Friday, April 09, 2010

New York, New York

I ♥ N Y.

Or, to be more precise, Manhattan.

There's no other city where I love walking down the streets and seeing the sights as much as New York. Every time I go there, the city has a bustle, a life, and is busy! This Easter we decided to visit New York for 4 nights. Finding a hotel that was not sky high in price was a serious endeavor, Manhattan is one of the most expensive places on the planet! Eventually we found a place in Astoria, about ten minutes by subway from Times Square. Our bus fare was cheap too - $40 return! Don't you love (relatively) inexpensive vacations?

So, one and half hours after our departure on early morning Good Friday we arrived at the Peace Bridge border crossing. It was really busy.

Peace Bridge

There's a huge Toys R Us (42nd Street) in Times Square, which was my first stop on the night we got there. Being a Lego fan, the USA meant cheaper Legos!

Lego R Us
Chrysler Tower and Empire State Building in Legos

There's a vibe about Times Square unlike anything. The public squares in Toronto or London pale by comparison - Times Square is the real thing. At all times, even at midnight, it was really crowded. The fantastic weather must have played its part in that.
Times Square

From Times Square we walked to 53rd Street and 6th Avenue. This is the location of the famous street cart. We only found out how famous he was when we got there and saw there's a line for the cart! This was street food, at 1 am, and there were people in line!
Halal food

The lamb/chicken on rice dinner with the white sauce from this cart was just too good. We went back every single day! I also saw Halal carts all around Manhattan - selling the usual ware from kebabs, chicken/lamb meals, gyros, hot dogs etc.
Radio City and Rockefeller Centre


The world's largest store - a Macy's (Dubai missed this title!) was right next to Empire State Building, so one can combine two birds with one stone. Besides, even though the Burj Khalifa is twice the size of Empire State Building, you can only go halfway up the Burj, so being on top of ESB = being at the Burj. However, the long lineups meant I prefer Dubai's timed slot visits (just like Pisa).
View from the 86th floor of the ESB

A great place to go for walks from downtown Manhattan was the Brooklyn Bridge - we saw lots of couples and families there. Remember Shah Rukh Khan in Kal Ho Na Ho? And how about Miranda and Steve in Sex and the City? This was the location - not to mention the Hispanic lady sitting there selling the cheapest souvenirs in the city!

Brooklyn Bridge

Bronx (and Harlem) are north of Manhattan and even though the area had a seedy reputation in the past, and I still wouldn't walk there in the middle of the night, it's now quite clean and busy. As a rule, I generally found New York to be much safer, cleaner, friendlier and better than the last few times I visited.


The Guggenheim Museum is famous for its architecture

Everyone visiting NYC makes a point to visit Ground Zero - which at the moment is just a huge construction site. Nearby though, you can visit the 9/11 Memorial Preview Center.

The skyline as it was on that fateful morning

They show the timeline of the attack

The model of Ground Zero as it will be when all construction is done - the footprints of the original tower will have a fountain memorial with the names of the deceased engraved

We did the usual touristy stuff - the Statue of Liberty (we had tickets to go inside the statue - it was so much fun!), the cruise of New York Harbour, the Grand Central Terminal, the unforgettable Museum of Natural History (where Ross from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. worked with dinosaurs), the Hayden Planetarium show, the Wall Street bull and not to mention shopping!

Big Apple
New York is known as the Big Apple

A view straight up inside the Statue of Liberty

Looking up Lady Liberty's skirt!


My weight on Hally's comet - gotta lost 0.002 lbs!


The Apple Cube on 5th Avenue - this was one trendy shopping district

New York for Canadians have always meant shopping. With generally lower prices south of the border, our dollar being at par with theirs, I am done with retail in Canada. A trip to New York for shopping alone actually pays for itself in savings!

Of course, while my wife bought sunglasses, purses, perfumes and clothes, I was more interested in this.

Lego Prince of Persia set# 7573 "Battle of Alamut"

Since I managed to get this at almost 50% off the price here in Canada - I will classify the trip as a success!

we bought subway passes as soon as we arrived, and used them to go everywhere possible. The New York subway system was great! And it ran 24 hours.

In short - I ♥ N Y. You should visit!


'liya said...

