Valentine’s Day Itinerary

By Go City Expert

February 5, 2020

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

The holiday actually began as a Western Christian Feast Day in honor of two saints named Valentinus. It became associated with romantic love in the 14th century—although no one is really sure where that association came from, or why.

Today, there's a lot of pressure surrounding the holiday. It needs to be perfect! Or at least, very, very good. It needs to be incredibly romantic! Yet, effortlessly casual. It needs to be quintessentially New York! Well, that part we can help with. We’ve got the Valentine’s Day itinerary that ticks all the boxes. The romance part of it is up to you.

Tartine

Start off your day with a lovely breakfast/brunch. The West Village has all the right vibes, and many places there actually serve breakfast, as opposed to brunch, where patrons often can't actually eat until around the time the rest of would call lunch.. You might consider heading to Tartine (their website says they thrive on love, so there you go.) Go traditional, with Eggs Benedict, or maybe French toast with homemade brioche and smoked bacon. The more adventurous might want to try the Tunisian breakfast, with poached eggs, wilted spinach, chickpeas and Sriracha, or perhaps just a latte and croissant. Mais oui!

Top of the Rock

After that, why not a stroll uptown? (OK, it’s February, so perhaps a very brisk stroll.) The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is the perfect place to take in New York from on high. They have indoor and outdoor viewing decks and unbelievable views of the city. On a clear day, you can see, you know. It's quintessntially New York, and a perfect part of your Valentine's Day itinerary.

The Rink at Brookfield Place

From there, take advantage of one of New York’s great outdoor winter activities--ice skating! (It is winter, after all.) Head to the Rink at Brookfield Place, with plenty of public skating sessions and spectacular city (and Jersey) views. Plus it’s small-ish (and thus cozy.) You can also dip inside Brookfield Place itself for refueling. Maybe Blue Ribbon Sushi? Or the For Five Café—the coffee is from a micro-roasting facility in Queens. Yes, Queens. For more of a scene, check out the rink at the Winter Village at Bryant Park. It’s louder, more crowded, and quite fun, plus you can always run into the glorious main branch of the Public Library on Fifth Avenue if you get cold.

Photo courtesy The Rink at Brookfield Place

Museum of Sex

If you’re feeling frisky, perhaps head to the Museum of Sex as part of your Valentine's Day itinerary? The museum actually presents a wide array of exhibitions designed to look at the history, evolution, and culture of human sexuality, such as a current interactive exhibit that charts the history of the carnival.

Courtesy of Museum of Sex

Central Park Zoo

If it’s not too cold, you can head to the Central Park Zoo. There’s nothing more romantic that gazing at a red panda. (No, seriously, there’s a high aww factor.) Make sure to watch one of the animal feedings, and pose for some pics with your faves. It’s a beautiful spot in its own right, with more than six acres and a panorama of the city spread out around it. Did you know that the zoo's precursor was first open in 1864, and was the first public zoo in New York City? It’s also appeared in countless books and films, like Madagascar. Just some trivia in case a quiet moment stretches on too long.

Central Park Carousel

As long as you’re in the park, why not head to the carousel? No matter your age, it’s hard not to be charmed by this iconic landmark, which has been around for almost 150 years. Four carousels have been on the site since 1871; this one was built by a Brooklyn firm in 1908. It too has appeared in literature and films, like the classic Catcher in the Rye. And at $3 (yes, $3) a ride, it’s arguably one of the city’s best deals. Romantic and thrifty—a winning combination.

