Today is the first of two full days that I will be spending in New York. Even though I am technically here for three full days, I have booked a tour to visit Washington D.C. for one day. I started the morning walking some of the streets in New York and finished the day 67 floors above the city. In the middle, I managed to fit in a tour and a cruise on the Hudson River.
New York Morning Walk
I started the morning returning to Times Square again, which I shared a picture of in yesterday’s post. However, having walked through the area in daylight this morning, my photo did not capture the quintessential point of view. The photo below might be a little more what you are familiar with especially including all the advertising.
Midtown New York
I headed off from Times Square taking 7th Avenue to 50th Street. Just to get a feel for where I needed to go to meet the tour I had booked this afternoon. With some time to spare I headed across to 5th Avenue.
Walking along 5th Avenue is I guess what you might expect, with some of the big name boutique shops lining either side. Although to be honest the shopping did not have any real interest to me at all. Arriving between 56th and 57th Street is one of the landmark buildings of New York, Trump Tower. Both the exterior and interior do have a distinct and impressive look to them. An interesting fact is that Trump Tower was completed on the 30th of November 1983, making it just one month older than me.
Just two more blocks heading into the area known as Uptown, you arrive at Central Park which starts at 59th Street. When you look from above, the park is one very extensive area of green amongst the skyscrapers. Here is a photo that puts it a little more in perspective from the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck, which I visited later in the day.
Once you are in Central Park it is a great change from being surrounded by the greyness of the rest of the city. The brick, stone and pavement all tend to blend, and then you find the colours of Central Park quite pleasing.
New York City Tour
I slowly work my way back from Central Park to the meeting point for the tour. Along the way, I found something to eat for lunch and end up arriving early for the tour. It seems everyone for the tour arrived early and we got away slightly early as well.
The tour, which is named “New York In A Day”, turned out to be one of the most comprehensive city tours I have taken. There were quite a few stops along with a 1-hour ferry cruise on the Hudson and East Rivers.
The tour made the first stop at a special area in Central Park. The area named Strawberry Fields covers an area of around 2.5 acres. It has been specially landscaped as a place of remembrance for John Lennon. Strawberry Fields is located near 72nd Street, directly across from the Dakota Apartments. The location where John Lennon lived in his later life with his widow Yoko Ono. Yoko Ono paid for the installation of the memorial and still lives in the apartment nearby.
Rockefeller Centre seems to be quite a centre for a lot of activity. There appears to be a lot that happens in the area from television studios, a skating rink, an observation deck (which I will visit later today). Although one of the highlights for me was visiting my first Lego store. Although I didn’t buy anything, it was fascinating to see.
There was a photo stop at the Empire State Building. However, the view of the Empire State Building is much better from the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck.
The second last stop on the tour was at the South Street Seaport. The stop is also where the next part of the tour starts, a one-hour ferry ride on the Hudson and East Rivers. It was a part that I was happy to find included as I had hoped to do the river cruise anyway.
There are some sights that you see from the cruise. The first which is pointed out is where the new World Trave Centre tower is being built. Next was a look across at the New Jersey Skyline before the ferry headed a little closer to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Finally a look at the Brooklyn and Manhatten Bridges, before heading back to the Seaport.
World Trade Centre Memorial Site
The last stop on the tour is the World Trade Centre Memorial site. Although the visit is a spot very nearby that looks over the site itself. It is not practical on the tour to visit the site due to the security checks and time involved. However, we did get to see the memorial from another building which overlooks it. It was also possible to see the progress on the rebuilding which is underway.
Top Of The Rock
After the tour, I had planned to finish the day at the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck. It is located on the 67th floor of 30 Rockefeller Centre, which is also the home o the NBC studios. Even though it sits roughly 20 levels lower than the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building, there are some benefits.
The biggest advantage I found was no lines waiting to get up. There were still security checks and such, but you pretty much went straight through. Plus in reality, you are still above almost everything else with I think a better view. Especially since you have a view of the Empire State Building itself.
The view from 67 floors above the city is quite amazing. Some buildings are taller, but they do not impact your view at all. A view that stretches for miles in every direction, looking out over Manhatten, Jersey and Brooklyn. The timing was perfect, arriving in time for sunset and getting to see the city by day and night.
What A Day
It is hard to believe that I have only just scratched the surface of what New York has to offer today. It was a great time and very much a fully packed day of sightseeing. The only problem is that it leaves me with far too many ideas for how to fill my second day in New York.
But for tomorrow the scenery will change a little as I have managed to book myself on a day tour to Washington D.C. I could not justify booking specific days in Washington so went with the next best option. So that will be another big day tomorrow, I will be looking forward to the sea days once I get onboard the cruise in about a week.