“I Smile because New York City Happened to Me”
In his Netflix special, Trevor Noah starts by saying “New York! New York! New York!” I often find tend to mimic this randomly on the street, either to myself or to the people next to me. Having completed quarter of a year in the city, it was inevitable that I do a post on all that the unstoppable city has to offer.
Meet you at 50th and Broadway!
When you first step into the city, all those numbers and avenues can be slightly overwhelming. To those who are new to the city or are yet to visit, here is a breakdown of how the streets and avenues work:
The streets run East to West while the avenues run North to South.
As you move northward, the street numbers start to ascend. To give you a better idea, 1st street starts at Greenwich Village and the city goes up to 220th Street which is Inwood Section.
Avenues use a mix of numbers and names. For instance, the hotel I work at Roger Smith is located in 47th and Lexington. Confusing right?
Besides the avenues that are numbered, Lexington, Park and Madison Avenues, run between the 3rd and 5th Avenues.
Fifth Avenue is Manhattan’s central dividing line. Streets running to its east are titled “east” (i.e. East 46th St), and to its west are titled “west” (i.e. West 46th Street).
Street address numbers begin at Fifth Avenue, and increase as they move outward (the higher the number, the farther to the east or west).
6th Ave. is also called Avenue of the Americas. There can also be other variations that one will notice across the city. For instance:
Broadway, one of Manhattan’s oldest thoroughfares (and the world’s longest) runs perpendicularly as it progresses north from the tip of Manhattan up into the Bronx. As it criss-crosses the straight avenues, it creates large, open intersections (Union Square, Madison Square, Herald Square, Times Square, Columbus Circle, etc.) (For more information, check out: https://www.walksofnewyork.com/blog/manhattan-streetsmarts).
A to the Q to the R; 4, 5 , 6, maybe even 7?
Subways, tubes, metros, across the world work differently. Some go by zones, some by color coded lines, some more complex than the others. When in New York, always pay attention to the numbers and letters even though the different lines are color coded.
To help you understand better, lines 4, 5 and 6 are all green lines, but they all take you to different destinations. Hence, it is very important to check the number or in some cases the alphabet of the subway you want to take.
The other important aspect of New York Subway is: Uptown or Downtown.
As you go towards lower street numbers, you will be taking the subway that goes Downtown, and vise versa for Uptown.
Simple right? (There’s always your best friend, Google Maps)
Purchasing a Metro Card:
Unlike London where you can switch between the Oyster Card, or credit/debit cards and Contactless, New York Subway still requires a Metro Card. They can be bought at vending machines at most stations and can be refilled as and when needed. Any trip costs $2.75, whether it is one stop or 50. If you are taking the Path Trains to New Jersey, it is an additional $2.75 and $5 if you are taking the Air Train from Jamaica Center to JFK Airport.
As of a month ago, some stations have installed contactless and Apple Pay (and made my heart swell). However, you still need to carry the metro card to avoid having to purchase more.
As I used the Subway only over the weekends, I don’t have the special monthly passes or the unlimited ones. These too can be bought depending on your requirements.
Once you get the hang of the subway, it is convenient to move around the city. However, no better way to explore New York than on foot!
Now that we have explored navigating through the city, here’s a list of my top picks on what to do in the city!
Parks and Recreation
The beauty of this city lies in the access to numerous parks. From Prospect Park in Brooklyn to Central Park in Manhattan, they all deserve the same kind of love. One of my favourite things to do is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, head towards the famous photo spot in Dumbo (for all your instagram worthy pictures) and then head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the most stunning views of the skyline.
Bryant Park is another favorite for relaxed afternoon of eating good food and catching up on reading.
One understands the hype around Central Park only after visiting. What I have come to realize is that never have I been to the same spot more than twice. Each time I go to Central Park, I end up at a new place, and it gives me the satisfaction of having witnessed another piece of New York. Don’t miss Bethesda fountain! I hope that soon enough, I can share some secret and specials spots at the park!
And if there’s one park I have gone on almost every weekend is Washington Square Park. I ended up going very often to check out the famous N.Y. Dosas run by a Sri Lankan man for over twenty years. On two occasions I returned because the line would have lasted for nearly three hours. But thanks to that , I stumbled upon a Kathi roll place and satisfied my inner Desi with a Paneer Roll!
Chasing the Skyline
Can one ever truly get enough of the those magnificent structures standing tall, owning the world?
- Brooklyn Barge or NYC Transmitter Park
2. Pier C Park, Hoboken, New Jersey
3.Staten Island Ferry
4. Brooklyn Bridge
6. Top of the Rock
If like me, you would match rather see the Empire State than the view from the Empire State, I would recommend going to Top of the Rock, the viewing deck at the Rockefeller Center. The 360 degree views are unbeatable and don’t miss the sunset!
7. Penthouse at the Roger Smith Hotel 😉
Salut! To the fabulous four months in New York! Leaving you with the view I am grateful to be able to witness each day!
Let me know in the comments below what you would like to see covered in Part II!