New York City oozed both familiarity and wonder all at once; the yellow taxis, the skyscrapers and bright lights of Times Square. Because I’ve seen all of these things so many times in magazines, movies and on TV shows, they felt normal and almost kind of homey when I saw them in person. Exploring New York City blew me away, the sheer size of the city, the big personalities of New Yorkers & the even bigger buildings towering over the many tourists.
Basically what really stood out and surprised me about NYC is that everything here is HUGE! It didn’t take me long to realize that New York was going to be an impressive place to spend a few days. We drove into the city in a yellow cab on a rainy March night.
Our hotel was just down the street from Times Square and so naturally, as soon as we arrived, we braved the rain, grabbed a piping hot slice of delicious pizza and headed to the infamous Times Square where we were greeted with a sweet assault of colorful lights, adverts and signs.
With ruby steps to climb up to get a better view, and an NYPD hub full of the ever famous Police department, Times Square blew me away with it’s sheer size. The next day was another drizzly grey day so we headed over to the Natural History Museum to check out what was inside.
Walking through the front doors you knew it was going to be spectacular; from the 4 stone speeches on the walls and the dinosaurs in the entrance. But it was when we walked into one of the rooms that I really understood how huge everything here was – the room that housed ‘Titanosaur’ – a dinosaur so large that he didn’t fit in the huge hall but had to have his head sticking out into the corridor.
Throw in a life size blue whale hanging up in another section, a planetarium the size of most other museums and the fact that you literally can’t get round the whole museum in a day and my head began to reel a little at how amazing everything was. And I’m not a huge museum person!
The amazement of New York’s museums continued when we went to the MET. From knights in shining armor, to reconstructed building fronts, there was so much there but what really blew my mind was the Egyptian temple that had come over brick by brick from Egypt – one you can walk inside and see the heiroglyphs on the walls and the graffiti from early 20th century tourists. Insane.
But New York’s museums didn’t just hold things that were huge physically but huge in reputation too – enter Van Gogh’s starry night at MoMa, the works of Picasso, or even the original toys that inspired Winnie the Pooh in the children’s room at New York’s public library. There was too much to take in, but there is so much more to New York than just it’s museums.
The skyline is something that gives New York city its identity all over the world. When I was there I went up both to the ‘top of the rock’ at Rockefeller centre and the Empire State building.
Whilst the Empire State building was luxurious and gave you the thrill of knowing you were on top of one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, my personal favorite was Rockefeller. Perhaps because the first time I saw New York’s skyline was here and it took my breath away.
You could see for miles and you could spot out central park, times square, the Chrysler building and the Empire State just to name a few. I loved seeing the Empire State in the skyline more than being up there itself – the skyline looked like it was missing something when you couldn’t see it.
In the far distance down in the financial district stood the One World Trade Centre – America’s tallest building and a poignant landmark of hope rebuilt after the tragedies of 9/11. Although impressive from a distance, you had to get up close to truly take in how awe-inspiring this building was and perhaps what made it stand out to me so much more were the beautiful crafted water memorials that stood outside it. Huge in poignancy and huge in size.
New York City is filled with iconic places that take a while to get your head around. From the constellation ceiling in the huge Grand Central Terminal to the imposing entryway of New York City’s Public Library to Lady Liberty who welcomed so many to the ‘land of the free’.
Whether it was things housed in New York’s buildings or the buildings themselves, I found myself saying over and over again during my trip to New York ‘everything is HUGE here’. New York was everything I hoped it would be.
What stood out to you when you visited New York for the first time? Was it exactly how you expected, considering we all get to see it in movies all the time anyway or did something surprise you? Feel free to share your own first impressions of NYC in the comments section below.