Saturday, December 6, 2014

Twenty Something Travel to [New York City]

Good day readers!

I will be starting blog posts on my travel destinations around the world called the 'Twenty Something Travel to" series. Travelling is the most enjoyable thing one can do in life, at least to me. If I have unlimited financial supply, I would not buy a big mansion or buy a fancy Porsche. Instead, I will spend them all on travelling locally and overseas. For the very first travel post, I will be sharing my travel experience in the favourite city of all times, New York City a.k.a. the Big Apple. Although I am not a pro traveller or someone who is qualified to give travel advice and travel guide, I do hope these series of blog posts on my travel encounters would give you some idea on how to navigate these destinations and perhaps, ignite the passion to travel in you!

New York City, being the most popular and known for its high density of population in the United States, did not fail to impress me with its high rise buildings, great food and colourful billboards. I was lucky to have Philip, my travel buddy, with me when exploring New York City in the summer. 

Transportation

New York City was not our first destination and it took us around 4 hours to get there from Boston by Megabus. The two-way ticket price was as cheap as USD 80 per person as compared to taking internal flights which would cost us 4-5 times the price with equal length of time.

We navigated NYC using Google map and two methods of transportation: by foot and by subway (not the foot-long sandwich - but an underground electric rail system). I would say it is entirely possible to not take the yellow cab at all to get to must-go-places in NYC. Just get a Metrocard, top-up as per usage and you are ready to go! You can read about the Metrocard here.

*Note that different states in the US use different kinds of smart cards for their railway system. Be prepared to invest on one whenever you travel out of state. Some smart cards do not offer refund for unused funds. Tip: Purchase the ones which require you to pay as per ride so that you wouldn't have to waste your money!

Streets of New York

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, it is very important to choose one which is of reasonable price, strategically located, clean, safe and with friendly staffs. This is because you do not want to end up walking the whole day and finally when it is time to rest, you face problems of smelly pillows, bad cleaning services and faulty air-conditioner. We stayed in Yotel for the entire trip and I must say our stay was pleasant! Despite it being a 3-star hotel, they have the standard close to a 4.5-star hotel! It is located extremely near to Times Square and everything is within reach! 

Yotel's address: 570, 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States. Link here.

Yotel has a robot at the entrance to store your luggages if you are checking in or out early!

Food

As students, we did not really go for high-end restaurants or even bother to hunt for good food in NYC. Our demand for food was simple to fulfil - to be filling! We agreed with each other that we should not go for any Asian food. In other words, no rice, no steamed vegetables, no steamed meat, no Chinese tea, no herbal soup. So we tried their pizzas, burgers, fries, burritos, coke and ice-cream. I miss the burgers and something called guacamole over there! Not that no burgers are sold in Singapore but they just taste different, somehow. People kept telling me before my trip that food portions in the US are shockingly huge and I second that after experiencing it myself! I ended up sharing or not being able to finish all my food because they are just very generous when it comes to food. 

My burrito with my favourite guacamole at Chipotle. 
Pizza for breakfast at Villa Italian Kitchen.

Standard size of an 'ordinary' pizza sold anywhere.

Places

We spent our weekends there visiting the Fifth Avenue (LV, Prada, Dior lovers' heaven), 911 Memorial Tower, The Reflecting Absence Memorial and Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, 7th Regiment Memorial, Chinatown, City Hall, Courts, Federal Hall National Memorial, Wall Street, Grand Central Terminal, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Statue of Liberty, Little Italy, Rockefeller Centre, Rose Center for Earth and Space, Times Square, Trinity Church, Public Library, Intrepid Museum etc. There is a USD 20+ admission fee for most of the museums and I would say it's worth the money.

I was stunned by the elegant and exclusive buildings architecture. I have yet to find out the different architectural styles of different buildings. They all look extraordinarily magnificent and bold, 'photogenic' as well, as compared to the modern buildings found in my home country. Here are some pictures to share:

Subway Station

Central Park

Grand Central Terminal


Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wall Street
The Reflecting Absence Memorial
Times Square at 10pm.
Colourful billboards along the street of New York.
The New York Times building.


[Mandatory Tourist Shot]

Highlight of the trip

The highlight of our trip was actually the fireworks displays during Independence Day on the 4th of July! Initially, we tried to google 'where is the best place to catch the fireworks in NYC'. Results showed the Empire State Building and some other confusing places. We then approached a traffic police at the streets and she kindly told us to walk to Brooklyn Bridge before 9pm.

Being as kiasu as possible, we reached the place around 5pm and guess what, people were much earlier than us! We tried asking people where would be the best place to get the full view and different people told us different spots. Now, here comes the tip: when in doubt, follow the bigger crowd! We saw quite a number of people sitting beside the main road which was blocked for the event but more people were walking in the direction of the Brooklyn Bridge. We were like: let's just follow the bigger crowd. I would say the crowd was crazy and the NYPD (New York Police Department) did a good job in crowd control!

We regretted not buying food before heading there because we were starving while waiting for the fireworks. We were like two clueless people in the crowd trying to figure where the fireworks displays would exactly be. At around 9pm, the first blast turned out to be right in front of us (too close to be true)! I must say I had a great time watching the fireworks displays and celebrating this meaningful occasion with the New Yorkers.

Sneak peak of 0.01% of the crowd near Brooklyn Bridge. 
NYC has the most incredible and amazing fireworks in the world! (not even exaggerating)
p/s: To kill the perfect picture of being able to catch the fascinating fireworks, we had a terrible experience of trying to get a cab back to hotel (under cold and windy weather) after the event around 11.30pm because they closed some of the subway entrance to control the crowd. We were so cold and hungry at that time. We ended up getting some hot food at a random restaurant near midnight. Then, we bravely came to a consensus to walk back to our hotel. It was pretty scary but phew, we reached safely.

I think this blog post pretty much sums up our trip in NYC. If you have any questions regarding my trip to NYC which are not mentioned in this post or any travel experience in NYC that you would like to share with me, feel free to drop your message at the comment box below!

With love,
PY

1 comment:

  1. I love your new blog so much, rich of personal experiences :) Hope I can read more of these in the future.

    ReplyDelete