New York

New York – 5 good visits so far


Visiting New York

The strange thing about visiting New York is that, whenever and wherever you go, everything seems new and familiar at the same time. We all “live” in New York, even without crossing the American border, and, once in location, all the new places we see are part of our memories. A lesson of architectural balance between size and space, the richness of forms and details, the mixture of cultures and civilizations, the American way of life… the… the… yes! It’s there.

​I visited New York for the first time in 2000, as a starting point of a circuit that took me to Washington, Harrisburg, Corning, Niagara Falls, and Canada. A few months later in a self-drive visit I went to Corning and Niagara Falls again, with a professional meeting in Rochester’s university.

In 2004 I spent some more days there, in transit to the west, to visit California, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. By accident, after a few months, I needed to go to Seattle and Tacoma, stopping in my way back in Pittsburgh and, again, in Corning, surprising the nice lady in a library that couldn’t understand what took a Portuguese four times to Corning (and I’m not sure it will not be a 5th).

Well… that’s personal stories. Back to the present:

Is it New York? Is it New Jersey? It sure is New World, and a gift from the old one. Liberty – Liberdade – Freedom. Yes, count me in. But remember: everywhere and for everyone.

​Rockfeller Center

Visiting New York
Visiting New York – Rockfeller center

You surely must go to Rockefeller Center.

Why? Well… because it is there, it was made expressly to take you there, it represents well the best in New York (harmony in XXXXL size), because it has lights and decorations, because it has shops, and ice to skate in winter, Radio City Music Hall, and…

Enough! Everybody goes, so, what are you waiting for?

Address: 47th-51st Streets and between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Directions: B,D,F,V Subways to 47-50th Sts, Rockefeller Center

Wall Street

Wall Street
Visiting New York – Wall Street

Wall Street 
In the marvelous town, where each building is more beautiful, than the previous one, Wall street, is mainly the feeling of being in the world’s financial center. But in my last visit, the dominating show was more the security apparatus than the site itself.

It’s a pity, what the world is becoming.

Anyway, I had the pleasure of seeing my Portuguese bank in a privileged location.

I’ve been there once more, the nervous apparatus continues, but I couldn’t locate my bank. Moved or confusion, I don’t know.

New York
Visiting New York – Federal Hall

Federal Hall National Memorial

It is the most impressive building in Wall Street, with columns recreating Greek architecture.

Its staircase functions almost as a balcony over the place, with tourists disputing the angles to take their photos and resting a little, with the security strong apparatus “telling” that there must be some safer places in town and inviting to move on.

Liberty Island

New York
Visiting New York – Liberty Island

There is nothing relevant in this island: the statue is there, but it is better seen from distance. The main attraction of this visit is… the trip. The sight of the statue, the unforgettable sight of Manhattan, Ellis Island…

No visit to New York City will be completed without this experience, that you must have starting from Battery park or Liberty State Park, in Newark.

I did it in both ways, and got the idea that, in high season, Newark may be an easier and quicker starting point. At least it was in… December.

Directions: South Ferry at Battery Park – Take the #5 train to Bowling Green or #1 to South Ferry

Ellis Island

New York
Visiting New York – Ellis Island

Ellis Island

In my first time in New York I went to the Liberty statue. Of course.

It was there, and it is exactly as I imagined. In my last time I went to Ellis island, and found it much more interesting.

It’s a well conceived museum, showing the human story of the USA, allowing everybody to feel a little bit of him (or his family, or his nation, or his race) in the building of the country. Very touching.

Directions: South Ferry at Battery Park – Take the #5 train to Bowling Green or #1 to South Ferry

Battery Park

New York
Visiting New York – Battery Park

Meeting Point 
As the main starting point to Liberty Island, this park acts as a large meeting point, with several hundred people lining to the boats, and artists and sellers using the people’s availability to make their business.

There are some historic buildings around, but most people don’t even look, rushing to the boat’s lines.

Only those returning to the park have a careful look afterwards.

Directions: Take the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green Station or the N/R to South Ferry Station

Brooklyn bridge

New York
Visiting New York – Brooklyn bridge

​​You have to read 
In the splendor of New York’s architecture, this old bridge, may pass unnoticed, unless you are adverted or have the chance to read about it.

Now a common and discreet bridge, it was, at the time of its construction an astonishing challenge.

But don’t ask me to write what other have done better; just follow the link.

Directions: Take the subway A, C High St. – Brooklyn Bridge or 4,5,6 Brooklyn Bridge.

Empire State Building

New York
Visiting New York – Empire State Building

Wide views 
The best views of town. Our guide planned our time to go up at sunset, and I understood why.

