You might have realized it that we haven’t posted lately so frequently as we used to before.
Well, it’s due to the simple fact, that we have been for nearly one month on a road trip along the East coast of the USA. We have been busy with discovering the New York attractions till the most Southern point of Key West.
Last year we discovered the West coast incl. Hawaii and this year the time was finally right for the other side of the US.
Surely, you can fly comfortable in about 2 hours or so from NYC down to Miami, but our goal was to discover again the country and the people on our most favourite way of travelling… on a road trip.
This was actually the plan:
- Flight from Zurich to New York – Stay for 3 days
- next stop Philadelphia: 2 days
- heading to Washington: 4 days
- Outer Banks (Hatteras): 1 day
- Myrtle Beach: 1 day
- Charleston: 1 day
- St. Augustine: 1 day
- Tampa: 2 days
- Miami: 4 days
- Key West: 3 days
- back to Miami, flight to NYC and finally back to Zurich
Quite ambitious plan, since there is not only so much to discover in all of these stations, but also along the way.
Going more or less straight from the North to the South, the whole distance is about 1,500 miles, but with all those additional side routes and tracks it was in total even around 2,500 miles!
The New York attractions
But before we finally got our Toyota RAV 4×4 Rental car and hit the road southwards, we spent 3 fantastic days in New York City.
The city itself with its 305 square miles and about 8,5 Mio citizen is of course way too huge for 3 days. So we decided to explore the classic Manhattan.
As our place to stay, we chose the Park Lane Hotel, located directly at the Central Park.
A venerable Hotel, maybe not the youngest anymore but still with some old splendor and chic.
Main factor for us was anyway the location. We wanted it as central as possible!
Central is quite a relative thing in Manhattan, because somehow everything is central. So here you have everything in a walking distance.
We arrived to New York at perfect timing.
We left Zurich in the early morning hours, so we were in New York around lunchtime.
From Airport JFK it took us about 30 minutes till we reached our destination, but thanks to Uber, it was quite cheap (with 35$) and you even have quite an individual trip.
What makes the exploring of New York attractions and many other US-American cities quite easy compared to European or Asian cities, is the typical mathematical structure of the streets – blocks and squares.
Here as an example – New York is truly easy to navigate, only thing is that you must be able to count.
We wanted to inhale as much as possible of New York during our first day in this legendary city, so we decided to walk directly from South Central Park the streets of 8th Ave to the legendary 5th Ave till Time Square.
Everyone knows that New York is a city of superlatives, but as always – you can feel these vibes only by visiting the city by yourself.
In total, we enjoyed New York as a truly busy, loud, fast, huge and mighty but also friendly and partly even quiet and peaceful.
Along the 5th Avenue
On our first discovery tour we jumped all the time between 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Ave – depending on what to see there.
You want to get some examples of those New York attractions?
- Museum of Modern Art
- Rockefeller Center
- Broadway Theater
- Radio City Music Hall
- Saint Thomas Church
- Trump Tower
- and muuuuuuch more…
The pulse of the city had exactly the same beat like ours, we felt this right from the start.
Now at this point I could give countless secret tips like “where you have to find the by far best Steak in town or Burger”, “what you need to see” and so on.
Honestly… let’s skip this.
Everyone, who hasn’t heard about Central Park, Empire State Building and Wall Street, easily can find this information on the official sites and countless tourist guides…
The Times Square
We just want to share here our impressions with you and maybe mention the one or the other helpful tip.
Everyone has specific taste and preferences, so that’s why no recommendations here about those.
We reached Times Square after around 90 minutes of easy strolling from Central Park on.
Of course Times Square is THE place to be, locals and tourists come together here in a bubbly, lively mix.
Here we reached today our highlight – THIS is what we wanted to see.
Ah, maybe some impressions now would be nice…
What we realized immediately and liked as well, was the varied diet!
Quite often European stomaches might have some issues to get used to American food. But not such big issues with that in NYC, where you get fresh and healthy food on nearly every corner.
Our recommendation after the first day of discovering:
The inner core of Manhattan (Central Park to Times Square) can be easily explored by walking without sub or bus.
You will see a lot of amazement and get served with already a big portion of New York. Depending on how much you go into detail, you can already easily spend a day just here.
With Big Bus through Manhattan
Our plan for New York was of course to discover as much as possible.
You have countless possibilities for that, depending on your budget, time, what you want to see.
One of our traditions in discovering bigger cities is by Big Bus, Hop On Hop Off etc.
All of these buses have one feature in common – these, different buses are on a fix route through the city (mostly with open rooftop) and you can jump on and off on a station of your choice. You are able to explore the surroundings and when needed, you just take the next one, since there is always a next bus coming after some minutes.
In opposite to normal buses, these ones are just used by tourists, they stop on specific tourist spots and yes, they cost more. The classy ticket costs $53 online and on the street 59$. You can buy it directly here: www.bigbustours.com
Lower East Side
So the next day was planned with visiting Lower Manhattan, the finance district and Lower East side.
Including the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, NY Stock Exchange and much more.
Did you know that in Lower East side such legendary movies like “Once upon a time in America”, Harry & Sally” or “Gangs of New York” were made?
In Lower East Side the big Irish immigration happened between the years 1820 and 1849. Later on, many German immigrants followed.
At that time also Little Italy was established and a bit later Chinatown followed. Eastern European Jews were finally making the biggest group of Immigrants here with 60% of the entire population of Lower East.
All about the money – Lower Manhattan
Directly below Lower East Side starts the Financial District, Lower Manhattan.
For quite many, this is the most exciting part of NYC and in fact you find here next to the infamous Wall Street also the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty is close and in general, this district is quite an impressive one.
And here we have a truly hot tip for all upcoming Statue of Liberty – Fans:
The Staten Island Ferry is going every 20 minutes from the most southern point of Manhattan to Staten Island. Two things make this fact very tempting:
- The crossing is for free.
- You get a very good view to the Statue of Liberty and you can also make some great snapshots of Lower Manhattan itself.
Afterwards you continue your trip very comfortably with the next available Big Bus. Along the World Trade Center and then northwards along the Hudson River back to the heart of Manhattan.
Perfect if you want to inhale a lot of New York in a quite short amount of time.
Weather-wise we were also quite lucky.
After a short bit of rain (typical for New York), the clouds disappeared and the city that never sleeps started to shine even more bright.
All in all, these are the main impressions of this day. In the second part we take you on a tour through Upper Manhattan, Harlem and impressions from the Top of the Rocks with breathtaking photos from the Rockefeller Center over the Skyline of New York.,
A prelude that couldn’t have been better for our East coast Road trip!
All our photo impressions of New York you find as always here in our gallery.
Cheers and see you soon!
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Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.