Friday, November 23, 2007

New York City, USA

NYC New York

It is said that Americans love New York so much that they name the city and state twice - New York, New York or so says one of the many travel shows I remember watching during the 20+ hour the flight from Melbourne to New York.

I can’t quite remember the name of the show, but a little bit of googling later I found out that the famous New York, New York phrase was actually coined from a song by singer, song writer, composer Gerard Kenny who was born and raised in New York. So good, they named it twice. And they’re right about that. I love New York!

We only spent 4.5 days in New York, but in the short time that we were there, we managed to cover a fair bit of New York. Amongst the places that we visited were: Central Park, 5th Avenue and walked from Brooklyn Bridge all the way to (the wrong side of) the former World Trade Centre site to pay our respects. We also made a side trip to do some shopping at Woodbury Common Premium Shopping, walked the streets of SoHo, Times Square and did some last minute shopping at Macy’s.

Central Park 1
Central Park
Top, Left to Right: Strawberry Fields, View from Lake, Autumn in Central Park,
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace and Tricycle rides throughout Central Park.

5th Avenue
Top, Left to Right: 5th Avenue, Atlas Statue at the Rockefeller Centre,
The Apple Store and New York City Times Square

If you ever visit New York, you must make a trip to the Empire State Building. The New York city view from the top of the Empire State Building is amazing. A friend suggested that we go in the day and at night, unfortunately, due to time constrains we only manage a visit in the night time. We still managed to get some really great shots but I so wish I had my tripod with me that day..

New York
Top, Left to Right: New York City Skyline from
Empire State Building, GE Building at the Rockefeller Centre and M&M's World

When we told our friends that we would be stopping by New York on the way to London, we received loads of suggestions from friends who had been there about places to eat, places to visit etc. Seeing that it was our first trip to New York, we decided against packing our schedule with touristy things that everyone suggested and instead took an easy approach and just went with the flow.

I did manage to tick off a few things off my “To Eat” list:
I know I know… it’s a pretty lame “To Eat” list, but I love bagels and fresh blueberry bagels with pinkish hue on the bread, not purply grey hue due to the use of frozen blueberries and I can't go past a street side hot dog that seems to make an appearance in every cop series on tv that is based in New York. ;)

I even managed to convince Alv that we should have Bagels for breakfast twice during our stay in New York, so I got my Blueberry Bagels TWICE! :D

We mostly ate on the go during our trip but we did make sure we ate a proper dinner. W took us to dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant called Celeste on Amsterdam where Alv ‘reckons’ we saw Milena Govich from Law & Order a few tables from us.

The menu suggests traditional Italian fare where the pasta sauces are primarily tomato based sauces with a rare creamy sauce on the daily special. If I remembered correctly, Alv had their mussels and tagliatelle special with a creamy tomato based sauce, W had their ribbon pasta with a ricotta and tomato sauce and I had the Penne with a classic tomato sauce and little chunks of torn fresh mozzarella. (I got suckered in by the mozzarella). One thing I did notice was that if you asked for parmesan cheese, they would bring out the knob of cheese and freshly grate it on the spot! How awesome is that! Not the stinky parmesan powder that you get at some of the restaurants in Melbourne. Eech!

Anyway, it’s an excellent little spot that is always packed with customers queuing for a table even at 9:30pm – which I’ve been told is quite standard for dinner time in New York. Service wise, it was a little rushed, almost as if they are trying to turnover as many table as they could in the hour and we did have to wait for a while for table service but other than that it was a nice meal.

That unfortunately, was pretty much the highlight of our meals in New York. On the other nights, when we were exhausted from a big day of walking, we dragged ourselves home and ordered take-out (delivered) Thai from Land Thai Kitchen and a huge medium sized pizza delivered from Caesar’s Palace pizza.

For our last dinner in New York, on W’s recommendation, we took a quick stroll in the rain to the nearby Vietnamese joint, Saigon Grill. The eatery proved quite popular with the locals too as the restaurant was packed! Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long to be seated. Saigon Grill has an extensive menu ranging from your favourite little spring roll and pork kebab appetisers to your favourite fried rice and main dishes. I can’t quite remember what we ordered, according to Alv, he thinks we shared an appetiser for one between the two of us and ordered a stir fried prawns and lemon grass pork chop for mains.

And what would travel eating be if we did not indulge in some junk food eating at McDonald's and Subway. Yep, my junk food junkie boy even wanted his dose of KFC but unfortunately, we ran out of time.

To complete our eating experience in America we lunched on our last day at a little diner called the Three Star Coffee Shop. It’s a small little diner on Columbus between 86th and 87th Street in the Upper West. It’s what a diner should be, with small booths and classic diner décor – the blue (or was it red?) seats and brown/parquet walls. The menu is atypical of diner meals - burgers, salads, triple deckers, sandwiches, bagels, spaghetti, parmigiana, steaks and breakfast served all day.

For Alv’s benefit - because he loves "You've Got Mail" and "Serendipity", we were intending to try out Café Lalo and Serendipity 3 too! But unfortunately, due to renovations at Café Lalo and the lack of time, we had to give the 2 café’s a miss.

Cafe Lalo

To summarise, New York, my favourite spot would have to be Central Park. I really enjoyed the walk we had through the park. It was serene amidst the chaos of New York City and I just love seeing autumn leaving its touch throughout the park.

Central Park 2

I also really enjoyed our walk from Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. It was just unfortunate that the day we chose to visit the Brooklyn Bridge was a rainy and over cast day, hence our terrible photos. Before getting there, I had this image of Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, with the orange blue sky in the background but alas, all I have to show is grossly grey skies which I turned into black and whites to suppress the gloominess of the entire experience. : (

Clockwise: Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge & Staten Island Ferry
Top, Left to Right: Manhattan Bridge, Staten Island Ferry and Brooklyn Bridge.

All in all, New York’s fantastic, we’ll definitely be back again next time for a better view of the Brooklyn Bridge if not just for the shopping!! :)

Halloween and M&Ms
Top, Left to Right: Remnants of Halloween and M&M's! all 10,000 different colours of them!

Ed: OH! and I think we saw Seal at B&H. Could be wrong. But if it was him, we were only about 1m away!


Anh said...

I really enjoyed all your traveling post! Keep on showing us your experience oversea. :D

Julia said...

What a stunning pictorial post! The photos are amazing and I'm salivating along with each line. I *heart* NY too!

Tartelette said...

Great pictures! Thanks for the virtual trip!

thanh7580 said...

Thanks for the tour indeed. Those photos are magnificent and everyone captures the essence of that place.

I have a "To Eat" list when I visit new places too. How food centric are we? Oh well, everyone has things they enjoy.

Please post more about your trip.

Squishy said...

It is the most amazing place to visit. When I went I had an overwhelming urge to stay and never come back. It stays in your heart and memories forever. We are going back there next year. I can't wait. Your photos are excellent.

ilingc said...

Dear Anh, Julia, Helen, Thanh and Squishy,
Thanks for the lovely comments. I'm glad you all enjoyed my little post on New York. I will try my best to share with you the stories from my travels whilst I'm in Europe. :)

Jeanne said...

Great post and stunning pics! I've been yearning to return to New York lately - even though I've been twice there are loads of things I still want to do. I was there about 13 months ago and we just missed the Fall colours in Central Park - a little too early. Isn't the Empire State Building something else? I was only there by day - next time will have to be a nighttime visit. And what a pity about your grey weather for the Brooklyn Bridge! I think we've all been spoilt by the posters of our teenage years where there was always a perfect sunset behind the bridge ;-)