Sunday, March 20, 2011
Must Love... New York
Arriving in the concrete jungle of New York, we were greeted by a chill that soaked deep into our bones and made sure we were wide awake after our 28 hours of flying; we were in the city where dreams came true.
The cliché that New Yorkers are rude and unfriendly didn't hold true for us. We constantly met locals eager to show off their beautiful city with its rich history and to remind us that they are a part of what is truly the centre of the world.
However, we found other cliches to be functioning larger than life. You could not walk more than a few steps down the ice sloshed roads without hearing a car beep or a siren of some sort. At night people rushed by, chatting away to the companions they were strolling with, yelling into their phones or just to themselves. Lights shone and dazzle, illuminating the city below and making the buildings seem alive, especially on Broadway. Every meal we ate came with a large serving of home fries, onion rings and lots of grease. We drank endless cups of Starbucks goodness (yes, they really are on every corner) and smeared our bagels with mountains of cream cheese.
I walked more in New York than I would in a month at home, and loved it, striding past beautiful shop displays, enticing cafes and traditional diners. On a single day we could explore the Upper East Side and Fifth Avenue, have lunch in Greenwich Village and shop in Soho then visit Battery Park and take the ferry past the Statue of Liberty at the other end of Manhattan.
A must do, especially during winter, is a tour of the magical museums Manhattan has to offer. We started at the Museum of Natural History (where a Night in the Museum was filmed) and explored the hallways filled with artifacts and costumes, piecing together the long lost cultures of those who lived thousands of years before us, before gazing up at the huge dinosaur skeletons and wondering what it would have been like to be alive with them.
We then visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking the time to marvel at its sheer size as we decided which exhibitions to browse. We walked past Ancient Egypt, seeing real mummies encased before us, before reaching the modern art section, housing beautiful works from Picasso to Andy Warhol. We then moved on to one of our favourites, the Guggenheim. The layout of this museum is the best I have ever seen. It's simple, yet effective and allows you to see all the pieces without getting lost. The secret is - it's a single spiral. We walked up the corkscrew, branching off at the floors we wanted to stop on, helped out by an informative audio guide.
Other highlights included chowing down on popcorn (yay!) and salted pretzels as we cheered on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden; belly-laughing our way through a Sex and the City tour, devouring cosmopolitans and cupcakes as we went; catching Wicked on Broadway - an experience definitely not to be missed; and taking snaps of the endlessness that is New York from the Empire State Building Observatory.
A less jovial and more humbling part of our time in the powerhouse state was visiting the Ground Zero construction site, and spending some time in the small museum across the road, displaying a timeline of how events unfolded spread across its walls, plans for the rebuild and a touching video by the survivors of the disaster.
Manhattan accepts you for who you are. Wear what you want, eat what you want and do what you want, because everything you could ever need is at your fingertips.