Finally, I sorted out all my pictures: time for the NYC report !
I have to say we didn’t really plan anything before we took off. I had merely started a Foursquare list with all the places that were recommended by people around me, blogs, magazines…
We still arrived in New-York with a HUGE to-do list, that we ended up dividing by geographic zones. Every morning, we were agreeing on what type of day we wanted to spend, and based on that we were picking a neighborhood to visit. Then, just a couple of minutes to check on my list what we shouldn’t miss there or where we should eat, and time to hop on the Subway !
Now, let’s start with most cliché and touristic area of New-York: Midtown, which basically stands for anything between Central Park and Downtown.
Midtown is where you’ll find most of the touristic attractions, which is great because you can walk from one to another without having to rush from one part of the city to the other. The downside being that it’s a lot to see in just one day – exhausting ! Also, not the cheapest day. In New-York, everything you want to do has a price on it, even take an elevator to see the city from a terrace.
photo/ Sara P.
Rockefeller Center – Top of the Rock
We decided to go on Top of the Rock (Top of the Rockefeller Center) after my sister’s advice. It might be less high than the Empire State Building, but it has the advantage to allow you to actually see the Empire State (makes sense, I know). And it actually was a pretty good choice ! The waiting was way shorter than we expected, the price wasn’t as reasonable (27$ pp) but YOLO, right ?
I also liked the way to the observation deck, where you could learn more about the building, how it was constructed, who the founder was, where the Christmas tree that is traditionnally placed on the plaza every year comes from… I like history and anectodes, so I would have loved to see more, but I guess that’s what Wikipedia is for :)
NBC Experience Store
When we got back on the ground floor (after almost one hour of taking pictures of the panorama from every angle), we just HAD to spend some time at the NBC store (if you haven’t seen 30 Rock: NBC has its studios in the Rockefeller building). We ran around the store for another hour, checking out the Dunder Mifflin mugs, the Vandelay Industries T-shirts, the Big Lebowski shot glasses…an incredible amount of crap dedicated to our TV-educated generation. Of course I didn’t leave empty-handed…
After this very intense morning (I mean, Dwight’s bobble-head figurine!!), we decided that we deserved a quick but good lunch, and we decided to go for a sandwich place inside the Rockefeller Center called ‘wichcraft (I hope you appreciate the pun as much as I did). By the way, a sandwich in NYC, NOT what we’re used to here: I don’t think I even saw one ‘baguette’ while I was there. In this case, the specialty was the grilled cheese, which is a base of cheese grilled between two slices of bread with some extras (veggies, meat) that you can choose on the menu. It was very simple but delicious ! I ate mine so fast that I completely forgot to take a picture, but in case you’re wondering what it looked like, here’s a picture I stole on Foursquare from someone named Alystia:
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)
The MoMA really is one of the things you MUST see when you’re visiting NYC. It has some of the greatest masterpieces of art ever, presented in this architecturally impressive building.
We took advantage of the partnership they have with Uniqlo to spare a few dollars (25$ exactly) and get in for free (Fridays between 4 and 8 pm).
I am a little bit ashamed to admit that after an hour and a half, I gave up: the museum is so big and so busy that I just couldn’t do it anymore. Indeed, don’t think you’ll be alone facing Andy Warhol’s Marylin: around you, there’s hundreds and hundreds of tourists from everywhere in the world taking picture of every single piece with their flash, there’s hipster art students taking notes and a bunch of old ladies who stand 20cm away from the paintings so you can never really see them completely. Definitely not the best conditions to visit a museum if you ask me !
photo/ Sara P.
If I could go back in time, I would definitely choose to pay the entrance fee and go there at another time, in the morning some day during the week or something. There must be a moment when it’s a little bit less busy ! Or is there?
Before you leave the museum, you shouldn’t forget to pay a visit to the gift shop: you’ll find a bunch of art books (obviously), reproductions from the paintings that are exhibited in the museum, but also all kinds of design objects, from home gear to kids’ toys and japanese weird objects. Prices go from very affordable to crazy expensive, but I promise you will find something you need and didn’t even know about. At least we did !
In case you’re a little hungry after all that, I recommend you pass by the Magnolia Bakery, which is located right next to the Rockefeller Center Subway station. It was made famous by Carrie (Sex and The City), because she was always getting cupcakes there. They sell everything you need to get fat easily, but we only had a Red Velvet cupcake (what else?). In case you’re wondering everything they had, from apple pie to brownies and wedding cakes looked amazing ! Not to mention the prices were surprisingly low, which I found very honest considering they could have taken advantage of their TV-fame.
And in case you’re wondering: Lilicup’s cupcakes are still better in my opinion !
Now the sun goes down and it’s time to take a train to Times Square ! If you’re agoraphobic, you should probably be know beforehand that I hadn’t seen that many people at the same spot since Major Lazer’s concert at Pukkelpop last summer.
Between the flashing lights, the bright signs, the wide screens (wide might be a little bit of an understatement here) and people wearing costumes of any super hero really, it was one of the most impressive moments of the whole trip. There’s almost something magic to all this surreal activity, but we were kind of relieved to see the Sephora sign, so we just went it. I ended up getting a few products, nothing too fancy – you judge:
After having satisfied our beauty craves, we decided to go check out the Toys’R’us shop, a.k.a. the closest thing to paradise for your inner child – mine was more out than in, by the way…
Yup, there’s actually a Ferris wheel IN the store. And a cookie bar. And Lego sculptures. And a giant Barbie house. And…
After Times Square, we were actually pretty beat and decided to call it a day, but if you’re hungry and in the neighborhood, I definitely recommend having dinner at Marseille, a french restaurant that we went to on another day with belgian friends living in NY. They cure any homesick west-european with moules-frites, cheese, steak-frites, bouillabaisse and belgian beers ! After a week of eating mostly hamburgers, pizzas and sandwiches, it felt really good to go back to basics for one meal. I had the most amazing bacon and goat cheese spinach salad (yes, in America, who would’ve known)! It isn’t cheap, but stays very affordable (depending on what you order, you’ll have to pay between 15 and 30$ for your food).
photo/ Jeremy F.
Well, that’s enough for today, right ? Next time, I’m taking you to Soho, my favourite neighborhood !