New York – A tale to be told
September 20, 2020
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New York – the vibrant city
|My last trip to Nasa was in 2015. Since then, changes have happened in my life. I got married. I was planning to travel to India after my marriage. All my family members were eagerly waiting for my home-coming trip. However, almost at the last moment – I had to cancel this trip due to some urgent project delivery. Initially, I was somber. I quickly turned that to a new grand travel plan. I decided to invite my elder sister & brother-in-law later that year in the US.
This trip led to lots of excitement for us as we all were eagerly waiting for it.
|As planned, we left for the airport by 10 AM local time after our breakfast & we reached within one and a half hours. Security check-in took an additional hour. By 12:30 PM local time, we were good to go. Our flight departure time was 3 PM local time. So, we had some time before we start our boarding.
Meanwhile, my sister completed their first leg of the journey & they reached Dubai Airport & was waiting to catch the next flight to the US. So, we had a brief video call regarding our current progress. And that charged us a lot for this trip even more. After that short, exciting video call, we went for lunch before we board. The boarding started within half an hour after our lunch. It would take almost 6 hours to reach New York as it was a direct flight from San Francisco.
During our flight, we had a couple of snacks & other food served to us. I watched a movie as well. Rests of the time, I went for a good tight sleep. We were also continuously monitoring New York’s temperature as severe chill warning predicted for the next two days.
We booked a suite just beside the Hudson River. I heard that the view of one particular room was terrific. During the booking, I mainly asked the hotel chain to reserve that specific room number. And I won’t repent for that. It had a breathtaking view almost from all the rooms we had. However, the center of attraction was the main drawing-cum-dinning room. It had to be the crown of that suite.
All of a sudden, I realized the empire state building in front of our eyes. And I could see more details once I took a picture of it. I also noticed highspeed trams near our building, which connected New Jersey with New York & had an excellent service reputation. Due to jetlag, we were tired & we went to the hotel restaurant & grab our dinner & slept for the day.
|The next day, our sister would arrive at New York JFK airport. It would take them about 45 minutes to reach our hotel. Before that, Arpita went to the nearest target store & bring many food supplies. She prepared some macaroni – my sister was fond of it.
However, due to their phone issue, they couldn’t directly book any Uber. And, on top of that, some miscommunication led to significant delay. Due to this, I was planning to visit the airport to receive them. Then I heard the doorbell & I opened it & they were standing exhausted. I immediately served the freshly prepared food to them, along with some fresh Darjeeling tea.
They went for a hot shower. Meanwhile, we were planning for the detailed next day trip. Both my sister & my brother-in-law were amazed by the view that this suite had offered. We decided to roam around the nearby place that evening. However, our actual journey would start from the next day.
|We planned to visit the “Statue Of Liberty” & the iconic “Times Square.” Also, we decided that we would see any other places if that was on our way. We reached our Big Bus terminal, where we would take the bus & then followed our destinations one by one. I always felt that exploring any new city through a Big Bus tour would give you many fun notes & histories by the guide you might not know.
We felt the freezing wind & immediately realized how difficult the start would be for us. At one point, we couldn’t even feel our senses. Finally, the bus came & we boarded. We found only two seats that were available in the lower deck. So, Arpita & my sister grab those seats. Since standing was not allowed, we had to move to the upper deck. I had a feeling that I went for a mission in the North pole. That experience lasted for more than half an hour. However, It forced me to think how difficult it was for all those souls who drowned when the Titanic sank during the Atlantic ocean’s coldest period. All of a sudden, I realized the bus was running fast on the Brooklyn bridge.
Finally, the stoppage arrived from where we would take the cruise to the “Statue Of Liberty.” However, that made our winter experience even worse as it was near the Atlantic Ocean. And, as per the weather forecast, we still had to spend half an hour before we would experience the more bearable average cold temperature. At that moment, Arpita had severe issues with the cold. She went to a public toilet, which had a heater system. That made the situation manageable for her. After that ordeal, we went to board the cruise. That entry hall had an excellent heater system & over there, we had to go through an airport-like security check-in. It took us almost half an hour to reach Liberty Island. By that time, the freeze alert lifted.
One thing I noticed, the beautiful & famous New York City skyline as our cruise moved farther away from the shore. It felt someone was creating live canvas in front of our very own eyes. And, we were extracting the best out of it as we spent every second during that trip.
By this time, some tourists were expressing their amaze on the left-hand side of our cruise. I looked at that side & saw the world-famous “Statue Of Liberty” – one of the seven wonders of the world.
People from across the world know that “The Statue Of Liberty” is a famous landmark in the US. However, it was a gift from France to the US.
At last, we landed on the liberty island. We had to show our online ticket & then officially entered there.
This was a pretty small island. Anyone can visit the entire Island within 40 minutes by walk. So, it was great fun. By this time, the sun came out & we felt much relieved.
Now, when I’m revisiting these pics, I couldn’t tell how difficult the starting was by merely watching it. It was a kind of experience that we never forget & cannot explain in words.
We had our lunch on the Island & spent another hour before we took the return cruise as we needed to visit the iconic “Times Square.”
I knew the temperature at night would be worse. However, due to the considerable crowd & lights, times square won’t pose that kind of problem than what we faced in the Liberty island due to the cold. It took us twenty minutes to reach that location by Big Bus. It had a unique appeal.