One if by Land, Two if By Sea

If you’re lagging, and the day is waning, it’s time to briefly part and reunite for dinner. You can go old school at One if By Land, Two if By Sea, a beautiful restaurant as well known for proposals as it is for the food and the ambience. It’s got the ambience and the candlelight and the classic white tablecloths, and it's supposedly haunted by the ghost of former owner Aaron Burr. (Yes, that Aaron Burr.) They have a special Valentine’s Day menu (both lunch and dinner), with such choices as lobster gnocchi, pan-seared scallops, and Beef Wellington. We told you it was old school. Looking for something less traditional? Try the incredibly cool Llama San, known for its mix of Peruvian and Japanese food known as Nikkei. (The menu is so minimalist that it basically contains no information at all.) The food combinations are often unusual and unexpected—think aged duck over cilantro rice, with a banana slice and nasturtium leaf. Yes, that is an actual dish. And finally, wind down your evening with a nightcap. Depending on where you are, you might check out the underground speakeasy-style Little Branch in the West Village. It's too cool for a website, but you can’t go wrong with the classics, or you can try a winter-perfect Penicillin, with scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon. It’s a drink and a cough drop!

Photo courtesy One if by Land, Two if by Sea

With this array of choices, your Valentine’s Day itinerary has a lot going for it. And if it doesn’t work out the way you planned, well, as the ballplayers say, there’s always next year.

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Things To Do In NYC For Chinese New Year For Tourists

