The first thing I saw when I landed at JFK airport this summer was the giant poster of Taylor Swift’s hit song, “Welcome to New York”. Surprisingly, it wasn’t her campaign, but New York City’s campaign. As a fan, I could not be prouder, and by the time I left the city, I could not agree with her more: the city was full of wonders just waiting for me to discover.
Like most young people who have never been to New York City, I had so many fantasies about the place, mostly informed by Friends, Sex and the City, and Gossip Girl. However my first visit, which was during Christmas, let me down so badly that I thought I would never like it; the streets were dirty and crowded; the hotel was expensive but shady; and all of the merchandises was overpriced merchandises. So when I found out that I have to go to New York three times this summer, I was not feeling that great. Surprisingly, I found myself liking the city more and more each time I visited. It has a vibe that other cities did not have and there is so many things to do that you lose count. Here, I want to introduce some of the activities that I loved the most.
New York is famous for its skyscrapers and one of the best ways to enjoy them is viewing them from one of their own. The views from both the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center are great (I have not yet been to the new World Trade Center Observatory). Personally, I liked Rockefeller Observatory better, because you can see Empire State Building and financial district behind it.l I have no doubt that both of them are magnificent buildings, but Empire is better looking than Rockefeller, so it is better to see Empire from Rockefeller than vice versa. Also, you can see Central Park on the opposite side of the Empire. Unfortunately there is a hideous 96 stories tall building 1 on the other side, but since it is on the opposite side of Empire State Building, your view of beautiful Manhattan down town is not marred by that ugly building. One downside of the Rockefeller Observatory is that the view of Chrysler Building is blocked by MetLife building. I went to the observatory near sunset and was able to enjoy the view of Manhattan in daylight, sunset, and dark.
Also, when you are in the city, you have to enjoy the rich cultural experiences the city provides. If you are interested in the arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are the first two places to visit. They are the classics of classic museums; I would make the trip to New York just to see Starry Night by Van Gogh at MoMA. While these famous museums are great, I would like to promote a lesser known gem; the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney Museum of American Art presents a full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. It used to be located at Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but recently reopened at the new location in the West Village next to the Hudson River. The best part is that from Thursday through Saturday, it is open until 10 pm and you can enjoy the night view of Chelsea at the museum terrace.
Next to the Whitney Museum, there is an entrance to the High Line Park. It is a redesigned railroad park stretching about 1.5 miles. I think it is the best way to look at Chelsea and the west side of Manhattan, because it is an elevated park going through the West Village, you are not going to be disturbed by the traffic, but still near the ground enough to see the streets. Aside from its architectural significance, there are vendors with various types of food and arts by local people. Moreover, there are stairs to the Chelsea market, which you should not miss either (at the very least, you should get fresh cooked lobster from the fish market).
These are three things that I really enjoyed in New York City, but it does not mean I only enjoyed three things. I also love watching Broadway musical, walking on the Brooklyn Bridge, strolling in the Central Park, and so much more. And I am certain that there are things in New York that I do not know yet about that I will love more. If you like adventure or art or fashion or food or architecture, visiting New York City should be on your bucket list!