New York–The city that never sleeps - for the third 10/2022
My first big solo trip already brought me to the "Big Apple" in the summer of 2016 and my second stay in the deep, cold winter of 2017/2018 in the metropolis of millions, New York, I also never forget, but for the Indian Summer I was not there yet.
And yes, usually my motto is: I never fly anywhere twice. But with this city I make an exception, because it is just incredible. First of all, it's impossible to discover and experience all the great sights, streets, parks and highlights during just one stay. Many true New York insiders even say of their city that a whole life in the Big Apple would not even come close to being enough to have seen everything of this fascinating city.
However, I'm not flying alone, but together with my father, who has never flown across the pond and is also looking forward to New York.
I will show him "my favorite city", discover new neighborhoods, take a closer look at the new sights and go on a photo tour again.
The night was short, because shortly before 5 o'clock the alarm clock tore us from sleep. Without breakfast, we made our way to the Pasinger train station. There we got a coffee, something to eat and the ticket.
Then the S-Bahn took us to the airport. Once there, we joined a relatively short queue. But before it was time to check in, we were interviewed one by one (what we want to do in the U.S., where we live, what we do and how long we have been there, etc.). Then they checked our vaccination cards and only then were we allowed to check in our suitcases. After that was done, we made our way to the security check. There they examined our photo equipment a bit more closely. Nevertheless, they found nothing.
At the second security check, I was allowed to go to the gate without further screening. My father had to go through the whole game again and even take off his shoes. But also this time, they had no success and we could take a seat at the gate and wait for boarding.
On time, the plane took off with us and we left the German soil.
After a good 4 hours we saw the coast of Iceland and another hour later Greenland. And we had perfect visibility. Even I, who has flown many times, have not seen Greenland like this before. Simply great.
The landscape north of New York already showed itself in the dress of Indian summer. That already looked great from above.
After almost nine hours, we finally saw the Manhattan skyline and landed at Newark Airport. At immigration, I was again asked what I was doing in New York and if I was traveling alone. When I answered that I was traveling with my father, he was allowed to join us. And instead of me being questioned further, he had to give his fingerprints, but I did not. There was no stamp in the passport this time. I was surprised, but maybe this is a new rule that passed me by.
With the airport shuttle we drove then scarcely 40 minutes over to Manhattan and got off at "Bryant Park". I immediately found my way around and so we headed directly to our hotel in the "Midtown East" district without a navigation system https://www.thepodhotel.com/pod-51/. Also here the "check in" went smoothly and we were happy when we finally arrived in our room. It is located on the 12th floor and has a great view of the skyscrapers.
After resting briefly, we packed our cameras and headed out again. But before we went exploring, we first looked for something to eat. Just around the corner we found a place that had delicious, fresh bowls in their offer.
Then we walked along "Lexington Avenue" to the corner of 57th St. Here we turned left and so we arrived at the entrance of Central Park. I was a little disappointed when I saw it, because it was not so colorful as you know it in autumn. The Indian Summer has obviously not arrived in New York City yet. I hope that it will change color this week and that we will experience an "Indian Summer" in the city. The temperatures fit in any case.
On the way back, we walked along 7th Avenue until we came to the crowded Times Square. Here I showed my dad the spot from which I had taken my winning picture back then. But today there was no sign of it at all, crowded streets with cars and the square full of people. My father did not like that at all and so we removed ourselves very quickly from the whole bustle full of people and made us back on the "way home".
At the hotel we discovered the roof-top with a beautiful panoramic view all around. Then we set about unpacking our suitcases. Exhausted but happy we fell into bed.
1. day Birthday - Brooklyn, Chinatown and Little Italy
Today was my father's birthday! Before we left the hotel, of course, the congratulations from Germany had to be received and read.
When that was done, we actually wanted to have breakfast in the hotel's own café, but it was closed. But a gentleman showed us that there is also delicious breakfast right next door. They didn't have much choice, but for coffee and a chocolate croissant and a bagle with cream cheese and jam, it was enough and we were full. But the price was hefty. New York just.
We then decided to take the metro, which is right around the corner, to downtown. At the metro counter, we tried to figure out how it worked with the ticket. When a young man came by, we asked him for help, which he readily gave us. So we bought a metro card and loaded it up so that we could make as many trips as we wanted over the next few days.
