Advantages Beautiful buildings, lots to do, cheap
Disadvantages Lots of walking to be done, very busy, tipping
The Big Apple, a city that never sleeps...I always wanted to visit New York, it looked glamorous, exciting, on the down side, following September 11th, it had an added touch, a touch which took away what New York once was all about. However, i still wanted to visit New York, and last September i managed to visit the great city which stood tall and proud.
We didn't specifically plan to visit New York during their first anniversary, its just how the trip was arranged. We only booked the trip about 3 weeks in advance, so there wasn't an awful lot of time to get excited as with normal holiday bookings. All booked on-line, our trip cost approximately £500 each inclusive of travel, hotel, insurance etc. (all except spening money of course!) This was for a weekend break only which constituted of 3 days and 2 nights. This was booked as a taster for us, we wanted a longer holiday, but work commitments prevented us from doing so, therefore this was the best we could manage at the time!**** TRAVEL ****
**** ARRIVAL ****
Upon arrival on Manhatten Island, we were met with heavy traffic, tooting of car horns, masses of people, and the smell of the guttering. Oh, and very warm air with a smell of polution to it. This was about 8pm at night. Flagging down a taxi to our hotel wasn't as easy at it looks on Sex in the city, and it was all very rushed. One minute we were standing on the roadside, arms flying everywhere, the next we were in the middle of the road, trying to hurdle our luggage into the boot. The taxi driver was nice enough, and there was an automatic voice recording inside the cab, telling us to 'fasten our seatbelt' and 'have a nice day' ~ the novelty on this wore off quite quickly needless to say!
**** GETTING AROUND ****
We tended to use the subway more often as we wanted to capture the typical New Yorker lifestyle. The subway is very much similar to Londons subway system. Be warned however, as the security isn't as good as Londons! Although on some stations, you can't even get into the station without your purchased ticket to ride! The subway stations are VERY warm, and sticky.. carry a drink with you to prevent feelings of nausea. Also, be aware that the station can get too crowded, infact to the point where you can't even manage to get on your ride, and therefore having to wait for the next tube to come along.
Other methods of transport include the usual such as taxi's, buses, ferry, & even limousine services - for those with the little extra cash!!
Empire State Building
This is a must visit tourist attraction. Having searched to find this attraction for nearly half an hour (even though its tall, you cant see it for the surrounding buildings being in place) we were relieved to have finally found it. Usually the Empire State Building can be found all lit up as it is used for annual lighting to respresent various events and so forth, but not on our occasion. It cost £12 per person to go in the Empire State Building - well worth the price without a doubt.
On entering the Empire State Building you are greeted with the most beautiful lobby with very detailed and expensive marbel deco. Staff then take you to the lift which takes you nearly to the top of the building, then there is a second lift which takes you to the very top! Before reaching the outside, you make your way through a souvenir shop (now it didn't look like that during the movie Sleepless in Seattle!) Once you are outside, you are met by breathtaking views of the whole of New York City. You can see for miles!! It will take away your fears of hights as the views are that spectacular!
It doesn't bring me pleasure to say that Ground Zero is a tourist attraction, but yes, indeed it is. We visited the site out of respect and to give our prayers. There is a small church located opposite Ground Zero where the first casualties were taken. Here you can read messges from all around the world which have been left by people on the fencing surrounding the church. You can also visit the inside of the church to say your prayers and have further information on on-going and past events.
Ground Zero gave me very strange feelings which i cannot begin to describe. Surrounding buildings still stood damaged and some covered up, leaving you with memories of the days events of September 11th.
Statue of Liberty
To get to the Statue of Liberty you will need to travel by ferry. On travelling to Liberty Island, you also get to see the spectacular New York Skyline. Although there is a hole in the skyline from where the twin towers once stood, what you see is still outstanding.
Upon arrival at Libery Island you can walk around and get very close to the famous monument which was once a gift from the French. However, for security reasonings, we were unable to go up and inside the monument. To date the monument is still closed. Another worthwhile visit which i would still recommend, regardless of the statue being closed to enter.
There is so much more which i could mention with regards to tourist attractions, but have covered some of the most popular.
Some of the others include:
Madison Square Garden
Bloomingdales... The list goes on! Theres museams, universities, and more famous and amazing sight seeing places!
**** BARS ****
We found it strange that we didn't come across many bars. We never got round to finding the heart of the pubs & clubs on the nightlife front. On general walking around New York and doing tourist things, we only found a selection of pubs. Some of which were traditional and filled with locals. On purchasing your first drink, you are then given table service which they seem to be quite big on. Make sure you carry some I.D with you, we were told by a bar tender that is usual for them to ask anyone who looks under the age of 30 for I.D - my partner who is in his 30's was refused service even though he definitely looks over 21! This wasn't the case with all pubs, although it is better to be prepared than to be turned away. Most of the pubs we went in looked the same, wooden style, sports on TV. Not my favourite pub atmosphere, but better than nothing at all.
The pubs also tend to have only one toilet for the ladies, so be warned that there could be a queue!! Go before you're desperate...
**** TIPPING ****
It is standard for you to tip ALOT when in New York, mainly in restaurants. They said a tip of 15%-20% of your total bill is expected. Tips aren't automatcally added onto your bill, so remember not to forget as it IS expected and you will be frowned upon if you don't do this! People who you aren't expected to tip are people in fast-food restaurants, petrol station attendants and theatre ushers. People who you should include bartenders, hairdressers, maids etc. You can always read up on who you should and shouldn't tip prior to your visit, although like me, i'm sure you'll make a few mistakes! Mistakes which you'll remember for years to come may i add!!!
New York isn't pricey at all when it comes to eating out, having a drink, and even shopping for that matter! Its the tourist things which tend to clock up your money. (and tipping of course!) Make sure you take plently of money, infact as much as you can afford, to enjoy your trip to the best you possibly can!
There is so much to do in New York that the time will pass you by remarkably quickly! Another perk is that you can watch movies and buy items which aren't yet out in the UK.. be the envy of your friends for months :o)
One thing to remember, good walking shoes and wear a bumbag if possible under your clothing for security. Very worthwhile for being in New York!!!For more information on New York visit www.nyc.com
Please note also, that a New York holiday brings you back home very tired, not a holiday for someone who genuinely needs a relaxing break.If you do end up visiting, have a fantastic time, which i'm sure you will do!
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Pages: 144, Paperback, Routledge
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Release Date: 1999-11-17, Audio CD, Groti
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