New York- the landmarks, part 1

Finally, this week has come to an end. I have struggled through most of it and have had to force myself out of bed in the mornings because I am STILL jetlagged. Previously, I would easily fall asleep at 21:30… now I find myself repeatedly refreshing my Twitter timeline wide awake at 23:30. I’m getting alot more done after hours, which is a good thing, but for the first few hours of the day I’m basically a zombie at work.

Anyway, enough complaining 😉 Today, I wanted to share our experience of NYC’s landmarks with you and cover all the bits and pieces of the holiday which I haven’t already mentioned. If you missed my previous NYC posts, click here and here. You can also find my full NYC photo album on Facebook

Our New York Pass gave us “free” admission into all the attractions we wanted to see- so we crammed as much as possible into our days. We commuted to most of these attractions with the subway. It was cheap ($28 for unlimited use over 7 days), and really easy to use. In fact, the whole of NYC is really simple to navigate (even for the directionally challenged like me) because the streets don’t have names, they have numbers. The streets run across and the avenues run down, and the whole of Manhattan is a perfect grid.

If museums are your thing, NYC is the city for you. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History (where Night at the Museum was filmed). After that, we were museum’d out so we didn’t visit MoMa (Museum of Modern Art). The museums are huge and impressive, but your need a lot of time to fully appreciate them. Some stuff was arb, like there’d be a huge canvas painted in blue, with nothing else on it, and that would be an exhibit on its own. I think we did the museums more because you kind of have to when you visit NYC, but they weren’t one of my highlights.

Unfortunately one isn’t allowed to take pics inside, but I did take a photo of the Guggenheim’s interior, just because it is so striking, and the popular Met steps, which Gossip Girl fans will definitely recognize!

We also did a Gossip Girl tour (yes, I am obsessed with the show). Rishav will never admit it, but he has watched every single episode (since Season 1) with me, so he was quite happy to go on the tour. We also got to see quite a bit of Manhattan so it was a productive day. Here are some highlights.

The Museum of the City of New York- used as Constance school for girls- where Blair and Serena went
Dylan’s candy store, owned by Ralph Lauren’s daugher- Dylan. 3 stories of decadent chocolate, cupcakes and candy. I wish I took more photos here, but I was stuffing my face with chocolate dipped marshmallows and strawberries. All you need to know is that it was tres amazing! Vanessa shopped here for her and Nate’s anniversary.

The empire hotel- where Chuck lives. We even got to go inside!

Speaking of GG- I actually managed to spot them filming! I saw trailers around the Met so asked one of the crew members where they were. He directed me to the street corner, and I saw Blake Lively and Penn Badgely (and their stunt doubles) in the flesh!
They were filming a scene on a Vespa on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. Security was pretty tight and they cleared out the entire street, but I did manage to get a few snaps.

These are actually Blake and Penn’s stunt doubles

The real deal 🙂
GG wardrobe trailer

The set

It was totally surreal to see. To be honest, I was a bit disillusioned on my 2nd or third day in NYC as I thought I’d be seeing celebs everywhere. I soon realised that the city is a normal city that works like any other city does. People go to work, use public transport, and dress and eat normally. The media tends to only showcase certain parts of the city in isolation, and you don’t really get a view of the city as a whole. Yes, the glam restaurants and shops do exist, but lighting and gorgeous actresses seem to make it a tad bit more than it actually is. Once I got over that, I started to appreciate the city for what it was and I was a happy camper again.
The truth is that NYC IS an amazing city, in its own way.. but a holiday there is not to everyone’s taste. It’s busy, there are queues, you do TONS of walking, and the tourist attractions are well, touristy. There is a lot of US propaganda at these attractions, which is a small indication of how patriotic US citizens are. Everything works there- no one litters, taxi’s stop as soon as the light changes to yellow, no one jay walks and waiters and shop assistants are the friendliest I’ve met in all my travels. I have to conclude that this is because people are happy living in NYC. I mean honestly: if you lived in NYC, where would you move to? And what reason would you have for moving?
Personally, I could totally see myself living there. I love the freedom- at 2am the streets are just as busy as at 8pm. There are no fences or gates anywhere. Everyone in Manhattan has an apartment, there are very few houses. And they somehow all have dogs too! It’s just a different life to what we have here. I love Jozi, but after being to NYC I feel like life could be so much more.
I’m probably not being fair though, because SA is so young, and it’s developing all the time. New York was built mainly in the 1930s- and all the buildings have remained as they were then, so there is so much history in the city. Take Grand Central Terminal, for example. 700,000 people pass through there everyday, yet the interior is nothing like what you’d expect from the biggest train station in the city. It’s simply beautiful.

Another one of my favourites was the New York Public Library. Most of you will know it from SATC, when Carrie got left at the alter and fled down the stairs. While it sounds like it would be unassuming, the interior is breathtaking. The Main Reading Room is huge- 9 massive chandeliers, and books lining the walls. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pics, but here are some I found off the net.

We also visited Central Park. Did you know it would take 3.5 hours to walk from one end of Central Park to the other? It’s humongous! Once you’re inside it’s really pretty- there are separate trails for cyclists, runners and walkers. We went at lunchtime on a weekday and there were lots of people. I gathered that some were people exercising during their lunch breaks, some were new moms walking their babies, and others were people just chilling on the benches having a break from their day.

That’s all for today… tune in tomorrow for part 2 🙂
Have a great weekend 🙂