Spending time in NYC for Chinese New Year? Ring it in on January 25, 2020 and get ready for the year of the rat with plenty of special events in the Big Apple where you can celebrate. After celebrating the traditional New Year holiday on January 1, it’s round two with the Chinese New Year. From firecracker celebrations and wild dance performances to martial arts demonstrations, there’s plenty of ways to have fun during the many events in the city. The streets in New York turn festive during the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Free entry to tons of popular New York attractions and activities you can include in your Chinese New Year celebration are included on The New York Pass®. Used by over 3.5 million travelers, the New York Pass is the ultimate sightseeing pass, which includes admission to 90+ attractions. Learn more about the New York Pass benefits & how to save up to 70% off attractions. Here’s a list of 9 fun things to do in NYC for Chinese New Year: 1. Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival [caption id="attachment_1682" align="alignnone" width="768"] 18th Annual New York City Lunar New Year Parade (Image credit: betterchinatown.com)[/caption] This celebrated parade is vibrant and colorful with its dragon dancers, lion dancers, marching bands, and floats. This coming year, it’s the “Year of the Rat.” The 2020 parade route stretches from Mott to Chatham Square to East Broadway, past the grand entrance to the Manhattan Bridge and towards Grand Street right next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The parade is a positive riot of color, costume and conviviality that lasts nearly 5 fun-filled hours. This street party welcomes in the Year of the Rat with all sorts of vendors and food. The parade also features some amazing day-time firework displays. Admission to the Lunar New Year Parade is free and open to the public. 2. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony The Better Chinatown Society organizes the Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony. Enjoy hundreds of thousands of sparkling fireworks designed to ward off bad spirits for the new year. Afterward, there are a number of colorful dance performances. It’s a can’t-miss event. You can even book a Chinese dinner cruise on the Hudson River to see the fireworks. Circle Line Cruises offers a gourmet 12-course dinner. Admission to the Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony is free and open to the public. Tickets to the Lunar New Year Fireworks Cruise are separately ticketed. 3. The New York Philharmonic Lunar Concert The New York Philharmonic puts on an annual Lunar Concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Experience Beethoven’s grand Choral Fantasy by renowned artists, such as the Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province and 13-year-old pianist Serena Wang. It’s a gala event. Tickets to The New York Philharmonic Lunar Concert are available for purchase online. 4. The Temple Bazaar The Temple Bazaar celebrates the Chinese New Year with bright red lanterns floating through the streets. Enjoy Chinese music and martial arts demonstrations. Learn Chinese crafts like calligraphy and paper cutting. You can even munch on authentic Chinese food from Taiwan and Shandong. The Temple Bazaar celebrates the Chinese New Year with plenty of fun activities for everyone, including tourists. Admission to The Temple Bazaar is free and open to the public, some events and activities may be separately ticketed. 5. Savor the Dim Sum Gather a hungry crew to feast on egg rolls, dumplings and more at some great Chinese restaurants in NYC. Visit the Nom Wah Tea Parlor for some mooncakes. It’s the oldest dim sum parlor in NYC and dates back to 1920. At Tim Ho Wan, you can chow down on some exceptional pork and steamed rice rolls. Jade Asian is well known for its turnip cakes and seafood-stuffed hot peppers. Try the Katz’s pastrami egg roll at Red Farm. It’s a delight. Hakkasan New York celebrates the Chinese New Year featuring a mix of traditional Cantonese dishes and invites guests to celebrate by placing wish ribbons on a wishing tree. There’s even a lion dance performance. Call restaurants in advance for reservations--they're sure to be busy during the New Year! 6. The Madison Street to Madison Avenue Parade This action-packed festival is all day long. There’s shopping, dance performances, and family entertainment. There’s also traditional Chinese face-changing, colorful lion dancers, and calligraphy demos. It’s just one more way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Admission to the Madison Street to Madison Avenue Parade is free and open to the public. 7. The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) One of the best ways to fully appreciate your trip to NYC for Chinese New Year is to take a visit to the Museum of Chinese in America where you can learn all about the Chinese culture and traditions you'll be celebrating with the Lunar New Year and learn about what life in NYC and beyond is like for its large Chinese population. The MOCA is a former machine shop inspired by a Chinese house with rooms extending from a central courtyard. It has exhibits that trace the development of Chinese communities along with mixed-media displays of Chinese restaurants and Laundries in New York. Tickets to the Museum of Chinese in America are available for purchase at the door or in advance online. 8. The New Kam Hing Coffee Shop Get your sugar and caffeine fix at the New Kam Hing Coffee Shop. This 30-year old coffee shop doesn’t look like much but serves up the best boat-shaped white-sugar cake, coffee, and green tea. It also has an angel-food-like interior that is light and airy. Nearby, you should make the time to shop for some great Asian cuisine at the Hong Kong Supermarket. It’s a Chinatown megastore that has everything for Asian food fanatics. Get fermented black beans, fresh noodles, dumpling wrappers and a whole host of other goodies. Everything’s super fresh, and the sushi stall offers tasty fresh rolls to-go. The New Kam Hing Coffee Shop is open to the public. 9. Concerts at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall Enjoy world-renowned symphonies featuring film and harp projections. There’s even a pre-concert reception where you can dine with the artists. Previous performers include Jiaxin Tian and conductor Gregory Singer. Music is at its best at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Halls. Tickets are available for purchase online. Guided Lincoln Center Tour tickets and guided Carnegie Hall tickets are included with The New York Pass. From dazzling fireworks shows and colorful parades to great museums and concerts, there's no shortage of things to do in NYC for Chinese New Year. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there's nowhere better in America to celebrate Chinese New Year than the Big Apple. Remember To Save on Attraction Admission If you're looking for things to do in NYC for Chinese New Year, spend some time in Chinatown checking out all of the festive events, and be sure to add some New York City sightseeing to your itinerary, too. Save on attraction admission with New York Pass which grants you free entry to over 90 attractions in New York so that you can enjoy more and save more during your trip. For more information on the New York Pass, click here.
Casey Makovich
Panoramic view of Central Park and the Hudson in New York
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Tourist Traps in New York to Watch Out for

