My favourite city in the world.
There’s something about this town that captivates, enthrals and makes me yearn for the next visitation. The first two times I went to New York were fleeting, to say the least. The first was five days. The second was two weeks. And the most recent was almost six weeks. The initial plan was to move there for a year to work and escape our lives in Sydney, but too many difficulties were set before us. The US government sure makes it a challenge for international de facto couples to live on its land. So we gave up and decided a three-month escape from Sydney would suffice. No work, just travel. Can’t complain with that.
The beginning of these few months was spent pretending to be New York locals. Blending into the local fabric of the city, eating where the locals do, shopping where the locals shop. Our two apartments in Brooklyn were already behind us, so it was back to the island in the thick of Meatpacking, just a block from the Hudson River and across the road from where The High Line takes flight.
Two years ago we stayed at The Standard (see pic below), and this time we managed to score a great little loft that overlooked it, as well as some pretty damn special views to Midtown, across the river to Jersey City and all the way down to the Financial District. The bonus of having a landscaped roof-top meant that many evenings were spent nibbling on cheeses and charcuterie and sipping on local vino. This was the life, and every second was cherished and appreciated.
Just as I did with my Brooklyn, in pictures compilation, here’s a taste of what caught my eye in this dynamic city.
Many come to pay their respects by visiting the memorial at Ground Zero, a part of town I’ve now seen three times. Six months after the towers collapsed, again when the Freedom Tower was at its halfway point and here with the Memorial Fountains open to the public.
As a tribute, the 9/11 Memorial places a white rose on victims’ names on their birthdays.
Beneath the Irish Hunger Memorial.
This is the passageway that leads visitors to the ruined stone cottage on the roof; a perfect recreation of a grassy knoll that seems to be transported from Ireland and placed in the shadow of the World Trade Center. The memorial aims to bring awareness to the Great Irish Famine; where over one million people died from starvation and disease in the mid 19th Century.
Find it on the west side of Vesey Street not all that far from Ground Zero.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Hitting the High Line.
Something that just about every tourist does when visiting the Big Apple. For us it was used as a relatively quick short-cut to Chelsea Market from the loft we were staying in. No streets or traffic lights, just landscaped gardens, lawns and walkways and loads of people dawdling and slowing us down. Yup, it didn’t take long before we were groaning from people slowing us down! Early mornings are best, when the walkways are virtually people-free.
One of my favourite sections of the High Line. The glass amphitheatre at West 17th Street where you can sit above 10th Street and gaze down to where trains once ran at ground level. In the early 20th Century this road was nicknamed Death Avenue thanks to many people being killed by trains. It became such a problem that guys called the “Westside Cowboys” were employed to ride horses and direct pedestrians from being hit by trains.
Many visitors to New York don’t make it to Roosevelt Island; that narrow strip of land between Manhattan and Queens. For some reason the Queensboro Bridge was built to pass right over the island, so to access it by road you’d need to head over to Long Island City’s 36th Avenue and cross the East River via the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Pedestrians get it easy. There’s the subway, or a much more scenic route thanks to the aerial tramway.
Whilst many residents call the island home, visitors can head over to escape the crowds of the city, explore the streets or simply sit in one of the parks and take in the views of Manhattan or Queens.
Beneath the west-side of the Queensboro Bridge, where it crosses over 1st Avenue, is The Food Emporium. It’s a bit of a one-stop-food-shop beneath an impressive vaulted ceiling. For us – a perfect escape from the summer humidity outside.
A part of town that tourists rarely get to is the Little Red Lighthouse (Jeffry’s Hook Light), all the way up in Washington Heights on the shores of the Hudson. The span of the George Washington Bridge towers above the small lighthouse, made famous by Hildegarde Swifts’ 1942 children’s book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. It’s a corner of the city that makes you feel like you’re miles from Manhattan; relaxing to the soundtrack of water lapping at the rocky shoreline and the never-ending hum of traffic 65 metres overhead.
Head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for some mighty fine views across Central Park.
Old wares in and around The Garage, a weekend flea market that occupies two floors of a car-park in Chelsea. It’s a great spot to snap up a vintage bargain, some props, or perhaps even spot a celebrity. I’m talking about you, Lucy Liu.
Find it at 112 W 25th Street.
When the sun goes down, the lights come on and the city continues to breathe. People head out with their pooches for an evening walk, they continue to shop or hit the streets in search of some food.
Some prefer to doze.
Others prefer to observe.
Some come in pairs and just want all the attention.
And then there’s Nicholas the cat that perches on Charlie’s head as he walks about the city.
The East Village is one of my favourite neighbourhoods. It’s young, it’s old, it’s colourful, it’s gay, it’s straight.
Having the river at the end of our street meant we could take an afternoon stroll along the Hudson River Park, sitting to watch the sun set over the Jersey skyline. Free jazz in the park, people lounging beneath the trees and grasses swaying in the balmy breeze.
See you next time, Manhattan.