Cities · TRAVEL

New Year 2014 in New York City!

NYC Taxi
NYC Taxi

What better way to kick-start “New Year 2014” than travel to world’s most awesome city?! 😉

Having packed our luggage with plentiful winter wear, thermals, winter jackets, gloves, scarfs, caps and snow boots, we commenced our wonderful journey by landing in LaGuardia airport.

The beauty of NYC is, it has an amazing transportation systems like:

(1) Taxis – Wave your hand in the middle of the street to stop the taxi to travel to ANYWHERE in NYC! It is the quick and easy way to reach any destination. Fares are affordable too!

(2) Sight-seeing buses – double-decker buses which covers major routes.

(3) PATH (The Port Authority of NY & NJ) is a rail system which takes you to WTC, Hoboken, Newark, Journal Square, and also New Jersey.

(4) Penn Station – Amtrak service via which you can travel to and fro from New York to New Jersey.

(5) Subways – Underground train system using which you can travel to many sight seeing places in NYC.

We mostly used Taxis and PATH to visit tourist spots in NYC and trains via Penn Station to travel from NYC to NJ and back.

 

After landing in LaGuardia airport, we took the train via Penn Station to travel to friend’s place in New Jersey. We were famished. Hubby and his friend, Naveen were meeting after many years, so they started reminiscing their university and bachelor days. We also spent quality time with their sweet daughter Nishitha.

We totally enjoyed our stay at Naveen and Sailu’s place. They were great hosts. 🙂

 

New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas were hit by worst possible snow-storm in decades. The entire city was enveloped in 8 inches of snow, with freezing temperatures and wind chill. We wore four layers of clothing along with gloves, scarfs and caps in order to keep ourselves warm and to prevent frost bites.

In New Jersey, the roads were cleared round the clock and salt was sprinkled on roads to prevent slipperiness. 😉 🙂

But, in New York, no snow was cleared on roads, walkways or pavements. Trains were delayed. Heaps of snow accumulated on roads and you had to literally wade your way through 8 inches of snow. Black ice also formed on roads adding to slipperiness. No salt was sprinkled either. Walking in NYC was so slippery, risky & dangerous. I was appalled by the way in which NYC dealt with this situation, being flocked by tourists. 😦 😦

We decided to commence our NYC sight seeing plans from next day. 🙂

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

 

DAY 1:

A) Empire State Building: was our FIRST destination. It is a 103 stories skyscraper in Manhattan with the height of 1250 feet and is at the intersection of fifth avenue and west 34th street. We took a cab from NYC Penn Station to reach there.

Despite the snow and chilly weather, it was crowded. Lines were long and we had to wait for an hour for our turn to the elevator which took us to the “Top of Empire State Building“.

The 360 view of New York city from the “Top of Empire State” was mind blowing. Wind chill and freezing cold temperature didn’t deter us from enjoying this view and capturing photos! 😉

More snowfall was predicted at noon, so we decided to have lunch at the famous “Saravana Bhavan” and head back to New Jersey!

Saravana Bhavan, NY –  81 Lexington Avenue, it offers a wide variety of authentic “South Indian” Vegetarian food that pamper your taste buds. We ordered our favorite food items from the menu and thoroughly satiated it. 😉 🙂 We liked it so much that we revisited it during our stay! 😛 😀

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DAY 2:  We decided to cover Times Square, Madame Tussauds and Rockefeller Center together as they are just few blocks away from each other.

B) Madame Tussauds: located at 234 W 42nd St, it houses wax figurines of numerous luminaries which include Hollywood/Bollywood/Pop stars, Historic figures, World leaders, Political Leaders, Sports persons, TV stars, Characters etc. These figurines are spread out in various floors of the building.

“AVENGERS” 4D show was splendid!

We had fun posing beside our favorite luminaries like Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Charlie Chaplin, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mahatma Gandhi, et al.

C) Times Square: is at the junction of Broadway and seventh avenue. It is a renowned tourist attraction in NYC, widely known for “Ball drop” on New Year’s Eve. It was super chilly at Times Square, sure enough to numb your palms and give you “frost bites” when you weren’t properly covered, or when you took out your glove to capture pictures.  It was flocked by tourists, despite such pathetic cold temperatures! We were really thankful for our four layered clothing which comprised of thermal wear, tshirt, sweater and winter jacket bundled up one layer over the other !! 🙂

30 Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Center

D) 30 Rockefeller Center – If you are fan of Tina Fey’s television series “30 ROCK”, this place is a “must-visit” for you! Famously known for NBC studios, GE building and ice-skating rink, it is located in Midtown Manhattan between fifth and sixth avenue. We bought tickets from kiosks to visit the “Top of the Rock” at 86th floor of the building. It is an observation desk to enjoy the 360 degree view of NYC!