Want to avoid the Big Apple taking a bite from you rather than, you know, the other way around? Our guide to the tourist traps to watch out for in New York is here to help! We’re talking cartoonish scams on Times Square, totally avoidable Empire State Building queues, and the perks of side-swerving Central Park. Read on for our whistle stop guide to New York's most notorious tourist traps, plus how to avoid them and what to do instead… New York Tourist Traps: The Statue of Liberty We know, we know, but hear us out! Of course we understand that you can’t go to New York without checking out the Green Goddess at close quarters. That would be crazy, right? Right. But there are good ways and bad ways of experiencing *the* emblem of American freedom. Case in point: it'll set you back a cool $20+ to disembark with the tourist hordes at Ellis Island, have a poke around the so-so Immigration Museum then spend the next half hour taking awkward selfies that, at such proximity to Lady Liberty, are always doomed to failure. Sure, you can climb the spiral staircase inside to get a view from the statue’s crown. But a) there’s an additional charge for that; b) there are 354 steps and c) you can’t actually see the Statue of Liberty from here because, well, you’re inside it. Our advice? Save your time and dime and avoid this classic NYC tourist trap. There are fine views of the statue to be had from all over Manhattan: try the Brooklyn Bridge or indeed any observation platform (of which there are many). Better yet, take the free – yes, free – Staten Island Ferry for a 25-minute round-trip across New York Harbor that affords some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty in town. It runs 24/7, year-round, so there are plenty of opportunities to travel in lull periods. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? New York Tourist Traps: Times Square Like innocent moths to a particularly gaudy flame, tourists are drawn to Times Square in their multitudes. You can spot them a mile off: slightly bamboozled expressions, phone cameras held gormlessly aloft as they clog the sidewalks, all eager to secure that essential Insta-perfect selfie. But tourist traps don’t come much more crass, crowded and over-commercialized than Times Square.  Astronomical prices at glossy-looking chain restaurants like the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Olive Garden should be matched by out-of-this-world food. Alas you’re paying a premium for location only, and the distinctly average food is likely to bring you down to earth with a bump. Even the legendary Magnolia Bakery dessert store just isn’t worth the looooong wait. Stores hawk overpriced souvenir tat that’s seemingly designed to self-destruct five seconds after purchase and Broadway tickets offered by street touts at prices that seem too good to be true are precisely that. After all, $50 is *a lot* to fork out for a souvenir fake Hamilton ticket. Wanna see Mickey Mouse drop character and morph into a pushy, big-eared street rat? Course you do! Times Square is overrun with third-rate Mickeys, Donalds, Elmos, and Marvel and DC superheroes, i.e. characters designed to appeal to kids. None of these are affiliated to the entertainment companies that spawned them and all of them will try to trick you into having your photo taken with them before aggressively demanding ‘tips’ for their troubles. Avoid, avoid, and furthermore, avoid! New York Tourist Traps: Empire State Building The image of King Kong clinging to his beloved Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and batting away airplanes from atop of the Empire State Building is one of the most iconic in movie history. But does that mean you should visit this Art Deco monolith? No, dear reader, it does not. Sure, it’s an architectural masterpiece and yep, it’s bucket list material for sure. But popularity means queues as long as the tower is tall (1,453 feet). Ok maybe not quite that long, but you get the general idea. Prices are also sky high, and increase the higher up the tower you want to go. In short: it’s a classic New York tourist trap. But if astronomical prices, super-long queues, and being crammed into elevators like sardines is your thing, then go for it! Alternatively, johnny-come-lately observation platforms like Edge and Summit One Vanderbilt offer more modern, multi-sensory experiences as well as – perhaps critically – boasting views of the Empire State Building itself. Try the City Climb at Edge for a knee-knocking al fresco stroll across the roof of one of NYC’s tallest skyscrapers. Or enjoy rather more down-to-earth views from the Brooklyn Bridge, a New York must-see in its own right. New York Tourist Traps: Central Park Central Park is free to visit, and don’t the tourists (and scammers) just know it! It’s amazing how a tract of land that’s many times the size of Monaco, more vast than the Vatican City, and could fit upwards of 600 football fields can feel so incredibly… busy. Tourists flock to this Big Apple centerpiece for its indisputably fine collection of attractions. To wit: a cute miniature castle that doubles as a weather station, a tranquil memorial to John Lennon, the gorgeous neoclassical Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and the extraordinary Metropolitan Museum of Art. And that’s just for starters. Pedicab drivers swarm the paths, charming unsuspecting tourists into taking rides that will likely end up costing you anywhere from $5-11 per minute! Frankly you might be quicker if you walk. You’ll certainly be richer. In summary: if crowds ain’t your bag, give Central Park a wide berth. In spite of its huge size, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a quiet spot here at any time of year. Instead, hit up the equally pleasant (and far less busy) Hudson River Park (great for cycling!) or Brooklyn’s pretty Prospect Park. The latter was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the celebrated 19th-century architects who were also responsible for – yup, you guessed it – our old pal Central Park. Prospect is a little over half the size of its more famous cousin and provides a tranquil retreat from the madness of the city, counting sprawling areas of woodland, great meadows, a lake, a zoo and a carousel among its many charms. Save on New York’s most popular tourist attractions Save on admission to New York attractions with the New York Pass. Check out @NewYorkPass on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.
Stuart Bak
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Pass It On: Erin Roach's VIP Day Out

