A Travellerspoint blog

New York City - Part III

"Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan..."

sunny 28 °C

This was our last day in NYC before heading out to Las Vegas. To start the day off we went for a run along Battery Park/ along the Hudson River. This was a beautiful run - very scenic (if you enjoy the NYC cityscape). There was also a great atmosphere, with people out exercising, breaking loose from the shackles of lockdown. There was a whiff of freedom in the air... (or maybe it was my cologne: Jean Paul Gaulthier, Le Male). Either way, it felt great to be out exercising in public.

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After showering and breakfast we got the subway down to The Occulus once again then made a trip across the famous Brooklyn bridge, crossing from Manhattan into neighbouring borough Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge was finished construction 1883 and bridged the two neighbouring cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn, both of which would eventually become New York City, along with the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world. To walk across it, you really get to take it in - it is a wonderful construction (one can only imagine what people thought when they first saw it in 1883). It's definitely in the top three bridges I've ever been on.

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We grabbed some food and drinks at Cecconi's- a restaurant with an exquisite interior. We enjoyed a glass of Prosecco as we watched the world pass by. Afterwards we posed for some photos at the famous DUMBO location. DUMBO has been used in many movies/ TV shows, it always seems to pop up if the movie is set in NYC (Once Upon a Time in America quickly springs to mind) and has become an Instagram hotspot.

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We later had dinner in Little Mercado, a great little Spanish food emporium. To finish our little New York trip we took a stroll along Pier 51, East River Esplanade which gave a great view of Brooklyn. An apt way to end the day.

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Food and drink:

For breakfast we ate the Blank Slate cafe (Maddison Avenue)
- great shout!
4/5

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For dinner, we ate at Little Mercado (Hudson Yards)
A great ambience, the Spanish restaurant was full of fun and energy. The food was pretty good - not as good as to what you'd find in Spain, a decent try!
4/5

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Posted by elchicocarlito 10:29 Archived in USA Tagged food travel hotel newyork drink city ireland philippines accomodation usa asian europe asia irish tips european saudi newyorkcity covid saudiarabia Comments (0)

New York City - Part II

¡Vamos a explorar! (Let's go explore!)

sunny

We wanted to explore NYC and boy did we explore NYC! Over the next two days we went to (in chronological order):

  • Johnny's Luncheonette, Chelsea (breakfast)
  • Maddison Square Park
  • New York Public Library
  • Empire State Building
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Mulligan's Irish Pub, Murray Hill
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Central Park
  • Lincoln Square
  • The Vessel
  • Flatiron Building
  • High Line
  • SoHo
  • World Trade Center Memorial
  • The Occulus

Highlights:

We went for breakfast at Johny's Luncheonette; I cannot recommend this diner enough. We bought delicious food at very reasonable prices. Get there early, as there will be lines.
I was chuffed to get photos at New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal as two of my favourite all time movies had scenes shot here (Ghostbusters and Carlito's Way, respectively). The Empire State building is always great to see, a very well built, handsome building (according to my un-architectural eye; art-deco I believe), and always nice to see an old, well built cathedral (St. Patrick's) which was built by my boys, the Jesuits.

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Central park is always a fine spot to go; to be fair 'spot' is a bit of a poorly chosen word to use given the vastness of Central Park.I was unhappy wuth the distance we covered in the Park, and vowed silently in my head: we would return! Spoiler alert: we did.

The Vessel and the Flatiron are two great landmarks to see when in NYC. Unfortunately the Flatiron was going under construction, so I didn't bother with photos as the exterior was kind of ruined by the ugly construction. The Vessel, a recent arrival in NYC (2019), is a unique looking specimen (see photo), like some sort of alien spaceship, with little alien nerds running about inside it. To end the day we went to a pretty cool rooftop bar, 230 Rooftop Bar. There is indoor and outdoor seating, giving you a great view of the Empire State Building and other landmarks.

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The next morning we awoke and promptly went for a run on the High Line. The High Line is one of my overall highlights of the whole trip; it is long (1.45 miles) strip full of greenery. It is an old, obsolete railway that is now full of greenery and is being reused for the betterment of humans and nature. Big fan. It was only finished a few years ago, but already boasts over 8 million tourists a year. We later went to SoHo and took some photos in front of some impressive street art. Afterwards we went to the Occulus and World Trade Center Memorial.

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Looking at the old health app, and in particular the steps, we walked a pretty impressive 30, 532 steps on June 18th. On June 19th we did a whopping 35,825 steps!

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There is so much top see in New York, but we were doing our damnest to see it all!

