Back and recovered from the trip to New York City of last week. I think there is no better way to enjoy some days off than travelling to some unknown place and enjoy the sun walking from dawn to dusk.
New York was not an exception. Furthermore, when you get to NYC for the first time, you can only wonder “Am I really here?”. Because everything is really familiar to you, but not real. You have seen it in all kind of movies, TV series, documentaries, etc. There is not a big gap between your expectations and what you get. It’s a trip to realize that everything we see in the movies… is inspired in a real place, and you are there: New York.
It is said that the World’s capitals are London, Tokyo and New York, and this latter was still missing in my list. After having visited all three of them, I think Tokyo and New York are at a different level in terms of size and dynamism, although the fact that Tokyo is in Japan provided some quiet experiences even in the city centre that I did not manage to see in Manhattan.
New York’s transport is great… if we exclude weekends for the evaluation (they do construction works every single weekend and it is a small mess). I think this is mainly a result of a decision back in 1811, when they decided to define a perfect grid for the island. The result is that lines are straight: either north-south, or east-west, and it is very easy to orientate in the city with the streets having numbers instead of names: really practical, isn’t it? There is a big flaw in the subway: you have no indication of when next train is coming (and which one is it): a bit confusing.
Food is no surprise either. American culture and cuisine has been successfully exported to the rest of the world. We all know burgers, pizzas (we know them through the Americans), bacon and pancakes… Well, that’s it. Not really healthy, but trust me, the burgers are awesome over there.
Going to New York, you must also make sure you attend a couple of events and places. If you are into art (not my case), you should not miss MoMA and Metropolitan (very similar to British Museum), but there are some other “musts”.
A basketball match at Madison Square Garden is a great experience. If you are lucky, go for a Knicks match. We could not as the season was over at NBA, but we went for a WNBA’s New York Liberty match: 13,000 people and a lot of fun. Another recommendation is the Gospel service on Sunday in Harlem: a different approach to what we know over here, with people singing and with some visual aids (videos, presentations, karaoke)… And, of course, Central Park: a huge park in the middle of Manhattan to (try to) disconnect from the urban landscape without leaving the city. Just like Retiro in Madrid or Englischer Garten in Munich.