I love New York City. I love the energy, the vibe and the liveliness of the city. I love its stunning skyline, its vibrant Times Square, its expansive Central Park, its beautiful Brooklyn bridge and its impressive Wall Street. I enjoy its thriving restaurants, its quaint coffee shops and its delectable ice cream shops. I spent 2 days walking and cycling in the city and felt completely alive.
I started the day with breakfast at TSQ Brasserie in Times Square. It felt a bit odd to see Times Square in such a calm state. The restaurant itself had the decor of an old-fashioned diner with beautiful music playing in the background and a view of the Times Square. I loved the ambiance and enjoyed reading my book in that setting while waiting for my breakfast to arrive. The food wasn't as good as the ambiance but I still loved the place.
Then I went in search of some good coffee shop and luckily found "Bird & Branch" which makes fresh almond macadamia nut milk everyday for their coffee. I grabbed a corner seat and enjoyed the coffee and my book for a brief period before others started pouring in.
|Times Square in the morning|
|Doesn't it feel weird to see this place in such calm!|
|TSQ Brasserie in Times Square|
Now, it was time to hit the Central Park. I missed it in my first trip to NY city in 2011 and have wanted to visit it since then. I love cities that are situated on river banks/oceans, that have pigeons adorning the staircases of the buildings and those with huge parks in the center of the city. Mumbai, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and London (which I am yet to visit) all fall in that category. I rented a bike for 4 hours from "Bike Rental Central Park" which is located a couple of blocks from the south side entrance of the Park. It was cold but it was fun biking in the Park and watching all the active and spirited New Yorkers running, biking, skating and playing sports.
Ever since I visited the Smoky Mountain National Park, I have a new appreciation for the Fall. I love how gracefully, in Nature, the old gives way to the new and how colorful the fallen leaves are. I found some beautiful spots in the Park where I could sit on a bench and enjoy reading my book in that gorgeous Fall weather. The book was about a thru-hiking adventure on El Camino de Santiago in Spain and it was a decent read.
Suddenly, the Sun made a friendly appearance and I wanted to make the best use of it. So, I grabbed some hot soup from one of the restaurants within the Park, found a sunny spot on one of the huge lawns and finished reading the rest of my book.
Then I headed to the Bethesda Fountain & Terrace area, which is considered the heart of the Central Park. It was indeed lively and picturesque with several tourists, a group of street performers and some wedding photo shoots. I tried not to get in their way :)
While I really enjoyed biking in the Park, there are several ways to get around the Park including the romantic horse rides.
After spending about 4 hours in the Central Park, I returned the bicycle and took a stroll in the midtown area. Christmas decorations started popping up everywhere bringing in a festive atmosphere. I came across St. Patrick's Cathedral and was immediately drawn towards its impressive architecture. I spent some time admiring the carvings inside before I headed back to my hostel.
In the evening, I tried the Michelin star rated Malaysian restaurant 'Laut' in midtown Manhattan. I didn't enjoy the dish that I ordered but the food around me looked interesting. Then I came across an Italian chocolate store 'Venchi' which had delicious chocolate gelato.
Next morning, I checked into Marriott Marquis hotel located right in the middle of Times Square. Dazzling as it was, I couldn't stop thinking about the amount of energy consumed by all the huge 24*7 displays concentrated at a single location. Once you start thinking about the impact all this creates on the planet, it is hard to fall in love with any city. Sometimes you just go with the flow and enjoy the moment.
|Marriott Marquis Hotel on the top right @ Times Square|
|View from hotel room on 42nd floor|
Then I spent some time in the 'World Trade Center' area, snapped a picture with 'The Bull' and headed to the Battery Park. It was on the pier near the Battery Park that I found one of my favorite views of the city.
|One of my favorite views of the city|
|Views from the revolving restaurant|