Being a fan of Seinfeld and Sex And The City, I’ve wondered what it would be like to be in New York, walking around those famous streets. I’ve long romanticized the notion, and recently had the chance to experience it for real.
The Big Apple made an impression on me the moment I stepped off the plane into LaGuardia Airport. There was a bustle in the air, a different kind of energy. All around I could hear notable New York accents as people engaged in conversations. Toto, we’re not in Canada anymore, eh?
Aboard the shuttle, the driver took off like a bat out of hell, weaving and honking fearlessly in and out of rush-hour traffic. The couple beside me struck up an argument with him about how many stops he had to make and how long it would take them to get home. I silently chuckled, highly enjoying the accent-to-accent verbal sparring. I felt like I was in a movie.
Gazing out the window, I got my first glimpse of Manhattan as we crossed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. What a breathtaking sight! Glimmering lights stretched as far as I could see, and reached up into the sky. Overhead, stars were starting to shine, and a half-moon was on the rise. I could almost hear Christopher Cross serenading the scene. It was absolutely stunning, and I was instantly taken.
Love at first sight.
My home base was Hilton New York on 6th Avenue. A great hotel for amenities, service, food and beverages, a spacious and fully-loaded fitness centre, and as an extra bonus, my room on the 35th floor came with a view. Being situated close to some of the most popular attractions, it would be easy to get around on foot.
First bucket-list adventure was ice-skating, with two outdoor rinks within walking distance. Citi Pond at Bryant Park is free, but charges for skate and locker rentals. Gliding around the packed ice under towering skyscrapers was surreal. Plus it was 8 C outside, and I wondered how they kept the ice from melting. I also wondered how many of these people had been on skates before, as I dodged the wobbling and falling.
The Rink at Rockefeller Centre is the most renowned for visitors. Skate rentals cost less, but they charge admission. More than a quarter million people skate here from October through April. Even more than that take in Rockefeller Centre’s other tourist attraction.
The Top of the Rock is a three-level observation deck on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Outdoor terraces feature fully transparent safety glass, while the uppermost level provides an open-air unobstructed 360-degree view. Everyone MUST see the city from above. Go at sunset, when you can witness the sun sinking down, watch colours on the horizon change from orange and red into shades of blue, grey and black, and see trillions of twinkling lights illuminate the night.
For someone already in love with the skyline, the view from up there seals the deal.
More to come: My next Travelations will continue with stories about New York, in the second of this two-part series. Please join me as I discover street food, Times Square, Spider-Man on Broadway, Central Park, remembering John Lennon, the incredibly moving 911 Memorial, and bravely venturing into New York’s subway system…
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller and music lover who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. She might have been a New Yorker in another life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org