Since New York proved to be absolutely photogenic with attractions aplenty and copious amounts of good food, here is a continuation of the previous post, New York – A bite of the Big Apple. Turns out, I needed another bite!
Located in Lower Manhattan, the 104-storey One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the fifth tallest in the world. For better time management and to ensure availability, it’s strongly advisable to purchase tickets online for the One World Observatory and September 11 Memorial and Museum, ahead of your visit.
There’s extensive information on the 9/11 attacks and remnants of the twin towers in the museum, and the memorial is to remember the lives lost on that fateful day. Surrounded by trees outside, the two square pools are where the twin towers once stood.
One World Trade is a stunning structure. The reflection on the glass façade was such that the skyscraper became one with the sky. A sixty-second ascend in the elevator took us to the 100th floor, and the sweeping vistas over Manhattan and the other boroughs were impressive.
A feast for the eyes followed by one for the tummy; with fried pork ribs, Parmesan and white truffle fries, and a Queens lager at One Mix Bar.
And we went up the famous Empire State Building to get a glimpse of the twinkling city lights at night (no pictures here, but there’s something even better – wait till the end!)
A brunch that was nothing short of remarkable was at Tartinery, in the Plaza Food Hall, which has many local eateries. The Tartines, open face sandwiches, were fresh, wholesome and delightful. On seven-grain bread, both the smashed avocado with asparagus, arugula and pumpkin seeds, and smoked duck with goat cheese, walnuts, tomato and honey were hearty and delicious.
It’s no secret that I love a good view. As expected, the city’s skyline looked utterly amazing from the water. On a clear, lovely day, we took the Circle Line Sightseeing Liberty Cruise, which sailed down the Hudson River, past Tribeca, World Financial Center and One World Trade towards Ellis Island.
And there she was – the majestic Statue of Liberty. It was amazing to finally see this landmark in real! An interesting fact I learned was that pier numbers (above pier 40) are determined by adding 40 to the street number, i.e., a pier that is on the 43rd street is pier 83 (40 + 43).
We also caught a game of football (or soccer – Fine, I’ll allow it just this one time since we are talking about America) between New York City FC and DC United at the iconic Yankee stadium, and saw Italian football maestro, Andrea Pirlo, in action.
NYC has plenty of world-class museums. One is the visually pleasing Solomon R. Guggenheim museum. The spiral design inside the Guggenheim was unique and one of the coolest I’ve seen. The atrium was art in itself. Like the art collection it houses, it was futuristic and full of vision.
Among several interesting collections, there were paintings by Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Renoir, and a wonderful display of abstract art by Kandinsky, just to name a few. The ‘Woman Ironing’ painting by Pablo Picasso, which depicted the plight of laborers during the late 19th to early 20th century, was poignant yet eerily beautiful. Created to capture the agony and to honor a Colombian nurse tortured to death, ‘A Flor de Piel’, hand stitched rose petals spread out on the floor, was another eye-grabbing installation at the temporary exhibition by Colombian artist, Doris Salcedo.
Also deserving of a visit is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met. I was in awe of Temple of Dendur, a gift to the US by Egypt for helping save various monuments during construction of the Aswan High Dam. There rested this incredible artifact in the center of a beautiful space with huge glass windows in the background that drew attention to the greenery of Central Park.
Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat and Wheat Field with Cypresses are in this museum too. In another area, there was a special provisional exhibition, Van Gogh: Irises and Roses, which showcased some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in beautiful, contrasting colors and with his signature brushstrokes. There was also a ‘China through the looking glass’ exhibition which explored Chinese influences on Western Fashion. Dresses by well-known designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior were on display.
From classic, symmetrical arches at the MET to a helicopter inside MOMA – Since we really wanted to see Vincent van Gogh’s most famous masterpiece, The Starry Night, we visited The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Like other onlookers, I was mesmerized, and I’m at a loss for adjectives to describe how special it is.
Other inspiring works of art we had the pleasure of admiring were Pablo Picasso’s Three Musicians, Girl Before A Mirror, Woman with Pears and the sculpture, Woman’s Head. Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy and Rene Magritte’s The False Mirror, resembling a huge eye that makes the viewer feel like they are simultaneously seeing and being seen, were absolutely remarkable as well.
Teatime one evening saw us at Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center where we enjoyed a fine-looking fruit tart.
Columbus Circle provided pretty decent views. The sensational skyscraper (right photo above) that looks like hues of the blue sky is One57, a luxurious residential tower further beautifying the skyline.
One evening, we feasted on fantastic Mexican food at Sinigual. The Mojito and Margarita happy hours sure didn’t hurt! I loved the soft tacos, which came in a variety of short rib, prawn and chicken. The fish tacos were tasty too.
I recall another excellent dinner at Marea (holds two Michelin stars) which serves fine Italian fare, leaning towards seafood dishes and hand-made pasta.
On our last night, we took a walk past the Empire State building, which was lit up in Indian flag colors in honor of the Indian Independence Day (August 15th). After a quick pizza stop, we strolled further to catch a glimpse of the quirky looking Flatiron Building.
Since you’ve made it to the end, here’s a little clip to get you in an “Empire State of Mind” – Could only resist the urge to sing along to Alicia Keys’ famous song for so long. Let’s hear it for New York!
I loved New York’s vibes, and left the city with great memories and a yearning to return.
Do you love New York City? If you haven’t been, would you like to visit the Big Apple?