There are over eight million people living in NYC, saturated with nameless faces and countless places to experience it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and lonely in the crowd. The city, a hub of activity gives as much as it takes. Getting ‘lost’ is easy, which is why getting ‘lost’ in the right direction is so necessary.
I found that there are ‘Golden Hours’ in NY, funnily, they all involve the sun, and transpired to be the highlight activities of our 7 day trip. But this was no accident, Mr Lost and Found Traveller and I, are seasoned travellers and deliberately found a way to savour our own unique piece of the city, which all too often demands sharing… here’s how we did it, (so you can too).
BROOKLYN BRIDGE- You’re in the City that Never Sleeps… so don’t sleep… rise early and be the first at the Brooklyn Bridge.
We watched the Sun rise on our fourth day in NY. It’s golden hue warming the cold concrete buildings of Manhattan. The city is bathed in gradient shades of orange, the light is the kind of filtered light that makes a 50 year old woman no longer need botox and an 18 year old discard the use of concealer in the morning. Everyone and everything is simply beautiful. From the bridge we had the best vantage point over both Brooklyn (very different in atmosphere than Manhattan), The Hudson River and The Manhattan Skyline. I’m trying to find the words for moments that leave you speechless. You see my conundrum?!
THE TOP OF THE ROCK….the early bird catches the worm, or in our case, prime position front of the queue.
7:50am for an 8am opening, my Aussie footprint staked it’s claim at the front of the queue. Tickets pre-purchased weeks in advance ( I recommend this when travelling as time is of the essence), the doors opened. Pre-ticket purchasers went one way (ie: me), the not so organised, the other way. Why the emphasis on early and first in line, and pre-purchased tickets etc? Because both The Top of the Rock and Brooklyn Bridge were the 2 mental pictures that motivated to visit NY. For years I had imagined myself in that moment, like countless others, it seemed dreamy then, I wanted it to be dreamy now. The morning spent here was yet another highlight. It was early, I shared the open air viewing platform with very few others. We were all in our own bubble. I surveyed the city from every angle, as far as the eye could see. The world below and all I could think was so many voices with so many untold stories. This city really is the people. And then some. I could tell you about the brilliant blue sky, the Mills and Boon breeze, and the diffused morning sunlight, but I’ll let the photos allow you to feel instead of see.
CHELSEA MARKET – This Little Piggie Went To Market
Note to self, when people tell you, “ Go. To Chelsea. Market!” Just Go! It was always on the itinerary but as the days blurred into nights, blurred into mornings, and into more nights this hotspot carried over into the next day’s “to-do-list”. But, on the second last day before flying home, with 90 minutes before the venue closed they close at 9pm), we finally arrived. Here’s to NY for serving me the best pizza of my life. Here’s to NY for noteworthy crepes, doughnuts, ice-cream…you hungry yet? Chelsea Market is a must do foodie mecca serving an array of fresh and quality food in an uber cool, industrial style warehouse. The best part, as night falls, the crowds clear but the food is still hot fresh and in abundance.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Brooklyn looks and feels distinctly different than Manhattan. We spent a morning after watching the sun rise over Brookyln Bridge, we then explored Pier 1. The spaces are open and expansive, with seemly few bodies to share it with. Across the East River views of the city skyline are a unique and lovely perspective. This was a morning where we relaxed the itinerary, having found that ‘sweet spot’ and chose to linger longer. The River Café (I can’t believe I’m sharing this) offers stunning views whilst dining, and we promised ourselves if we ever returned we’d make time to dine here.
ROOFTOPS OF NEW YORK
Sharing yet more secrets, The Refinery Roof Top and Hotel is a three years young establishment and is already winning prestigious industry awards for NY City’s best rooftop and bar. Deterred by the consistently large crowd and the 4pm queue’s waiting to enter, our rooftop attempts were often a hit and miss affair. But we got luck at 1pm on a Saturday afternoon. Just as we were about to check out of the hotel on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to make one last elevator dash upstairs to see if the rooftop was still ‘busy’… the rest is a midday mojito love story. We had the place pretty much to ourselves. I have no idea where the NY crowds went on this Saturday and Sunday, but I’m not complaining, as the food is outstanding, and who can complain about drinks in the midday sun, with the city enveloping you.
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
In the most unexpected of places, I found yet another highlight. I say unexpected because when I think of museums I remember many of my fossil-like history teachers who all but put me to sleep. Not so at this museum, where history comes to life. Life size Dinosaurs, stunning light filled rooms, with soaring ceilings and creatures suspended from them. Level upon level of enlightening entertainment for young and old, yes you guessed it, go to this. We visited 2 hours before closing and whilst it was extremely rushed and we didn’t get to see it all, the crowds were minimal and the experience more enjoyable.
NB:// There are several other noteworthy things to do in New York City, not mentioned above. Yes, we went to a Broadway Show, saw a concert, enjoyed Central Park, spent time in Soho everyday, walked the High Line, visited Staten Island and saw the Statue of Liberty. Those were all enjoyable in their own right, but the six highlights listed above were all stand outs because of the following combination: time of day we chose, the entertainment factor, ease of accessibility, cost, and that unquantifiable essence of magic, all in the mix. These left us feeling just WOW. I hope it does for you too, remember though, in this case let the Sun be your guide. With Sunrise and Sunset, the crowds clear and you have your own little piece of New York City.