6 Days in New York City

Travel / Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Hello, old friend.

It’s been awhile. I was thrown into a vortex of sleep deprivation and round-the-clock 24/7 commitment (more demanding than marriage). But, this post isn’t to commiserate.

This, *gestures grandly*, is a compendium of everything you need to know as a tourist in the Big Apple (Kidding, it barely scratches the surface. But it is the writer’s hope that it suffices for those looking for a quick and easy-to-skim primer on suggestions on things to do in New York City.) Forgive me, readers, if my writing is clunky, inelegant and uninteresting. I’ve not had the pleasure of reading much of note outside of work for the past year (something I’m trying to change). I hope the colourful pictures will make up for the writing.

Most cities are nouns. New York is a verb.

Oh, New York City. It is a fast-paced, no-nonsense city with bright lights and neon signs. It doesn’t smell like lavender, contrary to Rebel Wilson’s beauty-filtered image of the city in the movie Isn’t It Romantic, and the locals walk briskly, with a sense of purpose, not uncommonly with a pooch and a grande iced latte in tow. Skyscrapers line almost every inch of the city, serving as swanky offices of prestigious MNCs by day and doubling up as glittering decor that dot the New York skyline by night. During my brief period in the city, I quickly learnt two important golden rules: first, do not dwaddle, and second, do not take up unnecessary space.

We took a 5h-ish hour flight from San Francisco to New York and spent 6-ish days in the city. It was sweltering hot in the middle of summer. We tried our best to explore as much as we could. Here is what we did.

Day 1 – Flat Iron Building, Madison Square Park, Union Square Park and Hamilton Park

Flat Iron Building

This was a must-see on my list.
One of the most distinctive landmarks in New York, the 22-storey steel-framed building quickly gained its popularity as a photography spot for its distinctive wedged-shape designed to fill the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. The building earned its nickname among locals as it resembles a clothes iron. The thinnest part of the triangular building, i.e. the tip, measures roughly 2 m wide. Interestingly, the original lifts in the building were powered by water.

Madison Square Park

As a dog lover, my favourite section of the park was the section exclusive to dogs and their owners. It was amusing to see the dogs frolicking on the grass and stealing sprinkling water from the hose! I didn’t know this prior to the trip, but the Shake Shack that we know and love originated from a hot dog stand at Madison Square Park. We ordered iced cold drinks to stave off the sweltering heat.

Co-working Space

This inviting co-working space deserves a little mention too.

While I don’t have pictures of Union Square Park or the Hamilton Park (which is located at New Jersey), I recommend visiting the latter at night. You can peacefully enjoy the view of the New York City skyline, and might even want to consider bringing some snacks and wine to accompany the view.

Day 2 – Central Park, The Met, Times Square and Empire State Building

Central Park

This park needs no introduction. Famous movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s,When Harry met Sally and Maid in Manhattan were filmed at Central Park.
While we did not watch it, fans of Shakespeare might be delighted to know that they can enjoy Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theatre for free.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I was mildly starstruck at the prospect of visiting The Met, somewhat in part due to the annual Met Gala (one of the most star studded events in America), but largely due to my enjoyment of the movie, Ocean’s Eight (Spoiler alert: An ambitious heist at The Met Gala, masterminded by a kick ass girls squad.) Crowds are to be expected, so do set aside ample time for this museum if you wish to thoroughly and fully view all the exhibitions. My favourites include the American Wing – I am obsessed with vintage furniture, and the Sackler Temple featuring the Temple of Dendur.

Times Square

Empire State Building

Welcome to the Empire State Building!
The 102-storey Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan offers a phenomenal bird’s eye view of the glittering city that never sleeps. As with the Times Square, locals recommend visiting after sunset. For those going on a date to the Empire State Building, beware. Due to the static electricity that gathers at high heights, under the right atmospheric conditions, couples may feel a slight electric shock when they kiss. Smooch!

Day 3 – The Oculus, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge and Top of the Strand

The Oculus

The Oculus, as with most of the architecture in New York City thus far, is quite a sight to behold. I appreciate the rays of sunlight that peek through and into the station, bringing a sense of openness and comfort to the train station. This, personally, is a welcome change to train stations which are normally underground and dark.
As the train station at World Trade Centre was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, The Oculus, the World Trade Center Hub, pays tribute to the lives lost and the buildings destroyed from the attacks. Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, intended for The Oculus to resemble “a bird flying from the hands of a child”, injecting hope into a site of tragedy.

9/11 Memorial

Highly educational and informative. Would recommend. Bring a packet of tissues. You might need it.

Brooklyn Bridge

A hybrid, cable-stayed suspension bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn with traffic flanking both sides of the bridge. I’d seen this on TV several times and was keen to visit the bridge, but as to be expected, it was immensely crowded and pictures were elusive. Still worth a quick visit though.

