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A beautiful ending in New York

All holidays must come to an end but some endings are better than others. Slightly paranoid about not missing flights I gave myself plenty of time on the subway which took about an hour and actually went very smoothly with most of the journey above ground so I could watch the sunset that was brilliant shades of orange and I couldn’t wait to get off the train at JFK airport to get this photo of the sky with One World Trade standing out on the left of the skyline and the iconic Empire State building on the right.

The benefits of checking in early are that sometimes you get to change your seat. Although I had chosen my seat online there were no bulkhead seats available but I asked when I checked in and was given this one near the emergency exit right at the back of the A380. While it wasn’t quite as lucky as my upgrade when I flew back from New Zealand it was still great to only have one person next to you, plenty of legroom and no constant traffic like in an aisle seat. The best of both worlds and definitely one of the best in economy class.

After all my travelling last year I didn’t think I was going to travel so much this year but plans change and the travel bug has definitely bitten so now it’s back to saving and planning for the next trip. In the meantime you can follow my adventures back home in South Africa here and on Twitter 

Last item on my list of things to do in New York

It was my last day in New York. My flight out was scheduled for 11:00pm so I still had a whole day to make the most of. One thing that I hadn’t done yet was the Staten Island ferry. Just a couple of subway stop from Brooklyn I emerged at the bottom end of Manhattan where the Staten Island Ferry terminal. You can’t miss these huge orange vessels that go back and forth every half hour and carry over 4000 passengers. It is also absolutely free so what budget traveller could resist plus you get to pass the Statue of Liberty and fantastic views back to the NY city skyline as you make your way towards Staten Island.

I was so preoccupied with the ferry that I hadn’t actually done any research as to what to see on Staten Island but was content to take a walk along the water’s edge looking back towards New Jersey on the left, Manhattan in the middle and Brooklyn to the right. Just along the promenade from the ferry terminal I came across this intriguing sculpture. Reading the plaques around  the sculpture I discovered that it is called continue reading + 3 photos

Top of the Rock

After a relaxing overnight stay in the country it was back into the city to make the most of my last 36 hours in New York. Still on my list of things to do was Top of the Rock. I arrived just in time for a tour of the Rockefeller Centre which was included in my NY Pass ticket and was arguably the most insightful tour I went on while in NY. I learnt that the Rockefeller Centre isn’t a single building but a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres of real estate.

As fascinating as the tour was it was the view from the top of the GE Building that I was really excited to see. At 850ft (289m) the GE Building is the 10th tallest building in New York and while the masses flock to the Empire State building I am inclined to say Top of the Rock is better because continue reading + 3 photos

From Central Park to Grand Central Station

Three days down and three to go, I still had a few things to tick off my New York Bucket List. I had been lucky with the weather and it was another clear day so I headed off to Central Park first thing and joined a queue to rent a bike. It  was a bit of a wait but eventually I was issued with a bike, declining the optional helmet and rode off on the pavement towards Central Park. It wasn’t long before an irate New Yorker, walking her dog, told me that I wasn’t allowed to ride on the pavement, something that certainly isn’t frowned upon in China. Anyway, it was just one block to the entrance and then I joined the flow of other cyclists moving around the park.

I say flow, because you are only allowed to ride in one continue reading + 9 photos

When one bridge isn’t enough

Having walked across the Brooklyn Bridge a few days earlier I thought why not walk across the Manhattan Bridge as well. It was not that far away from the Brooklyn Bridge, only a couple of blocks, and it was another sunny morning as you can see.
Looking at Manhattan beyond the Brooklyn Bridge

All along the Manhattan bridge pedestrian level there is fencing that makes it difficult continue reading + 7 more photos

High above the city that never sleeps!

With bright blue skies I made a snap decision to head straight to Pier 84 where I could get my hop-on/hop-off Water Taxi ticket (free with my New York Pass) plus they can organise you a ticket for the 9/11 Memorial. Killing two birds with one stone I was on the first boat of the day at 9:00am. It’s an express run that takes you straight to the Statue of Liberty for a quick photo opportunity which was great in the morning light and then drops you off at Battery Park.

From there it’s a short walk up to the 9/11 Memorial site. You have to queue a few blocks away, go through several airport-style security checks and scans before finally making your way to the memorial site. Where the two world trade centre buildings once stood they have created these square waterfalls and in the centre is continue reading & 10 more photos

What are museums good for?

I’ll admit I’m not wild about museums. As far as I’m concerned your time is much better spent exploring the world outside, particularly in a foreign city, than cooped up inside a building. However, on rainy days, they do serve a purpose  on a rainy day. New York has a multitude of museums you can visit but I had been told of several by friends and family that I had to go to so I did. First up was the Metropolitan Museum which is huge.

History was never my favourite subject and while I’m sure ceramic and bronze sculptures fascinate others they don’t do it for me. Another form of art that I don’t get is modern art, some of the pieces in the exhibition left me baffled like the solid colour, navy blue canvas in the shape of a rhombus. Where is the skill in that? There was one piece that did catch my attention and had me entranced. When you see the photo below I’m sure you’ll be similarly intrigued. continue reading and 4 more photos