1.45 mile long linear urban park.
The High Line offers a glimpse into the sometimes subtle yet ultra-artsy side of the city. The walk is littered with abstract sculptures, installations, murals and artworks. Blink and you might actually miss something!
I passed by a group of tourist at the 25th and 10th mark of the walk taking photos and stoping to gaze. Directly behind me was this massive mural by Brazilian artist and designer Eduardo Kobra, based on the iconic V-J Day in Times Square photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
The Empire State Building is THE American cultural icon and named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
The New York Public Library is the second largest in the United States, fourth largest in the world and where Big stood up Carrie Bradshaw on their wedding day in the first Sex and the City movie (its real claim to fame in my eyes 😉 ).
I took a moment to stop at the bustling Grand Central Terminal to breath in its vibrant energy, phenomenal architectural design and grand stature of the building.
It really is something else!
Times Square is pretty crazy, and I’m sure is where New York gets its reputation for being the city that doesn’t sleep. It’s loud, busy, bustling and bright; but it’s hard not to take a minute and drink in all the action.
Visiting here, it is also hard not to reminisce countless years of watching the world ring in the new year with the ball drop from Times Square on New Years Eve. At that moment, I was daydreaming of those magical moment each year. I was standing in the middle of it, that was pretty neat.
A first-time New York visit isn’t complete unless you travel up one of the iconic towers to take in the magnificent views. The one day I got to play tourist while in New York was completed with a ride to the ‘Top of the Rock’ to drink in the city’s famous skyline in all it’s sunshiny and fall glory.
I feel like a stop in New York isn’t complete without taking a moment to reflect on the Freedom Tower and all that it it represents. Now standing as the tallest building in the New York skyline, it is a sombre yet hopeful sight and a constant reminder of the the horrific events of September 11, 2001.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic representations of New York City. The national monument was a gift from the French to the U.S. symbolizing freedom and democracy and in my eyes is the symbol of hope for a lot of generations gone passed.
I got the opportunity to visit the very popular lady up close and personal while attending an event on a yacht that circled the harbour. Even I got goosebumps as we stopped in front of the statue long enough for the DJ to play “God Bless America”.
There is still so much to see in do in this jam-packed city; which will require a trip back. I decided to end my stay with a stroll around America’s most famous and visited parks.
Honourable mention should also be given to the thin crust, carb-y, cheese-y slice of heaven New York is known for. If anyone really knows me, they know pizza is probably my favourite food of all time. What better place (in North America) to indulge in this delectable treat than New York? I tried my best to find the best of the best, but I think it may require another trip back….for market research purposes, of course.
Well New York, much to my initial chagrin, you’ve definitely made your way up there on my list of favourite cities. Well done!