Have you ever wondered why New York is also known as the Big Apple?
According to our guide, it was said that New York used to be a great orchard. However, another saying goes, there were many “apples” or race courses in and around New York. Jockeys who wanted to race there often referred New York as “the Big Apple” or the mother of all race courses.
Whatever the real deal, we love New York! There is just so much life and energy in New York wherever you go! Needless to say, there are also many things to do and attractions here and we will go through with you what we have enjoyed at the Big Apple!
The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building often leaves a certain stature in your mind at the mention of it. It could be because King Kong somehow managed to get on top of it or because it is the meeting place of many many Hollywood screen couples (think Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember).
There are 2 observatories on the ESB, the 86th Story (Outdoor,320 metres) and the 102nd (Indoor,370 metres). Kate and I visited the ESB at about 11pm this evening (opens till 2am with the last lift up at 1:15am). Tickets costs about 20USD for adults and the queue can take quite a while. We waited for about half and hour that evening before we arrived at the observatory.
It was really nice and cooling at night. Though it is a little difficult to see all round at night, we were able to spot a few iconic places in New York…
Aircraft Carrier – USS Intrepid
The next morning, we arrived early at the USS Intrepid to set our feet on the air craft carrier. It was the first time we’ve ever been onboard an air craft carrier. The feeling was just fantastic. To top things off it includes entry to Growler submarine which was our first time onboard a submarine as well!
The Growler submarine was located at the entrance and since there was not much of a crowd we decided to head over first. Inside, we experienced the cramped spaces that the sailors had to endure onboard a submarine…
The Intrepid itself was a huge ship! We didnt even manage to go through the entire craft of exhibits!
It is definitely worth a visit to USS Intrepid as you will get to learn about the history of Sea, Air and Space crafts as well as some lessons on the wars that the the crafts have seen. In addition, we also got to see some actual parts from the World Trade Center after 911 (Ground Zero)…
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty was completed on October 28 , 1886. Originally, we were told, that Ellis Island was where the immigrants would have to go through to enter New York by ship. When the Statue of Liberty was completed, it also meant that immigrants thereafter must have seen the same Statue as they entered US with their renewed hopes and dreams…
It is important to prepare yourselves if you want to visit the Statue of Liberty because the queue is REALLY LONG!!
Eventhough the entry to the Liberty State Park is free, you would have to pay $13USD for the ferry to take you there. There is a queue on every part of this journey! From queuing of tickets, to queuing to get onboard the ferry, to queuing to get off the ferry and queuing to get back!
But once you’re onboard, you’ll be rewarded with views of the New York City skyline as well as the Statue of Liberty herself…
Once you’re on the island, there’s actually a souvenir shop and a very nice walk all around the island and fantastic views of Manhattan as well! But of course, you’ll be awed by her majestic stature up close as well…
New York City Walk About
We took a short walk around the city and visited the following places…
We passed by Wall Street and took a photo of the Trump Building
We then had dinner at the seaport where we had a fantastic view of the Brooklyn bridge. The lobster sliders and Avocado Eggroll were delicious!
Rockefeller Centre – Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Tickets to the Top of the Rock costs $25USD per person. This time, we visited Top of the Rock in the day so that we get both night view (from ESB) and day view from Rockefeller Centre. The good thing about visiting the Top of the Rock is that from here you will be able to capture the iconic Empire State Building!
The view from the Top of the Rock was simply fantastic and indescribable. If there’s one building you have to top in NYC, it has got to be the Top of the Rock!
Warwick New York Hotel
There was a deal which Kate got online and it was actually to book a 4 star hotel in the heart of New York City. The catch was you wont know which hotel it was until you book it. However, we were both happy with the choice because for $185USD (inclusive of tax) we stayed here…
We even got to enjoy great tasting turkish food from the roadside stall downstairs. There was always a queue for their food!
There are 2 things you would need to do when you take a short visit to New Jersey…
From New Jersey, you would be able to catch the best of the New York City Skyline. Here, take your time to take in the sights and perhaps enjoy a cuppa while time (and people) pass you by…
Visiting Cake Boss is also a treat. Though you may not want to join the queue, it is always nice to wander around and see if you can catch a glimpse of the man himself…
It is definitely a must to see at least 1 broadway musical when you visit New York City. It is important to note that you are able to buy discounted tickets right in the heart of Times Square…The TKTS booth at Times Square sells tickets for performances that day. Hence it is important to be there early to get the seats that you want.
Just as we were minding our own business and staying in line to queue for our tickets, guess what happened? Justin Bieber did a flash mob appearance at the Ruby Red Stairs singing “Baby”!
He just appeared and started singing out of nowhere! Kate and I were both taken by surprise as we scrambled take a snap of him live in person. And just as sudden as he had arrived, he left as quickly as well.Before long, we were left only with screaming girls and crying fans. They actually cried!
Soon, the booths were opened and we got our tickets for $61.50USD each. We then took the opportunity to of course taste some New York Cheese cake and chocolate cake before our show…
As we left our dinner, we caught a glimpse of Times Square at night.
The city just exudes so much life and energy especially right here at Times Square. A few walks down were where we caught Mary Poppins beside this iconic McDonalds.
As we were not allowed to film or take pictures during the performance, we took a picture of the curtains before the start of the show…
The performance was absolutely captivating. The story was about a family with kids that would not behave. They of course did when Mary Poppins became their baby sitter. There were some real magic and flying around the theater that kept the audience thoroughly glued to the show. The singing by the lead was also unbelievably beautiful. Overall it was a great show for a great night in NYC
Walk about NYC 2
With some spare time in NYC, we went to the central park…
We then searched for the Serendipity Cafe that was featured in the Romantic Comedy of the same name – Serendipity.
We also visited another movie venue in NYC, FAO Schwarz Toys – Home of the Legendary Toy Company!
It was here where Tom Hanks did the dance at the Big Piano in the movie “Big”
The staff at the Big Piano was answered almost immediately when I asked “Is this…” (didnt manage to complete “the piano from the movie?”) when he replied “Yes, and there will be professional dancers here 3 times a week to perform the actual dance from the movie”. Think he must be so used to guests/visitors asking the same question over and over again.
The Big Apple definitely lives up to its name and is probably one of the most Cosmopolitan city in the world. The energy and vibes it exuberates even in the wee hours of the night makes a city that truly never sleeps.
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