The melting pot of humanity, the global centre of finance, business, politics, fashion and just about everything else. New York City is one amazing place and should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit and spend a few brief days exploring the Big Apple with Craig one of Bunnik Tours most experienced product co-ordinators (he has lived in America for 10 years, thus a very handy companion to have while travelling around America).
We joined a hop-on hop-off bus tour that looped around lower Manhattan and allows you to see the sights and get off as you please.
After heading down Broadway, passing Macy’s and driving through SoHo, we reached our first destination, the newly opened September 11 Memorial.
September 11 Memorial
The September 11 Memorial sits on a 16 acre site of beautiful gardens and its centre piece are two massive reflecting pools that sit within the footprints of where the original Twin Towers once stood. On the outside ledge of each reflecting pool the names of each person that died are inscribed on bronze panels.
Next to the reflecting pools, they are building the Freedom Tower, which once completed will be the highest building in the city. They expect that the September 11 Memorial will be the most visited site in New York City.
Statue of Liberty
From the September 11 Memorial we walked 10 minutes to the southern tip of Manhattan Island, through Battery Park to the marina to catch the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty was gifted to America by the French back in 1886 as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.
We continued our journey up the Eastside, past the United Nations, Rockefeller Centre and the luxury shops of Fifth Avenue to Central Park. Here we enlisted the help of a local pedicab driver to give us a tour of Central Park. Central Park is one of the largest inner city parks in the world and attracts over 35 million visitors each year. We were visiting on a Sunday so it seemed that every person in the city was sunbaking, jogging, bike riding or enjoying the great outdoors in Central Park, it was packed. We did feel a little lazy as the poor pedicab driver had to cart Craig and me up a few hills on our tour, but this feeling soon passed as we got fixated on the many sites in the park. Central Park is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, have a picnic lunch or just go for a walk, a good change of pace.
Time Square is the heart of the city, especially at night when it is lit up like a Christmas tree. The shops and restaurants never seem to close and the buildings are all covered in large neon light billboards that light up the square as if it was daytime. We visited on a Monday night and it was so busy, mainly tourists enjoying the city. It was a real buzz and highlight of our visit to this wonderful city.
Some interesting facts about New York City
• New York City was founded, like Bunnik Tours, by the Dutch. They sold it for approx. $24 to the local Indians for food and trinkets, not the Dutch’s finest moments.
• 25% of the world’s gold bullion is located in banks in the city
• New York City attracts over 46 million visitors a year
• 4.9 million people ride the subway each day
• 36% of the city’s population was born overseas, making it one of the most ethnically-diverse cities in the world
• Over 250 feature films are shot on location each year in New York City
• New York City has over 18,000 restaurants, including 4,000 street food venders
• Since 2005 New York City has the lowest crime rate of any of the 25 largest cities in America