Our first ride took us south with the metro destination "Brookyln Bridge". There we got off and took the direct route to the bridge.
The way over to Brookyln normally doesn't take long, maybe 20 minutes, but if you take pictures, it can take a while longer. Like with us. I played with the backlight, different perspectives, waited for yellow cabs and now and then that no to few people were on the bridge. But my father also had to serve as a photo model again.
Once over there, we turned left into the "Dumbo" neighborhood to get to the "Brooklyn Flea", a well-known flea market. https://brooklynflea.com
We found it quickly and so we strolled from booth to booth until we came to the famous photo spot "Dumbo". Here you can photograph the Manhattan Bridge including Empire State Building between the quarters well.
Then we walked along Main Street Park and the famous "Jane's Carousel", under the Brooklyn Bridge through, further at the Brooklyn Bridge Park until we came to the neighborhood "Brooklyn Heights", a beautiful, quiet residential area. Here they had already neatly decorated the entrances for Halloween.
As our stomachs growled, we decided to have lunch in a small Turkish restaurant https://ordertuttcafe.com/index.php . It was very tasty and relatively cheap. After the lunch break we walked further until we came to the "Cadman Plaza Park". Here, among other things, soccer was played.
Actually, we wanted to go to the hip street art district "Bushwick", but when we saw on the map that it is relatively far away from the current location and we had something else in mind, we postponed this goal and went over the Manhattan Bridge back to Manhattan with the goal of eating the best cheesecake https://www.eileenscheesecake.com New Yorks, because a birthday cake may not be missing.
Once there, my father was amazed at how many and especially what variations there were. He opted for a "salt caramel" and I for one with blueberries.
After the sweet dessert we walked through the colorful and crowded "Chinatown" and the more quiet "Little Italy".
We took the metro back and bought some cereal in the supermarket and I got two more beers which we drank on the rooftop of the hotel.
In the room I sifted and sorted today's photos and packed my photo equipment for tomorrow morning, because we want to join a "birdwatching tour" through Central Park.
2. day Birdwatching and Streetlife
Sleeping late on my travels is a foreign word. At 5:40 the alarm clock rang. We had breakfast in the room with our muesli and fruit, which we had bought the night before,
checked our camera equipment and made us still in the dark on the way to the metro. There, my Metrocard wouldn't work, so I quickly bought a one-way ticket. We rode three stations in the direction of Updown and got off again at 77th Street. From there we walked another 15 minutes until we arrived at the Boatshouse in the middle of Central Park. Already waiting there were some birding friends and of course our guide Robert https://www.birdingbob.com . He knew right away who we were, because I had already contacted him in advance.
We paid $10 each and then we were off. With an app for bird calls and a speaker over his shoulder, Robert tried to attract different birds. My father and I were more interested in the blue jay or the red cardinal, the locals rather the small birds that you could hardly recognize and fix because they were so nimble and always on the move. The tour participants were mostly from New York and were regular participants in Bob's birding excursions. We saw several species of birds on the two-hour tour, but we did not find an owl or a bird of prey.
But at the end Robert gave me a hint on the map where you can find a big owl. Who knows, maybe we both go out again and look for them.
Since it was still relatively fresh and we had not yet drunk any coffee, we bought one at a kiosk and sat down on a bench. The little break did us good. We decided to walk back through Central Park and so we passed several monuments and beautiful places. But I could not really recognize the colorful "Indian Summer" yet. Okay, some color has already got the park, but still long not as colorful as one expects from the Indian summer.
Shortly before the exit we saw a woodpecker, unknown to us so far, a few more birds and squirrels, which were in a photo mood.
Via 2nd Avenue and the side streets of the "Midtown East" district we arrived back at our hotel. Since we had gotten up very early, we treated ourselves to a lunch break.
In the early afternoon we made our way to the center. On the way, we treated ourselves to two pieces of pizza each today. They are cheap here, taste good and made us full.
I showed my father the "Bryant Park". But I was very disappointed. It was not as green and with small cafes as back then in the summer of 2016. No, they were already building the huts for the Christmas market and the ice rink. They are really crazy, the Americans! Two months before Christmas!
On foot, we walked along 5th Avenue, or Broadway, heading south. We also passed the Empire State Building and "Madison Square Park". When I wanted to show my father the "iron" or better known the "Flatiron Building", I could show it to him but only in the scaffolded glory. Was again nothing with a great photo.
