New York, NYC, the city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, the Empire City, the Melting Pot; the choice is yours as to which name you choose for this shamelessly unique destination. The most populous city in the United States of America is swarmed by eager tourists coming from each angle of the globe on a yearly basis, all of whom are ready to sample the delights of the most famous place on Earth.
My Memories of New York
In fact, I had the privilege of being one of these lucky tourists back in 2009, travelling with many other bright-eyed teenagers on a 5-day long school trip. I have so many memories of New York City. Travelling all the way from a small town in the north of England to the bright lights of this big city was truly an immensely overwhelming, exciting, wondrous and memorable experience to this very day. I was still quite young at the time, but I remember my time in New York really well. It wasn’t all the typical tourist hotspots that drew me in, as such; of course, visiting the Statue of Liberty was a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, the views from the top of the Empire State Building at night were heavenly, Ground Zero was extremely moving, and the life in Times Square was unlike any other. But the aspect of this fast-paced city that got me the most was the atmosphere, pure and simple. Even now, it’s difficult to describe. I think it’s one of those things in which “you have to be there”. Cliché, I know, but it’s the only way I can put it. Let’s put it this way – it’s a world away from the UK, and Europe altogether.
My memories of New York involve being so desperate not to leave the city, so desperate that I’m pretty sure my post-holiday blues made me resort to depositing all my measly coins into a tiny piggy bank every week, all in the grim hope of packing up and relocating there when I turned 16. (16?! It seemed ancient then, but looking back, I couldn’t even cook at that age…) Of course, I look back now and laugh so much. Oh, how unrealistic I was as a 14-going-on-15 year old. Then again, I am sure I’m not the only one who’s done it.
Anyway, I decided to produce a little guide from my memories of New York on what I think are some of the best places/areas/tourist attractions to head to if you’re visiting NYC as a tourist anytime soon. This is the first part, and I’m planning on writing another soon. They’re all a bit of a mixture, but it’s because these are the places that stuck in my mind the most, and brought me the memories of my first trip to New York that I’ll cherish for a long time – at least, until I go back again and make new memories of New York, that is!
I’m stating the obvious, I know, but Central Park is one of the places in Manhattan that will always stick in my mind. Spanning over 840 acres of stunning greenery, the masterpiece of New York is visited daily by a huge number of both city folk and tourists. The infamous Alice in Wonderland statue, the look-out point at the lake, the penguins at the zoo, Belvedere Castle and Strawberry Fields are just a few of Central Park’s unique features. Strolling beside the Bethesda Fountain on a cool April afternoon with a grande Starbucks take-out cup in hand, I recall pondering to myself, “It has to snow while I’m in New York, it just has to.” And literally, within a few minutes, a snowflake fluttered to the ground in front of my very eyes. There hadn’t been a single mention of snow on the weather forecast that morning. There’s nothing quite like wishing for snow and having said wish granted, in the best possible spot to witness a white blanket on the ground. So, I would highly recommend visiting NYC in the snowy season! A picturesque view with the added risk of delaying the flight home for a few days – who could resist?!
I found myself slightly worried in case I found out that Metro Diner is no longer there (it has been 5 years, after all), but sure enough, it is. Situated in the upper west side of Manhattan, on Broadway, Metro Diner cheerfully provided me and 15 or so other students with our breakfast fix each morning on our trip, and made me love American food for life. The fantastic thing about classic American diners is that you really do get much more than you pay for. If I ordered pancakes with sausage and eggs with a glass of orange juice, I’d also get a glass of water and a cup of coffee, available to refill. What’s more, America isn’t known for its big & hearty portions for nothing. For a 14-going-on-15 year old (at the time) British girl, breakfast filled me right up for the whole day and gave me one of my best memories of New York. If you’re staying in the Broadway area, Metro Diner is an absolute must!
Empire State Building Experience
A trip to New York simply cannot be done without a trip to the top of the tallest skyscraper, the infamous Empire State Building. The Empire State Building Experience was one of the most memorable parts of my school trip 5 years ago and, of course, it’s still popular for both tourists and New Yorkers today. The experience gives you the opportunity to travel up to either the Main Deck (86th floor), or to the Top Deck (102nd). For lovers of photography out there planning a visit to New York sometime soon, keep in mind that there really is nothing better than a panoramic shot of the NYC skyline. Even from my “hi-tech” 2009 phone, a picture of the Big Apple at night really was worth a thousand words, and still is. One of my memories of New York that I remember so well is how long it took in the elevator to reach the 86th floor. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was at least 10 minutes! Being at the very top of the whole city is something that everyone needs to experience in their lifetime at least once.
I’ll definitely be writing another short guide about my memories of New York, so watch this space!