So I went yesterday with my pal to NYC to get his OCI card.. Yes, you can consider this a continuation of my frustration of not being able to get my OCI..
AM(that’s my pal and me.. since we both have the same initials we are commonly referred to as AM squared) met in NYC Penn station and prepared for our day long adventure. Of course since I’m now a tourist in NYC and a newbie to NYC Penn Station, I immediately got lost as I exited to the promenade level.. Everything has changed since the time when I commuted to NYC for 10 years. Now I’m just a displaced New Yorker calls the suburbs of Central New Jersey home.
The renovations in NY Penn station are remarkable. Amtrak, NJ Transit are separated and of course, I didn’t know this so I gave the other the wrong location to meet. Fortunately he ignored my advice and showed up in the right place (the aforementioned wrong place! – Get it?)
Now what is the best way to see New York? By the transit system of course! Below are some tips to making your trip to NYC a memorable one…
- Buy a one day “fun pass” Metrocard (currently $8.25) and you can take the MTA buses and trains to your hearts content. You can buy this at any subway station! This card is your passport to adventure in NYC! You are guaranteed to meet all kinds of interesting characters on the mass transit system of NYC. So both your transportation and entertainment are covered by this metrocard.
- What’s the only “FREE” thing in NYC that is a tourist hot spot? The Staten Island Ferry. This ferry runs every 1/2 hour and gives you an excellent view of the Statue of Liberty as it goes from Manhattan to Staten Island. This is a must if you visit NYC.
- Went uptown first via the “E” and got out on 5th ave and 53rd St. Coincidentally this was where I worked on my last job in NYC! This is 666 Fifth Avenue! Here is where your walking tour uptown starts. You hit Fifth Avenue and head Uptown past Trump Tower, Tiffany’s and the other amazing stores on Fifth Avenue. Make sure you watch the cabs, as you don’t want to be a casualty of the taxi’s as they speed across the intersections.
- Stop at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue and 60th street and you have found Nirvana. It’s not called the “happiest place on earth” for nothing. When u enter this huge store.. you just want to open your wallet and say “I’ll take this and this, this.. ” I cam ooh soo close to buying the new Apple Laptop called “MacBook Air“. It’s a good thing I resisted. For Now..
- Once we finished our Indian Consulate Experience (I’ll leave that experience for our guest blogger AM when he sees this posting), we went downtown to Ground Zero with the “R” train. This is the first time I’ve been here since 911 and my heart was very heavy as I saw the construction taking place where the twin towers once were. “Never Forget”.. This was the same place I commuted from when I used to work for a few years downtown! Now it’s just a construction site as NYC rebuilds at Ground Zero.
- We then walked downtown to the Staten Island Ferry for our Free ride to Staten Island. BTW, the Staten Island Ferry is truly a nice ride and you don’t have to wait hours and hours to get to Ellis Island to see Lady Liberty. As you pass the Statue Of Liberty, you take your pictures and then go back inside.. where it’s nice and warm! You go to Staten Island and come back to NYC on the next ferry Launch!
- Food in NYC is the best! You have your pick of the carts on the streets, fast food, ethnic food or my new fav.. Chipotle! Mexican Fast food like Subway (Eat Fresh!)
- Get back on the train and get off at either Canal St (China Town and Little Italy), or at west 4th, or Union Square.. If you are truly ambitious, start walking uptown on Broadway and you can go past City Hall (the office of the Mayor of NYC)!
- Since I’m not inclined to walk 40 or more blocks, we took the train to Union Square and did some strolling in the outdoor market where little kids were being paraded by their teachers for their annual Halloween walk and the artisans and other vendors were selling their caricatures as well as their fresh fruits and vegetables.
- When we were relaxing on the steps at Union Square park, we even got a job offer to make $15k per hour by a young man who was keen on getting us our next job!
- Back on the train we went to the Center of the world — Times Square.. Now the bright lights of Times Square and the stores will absolutely give you a thrill. There is a reason that they call this the center of the civilized world. To sit in Times Square you see the bright lights of Broadway and the intersection of Broadway and 7th avenue as the intersection of all things and absolutely the midtown attraction of NYC. Walk a few block a few blocks and you have Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center which are just off 6th Avenue.
- Tip for travel on trains: If you miss a train., just wait, another one will come in a few minutes. Be careful that you don’t get on Express trains (#4, #5) if you want to make all stops uptown/downtown.
- When in Times Square, buy yourself a coffee from any one of the Starbucks that line Broadway and just sit in the pedestrian mall that has become the staple of the Times Square area. Nothing like it in the world to have a cup of hot coffee and sit in the center of Times Square!
- If you want to see a broadway show, go to the TKTS booth and get discounted broadway tickets.
- If you want to know why NYC is the city that never sleeps, spend a few minutes in Times Square and you will see why!
- If you don’t want to travel by train, you can get on any Bus going North/South or East/West. This is the only way to tour NYC either by bus or by train!
- If you have the chance, make sure you stroll in Central Park or take a ride on the Hansom horse driven cabs that line Central Park.. Now you are living the high life!
What I realized from my day in NYC is that NY never leaves your system, even if you don’t live there anymore, it just lies dormant till your next visit. I noticed that as I walked up and down the streets of NYC, my attitude was reverting back to my NY way of thinking. Nobody has the right of way during rush hour (especially in Penn Station!). If you are walking against the pedestrian flow, you better be careful not to get pushed to the side!
I realized yesterday that I really miss the fast paced life of NYC and to visit NYC at least once every few months is the answer to really living and enjoying life!
Now that the holiday season is on us, you MUST visit NYC to see the lights on Broadway and the decoration on Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center. If you go in the early evening hours, this is when NYC comes to life and you will see the spectacular effects of Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Fifth and Sixth Avenue! Of course you can’t forget Herald Square, the Empire State Building. I guess to in order to really see NYC, you have to see it as a native.. on foot!