The easter weekend was truly a marvel, with the weather looking up and brighter as days go by, having 3 days to celebrate this fact was bliss – especially when you spend the 3 days in NEW YORK CITY. It was a bit of a trek to get there, however due to being students and not being able to afford return flights, we went for the bus route instead. All 13 hours of it. Greyhound bus services were pretty good I have to say, apart from the slightly squished feeling you feel with your knee being semi jammed into the persons seat in front. However, both bus drivers there and back were very funny, in a profession such as theirs, it felt like they only employed hilarious people. But the hours went by relatively quickly, with hour naps here and there, and some lab work to get on with amongst a few rest stops and border control made it rather nippy. We were so thankful that we had night journeys, I definitely would not have been able to do that journey during the day hours.
Leaving for NYC on Thursday night to then arrive on Friday morning felt a bit surreal, especially with Times Square being only a few blocks away from the bus station – naturally we took the opportunity to see one of the iconic sights of New York early, and it was magnificent.
Getting both day and night time shots of the area really makes you appreciate the light show at different times of the day. It’s a place you honestly could spend hours at just looking up at the dazzling billboards just going “wow, that’s epic”.
Just before heading up to the apartment we were renting in the upper east side for the weekend, we decided that due to it being near, we sat our bags down within central park and just watch time go by as we were waiting and exhausted from the travel. It was a humid day on the Friday we arrived, but the stillness of it all made the atmosphere of the park much more vivid against the grey-skied background. Trying to find a loo within the park was a wild goose chase and a half – I realised at this point as I was pacing frantically with my pea-sized bladder that this is why you get maps of Central park. Because it’s fucking massive. Daffodils out in bloom and the sun beginning the bear through the clouds however made chilling in the park very enjoyable, from the hustle and bustle of people out with their families to outings with friends.
Trying to find a loo within the park was a wild goose chase and a half – I realised at this point as I was pacing frantically with my pea-sized bladder that this is why you get maps of Central park. Because it’s fucking massive. Daffodils out in bloom and the sun beginning the bear through the clouds however made chilling in the park very enjoyable, from the hustle and bustle of people out with their families to outings with friends.
The American Museum of Natural History
The museum stop was here at the AMNH, and I have to say to start with from how tired we still were from the journey I felt like we couldn’t fully appreciate the taxidermy on show just from the pure fatigue. However we powered through and got to see a bountiful amount of naturally preserved pieces, as well as some amazing skeletons of some truly monumental creatures. Ryan and I soon noticed that the AMNH had a very similar feel to that of the ROM back in Toronto, so we immediately started comparing the two, which probably wasn’t the best of ideas as they might’ve both been museums, but they were so different in their own right.
With our weary legs and still aching from lugging our luggage around the city before getting to the apartment we didn’t explore the entire museum, but we did try to see as much as we could before getting some much-needed food to fuel the rest of the day. On our way out, we saw this guy, and he was so big he wasn’t even able to fit into one room!
Hoping over to the other side of Central Park after the AMNH came the MET, and upon entry we were immediately greeted by the largest collection of Greek mythology statues I’ve seen in one place. There was enough marble in the room to supply a mine with! Or at least to put one out of business.
Saturday was the first and only full day we had in the city, so we set off one of the fullest days of adventuring and sightseeing we could muster. First on the list was the top of the rock at the Rockafeller Centre, nearing to the middle of the Manhattan area it stood as grand as a piano does in a lone dining room.
Fortunately there wasn’t too much queuing to do as the tickets were all time assigned, so we went off to grab a few slices of NY pizza before heading to the top of the rock. And boy was it worth the wait.
Empire State Building
A stones throw away from the Rockefeller building came probably the only building that is more iconic than it, and I have to say it was a spectacle to see. The wait was a tad long to be able to reach the top, but there was a different view you got from the Empire State Building in comparison. The view of the Hudson river was amazing from here, as well as the east river. It was also good that there wasn’t any glass surrounding the view so no glare. However taking some down-the-building shots without the strap for my camera genuinely made my heart rush for the fear of 1) dropping my camera off a 1250 foot building and 2) potentially harming someone with said camera if it did drop off the top of the building.
