New York City!

Birthday Vacations are the best, aren’t they? 😀 Going on a vacation during my birthday is becoming some sort of a tradition now… and I’m definitely not complaining! 😉

Travelogues have always been my favorite type of posts to write. So many people have been asking why I have not posted any travelogue updates in the past year. Well… Life just got really busy and I couldn’t write or post anything on the blog for the longest period. But I’m finally back and I intend to travel as much as I can and post as many travelogues as possible to make up for it! 😉

I was also pleasantly surprised and so happy to know that people actually missed my blogs when I had disappeared from the blog-o-sphere! 😀 Quite a lot of them actually expressed that my travelogue and bucket list posts helped them re-discover their love for traveling and have started striking off some of their own bucket list items post that. Few of them have even started their own travel blogs. Trust me, nothing makes me happier. I’m so glad my blog has inspired so many of you! 🙂 This is definitely one of those greater reasons why I enjoy writing so much! 🙂 Keep all of your encouraging words coming, I really, really, really appreciate it! 🙂

Now coming back to my exciting vacation….. NEW YORK! 😀

NYC was one of those first few places I wanted to see as soon as I landed in America. For me, whenever I think of New York, the first image that comes to mind is the statue of liberty, the empire state building and yellow taxicabs! 😀

All of us have seen New York a million times on TV… whether it’s through TV shows like Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City or movies like Serendipity, Devil Wears Prada, Spiderman or An Affair to Remember. It truly is a historic place and I couldn’t wait to explore and see the whole city through my own eyes! 🙂

Our trip started on a Thursday evening, where we just drove to the airport parking spot and left our car there and took a shuttle to the terminal. After a series of flight delays, we finally landed in Newark airport late in the night. It was a pretty long drive from there to our hotel in Manhattan. Our initial plan was to reach NYC, check into our hotel and explore foodie options around the hotel post that. But since we reached the hotel really, really late, we expected not to get any food that night. But not to worry when you are in NYC! There were quite a few restaurants open at that time (1:30 AM) and since our hotel was right in the middle of Manhattan, we survived with the help of some delicious pizza! 😉

Most of the popular New York city attractions are in and around Manhattan and since our hotel was right on Broadway, everything was very accessible. There was a subway station right in front of our hotel and we could traverse through the whole city pretty easily through that.

On our first day in NYC, we decided to see the Statue of Liberty! The subway gets off right near battery park and from there we got on to the ferry that took us to Liberty Island. It was horribly cold and windy that day, but still nothing could stop me from getting on to the highest, open air floor of the ferry! 😀 When you start towards liberty island, you can see the beautiful Manhattan skyline in the background, the Hudson river all around you and the statue of liberty right in front of you. It sure is a surreal sight! 🙂

After looking around liberty island, staring at the beautiful manhattan skyline, clicking a gazillion pictures and picking up souvenirs from the gift shops, we finally made it on to the ferry to get back. We got off the ferry and made our way towards the Wall street Bull / Charging Bull. You will literally get 2 mins to get your picture clicked with the bull before someone else pushes you away to get theirs clicked! We somehow managed to get a picture clicked in front of it, even though it was not a great one! straight face

 

Post lunch and another attempt at getting a decent picture clicked in front of the Wall street bull, we finally made our way towards the WTC memorial.

As I previously mentioned, most of the popular NYC attractions are in and around Manhattan.. meaning.. you will have to walk a LOT! You can obviously hail a cab or get on to the subway, but when the places are just a few blocks away, it makes sense to just walk. Also, when you walk around a city, you see a lot more of the place than you would if you took a cab or the train.

Tip of the day: If you are visiting New York for the first time and have plans of sight seeing, please make sure you visit during summer. That’s probably the best season to look around NYC. Plus, the days are longer in summer, so you will definitely cover a lot more places than you will during winter.

Anyway, we finally walked towards the WTC memorial. Thanks to Google Maps!
The memorial is so, so beautiful — two big pools with waterfalls in the footprints of the two World Trade Towers. The museum honors the nearly 3,000 people who were killed during the World Trade Center attacks. They overlook the Freedom tower, which currently is the tallest building in NYC. The memorial and museum are massive, powerful, and overwhelming, encompassing around 110,000 square feet.
One World Trade Centre
Oculus

Each day, an employee of the memorial places a white rose on the nameplate of every victim celebrating a birthday. It is quite an emotional and overwhelming experience. If you are ever in NYC, the 9/11 memorial and museum is definitely a must-see.

After the memorial, we made our way towards Times Square. We took a subway to the 42nd street that gets off near the intersection with Broadway on Times Square. We visited this place a couple of times during our stay. It has such a fun and vibrant vibe. This place will probably always been crowded but we didn’t mind traversing through the crowd and looking around in awe at the huge, bright, neon billboards that surrounded us.