We decided to walk into the neighborhood "Chelsea" until we came to the Highline. This we ran of course along and marveled at the new buildings and highlights of New Yorks, such as the "Vessel". This was closed for visits in the meantime, because too many had already taken their own lives here. "The Edge" we marveled only from afar.
For sunset, we walked to the "Chelsea Waterside Park" on the Hudson River and enjoyed it on a bench. It was great how the sun disappeared behind the skyline of New Jersey.
Since we already had a few kilometers in our legs, we decided to take the metro for three stops. This time everything worked again with my card. We got off at "Grand Central Station" https://www.grandcentralterminal.com. This station is really impressive. It is the largest terminus station in the world with almost 67 tracks. The reception hall is simply gigantic. Whoever comes to New York must definitely go there once and see it.
After almost 20 kilometers on foot, today came to an end.
3. day - From north to south
We started our streetlife tour of Manhattan at Rockefeller Center. Here the Americans are already building the famous ice skating rink. We continued down 7th Avenue to Times Square, which was still relatively "quiet" at this time. There, of course, I romped again photographically and my father watched the people who were dressed up and demanded money for photos.
On the way to "Greenwich Village" we walked along one or the other cross street, then again along 6th or 5th Avenue, through the "Flower District", until we came to "Union Square Garden".
A food market was held here. We strolled through it, marveled at the wide variety of vegetables on offer, and then made our way to the "Washington Square Garden".
On the way we found a cute café https://newsbar-105900.square.site and decided to drink our coffee there. We had initially dispensed with it in the morning. In addition, there were two delicious muffins.
After our little break we strolled extensively through "Greenwich Village" until we came to my favorite neighborhood "Soho". My father understood relatively quickly why this is so. It is quieter, more interesting, simply "Soho". The fire escapes on the houses, the little alleys. I can stay here all day.
We continued to the "World Trade Center" square with the "Oculus" shopping center, the "9/11 Memorial" and the new "One World Trade Center", the tallest building in the USA.
After our somewhat longer city walk, our stomachs were clearly growling. So we left the "Tourihotspot" and walked into the "Final Discret" with Wallstreet.
Here, however, there was not really much to see except for modern, large skyscrapers. In an otherwise interesting side street, the Americans were practicing "Oktoberfest". There was nothing suitable for us to eat. On the way to the metro, however, we ended up at an Indian restaurant - small but nice.
The food was delicious and so we made our way to the shore again, all the way to the south of "Lower Manhattan", to the "Battery Park".
We took the metro back and ended the evening on the rooftop of our hotel with a beer.
4. Day Nature and Streetart
After I had gotten the tip from Robert that an eagle owl should live in the northern part of the Central Park and additionally told me immediately two places where he was already seen, we went of course on the way to look for him. The northern part of the park is much less tourist crowded than the southern. You are more likely to see New Yorkers with binoculars looking for birds. There is still a lot of natural vegetation and is part of the "Harlem" neighborhood. We didn't find the eagle owl, but again a few new bird species. I also saw a small chipman, but he was too nimble to photograph.
Since we were already in Harlem, we strolled here also something through the streets. But here already blew a somewhat different wind. When I wanted to take a photo of a cafe, a woman came and wanted to know whether I photograph the men. I denied and made the turn. The people here are poorer, look partly really "used up".
However, there were also a few nice spots, such as the "Morningside Park" https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/morningside-park/. Here we were looking for the reclining Statue of Liberty, but even after inquiries we did not find it. But we passed the "Cathedral Church of St. John The Divine" with an interesting garden and figures.
Back at the hotel, we took a short breather before heading back to Brooklyn to the Bushwick district, a graffiti street art neighborhood. First we walked through a colorful industrial district. But when we came to the street art district that is predominantly painted by the "Bushwick Collective", it became really interesting. Great motives, people, the whole streetlife was worth seeing. I'm thinking, if there is still time, to go there a second time.
On the way back we stopped at Brooklyn Bridge Park, because I wanted to photograph the skyline with the sunset. We arrived on time, but my good mood sank by the minute, because I had forgotten my tripod and the "soft water" also did not really want to succeed.
At the blue hour we crossed the Brookyln Bridge again and we noticed that it had become autumn. It became really cool and windy.
