We are a family of “hikers-in-the-woods”, “bicycle-riders-in-the-dunes”, “campers-in-national-parks”, “fishermen-and-clam-pickers-at-the-seashore”. Nature and animal lovers that enjoy solitude and quite moments. But as a birthday gift to my daughter, my parents offered her a trip to New York. It was in her list of places she whishes to visit.
It doesn’t matter how much you dislike crowds and traffic and concrete jungles… all of that becomes impressive, “jaw-dropping”, in this city! We loved it, specially my daughter!
As soon as we arrived and dropped out of our bus, we felt that adrenaline punch for adventure and discovery! Me and my daughter said “goodbye” to our bus tour group and bought a map at Time Square.
Adventure is out there!!…and this is what we learned.
Get a map of the city and of the subway. There is so much to see in New York, and the most efficient way to avoid traffic, avoid tourist traps and cover the most number of attractions in a shorter period of time is by using the subway.
My daughter spotted a subway entrance and in an impulse said “let’s use the subway!!” She was always fascinated by subways and had never been in one. My answer was “Yep! We are doing this in real New Yorker’s style…underground we go!!”.
The best panoramic view of New York city is away from New York… in the Statue of Liberty Island – Liberty Island. You will spend hours waiting in the line to board the ferry, but do not give up! She is the “Vatican of Rome”, the “Eiffel Tower of Paris”…how can you leave the city and announce you haven’t visited this monument?!. She is the image that welcomed the immigrants that built this nation. And as you can see in the mix of ethnicities in the ferry, we still all come together to admire this lady.
As our ferry approached the Statue of Liberty, my daughter said “The waiting was so worthy…it is much prettier and bigger than I have ever imagined!”
When visiting Central Park rent a bike or a Pedicab Tour (bicycle guided tour…)… do not rent a Horse Carriage! Central Park is the New Yorker’s playground and it is huge! Exploring it by foot will take you an entire day. I felt tempted to rent bicycles but worried about where to leave the bikes when our curiosity took us off the path. How safe it is to leave a bike unattended in Central park? …I don’t know. We decided to rent a Pedicab to make sure we were not missing any bikes… or missing any of Central Park’s most beautiful attractions. But, whenever we came across one of the many horse carriages touring the park, the stink of horse “manure” was unbearable. I can not imagine having to endure the smell for an entire hour tour. Surprised Carrie Bradshaw fail to mention this fact while riding it in “Sex and the City”?? I was…
Have a plan, but keep your heart and mind open to take a chance on the unexpected…
Taking pictures is essential to me. I torture my family and embarrass my self in public too many times in order to get that perfectly clear picture definition, that image that provides me a timeless emotional connection to a giving moment. This challenge increases when facing the obstacle of crowds, and traffic, and new constructions…But there is no way around these obstacles in New York city. You might as well embrace that fact and have fun with it.
At the end of our Central Park tour, our bicycle driver said we were his last clients of the day…he said he needed to drop off his Pedicab near Times Square and asked if we would like a ride there, free of charge. And this was the highlight of our trip to New York city! This young Hungarian immigrant took us in a bicycle drive through Manhattan in sunset rush hour traffic. In high-speed we fled and zigzagged across crowds and between cars, cabs and buses as the skyscrapers’ shadows took over the city. The rush, the sights and sounds, the aromas and the weightless motion as we traveled through all the things I dislike the most about human civilization…that was my favorite moment in New York. And I took only one picture of it…in my cellphone…in motion.