Andy and I waited to get a few paychecks and watch our bank account recover a little before heading into New York City for the first time. We woke up early in the morning and drove into Poughkeepsie where we got onto a Metro-North train headed for the City. Two hours later we were disembarking from our train in Grand Central Terminal and taking our first steps into a city that we’d both heard so much about and have always wanted to see.
After admiring the Grand Central building inside and out we
walked over to the Empire State building and waited in line for tickets to the 86th floor Observatory. Luckily for us this was the fifth of July and due to the small number of tourists in town we were able to make our way through the three separate lines fairly quickly. The whole experience was pretty cheesy until we finally got to the top and could look out across all the other skyscrapers. The view was amazing and we soon got really excited to start walking and exploring.
We walked by Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, and then down the Avenue of the Americas which was closed off to traffic for the
holiday weekend and filled with pedestrians and food and clothing vendors. As we looked around us we kept on thinking that the City was so clean, and not polluted at all. Some of our co-workers had warned us that it was a dirty and busy place, but compared to the cities in India we felt completely comfortable walking around and not at all overwhelmed. I mean, NYC has sidewalks where you can walk without being worried about being hit my speeding motorcycles. We ate some great pad thai and chicken satays then headed over to the Museum of Modern Art. After spending a few hours wandering the museum and seeing Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night we refueled with coffee in the MOMA cafe and got onto the subway to the southern tip of Manhattan.
The subway station we got off at was right next to the Staten Island Ferry and we hurried into the terminal to catch the next ferry. The ride is free and the concessions stand sells beer so we had it made on the twenty minute ride to Staten Island where we disembarked and got onto another ferry back to Manhattan. It was fun to see a close up view of the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers off in the distance.
Next we walked up through the financial area by Wall Street, the Stock Exchange, and the Twin Tower memorial. We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, past City Hall, and up through Chinatown where we stopped at a really neat park which is where the old Five Points neighborhood used to be in the early 1800s. Eventually we made our way back up to Times Square where the lights were so bright it was almost like the sun was still in the sky. We drank a few beers at an Irish pub while we rested our feet and finally walked back to Grand Central and took the train home exhausted