*Originally posted in December 2015*
So as usual, Abs hasn't been updating the blog! University has taken over and only now, sitting at home for Christmas holidays, have I got round to posting something new.
In May of this year (2015) I turned 18 and was extremely fortunate enough to receive a trip to New York around christmas time as my present from my mum.
On 11th December we boarded a plane to JFK. 8 hours later, 5 hours behind UK time and 2 very tired women, we arrived safely.
From the moment we got in the taxi it was clear NYC was going to be one hell of a hectic place, exciting nevertheless!
Day 1: EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Before arriving in New York we purchased a 'New York City Pass' (http://www.citypass.com/new-york) which enabled us to choose 6/8 attractions. We chose the Empire State building, The Rockefeller Center, Cityline cruise around Manhattan, 9/11 Memorial, American Natural History Museum and the Museum of Art (however we chose to give the art museum a miss).
We were so lucky with the weather for the majority of the trip, in fact it was record temperatures for this time of year in New York. As you can see it was a pretty clear day when we went up.
What we hadn't realised when we booked the city pass was that it enabled us to go back up the Empire State building at night. I think this had to be one of the highlights of the trip for me. Seeing it in daylight was pretty spectacular but seeing Manhattan and the surrounding states at night was just something else.
Day 2: CITYLINE BOAT TRIP
The next day Mum and I went on a 2.5hour boat ride around Manhattan looking at the key sites and areas that make New York what it is.
Once again it was a beautiful sunny day to the point where I could actually feel the heat on my back from the sun... in December!
I'd say the boat trip was long enough, could have been a little shorter but it was still a cool experience. We saw the 3 bridges (BMW-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg- 2 pictured above).
We were extremely lucky with the positioning of our hotel. We stayed at the Millennium Broadway http://www.millenniumhotels.com/usa/millenniumbroadwaynewyork/ which was right in between 5th avenue and Times square. Because of this we pretty much walked everywhere and after a few days of this it was safe to say our feet were killing!
The same day we walked in the opposite direction in the evening to central park. It was surreal to be actually stood there and up until we got there I''d never realised how big it actually was. It's HUGE!
They had the annual Wollman Rink there when we went (pictured above) which looked like fun but the queues were suuuuper long so we didn't go on it.
Day 3: 9/11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM
I think this was the hardest day of the whole trip. In my opinion if you're going to go to New York, going to Ground Zero is a must. The memorial was a fitting tribute to the people who lost their lives on that tragic day. It's a simple idea that is extremely effective. The whole area has a vibe around it of quietness and people reflecting.
Whilst walking there we were shown a booklet by a man showing us where the twin towers were in relation to where we were currently stood. I never realised quite how big they were, like I knew they were massive but not to the extent that they actually were!
The memorial is free to look at however the museum you have to pay for. This was included in our City Pass. The museum was extremely poignant. As you walk through it you see fire trucks, shoes of people who died or lost them whilst running for their lives, uniforms, papers, briefcases etc. The hardest part for me was hearing voices through the speakers of families who lost relatives and seeing quotes on the wall of peoples last words before the twin towers were struck. It just took it to another level to the point where both mum and me decided to leave 3/4 of the way through the museum. Not because it was bad but because it was so overwhelming. Nevertheless i'd definitely say it's something you should consider visiting if you do or are going to New York.
The photo above is of the 'One World Trade Center'. This was constructed after 9/11 and only opened last November. As you can see it was pretty big! It was cloudy on this day so you couldn't see the top but I thought it was quite an effective image.
Another thing to happen on this day was how we got to Ground Zero. We took the Subway! Walking down the steps on 42nd Street to begin the journey and looking at the map left us a tad confused to the point where we were stood there for a good 5 minutes just trying to find where we were on the map haha. The Subway was certainly an experience, pretty cool but slightly confusing! However we did work it out and after going 12 stops too far and having to turn around we did eventually make it!
The second part of the day we spent at the American Museum of Natural History. This was an absolute must considering i'm studying Marine and Natural history photography at uni.
The building itself was pretty impressive and we could have easily got lost in there! Walking into the main hall threw me right into the 'Night at the Museum' film. It was so strange seeing something that i'd watched in a film be there, right in front of me.
We saw a screening of Jean-Michel Cousteau's 'Secret Ocean' in 3D and it was insane! 40 minutes of being transported into this underwater world. It was so good to see, especially as I recently qualified as an advanced open water diver so getting to see what I could be potentially filming in the future was a cool experience and motivating!
They obviously hold an impressive collection of animals and artifacts that were interesting to look at as well. Every room was filled with something incredible.
Day 4: TOP OF THE ROCK AND MORE SHOPPING
So day 4 was more of a chill day spent wandering around doing more shopping (not that we'd already done enough or anything!) and going up the Rockefeller Center.
We'd obviously been up the Empire State building a couple of days beforehand however we'd been told numerous times by different people that Top of the Rock was a must too.
It gives you a completely different viewpoint of New York, with the main view being Central Park and the Empire State Building.
Above is a panoramic view of New York. It was amazing. The good thing about Top of the Rock is that you can go to different levels as in you can stay inside if you want too, go to one outside level where glass protects you from falling or go one more level up where there is a smaller level with a fence so you can get clear shots with no obstructions from the glass. I loved that feature.
Comparing Top of the Rock and the Empire State building i'd have to say that I think the Empire state was slightly better but then again thats purely because we went up at night and the view was incredible so no doubt it would have been the same if not potentially better if we'd done Top of the Rock at night too.
Later that day on the way back from Top of the Rock and a long day of shopping we went and had a look at Grand Central station (It had to be done!). It was impressive to say the least!
I wanted to do a long exposure of the people walking because of the sheer volume of people walking through the station. I didn't have a tripod with me so I just rested it on the staircase handrail and took it from there. I thought it looked quite cool :)
We also went to a night market close to our hotel in Bryant park which was very cute with an ice rink. We got a few gifts for people there so was a nice end to the trip.
The final day was spent buying last minute presents and soaking up as much of the atmosphere as possible before we were picked up at 2pm headed to the airport. The trip was definitely an amazing experience, hectic but so worth it!
Anyway just wanted to update you on my recent trip!
As its just turned Christmas as this goes live (and yes I too wonder why I am still up) I want to wish everyone reading this a very Happy Christmas and New Year!