After a good 21 km and plenty of new photo booty, we returned to the hotel.
5. Tag Shopping and free ferry
This morning we parted ways. My father went to the Bronx to pursue the writers Edgar Allan Pow and Heinrich Heine.
And me? Of course, I had to go shopping. For me, that is simply part of a trip to NY. I walked to the "Port Authority Bus Terminal", bought a round trip ticket and went to the outlet center "New Jersey Garden" about half an hour away https://www.simon.com/mall/the-mills-at-jersey-gardens . I already knew this from my other two stays in New York.
I had caught a special day again today. On the normal outlet prices there was between 20-60% additional discount. And in some stores there was then another 15% at the checkout. The shopping was worth it today right and my yield could be seen.
Back at the hotel, my father was already waiting for me. He told me about his tour, I told him about my shopping haul.
Afterwards, I packed my photo equipment including tripod and put on my new coat. While doing so, I noticed that the safety part was still attached. They had forgotten to take it off at the checkout. Crap, now I have to urgently go tomorrow and find a store that removes the part, otherwise I can't possibly get through the security check at the airport. So I took the coat off again and took my normal jacket and we left the hotel in the direction of the metro.
We drove south to "Battery Park". From there it is just five minutes to the free "Staten Island Ferry", which drives among other things past the Statue of Liberty over to Staten Island https://www.newyorkcity.de/staten-island-faehre-in-new-york/
There I looked for a great photo spot, set up my tripod, put the camera on it, checked the settings and tried to capture the sunset and the blue hour.
Over there it was really zapfig, so my father, who waited patiently for me, walked a little up and down the area. It got too cold for night photos and so we drove back to Manhattan. From there we took the Metro again and got off at 51st St, walked to the hotel and had dinner today at the Thai restaurant https://sukhumvit51.com right next door.
6. day Streetlife, Sunset, Nightlife
After breakfast, we parted ways again. My father wanted to go to the Bronx again, to one of the largest cemeteries in New York. I had to see to it that I got my coat unlocked.
But since the stores opened only around 10 o'clock, I strolled through the neighborhood "Upper East Side" down to the Eastriver, further north to the cable car that goes to "Roosefeld Island".
Shortly behind it, I turned west and walked along Park and 5th Avenue back in the direction of "Midtown". Among other things, I also passed the Trumptower and photographed a certain building for a good friend.
When I saw the Victoria Secret store, I had to enter briefly. With a small bag I came out again and brought it to the hotel.
Here I then took my coat and went off again. At the first store they wanted to help me, but they had a different security system, at the second and third store, they refused to help me, pointing out that yes, it was not their brand. So I drove up to 34St to go to a mall there. Here they helped me and freed the coat from the offending security tag. Back I went the distance on foot and came at the Empire State Building, the "Bryant Park" and many streets not yet known to me past.
Almost on time, I arrived back at the hotel, where my father was already waiting for me. We exchanged briefly and then made us on the way to lunch. During one of our walks, we had seen just around the corner, a cheap lunch menu at an Indian https://www.spicemantranyc.com . We wanted to test it. From the outside it didn't look very inviting, but when we entered it was really cozy and the owners very friendly. The food was super tasty and actually very cheap. I haven't even eaten Indian food in Munich at these prices.
We then spent the afternoon walk in the direction of Times Square. We wanted to look at the box office of Broadway for tickets to a musical. After we had sighted the prices and the musicals, we strolled along the 8nd and the 9nd Avenue and their side streets until we arrived at the Rockefeller.
We bought a ticket, to which unfortunately $10 sunset surcharge was added, and drove up to the viewing platform "Top of the Rock" at 260 meters height. From here you have a 360 degree panoramic view over New York incl. Central Park. I looked for a good place, got out my small tripod and took again various snapshots.
My father stayed until sunset, I, until it got dark. When I then also wanted to start the way back I decided spontaneously still something to photograph the nightlife and came again at Times Square past. Here some guys showed a great show and so I actually forgot the time a bit.
Eventually, however, I also found my way back to the hotel.
After another 19 km on foot I fell exhausted and tired into bed.