There will always be so much happening around you that it’s hard to take it all in at once. If you visit the square during the day, first take some time to soak up the bustling vibe. Sit on the red stairs to get a great view of the hustle and bustle in the square, or take a seat at one of the public chairs at the pedestrian plaza to be right in the middle of it all. Visiting Times Square at night is also amazing, as you’ll see all the billboards light up even more brightly than during the day.

 

All around Times Square you’ll find huge flagship stores and amazing shops for gift shopping. And as you can guess, I didn’t miss an opportunity to shop in all those amazing places! 😉 We walked, shopped and explored the whole place to the maximum. My feet were literally dead after so much walking in the cold. We finally hailed a cab and made our way back to the hotel and called it a night after eating some delicious Indian food! 😀

Day 2 was a happy, happy day! 
Why? Because it was my Birthday! Duh. 😛

It was freezing cold in NYC and I already had to opt out of almost all the outfits I had planned on wearing during my stay there. But I wasn’t going to let some zero degree nonsense scare me off from wearing what I wanted to wear on my birthday! 😛


The first place we went to was the Empire State Building. Named for New York (the “Empire State”), the Empire State Building rises 102 stories—which made it the world’s tallest building for a record 41 years! The Empire State Building is in fact so big that it even has its own zip code (10118!). How cool is that? 😀

 

The view from the top is amazing. They say that on a clear day, you can see up to 5 states from there… New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. I’m not sure if that’s possible, but we clearly weren’t that lucky. May be if we had tried, we could have possibly seen New Jersey from the top, but I’m not sure about the rest. All we could see was the New York cityscape and it was beautiful! 🙂

The Empire state building is truly an iconic building and it completely dominates the New York skyline along with the Rockefeller Center, Chrysler and the new One World Trade Center/Freedom Tower. The view of the New York skyline from the plane and while cruising on the Hudson is unbelievably beautiful.


After seeing the Empire state building, we walked around 5th avenue for a bit and made our way to the subway station to take a train to Brooklyn to see the Brooklyn Bridge!

We got off the subway and made our way towards the bridge. The brooklyn bridge is around 1.9 kms long and it was a real drag to walk all the way up the bridge in that horrible cold. Walking across the bridge on a warm, sunny day is definitely doable, but since the weather was so unforgiving, it made the task of walking a lot tougher. We made it to middle of the bridge, took some pictures and just stood there for a while and looked around at the beautiful view. We ditched the idea of visiting the Brooklyn Bridge Park since there was no way I would walk all the way across the bridge to the other side in that bitter cold. We went back to the subway station and took a train back to Manhattan to visit a place that on top of my NYC bucket list – Serendipity! 🙂

Serendipity (or Serendipity 3 as it’s called) is a cute little dessert place on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Getting a reservation there is next to impossible and to top it all we went there on a Saturday evening! It was super crowded and the wait time was close to 2.5-3 hrs! straight face We had definitely not expected the wait to be so long. We anyway put our names down on the list and left.

We had seen a huge candy store on our way to Serendipity called Dylan’s Candy Bar and almost everyone who was walking into Serendipity was carrying a bag of candy from Dylan’s. Since we had a lot of time on hand during our wait to get a table, we thought of going and checking out the much too enticing – Dylan’s Candy Bar.

The store was huge and everyone from kids to adults were going absolutely nuts! 😀 There was just too much chaos and candy all around us. I grabbed a bag myself and entered the candy heaven with glee! 😀 After what seemed like eternity, we finally made our way out  and started towards Serendipity once again!

We finally got our table at Serendipity after a crazy wait! We ordered some dinner and the much too famous Frozen Hot Chocolate at the end. Birthday dinner at Serendipity was certainly a dream come true and most definitely a perfect end to my birthday! 🙂

Day 3 was our last day in New York and since we had to catch an evening flight back to Atlanta, we decided to just look around Manhattan and visit Central Park in the end.

Central Park is HUGE! It is around 843 acres and there was no way we could see everything in one visit. I particularly wanted to see the bow bridge and a few other places, and since we had entered the park from west manhattan, we had to take a cab from one part of the park to reach the other. It’s crazy! The weather had only gotten worse on our last day in New York with slight snow fall and the temperature dropping to 0 deg which made our walk in Central Park that much more difficult! straight face

We walked around Central Park for a while and took a cab back to our hotel. It was time to finally bid adieu to New York! It started snowing a little on our way to the airport and we were wishing and praying our flight wouldn’t get delayed. Thankfully, it didn’t. No matter how lovely New York was, I couldn’t wait to get back to Atlanta to my own house and my own comfortable bed to sleep it off and get rid of my travel fatigue!

I slept wonderfully that night with dreams filled with wonderful sights and memories of a vacation that was short but incredibly wonderful. sleepy


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