We’re heading to New York for the first time. How exciting! The plane picks up speed, it’s ready to take off when we hear an unusual sound. The pilot suddenly brakes and decides to try to take off again. He goes around, speeds up again… and hits the brakes again.
This time, we go back to the departure gate where we’re asked to get off the plane, to our relief, in order for the technicians to look into the issue. A few hours later we’re told we have to take a different plane (phew) … we couldn’t picture ourselves back in there. We finally arrive in NY, with some delay. Fortunately, our friend Moumou gives us a warm welcome 🙂
To tell you the truth, we never really dreamed of going to the United States or to New York in particular … and we were very pleasantly surprised.
New York is a bustling city that never sleeps! We spent 5 days there, thinking it will be more than enough time to see everything. We rarely stay that long in large cities, as we prefer nature and spending time in small villages. It turns out that there is so much to do in New York that no matter the time you spend there, you’ll always end up wanting more.
It’s hard to prioritise the things to see in New York, but here’s a top 10 of what we liked and we reckon is a must for a first visit.
1.Walk through Wall Street
2. Visit Times square
3. See the Statue of Liberty (free)
You can see the Statue of Liberty without paying a dime by taking the free Staten Island Ferry. You can take it at the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The crossing takes about 25 minutes. If you don’t have much time, you can take the ferry back as soon as you arrive on Staten Island.
In addition to the Statue of Liberty, you can admire the beautiful skyline of the southern tip of Manhattan.
Note: The ferry does not stop on the island of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island.
4. Take a stroll in Central Park
5. Admire the Grand Central Terminal
You can admire the emblem of the station in the main lobby, the four-faced clock made of opal (with an estimated value of $20 million) and the ceiling covered with constellations from Paul César Helleu, a French painter.
Do not leave without going up to the balcony for a beautiful panoramic view and spend a few minutes watching New Yorkers running in all directions.
The Bryant Park, close to the Grand Central Terminal, regularly hosts events. We stumbled upon a free concert of Shakira in this park. Do not hesitate to check it out, just in case.
6. Discover the High line
This old railway has been converted into a suspended park. We went there at night, but we advise you to go during the day to fully enjoy its beauty. The garden is free and open from 7:00 to 22:00.
You can admire many buildings with modern architecture along the walk.
7. Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
Photo by Vita Vilcina/splash
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy the beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. And why not do it at sunrise to see New York awaken?
8. Walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
9. Go to the top of the Empire State Building
This is a must do! You can’t go to New York without going to the Empire State Building. Climb all the way up to discover the breathtaking view of the city. Be prepared, it can get windy and cold up there, especially in winter.
Go in the evening to enjoy the sunset and see the city light up. However, if you wish to avoid the crowd: go early in the morning at the opening.
Another tip: buy the tickets in advance to avoid the queue.
10. Escape from the city, by going to the American Museum of Natural History
It’s undoubtedly one of the finest and largest in the world. The visit is impressive, you’ll see a life-size whale, dinosaurs, meteorites, and dioramas where wild animals are staged in their original habitat, much to the delight of young and old alike. We loved it … we would have spent the night there if they hadn’t politely asked us to leave at closing time. Doesn’t that remind you of a movie?
There are forty rooms divided by theme. I recommend at least half a day.
11. A bonus for foodies
New York is full of surprises and characters of all kinds. Do not be surprised if, at the corner of an alley, you see someone walking around with her cat … on their head …
More pictures below: