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New York, New York – So Good They Named It Twice: By Michelle M, Australia

New York, New York – So Good They Named It Twice: By Michelle M, Australia

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I have been to the USA twice before, once I was 10 (I won a sandcastle competition in Perth, Western Australia) and was lucky enough to come, and once with my parents when I was 20.

But this time I’m in my forties and I’m here with my husband, and he has never been to the US.

We started our trip in San Fran and then headed to New York, so when we arrived we weren’t totally jet lagged from the day or so it takes to get here (so that’s a good thing).

We stayed on the Upper West Side in Manhattan and this was a great launching pad for our days in the Big Apple.


Planing the NYC Visit

Manhattan from Empire State with shadow of building in the picture

Manhattan from Empire State with shadow of building in the picture

I had arranged a few things before I left Australia. The hop on hop off bus for 24 hours, the Empire State observatory and Top of the Rock tickets.

I had also gone online and booked the free 9/11 Memorial tickets.  The memorial is well worth it.

I’m glad that such a respectful memorial has been built and still draws such large crowds. I think we should remember and I was surprised to see so many fire fighter’s names, the true spirit of New Yorkers!


Tips for Fellow Tourists

A couple of tourist tips. Pay the extra for the Express Pass for Empire State – at least at peak times! We went on 13th to 20th December and this is busy (that’s an understatement, we come from Perth).

Not only are New Yorkers doing their Christmas shopping, half of the US is on holidays in New York for a white Christmas and New Years Eve.

Then you have the international travelers like us.  It’s busy! We saved over 2 hours of queuing with the Express Pass (also called the “Skip the Line” tickets).


What to Wear While in New York City

View of Manhattan from the ferry

View of Manhattan from the ferry

This website has great tips and spot on.

I started with sneakers but kept getting hassled by all the tourist vendors, as soon as I purchased a pair of nice suede black boots (any excuse for shopping in the best city in the world for it).

I stopped being hassled all the time, so what you wear is not just important for bring comfortable, but also for fitting into the local environment just a bit more!

We have traveled extensively and this is the first time I’ve worn sneakers (because of a foot orthotic) and it was the first time I had felt uncomfortable and very much like a tourist. Therefore, what you wear is so important (safety and comfort).


Top of the Rock vs Empire State

I think this is personal preference. They are both worth seeing for different reasons.

The Rock is great because you can see the Empire State and get those great photos – the Empire State is the Empire State which is just a New York must do!

So for me, do both, one in the day and one at night. We did Rock at night so got the Empire State in our night photos. We were not disappointed.


Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

This is a beautiful station and worth a quick look. We had wanted to go, but were on our last night and had run out of time, but met a friend for dinner and she suggested a great oyster restaurant in the station and so we got to go.

Right outside this restaurant there is a place (curved roof) where you can stand facing the column and talk to someone who is doing the same in the opposite column,you can hear them without yelling, just your voice carries by the curve of the roof.

This would be great fun for kids but we enjoyed it equally and marveled at the engineering whist enjoying dinner with our friend.

The main concourse of the station itself is beautiful. It’s a great place to watch people scurrying to catch their next train. I was hoping for a flash mob to suddenly break out but no such luck!

You can read more about the Grand Central Station here.


An Opinion About New Yorkers

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

We came from San Fran and, like the weather, they are very sunny and happy people.

We had heard that New Yorkers could be a bit like their weather and we did encounter that, but also there were some extremely helpful and friendly people too!

To be honest, we were there a week before Christmas and everywhere was mad – restaurants, department stores, etc. But there were many, many wonderful and friendly people, not just from service industries but people on the street who, as soon as they saw a map or a camera come out would ask if you needed any help or someone to take a picture!


Christmas in New York City

Wow! What a time of year to go. The store windows were amazing, the decorations, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in New York, that’s for sure!

New York really has the Christmas spirit and goes all out. Everyone seems to get excited about the time of year and it is infectious! Great time to go (just realize that everyone is doing their shopping and purchasing last minute gifts too!)


Ice Skating at Battery Park

View of Manhattan at night from Top of the Rock

View of Manhattan at night from Top of the Rock

One benefit of this time of year is that you can ice skate. Now I haven’t done this is over 20 years, but a colleague from work had asked me to “do it for her”. So there I was skating in Battery Park.

We had seen on the local TV station that this one has just opened and as you can get a view over the river, with the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the background, we thought this was a great place to try.

I loved it and added to the Christmas feeling!


To Sum It Up…

New York, New York – well worth a visit and we will be back, but maybe when it’s s little less busy.

Plus next time we will hopefully get out of Manhattan and see a bit more.

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