Happy Sunday to you all. It’s been a bit crazy here this week, leaving me unfocused as to what to blog about today. I’m working on some different posts but couldn’t decide what direction to go. Then I came across this article, A Moet & Chandon Champagne Vending Machine Has Arrived in New York, and I was once again in a New York state of mind! The Stayton Room, a bar at the Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection in Midtown’s fashionable East Side is now home to this fabulous invention.
I’ve never stayed there but obtaining the $25 gold coin needed to dispense my drink of choice is now on my “to-do” list. Pretty sure I’ll choose the Imperial Rose’. I’ve been aware these vending machines are out there and had hoped to stumble on one.
This led me to think about other “bucket list” items in New York City. From Central Park to Battery Park along with all the iconic buildings we recognize from so many films and TV shows, do the attractions live up their hype? Since some of you mentioned you were thinking about a trip to the City, I thought I would make a list of the top tourist attractions I had visited and give you my thoughts on whether or not they were worth being at the top of your list. My list quickly grew exponentially, so much to see and do!
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Yes! Lady Liberty, a gift from our fabulous French friends, stands on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. Mr. Smith and I made our way to Battery Park and took a ferry across. We purchased the self-guided audio tour of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and thought it was worth every penny.
Empire State Building
I would say No. Going up to the top is a lot like being herded through a buffet line at a Vegas hotel, complete with security checks. It is nothing like you see in the movies. I have been up top, and the views are marvelous, but these days I prefer the observation deck at the Top of the Rock. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little thrill every time I catch a glimpse of The Empire State Building’s iconic spire while I’m walking the city, especially at night. I love seeing it lit up, whether in its signature white or another color in honor of various days of celebration or organizations.
This is another No for me. It’s an area I walk through to get to the theater, but not to spend time. New York is a crowded city, but Times Square is jam-packed!
This is another Yes for me. Mr. Smith, our oldest son and I walked across the bridge on a very warm fall afternoon. The views of Manhattan from the Brooklyn side of the bridge are amazing.
Staten Island Ferry
Yes! You will have stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan and Ellis Island. When going from Manhattan to Staten Island, sitting on the right (starboard) side will give you the best look at Lady Liberty. The ferry has the cheapest beer prices in all Manhattan and the ride is free! If someone tries to sell you a ticket, it’s a scam.
At Christmas time it can be as crowded as Times Square, but the tree and the skaters make it worth it for me. I’m sure it has to do with growing up in small town Indiana, longing for the glamour of the big city. But my delights are not everyone’s. Out walking past the skating rink one Christmas morning, Mr. Smith and I watched a mother trying to persuade her young daughter to go skating saying “Everyone wants to skate in Rockefeller Center on Christmas!” Not that little girl, mom. She just wanted to be cozy at home in her pajamas opening presents from Santa.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This is something I wish everyone could experience. This tribute of remembrance and honor to the people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 is both beautiful and humbling. The memorial is free and open from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily. You can pre-order tickets from the museum up to six months in advance.
Some of my favorite are Bryant Park, Washington Square Park, Madison Square Park and the grand dame Central Park. Mr. Smith and I have devoured a delicious brunch at The Bryant Park Grill overlooking the Bryant Park on a Sunday morning and I always love getting to peruse the Bryant Park Winter Village (open 10/31/19 – 1/5/20) for Christmas gifts. We had Christmas Eve lunch at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park one year. It was delightful to sit outside under their patio heaters and dine on a delicious cheeseburger. And we’ve taken many a delightful walk through Central Park. Walking through one very cold Christmas morning, we bought hot waffles from a food vendor. They were delicious!
There are 32 museums in Manhattan alone and we’ve visited many of them. Museums are a definite Yes for Mr. Smith and me, but we often go our own way according to our interests, meeting up later. My advice would be to do some online research before you go, see what the current exhibits are, and put at least one museum on your NYC list.
Once I started making a list of things to see or do in NYC, it just took on a life of its own. We love The High Line, Grand Central Station, Blue Note Jazz Club, Chelsea Market, The Cloisters, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and on and on. It’s a very walkable city, laid out in a grid that even the directionally challenged (me!) can negotiate. And yes, it’s noisy, gritty and crowded, but I love New York!
Thanks for reading and thanks very much for all your kind condolences on the loss of my mother-in-law.
C’est la vie.