First time in NYC


Dec 8th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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First time in NYC

Ok so to start off with, I know that some people might read this and be bewildered to my reaction to NYC. But let me say this right off the bat... this is my opinion and my opinion alone - I am not out to offend anyone or pick a fight with anyone, this is my experience in New York City.

Loud, crowded, overwhelming, claustrophobic... all of these words describe what was my first impression of NYC. I had just arrived after 7 days in Hawaii and to say it was very different is an understatement. I have always wanted to visit NYC - as I am sure most people in the world can attest to, I had no idea if I would love it, hate it or be indifferent to it. Turns out - it's the latter...

I don't love NYC but I don't hate it either. I would come back but it would be a stopover point for me rather than a destination. Maybe the more I come back, the more I like it. To be honest, the first time I visited Melbourne, Australia I hated it! Now it's one of my favourite cities to visit.

Ok so I arrived on Nov 11, 2102 and spent a week before taking the train to D.C for a few nights and Philly for a night. Then I came back for Thanksgiving so all up I spent about 10 days in the city.

The day I arrived was Veteran's Day so I headed down to 5th Avenue to see some of the parade... that was pretty cool actually. I mean we have parades in NZ & Australia but this was my first NYC parade! I have heard that New Yorkers throw a good parade and this did not disappoint. Just chilled for the rest of the day - overnight flight from Honolulu did more to me than I thought!

Next day was sightseeing day! So I got 3 day tickets for the hop on hop off bus.. now I know some people poo-poo these buses, but I have to say that I really got my monies worth.. 3 days really turns out to be like 4 days if you work it right I used the bus as my mode of transport for the first 4 days 4 days I was there - it was brilliant. I don't know if it was planned but every day the downtown loop seemed to go a different way in some parts, which was good because you weren't seeing the same thing over and over. Anyway, as I was staying in Midtown, the stop outside the ESB was the closest so I jumped on there and did the loop around to The Rockefeller Center.

A lot of people had a grimace when I said I was going to NYC, it was just after Hurricane Sandy so people expected the worse - as you do! Having been in the 2010 earthquake to hit Christchurch, NZ and the 2011 floods to hit Brisbane, Australia, I know not to expect everything to be affected. This was certainly the case in NYC - well Manhattan anyway. It was only when you got down to Battery Park and the tip of Manhattan that you could see any evidence of Sandy. They were still pumping water out of buildings on Thanksgiving - a good 4 weeks after the storm. It didn't really affect my time in NYC at all apart from the escalators not working at the Staten Island Ferry terminal - not good when you have a bung knee.

So I got to The Rockefeller Center and went to the top... now I said at the start that NYC was a bit 'bleh' for me but in saying that, my most favouirite photo I took in my 3 weeks in America was in NYC (you can see it here: ). The view was pretty cool and I loved that you could go right up to the top to the open air. After this, we jumped back on the bus and headed to Time Square... wow! Everything they say about Times Square is true! It is crazy busy, people everywhere, signs and billboards lit up for the world to see... simply just crazy!!

To be continued...
Seznz is offline  
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Dec 8th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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We are many things but 'bleh' is not one of them.

No problem, NYC will have over 51 million visitors this year and you cannot please everyone.
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Dec 8th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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We must have been there at the same time Seznz. We were there for 21 days all up, had been to NYC previously five years ago but for three days only. We also used the Hop on Hop Off bus the first time, but got into using the subway this time. We love NYC, my DH especially loves Time Square, me I could take it or leave it. Did you see any Broadway shows? To me that is what New York is about. At least you have been there and done that now. I think like your experience with Melbourne if you go there for longer, you will come to love it.
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Dec 8th, 2012, 08:01 PM
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@Golemtoo Hmm.. maybe having 51 million visitors a year is the problem! I am pretty sure that not every single one of those people liked the city... Like I said right at the beginning, these are my own opinions and I'm not going to apologise for that.

So anyway.. day 3 I headed back down to Battery Park and wandered around while my friend went to Century 21. We were just filling in time before meeting another friend back up at Times Square for dinner at Carmines and the play If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet. Have to admit, the main reason for going was because Jake Gyllenhaal was in it. The play was so-so but he was brilliant! Wandered back to our accommodation and passed our first Christmas window at Lord & Taylor.