Top of the Strand

Enjoyed drinks with Klaudia at Top of the Strand! She recommends this cosy little bar as it boasts a spectacular view of the Empire State Building.

Day 4 – The Wilson, Moulin Rouge at Al Hirschfeld Theatre

The Wilson

We visited this adorable cafe solely due to its floral decor! I think that the backdrop makes for great photos. Superficial comments aside, the food was delicious and service not too shabby. We devoured The Wilson Burger and Chilled Sesame Noodles.

Moulin Rouge at Al Hirshfeld Theatre

No trip to New York City would be complete without watching a play/show/musical.
Our poison of choice that night was Moulin Rouge.
For 2.5 hours, we were treated to a feast of flashy, opulent and brilliantly choreographed dancing and singing to hit songs hilariously reworked to suit the 1899 era. There was laughter, tears and overpriced Cabernet in a plastic bottle (you can purchase drinks and light snacks at the counter prior to entering the theatre). For a well written review, check this article out.
For cabaret fans, this is a shoo-in.

Day 5 (Rest Day) – Laundromat and Lincoln Center

We took it easy on Day 5, as our wallets were spent and our legs worn out from the consecutive days of walking.

As our supply of clean clothes dried up, and our Airbnb, cosy as it was, lacked a washing machine, we decided to hit the laundromat. Mundane as it was, I have to include this visit (even though I frustratingly was unable to take any of the trendy laundromat pictures that you see on IG), as it was my virgin visit! My travel companion was shocked to realise that I had never visited a laundromat. There’s a first for everything!

Once in, however, the attraction wanes. You go in, pay, wash your clothes, watch your clothes, take them out, place them in the dryer, watch them again and finally, fold them. On the flipside, you will be able to interact with the locals there and maybe even make friends. 🙂

Lincoln Center

Alas, I do not have much to say here, as we didn’t visit the Lincoln Centre. Klaudia suggested that it was a good place to hang out at to chat, as I was nursing a terrible headache from a cocktail at Solas. The water fountain behind us was neat though.

Day 6 – The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The Vessel

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a diplomatic gift from France to the US, commemorating the alliance between the two. When it was first unveiled in 1886, the statue was copper-brown. Over the years, the copper reacted with the air to form a patina, hence giving the statue its green colour. A symbol of freedom that has greeted many generations of immigrants to the US, the statue was modelled after an Arab woman.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that, with careful angling, I could take a clear picture of the Statue of Liberty, without any strangers! This was a pleasant surprise, as it was impossible to take a picture without anyone else being unwittingly caught it in the picture at all the other tourist attractions. Little wins.

We didn’t take any pictures at Ellis Island, and didn’t stay at the museum for very long, as we were rather hungry by the time we got there and eager to fill our bellies. For those interested in America’s immigrant history, I would recommend a visit to the Ellis Island. For a period of time, it served as America’s largest immigration station and processed over 12 million immigrants in 62 years. Some also recommend the Hard Hat tour of Ellis Island’s Hospital, which we did not register for.

The Vessel

The Vessel in Hudson Yards is one of the newest architectural structure in New York City. It’s an interactive sculpture comprising a network of stairs that visitors can climb to the top. Developers hope that The Vessel will one day become as popular as the Times Square. Reviews are mixed – some find the sculpture rather hideous.
Regardless, this sculpture has definitely attracted many tourists and appears to be highly popular on Instagram.
Klaudia recommended The Vessel, and I was glad we dropped by!

Food Recommendations

Although we are foodies, we prioritised visits to attractions/experiences over food. Hence, you may wish to google for good food in New York City. I do, however, have a brilliant recommendation – an app called Seated (thank you Bethany, the actress we shared a ride with!) It promises up to 30% cash back if you dine at participating restaurants, with the credits valid for use on other apps and stores such as Amazon, Starbucks and Uber. There is no registration or member’s fee. Even better, for every reservation booked through the app, Seated donates a meal to a needy child through the United Nations World Food Programme’s #sharethemeal. All you need to do is upload a picture of your receipt to the app. Shiokkk.

You’re welcome. 🙂

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

Tom Wolfe

Much of this city is inexplicable. Its reputation precedes itself. Yes, it is occasionally and mildly, smelly, messy and densely populated. But it is also diverse – you will come across as many as 10 different languages from people of all walks of life within an hour of being in the city, beautiful – the city’s skyline is mesmerising and almost therapeutic when viewed from high above, and honest – it doesn’t pretend to hide the flaws of a city, it embraces them. Some New Yorkers have also been nothing but kind to us.

I hope you will be as enamoured as I was (as impressionable as I readily admit to be!) if and when you do visit New York City.



4 Replies to “6 Days in New York City”

  1. I’ve stumbled upon your blog in the past, but I’ve never left a comment. Finally, I thought to myself, “I should post a comment.” So here is my comment! Keep up the good work! I enjoy your blog and would hate to see them end.

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