Back in sunny July, we decided to give one of you something amazing. Two day-long New York Passes, a VIP Tour of the Empire State Building, a $150 gift card to State Grill, the Empire State Building's beloved restaurant, and pedestal tickets to the Statue Of Liberty. All we asked for in return? A little story about your favorite hidden gem in New York, be it a street food cart that amazed you, a bookstore that inspired you or hairdresser who gave you the best bangs ever. And in August, we picked our winner. Erin Roach stole the show with her inspiring story about 'Westsider Rare and Used Books' on the Upper West Side. So we sent her two well-deserved passes with all the trimmings, with only two instructions to follow: have as much fun as you can, and let us know all about it. This is Erin, and her mother's, tale. Day One: The Journey Begins On any normal day leaving the house at 6am would have seemed a form of punishment, but this was an exception. Operating solely on caffeine and adrenaline, we made our way to Manhattan via a somewhat out-of-the-way (but completely rewarding) layover in New Orleans, which we may or may not have booked entirely to get beignets. Lady Liberty greeted our LaGuardia-bound flight before we landed to sunny skies and unseasonably warm weather. Our Super Shuttle driver provided us with an additional and somewhat unexpected tour of Harlem, which our fellow passengers did not appreciate. My mother and I, however, took in all the sights and sounds, as if we had never left the house our entire lives. We arrived at our hotel a little worse for wear but buzzing from all we’d already seen. Our room on the 23rd floor presented us with a glittering view of the city, which was just donning its evening attire of sparkling lights. Enchanting. Grabbing an unneeded umbrella and a power charger, we made our way to the Rock Center Café in Rockefeller Center for a much-needed meal. The restaurant’s view of Prometheus is enough to delight, but being the dark-humored people that we are, we mostly enjoy seeing the rookie ice skaters fall down. I’m definitely not much of an athlete, but you also won’t find me pulling my way around the rink wall. Parents marionette their well-meaning but clumsy children onto the ice in droves. It’s hard to say who is less inclined to be there in the first place. It’s hilarious. It’s a must-see in my opinion. Day Two: Renita, Jewel of the Empire State Building After waking up in the city that doesn’t sleep, we made our way to 50th Street to meet up with our tour guide for the On Location Tours New York TV and Movie Sites Tour. I find that even if you’re not a movie fan, (which I happen to be) the bus tours offered in Manhattan are a wonderful way to see the city without walking your feet down to nubs. We toured 5th Avenue, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Washington Square Park, Midtown and the Meatpacking District. Our tour guide Roseanne pointed out celebrity homes and shooting locations while providing related clips. As if that wasn’t enough, we were given a black and white cookie for our time. Nothing says New York like a black and white cookie. After stopping for a brief lunch at the Seinfeld-fabled Soup Man (also seen on our tour) we made our way downtown to do a bit of thrift store shopping ala Carrie Bradshaw. We were even able to pop into the Starbucks Reserve Roastery without the golden ticket supposedly needed for admission. Willy Wonka himself would be hard-pressed - pun intended - to find a more exciting café. We decided it best to get our Hawaiian blends to go and made our way back to the hotel with just enough time to change before catching the train to our VIP Empire State Building tour. So many visitors seem apprehensive to use the subway to get around, but it can be an attraction in itself. In the few days, we were in the city, we passed gospel singers, violinists, orchestras and shamisen players. Also, we didn’t get caught in traffic once. The doorman at the 34th Street entrance greeted us and ushered us indoors. We waited only a few moments before Renita, the world’s best tour guide, met us in the lobby. I had been to the Empire State Building once before, but this was my mother’s first time. I think it may have ruined all future trips for me. Renita was warm and knowledgeable. She led us past the lines and down a red carpet, ending at a private VIP lounge. Champagne was promptly uncorked and our tour began as we were comfortably