14th March -19th March 2018
This year I was lucky enough to be able to take my 2nd trip to New York City. I had started to do a lot more photography so was looking forward to getting out and seeing the big apple and surrounding areas.
For this trip I stayed in the iconic New Yorker hotel. Located on 8th Avenue and close to Times Square, Madison Square Garden, The Empire State Building and close to the garment and Hell’s kitchen districts. The 43-story Art Deco hotel was mid price ranged and full of character. On my last trip I stayed in the W Hotel on Times Square which was very modern and I preferred the location and style of the New Yorker more. The service and staff were friendly and helpful which you expect and the rooms clean and well serviced. I was on the 20th floor so had a good view of the city and was high enough to avoid the noise from below. Here is the link for the hotel (https://www.newyorkerhotel.com/ ) New York is full of hotels and you can get any style or location you wish, look at reviews and location as many of the cheap deals are a trek from Manhattan so be prepared.
New York has many familiar landmarks that should be taken in whilst in the city. I’m someone who likes to see as much as I can so for this trip I booked a guided tour. Our tour guide was a native New Yorker and I booked via NY shuttle tours (www.newyorktourshuffle.com). They offer a wide range of tours but I chose the NY main attractions tour, lasting 8 hours and offering a mix of walking , subway and buses so could beat the queues and avoid the traffic if the tour had been completed on a bus as the traffic is always busy and a walk is always a good way of people watching!
The cost of the tour is $139 but that covers entry fees and travel ( there is a lunch stop at a restaurant in little Italy that is extra, but authenticly good food and less than $15 ). The stops included; St Patrick’s cathedral, Grand central station, The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street and many other stops and sights on the journey. The tour ended in Times Square so you could then browse the shops, grab a drink or head back to the hotel to put your feet up if all that walking had tired you out. We decided to head up to the revolving bar at the Marriott hotel, the View. A great mix of cocktails and the views of the city are a must see, along with a well deserved rest after a busy day.
I really rated the tour, full of information and interesting tales of old and current New York. There were around 10 of us on the tour and that number felt manageable and everyone had the opportunity to ask questions and had enough time at the attractions. The guide loved to tell stories of the city , share his knowledge and get us around the city with ease.
I enjoy walking and managed the walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn one morning. It was around 11.5km and took a few hours but was a way of exploring some of New York that is off the main tourist routes. The walk passed markets, parks such as Washington Square and Union Square, City Hall and then across the stunning Brooklyn Bridge. The Bridge was full of characters and activity, newly weds having a photo shoot, photographers and tour groups pointing out the skyline. I walked as far as the Barclay Centre where a well deserved coffee break was needed! I have seen walking tours for Brooklyn but for me It was nice to see the other areas of the city and to have the chance go at my pace and where I wanted. I got the subway back over to Manhattan as I wanted to explore Central Park that afternoon.
Central Park and Shopping are other draws for many when in Manhattan. Central Park is grand in size and enjoyed a walk around the park whilst the others had been shopping. As well as the picturesque walk the park also offers ice skating, the zoo and horse drawn carriage rides and it’s easy to spend a few hours there exploring.
There are many department stores and the standard stores in large supply so for the shoppers reading you can shop for hours and hours. There are also a number of independent stores and boutiques and many hotels and websites will offer shopping guides.
Ice skating is on offer all other New York and the Rockefeller’s ice rink is set in a beautiful surrounding and is popular with tourists. Also you can visit the Top of the Rock observation deck and get another perspective of the skyline and at night with all the lights and sounds of the city. You can access the observation deck between 8am and Midnight so you can get views at sunrise or sunset.
I have included some of the pictures I captured below but am also working on adding some of the street art that I photographed during my time but didn’t want to mix the 2 within this post. Street art for me is such an expressive medium and captures that moment in time whether it be graffiti, people or a poster. Along with street art I am a people watcher , I enjoy sitting and drinking a coffee and watching the world pass by. New York had many amazing coffee spots with window seats looking out to the world. New York is a place for a bit of everything but don’t walk to fast or you’ll miss what’s going on. I really enjoyed coffee from Gregory’s coffee shops and they are all over the city.
Many photographers can be seen when in New York and there are some amazing galleries to explore. I was lucky enough that my trip was at the time of the Bill Hayes exhibit to go alongside his book “How New York breaks your heart” ( https://www.billhayes.com/about-bill-hayes/ - read the beautiful ‘insomniac city’ whilst checking out his work ), which was showing at the Steven Kasher Gallery ( 2nd Floor, 515 W 26th St).
Whilst over that end of the city I also visited the High Line (Time Out ) which gave me a view of New York from a different perspective. The High Line was a railroad that is now a park and green space that runs elevated over the west side of Manhattan for around 1.5 miles. I sat and watched the world go by below me and even on the Sunday morning at 9am the traffic was busy and people filled the streets....truly the city that never sleeps.
I will share some of my street photography in a separate post and encourage you to tell me of exciting parts of the city to explore in the future. I will return to New York and continue to walk around and soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city.
Nick -the thoughtful traveller