I could see New York city blanketed in the first snowfall of the season as my plane landed at JFK. From above, it seemed as if the colorful houses and leafless trees were painted on a canvas of white. I was welcomed by a blast of cold air and slush and mud everywhere as soon as I walked out of the airport. As charming as it was to watch the snow and the city from a temperature controlled cabin, I desperately wanted to fly back to California, the sunny state with amazing beaches.
But its New York City and you cannot not fall in love with it. Maybe because of how diverse it is in terms of the people, culture and food. Maybe because no one judges you, no matter who you are or where you are from. Maybe because some of our favourite movies and sitcoms are shot there. Maybe because of the fast-paced life or possibly because the city never sleeps. It’s hard to tell why but you cannot not fall in love with the city!
When you are in the financial, cultural and media capital of the world, there is so much to see and so many things to do. With the one and half day I had in hand (half of which was gone getting cozy in bed), I could barely scratch the tip of the iceberg. But nevertheless it was a day spent perfectly: getting around the city and visiting places, with a map of New York in one hand and pizza slices in the other.
Want to spend a perfect day like mine at NYC?
Start with a delicious breakfast at Jack’s Wife Freda
Ideally I would have loved to start the day with a morning walk at Central Park but it was too damn cold for that. So I chucked the morning walk and started my day with a brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda. The place is tiny and really easy to miss if you aren’t specifically looking for it. The food is as delicious as it looks and their Madame Freda, a pressed Duck prosciutto, is my personal favourite.
Get yourself a ticket for the Liberty Island & Ellis Island Cruise
A trip to NY would be incomplete without visiting Lady Liberty, America’s icon of freedom and hope. The magnificence of the Statue of Liberty is eye-catching in itself but do watch out for the great view of NYC skyline from the Liberty & Ellis islands. Another gem of the tour is Ellis Island, the island through which immigrants came to the United States in the past. The free ranger tour explaining the history of the island is fascinating and insightful.
Watch the sun set over Hudson River & Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry
It’s an absolute delight to watch Lady Liberty’s shadow dance on the Hudson river lit up with the orange sunset hues. You can watch it from the Liberty Island cruise or take the free Staten Island ferry. I took the Statue Cruises, the official tour Cruises to the Liberty Island. The Staten Island ferry is a great option too but the ferry won’t stop at the Liberty or Ellis island.
Walk from Battery Park to One World Trade Center
The new WTC is just a few blocks walk from Battery Park. The cold was biting so I walked around to find the nearest subway to get back to my hotel in Soho, when I came across this really really tall skyscraper. It didn’t take me long to realize that it is the One WTC. There were Christmas celebrations going on everywhere and this place was no exception. Who can say no to Christmas carols and window shopping (and a little warmth)? So I walked right in.
Take the subway to Times Square
One WTC has metro lines to practically most places in NYC and Jersey. I was almost going to give up for the day, thanks to the freezing weather. Times Square happened to be on the same metro line, so I decided I can’t miss the iconic Times Square. A very good decision indeed! The whole street, including broadway, was magical and it was dazzling to stand right at the center of the madness watching all the billboards & advertisements, people perform ing street arts and hundreds of pedestrians cross the streets. The typical NY that you see in every movie! How I wish I also had the time to watch a broadway play that night.
Watch NYC all lit up from Rockefeller Top of the Rock observatory
You can get panoramic views of New York City, its skyscrapers and high rises and many of its major attractions from the Rockefeller top of the deck observatory. And all the city gorgeously lit up if you decide to visit at night. You need to take two crazy elevators rides to get to the top and voila! You can watch the whole city around you in awe.
The holiday season is so much more beautiful
Saks fifth avenue has an adorable light show with lovely music, there is ice-skating at the Rockefeller Rink and all the places are decked out with festival lights. The are heavy crowds everywhere and so much fun to be had. Lose yourself in the crowds and revel in the festivities!
End the night with the Pepporoni slices from Joe’s Pizza, the Spiderman pizza place
Remember Joe’s pizza from Spiderman with the 29 minutes delivery guarantee? Yes, that’s the place I’m talking about. Their greasy pizza slices are famous throughout NYC and people wait in queues outside this tiny shop for these slices! Trust me, the wait for these slices is absolutely worth it.
A tip for anyone visiting NYC
Use the subway to commute to all the places – it’s cheap ($3 per ride) and quick. Thank me later. I stayed in Soho village in lower Manhattan and it was just a short metro ride away to all the toursity places.
On my way to the airport, my cabby was kind enough to show me the financial district, Brooklyn bridge and give me a tour and history of the places we were driving through. Life is too short to make promises to visit a place twice, but NYC is too good to not make that promise. Till next time NYC!