seated in the plush green room. Surrounded by memorabilia of previous celebrity guests, we were provided with a private bathroom and makeup room, as well as a live stream camera to take photos for their website. Did I mention champagne? There was also champagne. We felt very metropolitan. Renita explained the history of the art, the architecture, the marble, the construction and the renovation. She seemed to be more of a fixture there than King Kong, who we also ran into along the way. We were escorted to the front of the line at each exhibit and photo op, as any proper VIP should. We rode an express elevator to the exclusive 102nd floor, which offered a floor to ceiling glass view of the city in all of its 360-degree splendor before descending to the 86th floor observatory to mingle with all the commoners who were not afforded our posh lifestyle. It’s nice to rub elbows with those less fortunate once in a while. I had arranged for dinner at 8:30 after our tour, but misgauged a bit and arrived early. Renita proved invaluable yet again, speaking to the hostess on our behalf and moving the reservation up. I’m sure there are many great guides available on the VIP tour, but I truly can’t imagine having one as wonderful as she was. Renita was truly was the highlight of our day. Dinner at the State Grill and Bar was a delight. After our reservation adjustment, we were promptly seated by the window in a warm candlelit booth. We feasted on cheese plates, honeycomb, olives, pumpkin salad and seafood before reaching the limit of digestive endurance over a piece of chocolate cake. Agonizingly full, and having adored every moment of our meal, we rolled home. Day Three: Modern Art, and the Books that Brought Me Here “Don’t you just love New York in the fall? Makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils if I knew your name and address.” Nora Ephron understood New York better than anyone and her true love was the Upper West Side. The setting of such films as You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, it offers an unparalleled charm. It’s also home to the New York Gem that afforded me this trip when I wrote about it as part of the Pass It On Giveaway: 'Westsider Rare and Used Books'. I was surprised to see they had taken on a new employee since my last visit, a furry black cat named Pig. He was extremely hospitable, although he didn’t provide many recommendations. I left with Steve Martin’s Pure Drivel and a signed copy of Tarzan on Broadway before heading across the street to soak up all the aromas of Zabars. Sadly, this was not a free sample day. We begrudgingly departed the Upper West Side and made our way across Central Park in time for our lunch reservations at the Central Park Boathouse. If the lake views and fall foliage weren’t enough reason to visit, the pressed octopus and pretzel rolls should be. After lunch, we strolled beneath golden canopies of turning leaves and past musicians and street performers. A stranger asked if we would mind taking a picture of him standing naked in the Bethesda fountain. We declined. I love New York! Uniqlo sponsors free admission night on Fridays at the MoMA, so we were thrilled to hear it had reopened after a lengthy renovation just in time for our visit. We spent the rest of the evening viewing the many works there before retiring to Junior’s for dinner. Their cheesecake is not to be missed. We were too full. We missed it. Next time. Day Four: We Just 'Met', and a Walkabout Saturday was the day we had chosen to use our New York Pass. It was also, unfortunately, the day the trip started to catch up with us, so we slept in a bit. We were able to function after a couple gallons of coffee and arrived just in time to meet our tour guide George in front of the world-renowned Plaza Hotel for our On Location Tours Central Park TV and Movie Sites Tour. We were able to take in all the sites I had wanted to see on previous trips but had never taken the time to scout out. We visited the rink from Serendipity, the bridge from Home Alone 2 and The Mall from Kramer vs Kramer. Each site was more illuminated with the rapidly changing colors of the season, without all that pesky cold. Our guide was delightfully snarky and well-informed and kept the tour going at a good pace. Our second tour of the day, When Harry Met Seinfeld, was canceled due to unforeseen and unexplained circumstances, so we used lunch as an excuse to return to the Upper West Side and grab