Next day I did the uptown bus route which, whilst very cold meaning I hate to sit inside, was pretty cool. Got to go up to Harlem and see another different part of the city. I was quite excited to see the Apollo Theatre. Day 5 I ended up doing the Brooklyn loop, again another highlight. You couldn't get off the bus on this loop but it was really nice going through the Brooklyn Street. I had my first wow moment when I saw the Brooklyn Bridge - a real highlight. That night, I met my friend at 30 Rock and we headed to Radio City Music Hall for the Rockettes Show. To say it was brilliant is an understatement. It was a real highlight of the entire trip and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see it. We walked back down to where we were staying via the Macy's Christmas windows. Oh yeah, the trip was up at Rockefeller Center - it would have been awesome to see it all lit up but I missed it by a few days.

Day 6 and I was on my own for the first time in two weeks. My friend was heading home and the next day I was heading to D.C & Philly for a few days. I decided to brave The Met... I have no words!! It was completely insane. Don't worry, that is a good thing. It was huge and I only managed to scrape the surface, but I got to see the Temple of Dendur, which is what I really wanted to see so that was the main thing.

Next day I headed to Penn Station for my Amtrak train to D.C and wasn't back in the city until 22nd Nov. Arrived back at Penn Station about 2pm on the day before Thanksgiving... umm yeah, great time to arrive.. haha. To say it was crowded is an understatement. Lets just say, there was a bit of a traffic jam on the escalator, which is not the best place for traffic jam! So I was back in the city and the first thing I noticed... car horns! I have to ask, what is the deal with NYC & car horns???? I mean what are people trying to get out of it?

Anyhoo.. I was meeting a friend about 5pmish and we were going to see the Thanksgiving parade balloons at the American Museum of Natural History. About 8pm we actually got to see them! There were just a few people around, which I expected I just didn't expect so many! We ended up only seeing half of them and then heading back to Midtown for a late meal. Next day was Thanksgiving and I had planned on going to the parade but I guess sleep thought a different thing.. ended up getting out of the house about 10.30ish and glimpsed some of the parade but ended up getting the subway down to Bowling Green and getting the Staten Island Ferry over to Staten Island funnily enough. Got off and just wandered around a little and get went back to Manhattan and walked up to Wall Street through the narrow street. Was interested to find that the NYSE frontage was actually on Broad Street, not Wall Street. Visited Trinity Church and came out to some kind of excitement. Not sure what was going on but there were a number of fire engines and cop cars. People in uniform was everywhere and so were people with their cameras. I still don't know what was going on but it was exciting none the less.

So in summary, no, I did not like NYC as a city but that is not to say I didn't have fun. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't love this city and maybe @nelsonian is correct, maybe if I spend more time here I will grow to love it. I probably did the wrong thing and compared it to London, which I absolutely love. Maybe I should have just taken it for what it is, a city of giant proportions with noisy, narrow & crowded streets. Like I said at the beginning, I will be back but not for as long as I spent this time. There were things that I didn't did which I would have liked to have done so I know that I will be back.

All in all, my first visit to NYC was a success and I am glad I went during autumn, which is my favourite season.
Seznz is offline  
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Dec 8th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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@Golemtoo Hmm.. maybe having 51 million visitors a year is the problem! I am pretty sure that not every single one of those people liked the city... Like I said right at the beginning, these are my own opinions and I'm not going to apologise for that.