What was great about the ticket we had to the ESB was that we were able to go back to the observation deck in the night as well as the day, being able to see the bright lights of the city from that high up was truly spectacular.
We came to get something from this place at least once a day, and the easiest reason to justify it was because it tasted fucking amazing. Burgers and ‘frozen custard’ were the specialities and I have to say for the price it was almost unreal to get something so good for so cheap! Amazing food, for amazing prices, with them dotted around the city in very convenient places, getting any form of food from Shake Shack will immediately improve your day and your mood!
Flat Iron Building
The Flat Iron building was something we came across on the way to Shake Shack form the Empire State Building, and we had to just stop and admire the sheer oddness of a building so thin within the vast expanse of buildings of such greater widths. We didn’t know what was inside, assuming offices, shops or possibly living spaces, but it would be such an interesting sight to see the insides of such a building.
Coming to ground zero where something so terrible happened in 2001 I have to say I was moved just from the sheer emptiness of the memorial fountains felt. Just the sheer size of the building bases encapsulated from the fountains really made you realise how big these buildings were, and how much terror happened on that day. The museum was one of the most well done I’ve seen, with audio clips from people in and around New York the day it happened, you really got a felt of how everyone wanted to do something to help when it was happening but all knew that they couldn’t. To see the unison of humans to pick up the pieces after what happened makes me proud to be one, and makes me feel lucky for the life that I live and the people I have around me. Because without them, what is life?
I had lots of thought-provoking moments in that museum, thinking about the sanctity of life and how precious it is, seeing missing flyers of family members and wreckage of different parts of the building that collapse after the places flew into them. One of the most shocking things I saw in the museum was a short video of when the 2nd plane flew into the World Trade Centre, and it was like a knife going through butter. It looked like something you’d see in a disaster movie, it just couldn’t be real. But it was. Painfully. However, 15 years on from that day, New York hasn’t just recovered, it grew stronger, the people and the city as a whole. People will never forget what happened, but they will always see that they came out of the other side.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
After a VERY busy day travelling all over the city on the Saturday to get our fill of the sights of the city, the day began to wind down and the sun began to fall in the sky, and with that, there was only one place I knew I wanted to be when the sun did set. Brooklyn Bridge Park. To be able to see the entire south side of the Manhattan island in the reds, yellows and oranges to then light up in the darkness was something I wasn’t going to miss. And if I do say so myself, it might be one of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen. It was very much an end-of-the-adventure feeling after just sitting on the park benches just watching the sun go down, but the best part was that we still had a whole other day to fill after!
You go up to the entrance of Black Tap and walk up to the servers trying to get in and then you’re told to go to the back of the line. You then walk down near to the corner where you think the lines starts, only to see that the line goes all the way around the corner and onto the following street! Then you ponder “is it really THAT good?” I can tell you now no it’s not. It’s better. So much better. Even when you’re waiting in line for 3 and a half hours with your stomach rumbling and you’ve had multiple conversations with yourself and the people you’re with whether to stay in line or go someplace else. Stay in the line. Even when you get to the 1st queue and you see all the messages from people saying how long their waits were, varying between 2-8 hours depending on the time of day. Keep going. Because once you finally get called into the place, you’ll never look back. This place is where I have had the best meal of my life so far, due to the quality and sheer amazingness of the food. The burgers are cooked to perfection, and the milkshakes could bring every boy from the entire city to the yard. I have now found a new favourite restaurant, and I’m now on the search from somewhere to top Black Tap, and I can tell you already it’s going to be hard.
I can’t stress enough how worth the wait is for this place, Ryan & I even missed going to see the Statue of Liberty to wait in line to this place. If you ever find yourself in NYC for a couple days, you HAVE to go here.
The best part about not seeing the Statue of Liberty is that it gives me the perfect excuse to go back to NYC to see it! Serendipity comes in many forms. New York was an amazing experience and one that I will definitely never forget. I will return here again with more snaps of different places and maybe a few of the same *cough* Black Tap *cough*. I’ve never had a better Easter weekend in my life without question.