USA – vol. 1, New York
Some time ago, we planned a 3-week road trip through USA with a group of friends. Since then I fell in love with this country, in the unimaginable space, beautiful nature, laid-back lifestyle and even fat, unhealthy food. That same year, we returned there for another vacation, to relax, explore, and of course, for shopping. So far I have visited six states and it was already enough to understand, how diverse this country is – in terms of nature, climate and even lifestyle. Since it is not possible to describe all the experiences of more than five weeks of traveling in one post, I have prepared an entire series of them for you.
New York, New York!
The first city we visited in the US was, how else, the New York City! For a loyal fan of the TV series Friends and Sex and the City, it was a must see.
We were there in July and unfortunately the weather was extremely hot. Already at eight o’clock in the morning, after opening the door and leaving the air-conditioned hotel, we were hitting a heat wave. As if you would hit hot oven with your face. It certainly did not make it easier for us to explore the city, but we were still bravely visiting all the obligatory destinations one after the other – breakfast on the grass in Central Park, walk through the 5th Avenue, going to the top of Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), touching the Statue of Liberty, a photo with a half-naked cowboy in Times Square, walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting Ground Zero Memorial and Grand Central Terminal (where the painfully romantic last scene from the movie “Friends with benefits” was filmed – have you seen it?) and many others.
New York has made a big impression on me, especially since thanks to countless movies, music videos, TV shows and books, where the city plays a major role (the city that never sleeps), while being there for the first time, you feel as if you would know the city already. Of course, not everything in New York is as beautiful as it is shown in the movies. I was a little disappointed by the fact, that not knowing the city, it is not so easy to find nice little cafes (which we see in almost every episode of Sex and the City). While you can buy junk food everywhere. Another unpleasant discovery was that almost all of the popular tourist sites are amazingly crowded. For example, in the evening it is even hard to move in Times Square, as if you were at a rock concert. And the queue at Ground Zero Memorial seems to have no end.
New York – Central Park
But I was positively surprised by Central Park. It turned out to be a green, calm oasis in the heart of Manhattan. The park is big enough, so that you do not feel the crowds of people there (or we were the only ones who dared to go for a walk in the park in such hot weather!), and you can easily find a quiet place for breakfast on the grass or sunbathing with a beautiful view of the city. Only one place in the park never seems to be quite empty – the running trail around the lake Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Even at more than thirty degrees we were surrounded by runners (with these air temperatures even looking at them hurt!).
New York – worth to visit
After a visit to Central Park it is worth to go for a walk in the Upper West Side. Here you can find beautifully kept houses, all kinds of shops (although not the cheapest ones), quite nice cafes and beautiful places to sit on a bench, watching how life of local residents flows.
In the evening, you can find a unique atmosphere in Pier 17, at East River. There are numerous pubs, restaurants, and beautiful views of the river. We sat there for hours, watching the floating ships and illuminated bridges, one of the most characteristic features of the city. I heard that Pier 17 was supposed to be renovated this year, so I hope that afterwards it will be more modern, but the atmosphere will remain the same.
With all of its better and worse sides, New York is certainly a very special city, different from any other we have seen (even in the USA). At first glance, you are overwhelmed with its size, the tall buildings, crowds of people, shops, taxis etc., but you are also charmed with its diverse architectural styles – from old houses to impressive skyscrapers, beautiful parks, nice places with unique atmosphere on the water and countless museums, theaters and famous tourist places. You either love New York or you hate it, but it is hard to remain indifferent to it.