Playing “tourist” in New York City… part 1

Empire State and downtown
Looking downtown at the Empire State Building from the Top of the Rock

Working in New York City every day, it’s easy to take this city for granted. It took a friend coming to town from Florida to make me take some time to stop and enjoy one of the greatest cities in the world. When you’re going in to the city for work, you don’t make time to do the touristy stuff or see the sites. But boy did we ever see the sites last week. We walked all over Manhattan, over to Brooklyn and up to the Bronx for a couple of Yankees games.

The first night of his trip we started with a NJ tradition. I took him to the diner on the way home from the airport where we had breakfast for dinner and disco fries, just because. The next day I brought him with me to work and gave him some pointers of things to do in the area while I went to a couple of meetings that I couldn’t get out of, then the fun started.

First stop was lunch, I tried to get him some Calexico cart food but it doesn’t look like they still have a cart. Sad days for those of us in SoHo who used to enjoy their tacos and burritos. Since the cart was no where to be found, I brought us to another NYC foodie haven, Shake Shack!

Shake Shack
Shake Shack's original location in Madison Square park

Stopping at Shake Shack put us by one of the most photographed buildings in Manhattan, the Flatiron building. My friend is even more of a photo bug than I am so many of the stops that week were for photo ops.

Flatiron Building
Flatiron Building from Madison Square

From the Flatiron building we headed uptown to Times Square. My inner New Yorker struggles with Times Square. I remember when it was a chaos of cabbies, rickshaws, camera blindered tourists and commuters. What it’s become now is a huge pedestrian center with the cabbies turned away and chairs for the tourists.

Times Square
Times Square featuring the 2011 new year's eve "ball" on top

I didn’t realize they leave the ball up year round, I’m not sure if that’s always been the case or if it’s changed recently. I will never go to watch the ball in person from the street. The only way I’d go is from one of the hotels that have a view, so this is the closest I’ve ever been to the actual ball itself.

The next stop was up to Rockefeller Center to another one of NYC’s famous landmarks, Radio City Music Hall. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to several concerts here, and of course see the Rockettes, but that day we just walked around the outside.

Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall

When talking to my friend before he came up to visit, he wanted to go up on top of one of the tall buildings. He said something about the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building but personally I like the Top of the Rock better. I don’t think tourists can go to the top of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building is always packed. The view from 30 Rock is almost as high up as Empire, with none of the crowds.

Empire State
Looking downtown at the Empire State Building and Manhattan from the Top of the Rock

From the ground, it looked like we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the top, but they assured us when we bought our tickets that we would have full visibility of Manhattan, and we did, as long as you don’t mind some haze. 30 Rock also puts you 15 blocks closer to Central Park. I also took a cool panoramic shot of the skyline.

Top of the Rock! Looking uptown
Top of the Rock! Looking uptown at Central Park

From the Top of the Rock, we walked up to the New York Public Library…

NY Public Library
NY Public Library

…also known as the library with the lions in front featured in Ghostbusters.

NY Public Library Lions
NY Public Library Lions

Our plans had us ending up at Yankee Stadium so I lead us over to Grand Central Station next. On the way, the sky cleared up and we got great shots of 30 Rock. Hard to imagine this was only about an hour after the pictures above from the Top of the Rock.

30 Rock from the ground
30 Rock from the ground

And of the Chrysler Building…

Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building

I wanted to bring my friend in Grand Central for two reasons, obviously we could get to the game from there via the 4 train but it’s also an amazing building. I love the iron and glass walls of windows in the main terminal.

Main Terminal Windows
Grand Central Station, Main Terminal Windows

The ceiling in the main terminal is also breathtaking. The constellations have been painted on a blue green night sky. The only disappointment was that we didn’t see any flash mobs… but we weren’t there at 12:30 like the commercial implies so I guess that’s the price we pay.

Main Terminal at Grand Central
Main Terminal at Grand Central

Last stop for the day was the stadium. Was a gorgeous day for baseball and the Yankees won (that night) so was a perfect ending to a great day.

Yankee Stadium

The next day we headed to the World Trade Center, down the river to Battery Park, up through the financial district and over the Brooklyn Bridge, but I’ll get in to that in part 2.

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  1. Pingback: Photo Stash of the Day: 30 Rockefeller Center | Knits, Bits & Pics

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