Mezba, I've been waiting for your Dubai part 5 post for the longest time, I insist get to that next :D

I like the pic of her hand with the apple, very cute! NYC is really something, reading the post reminds me of when we were there. There aren't many places in the States I'm interested in but this is one city I'd go back to again and again. Smart trip decision with the loonie practically on par and all!

mezba said...

Liya, I will get to that post next iA! :-)

I am also interested to think what you thought of it. I have always held Dubai to be a good place to visit.

As for the States, you should really, really go to San Francisco. I guarantee that you will love it.

Yes, I really like New York, and not just for the price parity. It's a city that lives up to its tag as the capital of the world.

Farah said...

I am quite jealous of the Lego!

NYC seems so lively!!!

Muslim Girl said...

I've traveled so much in America but still haven't been to NYC. It sounds really nice! Btw I'm curious what the weight on Halley's comet thing was?

mezba said...

Farah, the Lego was great, as was NYC.

Muslim Girl, NYC is a must-visit on any tour of the USA. It's very expensive place though for a hotel!

The Halley's comet was at the Museum of Natural History. They have a meteorite, an exhibit about gravity, mass and weight, and then this scale. It's a simple mathematical conversion really.

Gwen Styles said...

wonderful account of your trip, thank you! I took the Megabus with my daughter a couple of years ago. In addition to a lot of the things you saw, we went to the Central Park Zoo and FAO Shwartz (the toy store on 5th avenue).

Hope my husband doesn't see this, but I'm planning a surprise long weekend trip in August for our anniversary!

M&M said...

nyc is pretty awesome. i have been there once but definitely too short of a visit, hoping to visit soon.

and i know the food cart that you are talking about! i had no idea it was that famous until my family friends took me there when i visited, it is absolutely worth the wait in the line at 1am!!! (i went at 1am too loll)

haha lego and shopping! sounds like a great trip!

Anonymous said...

I loved the pics and esp the caption,

"Looking up Lady Liberty's skirt!" Hahahaha! I enjoyed the post and waiting anxiously for the next one!

Nadia said...

Thank you for taking us to NYC. I'm going to bookmark this page for future reference :)

My favorite picture would be the big apple one. It's cute and creative.

Musa said...

NYC and San Francisco, the 2 most "walkable" cities in the USA !

Organica said...

Thanks for sharing.

I've done NYC before in small doses (day trips). I have to say, I am no big fan of the Big Apple. Not sure why?

I do get the glamour of Manhattan but it's not enough to keep me from wanting to go back.

Traditionally I go around Christmas time which means it's cold but the lights are so pretty!

mezba said...

Gwen, we too took the Megabus. It wasn't bad, just reached the destinations later than expected. The FAO Shwartz and Central Park is on our list for next time, as well as the UN building. This being April, Central Park was still brown and dry.

Hope your trip goes well!

M&M, nice to see you here. Yes indeed the food cart is one of the best stuff about NYC. I wish they had them here, but Toronto street food is pretty bland (hot dogs, hot dogs and more hot dogs). NYC - best lamb on rice!

Lat, we had to book 3 months in advance to go inside the Statue! Usually for trips to NYC I don't book far in advance because I wait to see how the weather is - but I wanted to visit the Statue and go inside. So we took a chance on the weather - and it turned out absolutely great!

Nadia, when are you coming to North America? :-) you must schedule a visit to Toronto if you come this way!

Musa, definitely. I still can't believe I walked all the way from Union Square to the north of San Francisco. Good walking shoes definitely help.

Organica, perhaps you are too used to it, living so near? For me, outside of Manhattan it was very dinghy and dirty (for example the Jackson Heights stop on the 7 line).

After my West coast tour in the winter, I decided no more off season tours, tourism is different when it's done when it's sunny!

Suroor said...

Lovely photos! Your lego is amazing. You are too good at it.

The apple on your wife's hand is the cutest :)

Great photos and commentary. Thanks!

mezba said...

Suroor, so you want to visit North America now? :-)

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Mezba:

NYC is my hometown; warms my heart to hear that you loved it so much!

Anonymous said...

I miss NYC! Can't wait for my own trip in May!

mezba said...

Safiyyah, thanks, it's a fantastic and vibrant city so full of life.

Geeki, you always manage to cram so much into your "short" trips!