New York

Everything is so huge in the US: a regular fridge must be capable of fitting in a mammoth, and a tower must contain no less than a hundred stories. Comparing to the 3-story, compact Zurich which only accommodates 400 thousand people, where 50 years old trees grow in the most central streets, New York turned out a huge contrast. By the end of the first day my neck started to hurt from constantly rotating it to look at the skyscrapers!

Manhattan never sleeps! At any time of the day something is happening here: the lights shine, the music plays, people in cars are going somewhere for some reason. Showrooms, clubs and bars are always eager to invite customers all night long. Seeking peace and quiet shall not come here: this city is for those always ready to party, and not anyone can bear its crazy rhythm.

Some people, apparently, fail to bear with it, and there are even stores made especially for them:

I can give one advice to travelers going to visit New York: do not come if you are looking to have rest cheaply. You will manage to neither have rest nor do it cheaply! Of course, one can always save some money:  stay in budget housing somewhere far from anything interesting, buy food in supermarkets and in the street, carefully pick the cheapest sights to visit. But in my opinion, New York does not fit this type of vacation, and counting money should not be a part of a trip here!

So, you are ready to spend loads of money. What do you get in return? One thing is a cruise to the Statue of Liberty for half a day:

If you care enough, you can get to the crown. But this must be booked far far in advance: three months before the trip there were no spots left anymore!

Among other things you can get for cash is the view from the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere. This one:

The 100th floor has a restaurant where you can dine with the view of the sunset over Upper Manhattan and Jersey (advance booking recommended):

Apart from the Freedom Tower, you can go to numerous smaller skyscrapers which will give you a view to this tower, for example, the famous Empire State Building and the less famous Rockefeller Center. The latter is very boring by itself but has a wonderful open air viewing platform from which one can see the Empire State, and the Freedom Tower, and the Central Park.

Money can also give you a Broadway show. We were too cheap to go there and now there is a feeling that we missed something. Don’t be like us, don’t be cheap!

On the other hand, we were willing to pay for a helicopter tour! 20 minutes over the Hudson river between Jersey and Manhattan cost quite an amount, but the impressions are a definite match to the price! This is best planned for the last evening before departing to see all those towers and the Statue of Liberty at once:

A tour to UN was more interesting than expected. Here is the room where Russia always vetoes =)

The tour was very emotional, especially the exhibition about weapons of mass destruction and the Declaration of the Human Rights which is currently not fully implemented in any country. It feels good that at least there are people who understand the importance of these issues.

At the point when your bank account becomes noticeably thinner (do not forget the minimal tip in the restaurants), it is time to draw your attention to free attractions. Have a walk down Wall Street:

Get inspired by the diversity of architectural styles:

Once again confirm that the US is not a train country, since the main train station in the main city of the country looks like this:

Check out parks which are not really numerous in New York: have a cup of iced tea in Bryant Park (if you manage to find an empty spot):

Walk along High Line Park built on the old railway:

And finally, take a break from the big city in the Central Park:

 

A fly in the ointment

New York is definitely a unique place and a must see for anyone. I understand the people who are crazy about this city and dream of living here. On the other hand, I know it would be a nightmare to live here to me, and here is why.

First of all, there is no nature. The Central Park is amazing but even on a Wednesday afternoon it was crowded: I do not even want to imagine how it is on a weekend. And you have seen a picture from another popular park – Bryant Park. Street trees are almost non-existent, and the air is dry and smells like gasoline.

Secondly, it is loud. Noise comes from the cars, from the people, from the music. Even if you climb the tallest tower you will not find any quiet: thousands of air conditioners create a steady hum which is only louder above the buildings where there are no obstacles for it to spread.

Thirdly, it is dirty. A lot of trash is lying around in the streets, and there is a pile of full trash bugs at every street corner.

Fourthly, it feels awesome to see the skyscrapers for the first time, but they can also stress you out mentally. On the fourth day I really wanted to go home, to my mountains, forests, and my garden with a palm tree. Imagine you see a building and think to yourself: “Oh, this one is small” – only to realize this “small building” has 20+ stories:

And… how would you like to see this out of your window every day?

Well, I had to complain about something, as always =) New York is awesome, but go not forget to take your money when coming here and regret nothing =)

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