Food and drink:

Restaurant: Johny's Luncheonette (Chelsea)
Go for breakfast here, thank me later.
5/5

Bar: Mulligan's
Decent Irish bar with TVs available for sports (should your significant other allow!)
3/5

Bar: 230 Rooftop Bar
A bar for cool people, so I obviously didn't feel out of place. 😉
3.5/5

Sights:

Occulus & World Trade Center Memorial
The Memorial is a somber sight, and a must see. A bit odd that there's a newly built mall right beside it, but hey, it's a pretty good mall- pleasing to the eye.
5/5

The Vessel
Oddly designed spectacle.
4/5

Central Park
Huge, great for jogging and picnics and stuff.
4.5/5

Lincoln Square
Very nice when dusk hits.
3.5/5

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SoHo
Some very cool street art, but can be hard to find.
3.5/5

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Posted by elchicocarlito 15:50 Archived in USA Tagged churches buildings skylines sky food travel hotel newyork drink city ireland philippines accomodation usa asian europe asia irish tips european saudi newyorkcity covid saudiarabia Comments (0)

New York City - Part I

¡Libertad! (Freedom!)

sunny -25 °C

We were a bundle of nerves as we approached security in John F. Kennedy Airport. We had everything in order: negative PCR tests, passports visas (both of us had B1 visas, I also got the ESTA as B1 would expire soon), proof of accommodation, marriage application certificates etc. Yet, given the state of the world and the rejection we had already encountered (in our home countries, no less) we approached the kiosk with trepidation. We must have been quite the sight; a petite Asian girl and her tall, jittery (also, handsome) fiancé clutching nervously to a bunch of documents. We had jumped over all the hurdles so far, Abby had been delighted to board the plane; “I’ll only relax once I set foot outside JFK,” I told her.

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We had left Saudi Arabia to embark on our adventure here in the USA, at a time when international travel was not the easiest thing to do. People could not travel to the US from Ireland- good thing I had left from Saudi then. We had taken all the necessary COVID requirements, followed all the protocols (we always adhere to the rules of whatever governing body). I had many PCR tests, all negative; yet, here we stood in a massive line of people entering the States, barely any distance apart. Adhering to all the COVID requirements and then all of a sudden placed in a super- spreader event. Great. That being said, I was confident that pesky virus couldn’t penetrate my incredible immune system. “It doesn’t work like that,” said Abby, a qualified nurse. “Shush, rest your weary head,” I told her, putting a finger to her mouth. “Next!” Yelled the cop. We were up. We looked at each other nervously.

“Andrew Carlos… Irish?” said the cop quizzically, “And not… Spanish?”
“Well…” I began and then gave an abridged version of family history, Abby poking me in the ribs in an attempt to get me to stop.
“Ok, great. Reason for coming to the US?” asked the cop who resembled the comedic actor Craig Robinson (big fan).
“We’re getting married,” blurted Abby.
“We tried going to Ireland,” I quickly interjected.
“But they said no, wouldn’t let me enter as I’m non-EU,” said Abby.
“Despite the fact that she’s a fully vaccinated health care practitioner. Nuts, right?”
“And then we tried the Philippines,” continued Abby.
“But they said no to me,” I said, “But that was fair enough.”
“So we decided to come here to get married, in Las Vegas. We have the applications here.”
“We decided to come here, to the country of freedom, to the city of liberty! The greatest country in the world!” I enthused.
We pushed all the documents towards the bemused cop.
“It’s all legit, look. Look!” I asked, nay, demanded.

The cop laughed. “I believe you! Welcome to the United States and congratulations! Hope you enjoy your stay.” I wanted to hug the guy right there and then. We walked away and hugged, delighted we had been accepted to the US. Our adventure could now begin!
We got a taxi to our hotel, left our bags there, then made our way to the Meatpacking District. We went to a Mexican restaurant and bought a beer and some prosecco. We spoke wiuth my family and raised a glass: A libertad!! (To Freedom!!).

Food and drink:

Restaurant: Dos Caminos (Meatpacking District)
A chain of Mexican restaurant, the drinks were fine if a tad expensive (the food didn’t look great). Nice décor and ambience.
3/5

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Restaurant: Los Tacos No. 1 (Chelsea Market)
As a former resident of Mexico, I couldn’t believe this restaurant when I saw it: it looked like an authentic Mexican taqueria that you normally only find in Mexican! I was very excited to try the tacos out; I wasn’t disappointed. I got myself and Abby several tacos de adobada, my favourite. The tacos were delicious and were the closest thing I’ve had to true Mexican food outside of Mexico. The price was very reasonable as well (obviously more expensive than tacos in Mexico, which are super cheap, but that is to be expected). The Jamaica (water infused with dried flor de Jamaica, Hibiscus flowers; a Mexican delicacy) drink was on point also.
4.5/5

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Sights:

Landmark: Times Square
I was a little disappointed with Times Square. This is the famous visual you see in many a movie/ TV show, a place synonomous with New York City, the city that never sleeps. I found it very dirty (a horrible smell was present) and there were a fair few unsavory characters - to put it mildly! There was not much shopping to be done either. Manhattan has many fantastic sites to visit- this isn't one of them!
2/5

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Accomodation:

Hotel: The Jayne
Bunk beds! Not enough space to swing a cat, or even a hamster for that matter. Not the greatest room for a couple! That being said, the location was fantastic, ideally located beside the high line and in a clean, safe area of Manhattan. Also, inexpensive (which is important if you’re going to the US for over 5 weeks!).
3.5/5

Posted by elchicocarlito 10:29 Archived in USA Tagged food travel hotel newyork drink city ireland philippines accomodation usa asian europe asia irish tips european saudi newyorkcity covid saudiarabia Comments (0)

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