Discovering the Big Apple for the first time in spring was an amazing experience!
We all feel that we know what to expect from New York after all the films and TV series we have seen. However, once you set foot in the city it is more impressive than you ever imagined. The skyscrapers are taller than you thought, the city is bustling more than ever with activity and the never ending police sirens and taxis horns just remind you of how lively this city is.
“The city that never sleeps” is definitely the most appropriate phrase to illustrate New York.
I stayed in SoHo at the Sixty SoHo Hotel (a trendy boutique hotel located in the heart of SoHo) and definitely find that it is the best area to be based in. You are in walking distance of all the emblematic areas of the city and it is a beautiful young, trendy and lively neighbourhood. With its beautiful cast-iron architecture, green spaces, galleries, fantastic restaurants and lovely boutiques you can easily find a reason not to leave SoHo.
Upon my arrival in the city I walked down Broadway towards the Financial District and at the end of Wall Street I took a New York Water Taxi tour along the Hudson River. This was an ideal way to get a good perspective of the city on a relaxing water tour, passing by iconic monuments such as Brooklyn Bridge, Red Hook, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The 9/11 Memorial impressed me a lot. I find it is the most breathtaking and beautifully conceptualised memorial I have ever seen. It clearly demonstrates the hole left behind in the city but for me the sunlight shining in represented a sign of light from heaven. I asked a security guard about the meaning of the design and he told me that the water represented the tears shed by the victims’ families and that the smaller square hole in the centre represented the hole left in their hearts. I found that very touching and emotional.
It was rather difficult to get a clear shot of the Charging Bull as there is always someone either touching it or posing for their picture. I didn't expect it to be so popular amongst the tourists. They say you become a millionaire if you touch it but I think that is a bit too good to be true. I touched it and so far nothing has changed for me...
I stumbled upon Washington Square Park and was more in awe with all of the beautiful flowers in bloom rather than the Washington Square Arch. I spent quite a while taking pictures until I got my perfect shot.
I walked on Fith Avenue and then down Broadway in direction of Times Square passing by the Flatiron Building. This building is exceptional and even more narrower than I expected. It somehow reminded me of Paris with its similar façade architecture. It is definitely one of my favourite buildings in NYC.
I loved these daffodils and thought I had to include them in my photo of one of New York's most iconic buildings.
Times Square wasn’t as chaotic as I expected but in any case, I was already familiar with Piccadilly Circus in London… I guess I went on a quiet moment. Its full of colourful billboards, advertisement screens and of people dressed up (Hulk, gigantic Statue of Liberty, etc.). It is also known as the Crossroads of the World and is one of the most visited places in the world.
As I was extremely lucky with the weather I spent my afternoon in Central Park soaking up the sun and cherishing the beautiful scenery. I regret not renting a paddle boat as it must be a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.
A friend told me that I shouldn’t miss The Frick Collection and he was right. After a tiring day walking around NYC, this was a perfect way to appreciate masterpieces of renowned European artists without the chaos of bigger museums. I loved its beautiful serene indoor garden.
I wandered around West Village and The Chelsea Market – unfortunately I had a late breakfast and wasn’t that hungry because there were so many things I would have wanted to try but I shall keep it in mind for next time.
My highlight of the day was the High Line. It used to be a railway and was left in disuse, until it was decided to transform it into a walkway and to develop the greenery - now known as the Park in the Sky. it was inspired by the Promenade plantée in Paris. I started on 34th West Street and found it was a good idea as then you can finish your walk with lunch or dinner at the MeatPacking District. You will discover a variety of interesting shops and restaurants within this historical-industrial and modern-chic neighbourhood.
For my last full day in the city I choose Brooklyn. Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge was amazing. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US. It is a symbol of New York and has figured in many films.
Don't forget that the top part of the bridge is shared between pedestrians and cyclists so beware not to be walk in the cycle lane as cyclists will not be happy and will probably not break for you...
Then there is a lovely walk to do along the Hudson River with beautiful views of the Financial District and of Manhattan. You can also walk on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
You must definitely go to Williamsburg to spend an afternoon browsing around the shops and for lunch as there are some great places. Do remember that Brooklyn is a huge neighbourhood so you should decide in advance which part you want to see.
The day ended with a spectacular sunset view over the city and particularly of the Empire State Building at the Top of the Rock - a must despite how busy it gets!
I spent my last day wandering around SoHo and admiring the beautiful architecture of its buildings. After visiting the whole of New York, I must say that this is my favourite neighbourhood and if I ever came to live here one day this is where I would like to be based.
I don’t know when but I know that at some time in the future I shall be returning to NYC. Spring is the perfect time to go as days are longer, temperatures are warmer and the parks and green spaces are in full bloom.
Have you already been to New York?
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English and French wanderer. Based in Paris. Tasting the world through one escape to another...