The panoramic night view of NYC from “Top of the Rock” was breath-taking!!!!

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WTC
WTC

DAY 3: Our idea was to visit WTC, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and  Brooklyn Bridge together as they were in the same vicinity. We arrived at PATH and took a train to WTC.

E) WTC: The world trade center, renowned for “twin towers” was destroyed in September 11 attacks in 2001. Reconstruction commenced in 2006. When we reached the site, reconstruction work was in process, with lot of construction workers in the vicinity and few parts of area barricaded.  “One World Trade Center” is almost completed and it looks magnificent, built with latest technologies and amenities!

It is scheduled to be open for public and occupation in 2014!

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

 

 

 

F) “Statue of Liberty” – From WTC, we headed to “Battery Park”, located at southern tip of Manhattan island. Walking carefully on 8 inches of uncleared snow, we bought our  “Statue of Liberty” Pedestal tickets and embarked “Statue Cruise” to the world famous “Statue of Liberty”! The journey was enthralling.

When we reached “Statue of Liberty”, the ground was covered with “black ice” which was formed due to snow aftermath. It was so slippery and dangerous to even walk. Everyone was literally skating, instead of walking! Cursing the authorities for not clearing the snow and ice, and hiring a locker to place our belongings, we made our way to the stairway that led us to Pedestal.  It was a great experience to view the statue upwards from the pedestal. We then headed back down to view the entire statue and capture pictures, with the statue in the background.

It was one hell of a experience, skating on ice!

G) Wall Street – runs from Broadway to South street in lower Manhattan and is home for famous landmarks like the BULL, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE- the world’s largest stock exchange) , Trinity Church, American Stock Exchange, etc.

H) Brooklyn Bridge – is the oldest suspension bridge over East River, that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is also famous for Bollywood movie “Kal Ho Na Ho”, which stars Shah Rukh Khan and his signature “open arms” pose! 😉

Having walked halfway across the bridge, from Manhattan side, it was a phenomenal 360 degree night view of both Manhattan and Brooklyn on either side of the bridge! Truly, a feast to your eyes! Even photos cannot do justice to this view! We spent sometime walking across the bridge, savoring the view and the moment, as well as snapping! 😉 🙂

View of "Empire State" from our room window!
View of “Empire State” from our room window!

We had planned to spend a night in Manhattan to enjoy the experience. We checked into our hotel “Spring Hill Suites” and were enthralled to see “Empire State Building” staring at our room window! It was fabulous!!

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Overall, our NEW YORK trip was a BLISS, sans the snow storm, freezing cold and wind chill during winter. It was a great adventure to visit during this peak winter and ridiculous weather. I would definitely visit NEW YORK again, but definitely not during winter! 😉 😛

I would summarize my NEW YORK trip as:

New York!!
->Traveling in trains via Penn Station- Check!
->Waving hand to stop a cab in the middle of the street to take you to ANYWHERE in NYC- Check!
->Experience the worst snowstorm, 5-8 inches snowy & icy roads, skidding & walking in bone chilling cold, being bundled up in 4 layers of clothing- Check!
“Empire State Building” – Check!
->Break-taking 360 degree Panoramic night view of NYC from “Top of the Rock” (30 Rockefeller) & “Brooklyn Bridge”- Check!
->”Times Square”- Check!
->Snapping with favorite actors at “Madame Tussaud’s”- Check!
->”Wall Street, NYSE, the BULL”- Check!
->”Liberty Statue”- Check!
->”WTC”- Check!
-> Walking around in “Manhattan” and staying in a hotel just opposite to “Empire State Building”- Check!
->Visiting & Revisiting “Saravana Bhavan” to devour scrumptious “South Indian food”- Check!
->”Sukhadia’s” Sweets- Check!
Seriously, can’t get enough of NEW YORK!!
Even words & pictures cannot do justice to the life, furor & vigor that NEW YORK offers!!

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