I did not ask for an apology nor did I offer a defense.
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Dec 8th, 2012, 09:29 PM
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A very entertaining read! Thanks for sharing!
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Dec 8th, 2012, 09:48 PM
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Sesnz,you are quite lucky that you found NYC ho hum as I have to confess when you catch the New York bug it is something which you can't shake off! Count yourself lucky you escaped this debilitating disease.
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Dec 9th, 2012, 01:16 AM
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Seznz, on our first trip to NYC we took the Amtrak from the Baltimore. When we stepped out of Penn Station the first thing we saw and heard were the yellow taxi cabs, and the horns honking, just like you see in the movies. We couldn't believe we were actually in New York City.
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Dec 9th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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What were the bad parts? The Veteran's Day parade "did not disappoint", the HoHo bus was "brilliant", the view from TOTR was "pretty cool", Times Square was "crazy" ( which could mean good-crazy or bad-crazy ), Jake Gyllenhall lived up to expectations, the Brooklyn loop was a "highlight", the Rockettes were brilliant, the Met was "insane" (a good thing in this case).....
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Dec 9th, 2012, 11:10 AM
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So - NYC is what you expected and you didn'n t like it. Saying it is loud, crowded, busy etc - is just a correct description of what it is. Expecting it to be anything else is just silly. (Although most areas are less frantic than Times Square.)

I know why I didn't like Madrid: 1) it seemed more like Chicago than I had envisaged (or liek other Spanish cities) and 2 )it was hot as hell - I wasn't expecting 99 degrees at the end of April.
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Dec 9th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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>>So - NYC is what you expected and you didn'n t like it. Saying it is loud, crowded, busy etc - is just a correct description of what it is. Expecting it to be anything else is just silly. <<

No, to the contrary he said he didn't know if he'd love it or not. Turns out he was indifferent and then went on to describe the things he did enjoy about his visit there.

Why are you picking this guy apart?
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Dec 10th, 2012, 09:44 PM
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Your photo from the Top of the Rock is awesome.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 07:03 AM
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Hubby and I went to DC and NYC this past spring. We found out that we children of the suburbs really liked the city! It's like, when we see pictures of NYC on tv, we fell a little homesick. Does that make sense?

We're hoping to go to Boston in the next year or two, and want a multi day layover in NYC first!
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Dec 11th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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New York means differenrt things to different people but since it has been in tens of 1000's of movies and TV shows there is a familiarity about it.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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sf7303 - lol. I was thinking the same thing.

Seznz - great shot from Top of the Rock.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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Dear Sez-loud, crowded, claustrophobic, overwhelming. You nailed it. Incidentally, I saw you at the corner of Broadway and 42nd one afternoon and you had one big grin on your face and again on Hudson Street-same grin. Admit it. You were having a great time.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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Enjoyed reading the trip report.

I can actually understand the notion of being underwhelmed or put off by a city while still having a good time there. Atlanta comes to mind immediately -- it's not an appetizing or attractive city, but there's a lot of good stuff to see and do there as well as several worthy eateries to patronize.

NYC isn't a place that I've ever found underwhelming or off-putting. In fact, the first time or so there I actually found it overwhelming. But once I got a feel for the place, I've got to say I love it. Like Paris and London and a clutch of other cities, it's truly a world-class destination.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Seznz, I can relate to the claustrophobic part—my first 2 visits were with business and in an area with nothing but skyscrapers and no sun. When my husband and I returned as older tourists, we had a different reaction.

Your first shot is outstanding! The first I’ve ever seen with the viewer thing actually in it. Very effective.

I saw Times Square on a trip prior to the one with hub and had the same reaction as you. Hub did also. Yes, the horn-blowing is interesting. My recollection is that one doesn’t do it in London unless it’s a dire thing. We also noticed the difference between Rome and Barcelona where the second has a sound level enforcement that makes all the difference.

It sounds like you hit some good places. And I agree with obxgirl—no one has the right to pick on your opinion. I’m off to see if you did DC or Philly TRs.
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Dec 13th, 2012, 01:11 PM
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And I agree with obxgirl—no one has the right to pick on your opinion.

I'll try and remember that for other matters.
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Dec 14th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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I felt the same way about Las Vegas. Always wanted to visit it, the neon lights, the girls, the parties, the sights...
... give me a break. I am from NYC so had no interest in NYNY; Lived in Italy 3 months, thus no interest in Caesar's; Paris and Venetian seemed like fakery and knockoffs, just like "Gucci" and "Movado" watches sold in China Town.

Yes, the girls were hot; but the slots were not. Vegas is hot, crowded, dirty, noisy, just like NYC.
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