If, for a good photo, the light won’t help at that hour, the show of lights appearing here and there, and finally everywhere, is gorgeous, and, with luck, the photos will not be that bad.

Address: 350 5th Avenue

Directions: 1, 2, 3 or 9 (Seventh Avenue Lines), A, C or E (Eighth Avenue Subway) to 34th Street/Penn Station.

South Street Seaport

New York
Visiting New York – South Street Seaport

Pier 17 
In Pier 17 a true effort to preserve the real history of the city became a must of New York.

Historic buildings, historic ships, and a lively commerce, with Brooklyn Bridge at one side and Battery Park in the other, are in all the visitors “to see” list.

Address: 19 Fulton Street, Second Floor, New York, NY

New York
Visiting New York

Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

New York
Visiting New York -Cathedral
New York
Visiting New York – Cathedral

St John the Divine
St John the Divine was the most ambitious American project to copy Europe, with centuries of delay, that I saw.

Millions spent, decades still lasting to finish, and a building out of its time. It’s beautiful. But does it really deserve the effort?

Why not something great in a modern style?

Directions: (Between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue)

Times Square

New York
Visiting New York – Times Square

Times Square 
One thing that confused me in America (and caused a sort of discomfort), was the absence of a urban center, as all European cities do have.

New York is no exception, but if I had to define a central point it would be Times Square.

Why? Because it is the strongest gathering point, centrally located, and in motion at all time of the day.

Directions: 42nd Street, Brodway & 7th avenue

Central Park

Central Park
Visiting New York – Central Park

Stop and breath

The lungs of the city, a break in the rush, an invitation to rest.

Or to practice healthy sport in safety, it seems.

I recommned Pennsylvania – Everybody’s Hotel

I stayed twice at the Pennsylvania, which I suppose to be the first choice of most agencies in Portugal. And it’s OK. 

hotels in New York - Pennsylvania
hotels in New York – Pennsylvania

The location is good, the prices are reasonable, and the rooms are big and comfortable enough. 
The only drawback, in both times, was the front desk’s incapacity to deal with dozens of guests entering or leaving in a short frame of time. 

In my second visit, though arriving about 4 PM, I couldn’t get the reserved room immediately, being forced to leave luggage in the front desk and go to town without changing nor refreshing. Coming back to the hotel everything was ready, with new delicate apologizes, and no further complaints.

Address: 401 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

I recommned Grand Union

Hotels in New York - Grand Union
Hotels in New York – Grand Union

Good quality/price ratio 

A comfortable bed in a quiet room, with a working bathroom in a convenient location was all that we needed in New York.

​Though looking old, this hotel fitted perfectly in my needs. 

I stayed there twice, both rooms were small, but big enough to let us open bags and move around, and everything worked well. 

Two blocks away from the Empire State Building, the night was silent, providing a good sleep, and we payed only $99 plus taxes (Impossible nowadays, I think). 

Unique Qualities: Location

Address: 34 E 32nd St, New York, NY 10016

Bad day ​Holiday Inn Saddle Brook

Usa 4
Usa 4

Check your hotel’s location
Our package program said “Two nights in New York”. We slept two nights not far from New York (in American scale, very far in Portuguese scale), but as a matter of fact, in New Jersey State, and, sleeping in New Jersey can be a good or bad solution, depending on your program. As you may see in my Newark page, I had a very good experience with that kind of solution, when I was coming from inland, needing to take a plane in Newark Airport and with a very short time to be in New York. 

However, this time, I was coming from Europe, expecting to have some free time in New York, and we didn’t. We followed the straight program of the package, and were moved more than 25 km outside NY, to Saddle Brook, far from everything. Next time I’ll check it more carefully.

World Trade Center – Bad Memories of New York

Memories of ny
Memories of ny
Ground zero
Ground zero

​Ground Zero 

Those who had once seen the World Trade Center (and many that didn’t), can’t go to New York City today, without passing by the place, to see what is being done. 

Cured the traumas, the American are working hard (as usual) and the curiosity about what will come is too strong. 

However… it will take time.​

Time it took and it seems to be finished now. When will I see it again?

Blue Note

Waiting for Blue Note
Waiting for Blue Note

​Blue Note: Jazz 

I am not an expert in jazz, but a visit to the USA would be incomplete without a night with jazz. It happened in Blue Note, Chick Corea’s club. Not cheap, almost one hour waiting in the lines, but we got a table, a drink, and… jazz.

We had to book in advance (I think it can’t be otherwise), even before leaving Portugal, and it was a rush driving there from Corning, but everything worked fine.

Very interesting!

Address: 131 W. 3rd St New York

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