A proposal on top of Empire State Building ?
This was my first time flying western-ward from the UK. I flew from Heathrow to JFK June 2009 by Delta airline. I was sitting beside this Polish passenger and interestingly my last trip was to Poland. And she was a world traveller too, been to New Zealand to India and that was her first visit to NYC too.
After 7 hours and another 3 hours of getting to the hostel at Wanderers Inn on 116 street in Harlem neighbourhood where Hollywood images and Songs portrayed to be rough and dodgy. I didn’t face any tough incident may be the hostel was just at the border to other borough. However the subway was a bit confusing at the beginning.
They were Finnish backpackers in my dorm but they checked out the next morning and they gave an insight what to do in NYC. As suggested I went to Battery Park then to South Ferry terminal catching free ferry ride to Staten Island. It was one panoramic sight to see Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and the rest of Hudson River. The journey back and forth took me nearly 1 and half hour . Arrived back at the South Ferry Terminal during lunch hour and I was wandering where was the best place to eat near the Battery park so I ended up at this Italian restaurant on the riverfront. It’s no smoking area even on outdoor seating place the waiter I asked before I lighted up cigarette.
I think European smokes more than American.
Strolling down the Battery Park looking for Skyscrapper Museum but it was closed that day.
Later that day the weather turned out great and sunny with blue sky when I spent another half of the day in Times Square. It amazes me with the amount of neon lights and spectacularly animated digital advertisement. This is the Crossroad and truly an iconic landmark. With yellow cabs bumping each other and people crossing on red light, it’s a sight to see. On the triangle shape plaza between roads, there were chairs randomly orientated for passerby.
Time square was done I rushed to Empire State Building in hope to capture sunset and evening NYC from above. It was worth a queue for nearly an hour to the 86th floor. The view was incredibly stunning.Four different conner were astounding vistas. While I was with the crowd enjoying the view, I was interrupted by an African American couple who happened to be on a date on top of Empire State Building.
He asked me if I could take their photo using his camera....mmm sure. After he handed his camera, he said ” Actually I want to do this”. He pulled out a small red box from his pocket and opened it and says” Darling, you make me happy, blah blah blah….Will you marry me?” He proposed to her girlfriend on top of Empire State Building! I felt awkward at that moment. The crowd gathered around and stopped moving and was a bit of moment of silent witnessing the couple special day. I snapped as many photos while he proposed and luckily she says “ Yes “. The crowd were cheering and clapping ! Good for him she said yes.
What would happen if she says NO?
I arrived the hostel at 12 midnight after an awe-inspiring sight from Empire State Building. Before we got on the lift to 86th floor we’ve been taken a photo by an in-house photographer with green backdrop where they superimposed it with Empire State Building and one should collect it when done. But I spent more than 2 hours on the deck that they scrapped it off when I wanted to purchase it as I went down. It’s nowhere to be retrieved as the woman said to check it on their official website. I didn’t bother to do that as it looks cheesy anyway.
|Yes Einstein what?|
Manhattan on its glorious vantage point
Afterwards I went to Guggenheim Museum, it was pouring outside, what better thing to do than stay indoor in the museum. I studied architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the famous architect that started innovative designs which reflects the needs and requirements of aesthetic in regards to its period of era and time. Half of his design has been materialized and half un-built including Baghdad Masterplan comprising of university,town,residential and office masterplan located in Iraq.
It was kinda funny that I was stopped by street seller trying to sell ‘Obama Condom’. I passed Macy and wondered inside for a bit to see what’s with this (claimed to be) the World’s biggest departmental store.
There were French roomates in the hostel and I ended up touring with them. That day we headed off to one end of Central park on 110th Street and started walking in the park where a lot of New Yorkers cycling, running and chilling out. Stopped in the middle we had lunch on 72nd Street West. The burger was fulfilling.
|There was no Carry Bradshaw at the bridge|
We continued taking subway to 23rd Street to see Flatiron Building. The building that nicely designed and placed on triangle shape in Broadway between Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.
It’s a three-dimensional building brought to life. Museum of Natural History allows free admission on Sunday after 5 pm so we rushed to get there only spending 45 minutes inside as it’s closed at 5.45pm.
That night Mel and Pierre had a reservation for 2 in French Restaurant near East Houston Street in Soho. It’s true that in NYC most nice restaurant requires reservations. Don’t aspect to get a table if you walk-in on the day you want to dine. I walked around in SOHO, NOHO and NOLITA neighbourhood and passed by NYU.
Today we departed to South Ferry Terminal to take free ferry ride to Staten Island. Afterwards we strolled down to lower Manhattan to see Ground Zero and we had our lunch on the plaza. The food sold by this moving cart mostly Middle-Eastern food were tasty.
Later we headed to Brooklyn Bridge. We parted ways afterwards, I went to Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). Back in the hostel we decided to have our dinner in the restaurant 10 minutes walking from the hostel called Amy Ruth’s- The reigning Queen of Harlem. The food was ok and hangout with likeminded traveler was great. After dinner we strolled in the neighborhood to ‘The Pour’-the pub that usual hangout for Columbia University students.
|Guggenheim Museum, Time Square's police on horse. Manhattan skyline|
I headed to Chinatown where the cheap bus fares took me to Boston for about 5 hours journey. Departed from Chinatown NYC and arrived at Chinatown part of Boston. I don’t know why the city didn’t motivate me to take any photos. Probably because it’s somewhat similar typology as any other American city where New York is the greatest. The city is not based on grid system layout but rather follows the natural setting.
The next day I headed back to NYC with longer journey as the traffic went mad. Back in NYC I checked in to other hostel in 96th Street West. The hostel was horrendous! The room was cramped and there was no seating in common area in front of reception desk. I could see every time the guests were seating and lying on the floor with their laptop connecting to free wi-fi and others walk passed between them. The kitchen has only sink.
Final day in NYC I was ready to fly back to the UK when suddenly on the telly at the Airport gate, it began showing a breaking news that Michael Jackson had been hospitalized in Los Angeles. On the journey on-board I lost the connection to the world and as I arrived in Heathrow taking train to London, the guy sat next to me was reading tabloid with front page BOLD Michael Jackson is Dead!