New York 2013 Photo Trip Report - 48 hours to see as much as possible

This summer I fulfilled a life-long dream and visited New York for the first time. As I was only there for 48 hours I was determined to make the most of it. Instead of telling you what about my travels, I thought I'd show you with a photo trip report.

Day 1:
I flew into Newark airport and could see the city in the distance. So close, yet so far!

I opted for public transport to get me into Manhattan and got the regional train service to New York Penn station.

The train I got on wasn't quite what I was expecting for a city like New York. It wasn't the most modern. Those little 'handles' on top of seats are so you can put your tickets in so conductors don't have to ask you for them - anti-social, yet genius!

I dumped my things at Chelsea International Hostel and despite the fact I'd arrived in New York four hours later than planned due to a delayed flight, I ventured through the night determined to make the most of my time in the city. I bought a weekly subway card for about $30 and set off to the Rockerfeller Plaza to go to the Top of the Rock and get a birdseye view of the city.

The original plan had been to see the sunset from the Top of the Rock viewing platform but I was too late for that. I bought a timed ticket for entry an hour later and set off to explore more of New York in the meantime.

A few minutes down the road I stumbled into Times Square and the hustle and bustle it was.

My first meal in New York City? McDonald's. I've never seen such sloppy presentation of burgers as at this particular McDonald's. It did however have this cool model in the centre of the upstairs eating area.

Big names are everywhere to be found across the city. On my way back I came across News Corp.

Back at The Top of the Rock I began to regret my decision. It was very, very busy at the top. The views were good but to be honest I thought they were going to be better than they were.

The advantage of choosing Top of the Rock over the Empire State building though is that you can get photos of the Empire State Building and of Central Park from Top of the Rock.

I imagine things would be much more impressive during the day or at dusk.

The huge dark area in the photo below is Central Park.

I came back down to ground level and walked around Rockerfeller Plaza once again to get a better look at it...

...and took the subway back to the hostel and called it a night.

Day 2:
Today I wanted to explore the city with a walking tour. I started off the day like a true New Yorker by getting breakfast from one of these.

I hopped on the subway and my the tour guide from Free Tours by Foot here. Can I remember the name of this place? No.

We saw many a thing on the 6-hour "Downtown" walking tour.

 I saw many things that day that I would never have seen otherwise and learned a hell of a lot! Here's our tour guide below with the cap on.

A sculpture of the roots of the tree which was the only thing near the 9/11 site to survive.

We briefly walked past (but not through) the 9/11 memorial site which is still under construction.

A plan of what the site will look like when completed:

There's even a piece of the Berlin Wall in New York.

I saw this lady from afar.

And was told about New Jersey (skyline below) and about how (according to our tour guide at least) nobody wants to live there.

New York has many little hidden parks and gardens, much like London. As a Londoner I couldn't help but compare the two cities.

The 9/11 memorial church:

This building looked a little incongruous amongst the newer skyscrapers.

One of NYC's beautiful fountains. Those that know me well know I appreciate a good fountain.

The town hall looks a little bit like The White House I thought (Note: I have never examined at The White House properly so this is entirely subjective).

Classic New York fire escapes on the outside of buildings.

I thought this was a great piece of art.

We entered Chinatown and it was like being in a different country...

...with illegal gambling ironically taking place in front of one of the city's courts.

Outside of Chinatown we saw yet another beautiful park.

And streets that looked like they didn't even belong in the middle of Manhattan.

Statues celebrating equality.

And beautiful buildings.

The actual building from "Friends"!

The thinnest building in New York.

One of those things that's so uniquely American and you wouldn't see over in the UK.

Another beautiful garden escape in the middle of town.

We ended the tour on the The High Line - a railway line come urban park.

That evening I went to watch Newsies on Broadway which was incredible. I definitely recommend you watch a Broadway show whilst in the city. They're experience but an incredible experience.

Day 3:

I met up with Jack who I met through the Disney College Program in Florida who was to be my travel buddy for the next week, and we set off to explore more of this wonderful city together.

We started off the day by doing one of the things I was most looking forward to - taking the free Staten Island Ferry!

We got a great view of The Statue of Liberty.

And Ellis Island...

And there was a great panoramic view of the city. You can really see how One World Trade Centre changes the skyline in the middle.

On Staten Island we explored and found this memorial called "Postcards"...

...which perfectly frames the 9/11 memorial site.

Once back in Manhattan we visited the 9/11 memorial preview site to get on the day tickets to the memorial itself. Luckily, just as we got in line a kind man gave us his and we didn't have to wait at all to get them.

Inside the memorial itself. There are two huge water pools where the two towers stood with inscriptions of those who died around each. It was beautiful. Once complete will be an open park just like any other in the city. At the moment it is restricted access as it is a big construction site.

After, we ventured to Bryant Park which the tour guide had said was his favourite. It has a carousel which I thought was an amusing coincidence after having worked on one at Disney all summer.

We saw the New York Public Library.

We explored Fifth Avenue and visited Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch... (and saw Trump Tower from the outside)

...the iconic Apple Store (where I geeked out)...

...and FAO Schwartz, the oldest toy store in the US.

Across the road we walked into Central Park. It was stunning and I could see myself spending an entire day exploring the 800 acre park.

Whilst there we witnessed a Tango class come out of nowhere. There were more than two people I promise.

We went for dinner at Outback Steakhouse and called it a night.

Day 3:
Today I only had a few hours before I had to catch a flight to Los Angeles, California. Last night, in bed I was thinking about the things I'd wanted to see in New York this trip and I'd seen quite a few but there was one huge glaring hole - Grand Central Station.

I packed my bags, left the hostel and made the huge detour to Grand Central Station instead of going directly to the airport. It was worth it.

The station evoked an area when train travel was still glamorous. Look at the chandelier below for example.

I regretted not allocating more time to explore Grand Central a bit better as there are actual tours of the station itself, but I was glad I'd made the effort to see it in person.

After my first ever lunch at Five Guys (oh, so good!) I took the subway over to Penn Station and got the train over to the airport. This time I was greeted with a much nice, modern train. It was a comfortable ride back to Newark.

There are still dozens of things that I want to see in New York on subsequent visits, and many more I'm not even aware of. I only saw a small fraction of the city and spent most of my time in Manhattan which was great, but there's so much more outside that! A good reason to go back, huh? Until next time NYC!

All photos are Copyright (C) 2013 Giovanni Da Costa.


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