New York City. They call it the city that never sleeps and since I have been living in Berlin for years, that was not something which struck me as odd. To be honest, I went to New York as a real tourist, excited to visit all the magical places where the lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass once played out in my favorite TV shows. I also attended a language course at the Brooklyn School of Languages to improve my English.
Overall I had two weeks to experience the city and I was very lucky with my roommate. He had already been in New York for months and showed me a lot of places during our time together. Actually, he also took a few of the photos of me in this post, for example those where I am standing in front of the Manhattan skyline or on the Brooklyn Bridge.
On my first day in New York, I already felt a rush of excitements in me. When you are in New York, you realize immediately that the city is too big to see all the places you probably want to see. That is absolutely a tourist thing. Over the years living in Berlin, I have probably not seen as many landmarks as a visitor sees in one week. But when I am the visitor in a foreign city, I totally want to see as much as I can. So, let’s see what I saw in NYC.
This is the place where Steve and Miranda reunited in Sex and the City. It is a must-see when you are in New York. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the USA and connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is divided into a pedestrian part and a part for cars. You also have a great view of the Manhattan Bridge.
—> absolutely free!
Get ready to walk in New York City, especially in Manhattan. Although I had to take the subway much more often than in any other city, I walked a lot. Walking through Manhattan is a good way to see most of the surroundings. The houses of Manhattan are huge and you barely get to see the sun at daytime. Apart from this, the sunset can be amazing, when the red-orange fireball shines through the skyscrapers.
—> get yourself something to drink when you walk a lot: 5 Bucks
I was a little bit afraid of Time Square, because I don’t like places which are too crowded. I went to see the spectacle of naked cowboys and lights either way and it was better than in my imagination. I arrived in the late afternoon and sat down on a bench to wait until darkness, when the lights would turn on. An old man sat beside me and he told me that he lived in the neighborhood. Later he invited me to attend a salsa class with him, but I declined with thanks. I saw the naked cowboy and some other crazy people too. It was definitely an experience, I didn’t want to miss.
—> Do you want a photo with a naked cowboy? Give him 5 Bucks!
High Line Park
During my stay in New York, a lot of people told me more than once that I definitely had to do the High Line. So I did it. The High High Line is a public park on the westside of Manhattan. It is built on a historic freight rail line above the streets and has a modern and sustainable design. All along the High Line there are cool views over the city, you don’t get anywhere else. The organization “Friends of the High Line” takes care of the park and you can donate or adopt a plant to complete and maintain the park.
—> It’s free!
Gantry Plaza State Park
Two friends took me here on one of my last days in New York. I am glad they did, because this is a very calm and beautiful place. The park is located on the westside of Queens and home of an enormous Pepsi Cola sign. It is opposite the headquarters of the United Nations on the other side of the water and has a football field and deck chairs to relax.
—> Absolutely free!
Union Square Greenmarket
This is a good activity for a Saturday. The greenmarket at Union Square was perfect to start my weekend in New York. I ate breakfast in the park, strolled over the market and grabbed a coffee. All the food, from vegetables to meat, is sold by farmers, bakers and fishers. The market was founded in the 1970s and is now a real big thing in the city.
—> Coffee and fresh food: 10 bucks.
Luckily, I visited Chelsea Market by accident, because I had never heard about it before. Visiting places by accident is an advantage of walking through the city by the way. Chelsea Market is a food market, but als0 a fancy shopping mall where you can buy stuff from young and hip designers.
—> It depends on you!
Top of the Rock
You totally have to to this when you are a fan of super cool views. Top of the Rock is the top of the Rockefeller Center at the 70th floor of the building. Everyone told me that it should not be too crowded, much less than the Empire State Building would be. I can not tell you if this is true, but it was fine when I took my photos out there. I bought a combo-ticket for the MoMa and Top of the Rock and saved some money. You are totally free in your decision when to visit the two attractions, so I would absolutely recommend it.
—> A combination ticket is 50 Bucks, only Top of the Rock is 34 Bucks.
Staten Island Ferry
The ocean is always my favorite, my personal highlight. In New York you can take the Staten Island Ferry for free (yes!) to go from Manhattan to Staten Island. They have this free ferry for all the commuters. It is a 20 minute ride and you get very close to the Statue of Liberty which was the main reason for me to take the ferry in the first place. On Staten Island’s waterfront esplanade is a 9/11 memorial called Postcard not far from the station. It resembles a pair of wings and inside it has the names, birthdays, job titles and profile silhouettes of the lost ones.
—> Absolutely free!
I fell in love with this quarter and saw myself living in a loft as a very cool and hip New Yorker who write short stories and plays the guitar at night in a very cool music bar in Greenwich Village. Well, it doesn’t hurt to dream. Besides some nice shopping opportunities there is Big Gay Ice Cream, an ice cream shop with the best ice cream I’ve ever had. You really should try it.
—> Depends on your ice cream choice! I paid 6 Bugs.
There is another neighborhood I recommend a visit to. It is in the northwest of Brooklyn and called Park Slope. As in parts of Manhattan, there are a lot of well-preserved Brownstones in Park Slope. These are the kind of houses where Carrie Bradshaw lived. The quarter is overall a nice place. It was the start of the soccer World Cup and the first match for Germany. I got stranded in a sports bar in Park Slope and met some cool Americans and Australians.
—> Depends on your food and drinks! Maybe 20 Bucks.
While writing this article, I realized, that I could tell you so much more about my visit in New York. But this is already long enough for today. There are many more places like the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Prospect Park, Battery Park, Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art and Grand Central Station. It seems like I have enough stuff for another post…stay tuned!