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Trip Report Being a Tourist in NYC

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I had to write this trip report even though I only live 45 minutes from NYC. I had the opportunity to host a guest from Germany and since he wanted to see many of the touristy things, I had the chance to see NYC as a tourist and not as someone who has easy access. The funny thing about the easy access is how much I take for granted all that is there.
On Day 1 he wanted to see Brooklyn. I hated that there was such damage after Sandy but thought Coney Island and Nathan's would be a good starting point. It was famous and he loved going to get a hotdog that was once a nickel.
From Coney Island we made our way over to Downtown Brooklyn by subway to walk around the area which has amazing views of Manhattan. We walked around the Brooklyn Bridge area but it was too close to the lunch to enjoy some of the restaurants dotting the water area. The skies darkened and we heard thunder so unfortunately I cannot tell you about the sweeping views as we crossed. It will have to remain on the to-do list.
Day 2 he wanted to see Harlem, Central Park, Little Italy, The Freedom Tower and South Street Sea Port. For that trip we mixed up subway and driving. Taking the subway from Penn to Harlem was interesting because at a friend's suggestion we took the train where it was above ground to get some sightseeing in as opposed to just seeing walls. It was interesting to watch the scenery change through different parts of Manhattan. When we arrived in Harlem we got off at 125th Street and walked over towards the Hudson River. We stopped into Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, again a recommendation and one I would highly suggest. After eating a delicious lunch we walked over one block to see the Hudson River. We walked back along 125th Street and went up Lenox Ave to the Red Rooster for a cocktail. As much as I loved my Bar-B-Que I was sorry I didn't have room for the chicken and waffles. Its something I hear so much about. The Red Rooster had great drinks and a nice menu.
After drinks we walked back over to the Hudson River and down through the park area. Its a gorgeous park with great views and lush gardens. Even as a New Yorker I forget how beautiful the parks are.
We parted ways for a bit because I had my car in Harlem and knew after Central Park we'd be driving. My son and our guest took a subway to Central Park West around the 90's. I met them at 72nd Street. They enjoyed a walk through which included Belvedere Castle and a few trails. They met me at the entrance of 72nd where we went back in and spent time at Strawberry Fields, the tribute to John Lennon. It was an eclectic group gathered around the stonework that read, "Imagine" and there were flowers lining the stonework. Someone was playing Beatles and John Lennon music. It was a very tranquil setting and after taking a few pictures we sat on a bench enjoying the ambiance.
We then drove down to the Freedom Tower. Our guest had been to Times Square on a previous visit so drove through and did a car tour of a few sights like the Trump Tower, the stores on 5th Avenue and then the Empire State Building. Finally we made it down to the Freedom Tower. Tickets were not available and much was still closed. Not sure if it was Sandy related or construction from the Tower but we were unable to access Battery Park. We went back up and walked around Soho where we stopped and bought the mini cupcakes from Melissa's on Spring Street. They are a treat. We drove through Chinatown and then over to the South Street Seaport. It was nice because the weather was warm but still overcast so it wasn't packed. There was a new set up where you could take trapeze lessons. There were Circle Line tours and shops inside the Seaport building. We did a little souvenir shopping and then went down and sat on the deck and had a few pina coladas. Since I was the driver, I watched them enjoy their pina coladas. I did have a taste and they were delicious.
After lounging for a bit and it was getting dark and we sat there soaking up the beauty of the bridges being lit up. We went to the upper deck and used one of those telescope machines. I'm not sure but I think the bridge we saw was the Verrazano Narrows, another more modern but beautiful bridge. Without the scope we were able to see the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was nice after seeing the lushness on the Hudson River side to now see a more nautical view on the East River side.
Finally we left the Seaport and drove into Little Italy. All of our trips into Manhattan always end with the pastry run at Ferrara's on Grand. We sat and had cappucino and pastry but also brought some for home. We walked around a bit but when I tell you that it was hours later and even with all of our walking we were still so full from Dinosaur's that it was work forcing those pastries down. We had a choice...pastries or another meal. The pastries won out.
We got back into the car and passed a few things in Chinatown, like Wo-hops which has the most delicious Chinese food ever but just did more wandering around looking at the fresh fruits and flowers as well all of the different shops that sold Chinese specialty items.
NYC is known as the city that never sleeps but in Chinatown and Little Italy things were winding down. Shop owners were closing up so we headed back to the car and made our way up to Delancey Street to the Williamsburg Bridge for our trip home to Long Island. Going over the bridge and onto the BQE there are more stunning views of Manhattan and it was a nice way to end our touristy day in the city.
I left out subway information because I can find anywhere with a car but tend to need to rely on the advice of others when navigating the subway. Most of the ticket agents are very helpful and can tell you how to get anywhere you're going. There's also an app to download that has a map of the subway and bus system.
Our German guest loved Brooklyn, Harlem and Manhattan. Unfortunately we only had 2 days to explore but we packed in as much as we could without feeling that it was overload.
Its nice to have someone from another country visit and force us to take advantage of all of the great things that we take for granted. I loved being a tourist even if I live so close.

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