NYC - Day 4 & 5 Recap
Top of the Rock
I purchased my tickets the night before online, and my ambitious self decided I was going to make it an early morning and get tickets for one of the first slots available. Luckily, I managed to check in literally one minute before my time slot. Thank goodness I splurged on a hotel in midtown.
You first show your digital ticket to the greeter at the doors outside, and then you enter the building and go up a flight of stairs to then show your ticket to another employee who points you in the direction of security. Nothing like TSA, but you still need to go through a metal detector and let them check your bag.
Afterwards, you line up around a green screen, which is complete with a bench for you to sit on so that you can replicate the infamous photo of the workmen having lunch on a beam back in the early 1900’s when the Rockefeller building was being constructed. I was the guinea pig and was first to go, so they had me pose for two photos: one just sitting and smiling at the camera, and they had me act like I was falling for the second one. These photos were available for view and purchase at the top (yes, I bought one).
After the photoshoot, you then step over into a little theater that briefs you in on the history of the building - in just a minute or two they then escorted us to the elevators, which blast you up to the 67th floor in about 40 seconds. Remember to look up! The ceiling panels are clear so you can watch the floors fly by if you can stomach having your head tilted up while in motion.
Once you arrive, you are free to explore the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of the Rockefeller. There’s a couple gift shops, indoor viewing areas, and balconies and rooftops for you to take all the photos you can. Escalators and stairs get you between the floors, and getting on the elevator takes you back to the bottom, where you won’t be able to come back without another ticket.
I spent only about 45 minutes looking around and taking photos, but you could definitely spend longer up there just staring out at the sea of buildings and taking in a full 360 view of New York City.
It was a cold day with off and on drizzle, so I didn’t cross the entire bridge like I had planned. I started on the Manhattan side, making my way up the ramp, past all the street vendors selling little trinkets and snacks and umbrellas. The ramp itself was fairly long, and it was maybe a quarter mile walk uphill in order to get to anything remotely photogenic.
The pathway is clearly divided for foot traffic and bicycles, but unfortunately tourists and visitors there for photos paid no attention to the paint and clear signage demanding pedestrians keep to one side. And a few bicyclists passing by understandably shouted profanities as their paths were obstructed by oblivious tourists.
Staten Island Ferry
I wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty, so I had heard that I could get a decent view for free by riding the Staten Island ferry. At some point I’d like to go back and perhaps challenge myself to climbing the stairs inside the statue, or at least pay to get closer, but the ferry was perfect for the little time I had to explore the area.
I made it to Battery Park, and the ferry terminal was just a few minutes walk away. Not having to worry about tickets, I walked straight in and up to the loading gates which was just about ready to load passengers on the ferry. It’s a foot-only ferry, so no need to worry about vehicles or bicycle traffic on this one. Heading to Staten Island, you’ll want to be on the New Jersey side of the boat for views of the Statue of Liberty, and if you don’t know which side is New Jersey, you can either look at the map of the boat posted around doorways, or just follow the people - most will head to one side of the boat.
I went straight outside and found a prime spot on the balcony for views of the statue. In a matter of minutes, we were off. You can actually see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance, and it doesn’t take long to get close enough to start snapping photos.
The ride itself is about 30 minutes, and all passengers must deboard, even the ones planning on making a U-turn and going back to Manhattan. If you’re quick, you can actually rush off the ferry and onto another one and not have to wait at the terminal. I didn’t make it off the boat in time, so I had about 30 minutes to kill before the next departure, which gave me enough time to grab a coffee and pretzel.
Then our ferry was ready, and we headed back to Manhattan. I stayed inside this time, but you can go back out onto the balcony again (New Jersey side) for round 2 of the Statue of Liberty.
World Trade Center
My last stop of the day was the World Trade Center. The subway station I got off at (I honestly don’t remember the station) led me to an underground shopping mall that was almost impossible to exit. I did a couple loops, one exit leading me to another train system for New Jersey, another exit requiring tickets to the One World Observatory, and finally it felt like forever before I found my way to ground level and outside again.
Once outside, I had to subtly pull out my Google Maps and orient myself, and managed to turn a 5-minute walk into a 15-minute one. But I made it to my destination and was lucky enough to even get some rain! (That was sarcastic, by the way).
I decided not to visit the museum or observatory as I was starting to get pretty tired and my bag was starting to get heavy, so I made a mental note to add those to my “New York: Round 2” list of things to do and made my way back to the subway station to go back to the hotel.
My last day in New York City! It was really only a half-day, as I needed to be back at my hotel for my ride to the airport at around 1:30. The day before I saw that there was a holiday market at the central circle in Central Park, called The Great Lawn, so I hopped on the subway and got off near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I walked over to where the holiday market was located, and couldn’t find it. So I pulled up the information on my phone and saw that the holiday market was only there the day before, and this day they had moved to Columbus Circle, which was on the southwest corner of Central Park, a little under two miles away from where I was standing. So, I started walking.
I kept passing vendors with signs saying “HOT NUTS” and finally decided to try some. They had a variety of nuts, from peanuts to cashews to almonds, so I went with my favorite: almonds; and for $4 you get a little bag of warm candy coated almonds. They were yummy!
I made my way through the park, stopping here and there to look around and take photos, and finally found the market, which was the busiest one out of the three I visited that week. Each of the markets had different vendors, so there was a lot of variety in the shops and items, and I also managed to pick up a Nathan’s hot dog as well as a giant ginger snap cookie as my breakfast.
Afterwards, I decided to walk further south towards Times Square, which let me explore more, get some more steps in since I had a 6-hour flight that afternoon, and also got me to a subway line that wouldn’t require a transfer to get back to my hotel.
With a little bit of time to spare, I grabbed a party pack of New York’s famous black and white cookies from Ess-a-Bagel, and spent my last few minutes on the rooftop of my hotel before my ride came. We drove through Queens and Brooklyn to get to the airport, and then I was on my way home.
I absolutely loved my time in New York City, and have decided that I want to do everything I can to try to move there. It’s definitely a place I’d like to spend a longer period of time in to just explore and really get to live the city life with some of the friendliest locals I’ve met! You don’t get that kind of vibe in Seattle!