a nova sandwich at Café Lalo (the café where Joe Fox meets Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail). Freshly fueled and lightly rested, we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to rack up another use of our New York Pass. We had planned to visit the Top of the Rock Observatory, but got distracted by something shiny and stayed until the Met had closed. After a brief hike and short train ride, we ended our day in the corner booth of Sardi’s. Day Five: Storm Over the Statue Sunday was, unfortunately, our last day. And the wettest. We had arranged for our Statue of Liberty pedestal tickets this day, much to our chagrin. After arriving at Ferry Street Station, we opted for a brief rest before continuing our swim through Battery Park. Walking against the wind with our pants legs soaked to the hip, we battled our way into the ticket pickup location, come hell or high water. We presented our soggy passes to the security officer, who directed us upstream past a forsaken umbrella case and a family of huddled trash bag wearers. Give us Liberty or give us death. I’m sure some would have found this experience less than ideal, including the gentleman in front of us whose wife commented she was “sure having a blast”. But my mother and I are always up for an adventure. The sea was as angry as....well, that old man in front of us as we departed from the harbor. We managed to procure a seat before we began heaving towards Liberty Island. I wondered aloud if we should have stayed on deck? It was still monsooning, but what better place to get a picture? We made our way to the stern, colliding with other onlookers in a deluge of humanity. I snapped a quick picture of Lady Liberty while my mom snapped a picture of me wincing as the rain pummeled me into oblivion. Memories. We departed the ferry and reassembled our battered umbrellas before trudging to the pedestal like Lewis and Clark. We were wet and broken, but our resolve was absolute. My umbrella caught the wind and whipped backwards while my mother wrapped her soggy trench coat over her purse. We were explorers. We ascended to the pedestal, and stepped onto the observation deck. I’m told you could see the city from there, but all I saw were my long tresses of hair reaching from the sides of my face to blind me. My umbrella screamed in agony as we reentered the structure. “Wanna go again?” I asked. “That’s ok” my mother replied. We returned back to the ferry. “Did you still want to stop at Ellis Island?” I asked hesitantly. “I mean, I’d still kinda like to see it” she replied, undaunted by the experience. The clock was betraying me and I knew we didn’t have much time left on our whirlwind tour of NY, so we stopped at Ellis Island long enough to take in the 30-minute movie and peruse the gift shop before heading back to Lower Manhattan. Even with two broken umbrellas and soaked clothing, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The battle we faced was nothing compared to that of those that originally traveled here to seek freedom and a new life. As someone who has been to the city many times, I had never been to the Statue of Liberty before and I felt so glad to have an opportunity to see it. I’m not sure it would have had the same impact on a sunny day. So, even if the weather isn’t what you’d hoped for, you should still take the opportunity to visit. The lines were greatly reduced and the museum and exhibits are indoors. Just allow a change of clothes or dress like the Gordon’s fisherman. We had just enough time to make a final pilgrimage to the Upper West Side one last time. Zabar’s greeted us with hot soup and an incredibly tardy sunny sky. We people watched from the bar seating before pillaging the connecting market and beginning our stroll back to the hotel. Finale There’s a reason so many songs have been written about New York. Where else can you see the things we were able to experience in just five days-time? So many people translate “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” to mean once you’ve been you can handle anything, but perhaps what they mean is you can literally make Manhattan be anywhere you want it to be. It can be China. It can be Italy. It can be an enchanted forest. It can be whatever you need it to be. If you’ve been to New York, I think you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for? “It’s up to you. New York, NY.”
Dom Bewley

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