It was an ocean made with the crowd. You could say that this iconic place brought that entire world in a relatively tiny area. We took coffee & sandwich from the side food court & sat there for almost three hours. We observed one wave of tourists like us came & went, followed by another wave of new tourists batch. I saw the posters of the famous broadway show – “The Lion King.” However, due to a time slots mismatch – we couldn’t attend that show.
I’m sharing few memorable snaps from that evening below.
We decided to end for that day after our one of a kind experience. We book uber & reached our hotels within an hour. Arpita & my sister already prepared the food. So, we had an excellent dinner in our room. I noticed the times square bright top light from our drawing-cum-dinning room. I captured that using my telelens.
We were exhausted & decided to go to bed as we had to visit multiple places the next day.
|The next day our main target was the “Grand Central Station” & “St. Patric Church”. We might also visit the Financial Street & New York famous library. However, we would only see them from outside.
We had our breakfast & ready by 10 AM & booked our cab. Our first destination was the “Grand Central Station.” This time our cabby took us through a new tunnel, which helped us to reach the station faster than initially estimated by the app.
The cab dropped us opposite to the station. We had to cross the road.
We saw one victorian statue that was placed on top of the entrance. Just below this, the entry alley decorated with old lantern-like lights. A door followed it.
We were stunned once we opened the door. We entered this big hall-room, which had some of the fascinating chandeliers.
We entered into another giant room, which had a ticket counter, stalls & many more. The architecture & the intricate details of this room was mindblowing.
I noticed that many people were watching towards us from an upper lobby. It couldn’t take me long to find the staircase to reach that lobby.
I saw another fantastic view of the lower lobby from there. I lost my words. We decided to say “Sionara” & left for the next venue.
Our next venue was the famous “Empire State Building.” One of my childhood memories with Hollywood movies was “King Kong.” There was a battle between the army with Kong, which happened at the top of this iconic building. Kong lost the war & felt from the top of this building. So, this building had a special love & childhood nostalgia in my heart. We were not able to see the entire building from the ground once we reached there.
We entered the main reception room. We were not allowed to go to the top of the building due to the ongoing maintenance work. However, I was happy to see it closely.
Since we didn’t climb at the top, we decided to visit another famous place – “Rockefeller Center.” This time we saw 90% of the empire state building from a close view.
We reached the “Rockefeller Center.” This place used to depict wonderful Christmas in many Hollywood movies.
We spent almost an hour before we rushed to “Central Cafe” as we were starving.
When you are craving for food & you served with some delicious hot food, you won’t complain. Neither you talk. That happened with us over there. All we knew that we ate & enjoyed our food.
We started our walk after we finished our food.
This time I noticed another architecture marvels from modern times – “Chrysler Building.” It used to be the tallest building before the crown was awarded to the Empire state building.
We went further & realized we reached the famous place known as the “Walls Street,” the world’s financial hub.
We crossed the road with other tourists. And we saw a beautiful old architecture between two modern buildings. This quality of New York amazed me as it blends the new with the old.
Once we reached the crossing, we gazed at the full gravity of this place. I was super impressed by just viewing the exterior architecture. However, I was dumbfounded once I entered there.
On every inch of the wall was the classic example of human craftsmanship, dedication, aesthetics, stories & history. We were running from one side of the corner to another side to view many such intricate arts.
Even the glasses of the windows meticulously built, which depicts some stories.
We spent over two hours. We felt hungry again & also we needed to plan for a few other memorable places since we had a few additional hours in hand.
We googled it & find a place called – “Celtic Pub.” This time we ordered some fish-n-chips, cold-drinks & chilled beer. And we decided to visit the “World Trade Center One.”
After a brief rest & food, we started our last league for the day. I noticed the famous “New York Library” near to this place.
Finally, we reached that place. We gathered at this waterfall created to tribute those souls who lost their lives in the incident that shook the entire world.
I witnessed the calmness even when so many people were present. I offered my respect & solidarity.
I noticed one exceptional architecture. It was like a bird’s wing.
We entered this prominent place, which represents peace. It had a couple of floors. However, we just viewed that from the top.
We came out of that place & went to the museum built on the space from one of the towers – I guess. It was a living tribute for all those souls who never had the opportunity to view this beautiful planet ever again.
We saw some of the heart-wrenching moments starting from a broken fire engine, someone’s last message in a letter addressing her son to someone’s purse containing his family’s images to someone’s wedding ring. Tears almost came out from my eyes without even realizing that. I know how difficult it is for the living member of their family to cope with such a loss in any tragic incidents.
We came out from there & saw the new “World Trade Center One.” This new building represented the true spirit of NY & it echoes to the rest of the world that they celebrated life over destruction, sorrow & how they fought back. After watching that, we couldn’t speak that night. We all silently ate our dinner once we reached our room.
I took my DSLR camera with ultra-long telelens & find the “Statue Of Liberty” at night from my room.
Arpita & my elder sister started packing for the next day’s flight to San Francisco. Meanwhile, I took the “Empire State Building” photo one more time at night for the last time.
Even now, when I think about this trip, I miss this incredible view of this suite.
I’ll come back with our next adventure in San Francisco at my backyard. I hope you’ll like that installment as well.
Till then, keep yourself safe, healthy & happy.
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