Sunday, 11 January 2015

On The Map: New York 14/15 (Part 1)

After many years of dreaming and over a year of saving I bundled myself into a car with my sister to get to Heathrow airport. Just three days after Christmas and rather than laying in bed coming down from the Christmas high I was settling myself onto an early flight that would last just under 8 hours and bring me to New York City.

Having given fingerprints and photographs over to the US government, we collected our luggage hopped into a taxi and let the feeling sink in. Having never travelled without my parents it was a surreal experience to be so far away without them. But as the familiar sight of the New York skyline rose into view any anxious feeling soon disappeared. After about 20 minutes we arrived at the hotel and settled in and being late in the afternoon we decided a little walk around the place would be good to get our bearings.

The hotel reception provided some maps and figuring out the grid/block system that rules New York was not as difficult as I had originally imagined. The tourist in me took hold and we headed straight into Times Square to see the lights and the people that were around.

With a week to spend there we decided to try and pack in as much as possible.

Bryant Park was close by and with the shine of Christmas lights we were easily drawn in. I have probably never come across such a picturesque scene in my life. Although the park is relatively smaller compared to others in the city it was filled to the brim with people milling around. Wooden stalls had been erected and housed everything from decorations to macarons and even puppets! A massive white marquee played host to people who wanted to stop for more sophisticated dining compared to the food stalls that were littered around the fountain.

We joined the many people huddled under the huge Christmas tree to get pictures with the red and blue glow before pushing our way through the crowds to see what was on offer. As we made our way around we came across an ice rink, surprisingly empty, and learnt that during the summer the entire park looks nothing like the winter wonderland that we had stumbled into.

A trip to New York would not have been complete for me without seeing the Statue of Liberty. We were lucky enough to book crown access and so when we got on the subway and realised that we may be late to pick up our tickets it was safe to say I had a small panic.

The ferry over to the island saw me lose feeling in my face and hands but that first sighting of the statue made it worth it. After going through a security check we made our way into the building and were told not to miss the museum. We took the left up the stairs and were met with a ginormous copper replica of the face of Lady Liberty. As we pushed on through the museum it was interesting to learn her entire history. They displayed the ideas behind it, the funding and the engineering. A lady so large would of course have a history to match. 

We finished up at the museum and began to ascend the 377 steps that would take us to the top of the statue. The stairs were narrow and winding and even through the dizziness began to make me feel slightly ill it was worth it. Once we go to the crown we looked out across the water and could even see the tablet and touch held in the hands of the statue. 

Climbing back down the stairs was a bit of a task but was eventually done. We boarded the ferry to get back to Battery Park and were greeted by a circle of people watching dancers show off their skills and slotted ourselves in to watch the backflips and sharp footwork. 

With the days ticking away we went back to the hotel to rest up and ready ourselves for the next day of adventure...

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