Thursday, 3 September 2015

New York City

Even though I'm not a fan of the "American dream", I have to admit that this city is really vibrating and glamorous. I had my trip to NY planned for October (which will also happen) but due to a work-related trip I ended up going in August first.

After all the work agenda was done, me and my work colleagues had a spare time for some sightseeing in Manhattan having only two nights, staying in a hotel in Times Square, Midtown.

Well, I can say that a lot has changed since my first time there back in 1998. Not talking about how fatter I look in the photo, but the city has changed too. Things are more expensive, city got more crowded. I remember walking the streets of Manhattan on a Sunday back in the 90's and it was quite empty. Now, it is really like "the city that doesn't sleep" like sung by Frank Sinatra.

Restaurants now expect minimum of 15% tips (formally called 'gratuity') and by default 18% of gratuity is included in the bill. For a big piece of meat in a Brazilian restaurant in Times Square, including two beers and dessert costed me 63 USD. ATM machines charge 3 USD for international money withdrawals and beer in pubs have Scandinavian prices (between 5 and 8 dollars for a pint). The electronic shops within Manhattan are expensive. Don't forget to bring your European plug converter for power outlets, otherwise you will have to buy an overpriced one in one of these shops.

Times Square

Times Square is the a commercial area in Midtown Manhattan brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements. Times Square is sometimes referred to as The Crossroads of the World. That crossroad in this photo was taken just two blocks away from our hotel. In there you can find the Madame Tussauds wax museum and it is also close to Broadway neighborhood. 

Empire State building

Used to be the tallest building in the world for decades. Now, it is not even the highest in Manhattan anymore (currently it is the One World Center near Ground Zero), but still has a lot of prestige. It has 102 floors and is open for tourists. Nice view from up there. I didn't climb it this time, but I was glad to have a view from my hotel window to it.

WTC Memorial (Ground zero)

In the site where big aircraft hit commercial buildings back in 2001 a memorial was built, with fountains and the names of all the victims killed back then. Worth a visit. There is also a museum on site.
People might think it is theory of conspiracy but I really believe it was somehow planned by Bush administration, so that the government would get public support to go for "war on terror" in the middle east. There is a lot of unanswered questions about this 9/11 attacks if you watch the documentary film Fahrenheit by Moore. Nevertheless, these lives were taken unfairly and the memorial makes totally sense to exist.

Brooklyn bridge

The first bridge to connect Manhattan to the mainland. Over 100 years old. I couldn't walk this one but I had this nice view from the boat ride on the way to Statue of Liberty. Not much to say about it. Check Wikipedia if you want to know more. :)

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a present from the French, as gratitude for liberation after WWII. 
Before the 9/11 attacks, the procedure to visit the islet and go inside the statue was much simpler. Nowadays, there is a lot of screening and strict safety precautions for the tourist who wants to go there. So, the simplest way to enjoy this attraction and take some nice photos from close is to take the "water taxi" for 31 USD and it will stop for a while in front of the statue so you can take nice photos like this one I took.

In my humble opinion, the minimum length of a trip to New York city, should be 5 days. There should be no maximum length. =)