What a better way to end our USA journey than to make a long weekend trip to New York?! Exactly! The flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark Airport (NYC) took about 6 hours and 3 movies time and to be honest I felt truly nostalgic before and after leaving California. During our stay on the West Coast, I fell in love with the stunning views over the Pacific Ocean, the orange-purple skies, the chilled out feeling and lovely people … It was time to leave and go back to our reality – But … right after our New York City trip!
We arrived at Newark at 21:00, it was already dark outside and we witnessed the very first raindrops after three weeks of sunshine. The airport shuttle was waiting for us and it took another half an hour of drive to Manhattan.
Recommendation: Book an Airport Shuttle! The service is great – airport-hotel-hotel-airport. They are much cheaper than a taxi, just in time and absolutely reliable. We booked our Airport Shuttle here:
First minutes in Manhattan – the air on the East Coast smells differently, everything goes much faster and choleric compared to the West Coast. The massive skyscrapers and the lights of Time Square made us speechless … one turn left, one turn right and we were already at our hotel. Having in mind the (only) three days and the bulk of attractions we wanted to visit the only case to make our “life” easier was to book a hotel in the middle of Manhattan so we could just walk through the city’s highlights. And our choice THE PAUL was the perfect true Boutique Hotel experience in the heart of Manhattan:
“You are now standing in the central and vibrant NoMad neighbourhood of Manhattan; an ideal home for the curious traveller who wants to live and feel like a New Yorker.” The Paul Hotel
The hotel was lovely, the room gorgeous! The first thing I saw from our window was this:
And believe me or not – I didn’t realize until next morning which building it was!!!
In the morning we started the day with a huge coffee to-go and a high spirit to conquer the city. I’m not claiming that we had a perfect plan as everyone has a different way of doing things, but today and with the next several posts I’ll share with you my personal experiences as a first-time visitor to New York City, some tips and my photo diary which turned out to be really good. For the three days spent in NYC, I didn’t become an expert, but I still saw and experienced a lot, which gives me a million things to talk about and share with you!
Our day began with a small early stroll to 5th Avenue in order to find some breakfast-to-go. Only a couple of minutes are needed to have some first touch with the unique vibe of this giant city as it was a bit swamp, but quite enjoyable! They were many things to stop and look at … just … Everywhere! The Fifth Avenue is one of the major and most famous streets in Manhattan and it is known for its luxury shops as it is consistently ranked among the most expensive shopping streets in the world.
Flat Iron Building
I love this building! What a gorgeous construction! One of the things I have in mind when I hear New York before and after our trip. The Flat Iron Building, once called “The Cowcatcher”, was a symbol of NYC long before the Empire State Building was built. Interesting fact about it: early in the ’90s its elevators were hydraulic and completely water powered.
Empire State Building
Since the ‘30s, the Empire State Building is the best known icon of New York, which was the tallest building in the world for 41 years (443 m)! Every day, the building’s top is flashed up with different colours (e.g. red, white and blue for the Fourth of July) and serves as a warning signal for aircraft. How important the building for NYC is, is the fact that it has its own ZIP code – 10118. You can visit the Empire State Building as it has one of the most famous observation decks on its 86th and 102nd floors.
Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is for sure one of the hidden secrets in New York and one of the most fascinating landmarks. I have seen this place many, many times in various movies (some examples are “The Avengers”, “Men in Black II”, “Friends with Benefits”, “Bad Company”, etc.).
“Few of the millions who annually go through Grand Central Terminal see all of it because the building was designed to keep 30,000 people at a time moving to and from trains.” Popular Mechanics, November 1944
There are many interesting facts about this beautiful building and I’ll share the most interesting (at least for me) with you:
- The Grand Central Terminal was built in 1913 by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had the main aim to frame a landmark which symbioses wealth and power. During the construction, he mainly had used luscious materials like Tennessee and Botticino marble, brass, opal, Guastavino tile, etc.
- Grand Central Terminal hosts more than 750,000 people daily!
- Grand Central Terminal is a common meeting place for New Yorkers.
- The four-sided, gold-coloured Clock is made out of one solid piece of adorable opal and its price is estimated to be worth $10-20 million.
- Outside the station, you can face the world’s largest Tiffany clock (1,500 tons!) which is made of brass and stained glass.
- Inside the station is a hidden bar which was originally the office of tycoon John W. Campbel.
- Another hidden fortune inside the building is a tennis court which was owned by Donald Trump in the ‘80s.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of New York’s most beautiful buildings and for me – the most spectacular church in the city. It is the largest Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral not only in NYC, but also in the United States! It took over 21 years to be built (made of brick and covered with white marble) and it opened in the year of 1879. I loved the combination between old and new – the modern massive skyscrapers and the stunning classic church peeks … Amazing! The St. Patrick’s Cathedral welcomes more than 5 million visitors and 150 weddings every year!
I really haven’t seen such a noisy and crowded place like the The Times Square! It is the place which changes within a minute so every single photo made here will be unique. This place is so full of people that we got blocked several times by passengers while walking on the sidewalk.
- Its original name was Longacre Square until 1904 when New York Times moved its headquarters to the Times Building.
- The Times Square is one of the world’s most visited places – 360.000 people per day, which are ca 131 million people per year!
- Here you can enjoy some of the most expensive billboards in the world as it costs between $1.1 and $4 million a year if you want to rent one of those flashy, digital and neon pieces.
- This place is also known as “The Crossroads of the World” and “The Center of the Universe”.
- It was often used as movie location – “Vanilla Sky”, “I Am Legend”, “Birdman”, “Sully”, Hancock, Fast and Furious, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain America, many Marvel movies, etc.
- Since February 2011 The Square became smoke free.
There are Super Heroes and Sesame Street creatures all over the place which costs something if you want to take a photo with them. Since June 2016 (two week before we visited NY) the city introduced the Green Carpet. The main purpose of those is to ensure a stress-free walk for all visitors as the Super Heroes are not allowed “to work” outside the green carpet.
Enough for today! Next time we are going to visit Central Park and we will take a ride to Brooklyn!
Have you been to New York?! What is your favourite place in NYC or which place you want to visit most?!
Enjoy the day!