Not going to lie, this is the second time I have landed in the United States of America, not for any kind of family time or sightseeing shenanigans. I have landed as a student. However, travel vibes are always strong. However, the United States really is different. I have heard people sing in chorus “You will find it difficult to go alone in a different world altogether”. I disagree. I think that being solo is actually the way to go. Being a road warrior comes with a lot of benefits. These include, meeting a lot of new people, new cultures, new cuisine, same old story.. same old story. Let’s not dwell into that.
Labor day weekend is a weekend of relaxation here and the foremost thought was that the weekend would be the perfect time for me to visit a place and remove it from my bucket list. I have been living vicariously through other travelers Instagram accounts; blogs alike when it comes to New York. From Baltimore, (where I live) there are buses ( Greyhound / PeterPan ) that lead to various parts of the country. So it was simple. Plan, Pack. Execute.
So on Friday morning, at 8:30 AM, we (my friend and I) departed Baltimore. About 3 hours and 30 minutes later, We were there.
THE BIG APPLE!
“Incredible. Absolutely Incredible” were the first words that came out the moment we stepped out on to the streets of Manhattan. It truly is an overwhelming experience for a first-timer. The hustle and bustle of New York is something else. Only people who visit the place will experience that vibe. It is different. Completely different. Believe me. The moment we approached the grid system, we were made to adapt to the New York way. We walked… and walked… and walked. The first place we walked to was the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building and the marvels of the 86th floor.
You know what they say about the big and boring skyscrapers; not able to see the sky, so on and so forth? New York is completely the opposite. I can take a bet that first-timers will end up saying “Woaaw look at the height of these buildings! If you are a movie buff, then I guarantee that you will find spots worthy of movie references.
Right, sorry, I should really stick to the Empire State building. Once we entered the Empire State building, a couple of photographs here and there followed. And then came the first highlight of the day. The 86th floor. The observatory. Oh, wait. Before that, we got a little excited on the 79th floor itself and ended up taking a lot of pictures through the windows only to realize that the main observatory was still untouched.
The views are breathtaking, to say the least. 360-degree view of New York. We could see all of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty in the distance, a couple of stadiums ( which I assumed belonged to the Yankees and the Mets) and much more. The part where we could not identify a single building made me chuckle. We would, however, start identifying the building one after the other while we continued our journey through New York; our journey as road warriors.
Madison Square Garden? Nope. We went to a different Madison Square.
Well, to be honest with you, I really thought that Madison Square Park was Madison Square Garden and walked about a mile from where we had lunch, somewhere in Lexington Avenue, which I think houses a lot of Indian shops. Once we reached the park, we realized that it was just a park. Nothing fancy caught our eye.
The realization came with the cost of wasting around 40 minutes. To give a little respect to the park, we took a couple of pictures and exited. The journey continued into the Grand Central Station.
The Grand Central Station. An underground marvel in a city that thrives above the ground.
We entered the Grand Central Station with grand hopes. It delivered. Every single step inside the place was memorable. We wanted to try out the underground so desperately that we ended up asking someone at the counter where the train to Times Square was. She couldn’t hear anything in the beginning and as the conversation continued, I couldn’t hear anything because of the overwhelming noise inside the terminal.
We were overjoyed to find seats in the coach and went all the way to Times Square. We tried a time-lapse at the Grand Central to check if the movies point out to the accurate stuff. If entering the underground brought us joy, exiting the station also brought us just as much because we were there. Like right there. At the Times Square. The world-famous Times Square. The excitement was at fantasy levels.
Times Square. THE ICON
If you do not possess a camera, do not go there. Also, please visit Times Square at night. It is phenomenal, to say the least. I am not going to describe anything. In fact, I am going to make you live vicariously through my pictures which are flooded below. Also included are the Broadway theatre, Rockefeller Center and the Hardrock Cafe. Yes, the original Hardrock Cafe.
Post all that, we caught a train to Long Island to my cousin’s place, exhausted but thrilled at what we saw. Satisfied but hungry to explore. Day 2 promised more.
Tiring. Really tiring. I am going to write about other places in New York in the next part. You take a breather as well. There is a lot more still to cover. Part 2 will come out very soon!