By Antoaneta Blagoeva
Why New York?
Sara and I both studied at De Montfort University and in our final year, we had the chance to visit New York for five days. We leapt at this amazing opportunity and booked the trip. New York should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit since it is amongst the world’s leading metropolises for art, culture, fashion and theatre. The city offers probably the best museums of art and history I have seen including the MET, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Natural History. For musical enthusiasts, NYC is the best place to experience Broadway’s glory and there are 41 theatres to choose from. Last but not least the cityscape of tall and magnificent buildings will leave you at awe and the views from the top will forever stay.
Best Time to Visit
Sara and I travelled in early January and to say the weather was freezing wouldn’t be an exaggeration. However, we witnessed the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree and many other Christmas-related attractions, which made our visit worth it. For warmer weather condition, you should visit between April and June or September to November.
How Long to Visit for
Our stay was 5 days and I can say with certainty that is plenty of time to pay a visit to all the attractions, but your days must be packed to the brim and you will have to be quite organised. It’s best to make a list of all the things you would want to do and work around to estimate how long your visit should be. Also, it will depend if you would like to explore only the Manhattan area or the surrounding boroughs as well such as Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
How to Get Around
New York’s subway sadly isn’t as fabulous as the rest of the city and you might witness a few rats here and there, but it was first established in the 20th Century. With this in mind, I would still recommend getting around the city by subway because it is the quickest way and will lead you to all attractions. A weekly pass was around £26, and you can travel as much as you need. You can also choose to take the hop-on bus but with the city’s congested traffic at any time of the day, it will probably take you twice as long.
My New York Highlights
Empire State Building
I have always wanted to see and visit the Empire State Building and it didn’t disappoint when I finally did. The main reason was to go to the 86th-floor conservatory, which is the highest open-air observation deck in the city. You can go up to the 102nd floor but I found that unnecessary. Built in 1931, the building took only a year and 45 days to construct or more than seven million man-hours. When you go to the observatory deck you can see 80 miles into New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and even Massachusetts on a clear day. You will also see Top of the Rock and Lady Liberty.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
As one of the world’s biggest and finest art museums, the MET’s art collection exceeds two million works of art from around the world. Since it is perched on the edge of Central Park, you can start your day with a lovely stroll and then spend hours exploring the museum. Sara and I spent around 5 hours and we still didn’t get to see each collection. However, if you have the time you can visit the museum up to three times because the tickets cover more than one visit. Even though the museum covers 17 acres and that might seem overwhelming, the layout of the galleries is displayed in a way that allows you to take everything in at your own pace. My favourite part was the several sculpture collections of the Greek and Roman era. I could spend hours admiring the smoothly carved marble bodies.
The MET might have not overwhelmed me, but Times Square surely did. I never thought something could be as bright as daylight even at night. As one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, Times Square is always full of people and draws 50 million visitors annually. Sara and I were two of them and as many other tourists, we were mesmerised by the illuminated signs covering the buildings, which can be seen from outer space. Times Square is probably the most mainstream attraction but it is the centre of the Big Apple and is a great starting point to explore Manhattan. You head to Fifth Avenue or The New York Public Library. Broadway is just around the corner and the attraction is surrounded by a huge variety of diners and restaurants, one of them being Hell’s Kitchen.
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