7. day - Last day in Big Apple
Without breakfast, we headed to the Metro today. We went to the neighborhood "Upper West Side" that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River. There we looked for the cafe "Bluestone Lane's Upper East Side" https://bluestonelane.com/cafes/upper-east-side-1085-fifth-avenue-new-york/?y_source=1_ODc5MjkwMi03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24ud2Vic2l0ZQ%3D%3D, which is located in a former chapel with pointed arches made of sandstone. Yes, Mirjam had misread and entered the wrong cafe in MapsMe. So we ended up in the café "Bluestone Lane`s Upper West Side" https://bluestonelane.com/cafes/upper-west-side-417-amsterdam-ave-new-york/?y_source=1_OTkwMjg4NS03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24ud2Vic2l0ZQ%3D%3D, which is not in a former chapel. But it was still very nice. The service was friendly and the breakfast really tasty and rich.
After this refreshment we walked through the individual side streets and avenues down to the "Riverside Park". But we did not go inside, because we had already seen many parks, today was more streetlife on the program. The neighborhood is quieter, has beautiful houses and a "normal audience", neither "chic" nor "run down".
On our Streetlifetour we crossed Central Park again at the big "Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir", because we also wanted to go to a bookstore in the district "Upper East Side" and to "Little Germany", which is also called "German Broadway". Here we came across the restaurant "Heidelberg" and the butcher's shop "Schaller & Weber". But apart from that, we couldn't get anything out of "Little Germany".
Back we went with the Metro. Arrived at 51st St, my father briefly turned into the hotel and I in the direction of Times Sqaure. We wanted to get cheap last minute tickets for a musial at the box office, which opens at 3pm, on Broadway. But when I arrived, the line was already so long that I didn't even get in line. On the board with the remaining tickets there was also nothing interesting, so I waited in a café next door for my father. Together we went to the "Museum of Modern Art". I had heard and read that on Fridays from 4 pm the entrance was free. But again wrong. At the entrance we were told, only the first Friday of the month. After brief consideration, we decided against it and strolled in the northern part of "Midtown" through the streets until we arrived at "Columbus Circle".
On the way back we took us at a pizza stand two pieces of pizza for $ 1 each.
At the hotel we packed our things, rested a bit, because we want to photograph the "nightlife" one last time and visit a jazz club/bar at a late hour. Whether that works out? We let ourselves be surprised.
Off to the nightlife in the city that never sleeps. We walked towards Times Square after our break. I really wanted to go there one last time and to the side streets before we fly back tomorrow. Streetlife at night offers many motives. We saw again various groups performing tricks, people dressed up, musicians, it was all there.
Since the late-night session in the jazz clubs don't start until after 11 p.m., which was too late for my father, we stopped at a Cuban bar https://www.havanacentral.com. There was a live Cuban band playing and not making bad music. We toasted the successful vacation with beer and cocktail and enjoyed the evening.
After checking out and storing our luggage, we set out to find a cozy breakfast café https://www.blankslatenyc.com and found it just under 300 meters away from our hotel on 2nd Avenue. There was enough choice and it tasted good too.
Afterwards, we drove south to the Brooklyn Bridge one last time, but didn't go over. From there we strolled through the "City Hall Park" in the neighborhood "Tribeca", which I did not really know yet. Here I found super photo motifs of architecture, people and nature. On the way to the metro station we also passed in my favorite neighborhood "Soho".
The morning stroll was definitely worth it again.
On time and with enough buffer we were then shortly after 1 pm at the stop at "Bryant Park". But the airport shuttle did not come. The crowd was getting bigger and bigger and I started to panic. Will we make it on time? A German couple, with whom we got into conversation, remained calm. The woman said only after one and a half hours: "I go times a smoke, perhaps he comes then". And so it was. The bus finally came. But it was already quite full. We were all still able to get on, but at the third stop only three of at least 30 people were able to get on. The clock was ticking and I was very afraid of missing our flight. As soon as we left the city, the traffic on the freeway came to a standstill. When we finally arrived at the airport, check-in was relatively quick, but the line of people in front of security was forever long. However, check-in was swift, so that line dissipated fairly quickly. We still made it to boarding on time and flew away with a beautiful sunset over New York and landed at sunrise in Munich.
We took the S-Bahn together to the main station. Here we had a last coffee together before I took my father to his train and said goodbye.
It was a wonderful father-daughter vacation that I will never forget!
Thank you for the great time together in New York my dear dad :-*