Finally being a tourist in my own country

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March 1st 2011
Published: March 3rd 2011
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I've lived in the United States my whole life and have done almost no sightseeing within my own country, so here is a look at New York City, my first trip, through the eyes of an American. I've been so excited to see New York, because so many of my friends that I met in Europe had already been to NYC and I felt stupid having never seen it! I've grown up watching so many movies that have been filmed here and I know of so many places in NYC, just from hearing dialogues in different movies. I had to finally experience New York.

Mia and I took an overnight bus to New York (about 9 1/2 hours, not too bad), which dropped us off in China Town. It felt like I walked right back into Beijing! The only thing that gave it away were the cars (not too many SUV's and pickup trucks in China). We couldn't stay to look around since we had bags to put in the hotel, so we're planning on going back to China Town later this week. We're here for four days and our hotel is just awesome! It's right on Times Square and we have an awesome corner room with a great view! It was really nice to come into a nice room after the full, loud bus ride. They even let us into our room 3 hours early!

After checking in and dropping off the bags we walked out to Times Square and took a walk around. I know it's kind of "cliche" and it's a huge waste of energy to have so many lights on all the time, but I really like Times Square. We took a walk later in the evening and the lights brighten the entire street so that it feels like day. It was really a strange feeling looking up and seeing a pitch black sky when you can see everything on the ground as clear as day. The MTV HQ is located here too and there's always some camera man filming the pedestrian traffic for a different TV show. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square (finding the Hard Rock Cafe's has kind of become a tradition with us), which was one of the coolest one's I've been in so far. On the way in they had video feeds on TV screens
Our FlagOur FlagOur Flag

on the Empire State Building
from cameras inside other Hard Rock Cafes across the world!

From Times Square we walked north and took a right on 49th Street, taking us right into the Rockefeller Center, a huge grouping of skyscrapers and buildings all privately owned making a plaza for all - shopping, food, business, everything. This is where you'll really get the feeling of being too small, seeing as whenever you look up from somewhere in the plaza there's usually multiple skyscrapers blocking out the sky from different directions. It's a really nice walk and the weather has been incredible so far! Really sunny, and it's supposed to continue throughout the week. From there we walked north on Avenue of the Americas to Central Park! Central Park looked small in all the pictures I'd seen, but it's really actually quite big. It took us a while to walk through even a small part of it on our map. We walked all the way to the "Balto the sled dog" statue, then headed east towards the Whitney Museum of American Art. I was going to look for another "Bourne" site, but I read online that while using the address 415 East 71st Street (when giving Bourne the address of the training facility in the Bourne Ultimatum) the scenes were not actually filmed there at all, so I just walked by the address. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the Whitney Museum, we read that it's closed both Mondays and Tuesdays 😞

We took the subway south from the Whitney Museum to Grand Central Terminal, which I had read was beautiful enough to make a trip to. It lived up to its recommendation. It's the most beautiful train station I've ever seen. There were (crystal?) chandeliers hanging in a lot of the corridors and the main terminal had an awesome vaulted ceiling. We walked directly east from there to hit three more places on our list. First was the Chrysler Building, which I believe was once the tallest building in New York City. I really liked the steel gargoyles around the top the most.

The next site was another "Bourne" site from the Bourne Ultimatum called Tudor City. I don't really know much about it except that it was the first apartment skyscraper complex. In the 3rd film of the series Bourne texts Landy to have her meet him at Tudor City, which causes all the agents who intercepted the text to follow her there, while Bourne broke into Noah Wilson's office.

And the last site on the street was the UN headquarters next to the river. There was a big complex under construction, but outside there were flags from tons of different countries lining the street.

One of my favorite sites all day was the next one, the Empire State Building. It was really expensive for an attraction ($36 to go to the 102nd floor), but well worth the money for the awesome views of Manhattan. The inside reminded me so much of the 1930's, even the elevator had a 1931 steel sliding inside door, just like you see in the movies. All the attendants were wearing matching red outfits that fit the "time" too. The elevator up was extremely quick! It took us up to the 86th floor observatory, then we changed to a different elevator to go up into the glass enclosed 102nd floor observatory. I'll let the pictures speak for the views! The weather really helped make the whole day really great.

For dinner we met up with my friend who goes to school at NYU. She met us at our hotel and she took us to the Seinfeld Diner for dinner! It's not actually called "the Seinfeld Diner", it's called "Tom's Restaurant", but a lot of scenes for the show were filmed here. The food was...ok haha.

I've really liked New York City so far. I've only been in Manhattan, but it's really cool how alive the city feels. I'm sure I would get tired of the crowds if I stayed too long and I've run into some really rude people here, more than I ran into in all of Europe combined, but exploring the city has been really fun so far and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it!

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Times SquareTimes Square
Times Square

out our hotel window
Times SquareTimes Square
Times Square

out our hotel window

3rd March 2011

Never Been
I've lived in the US all my life and I have never been to NY. I finally purchased a vacation package through bluegreen corporation. Thanks for the pictures this is far better the the usual pictures on the internet.
4th March 2011

I wondered what had happened to you. You sort of dropped off the radar. Glad you are out seeing things! We went to NYC last summer for July 4th and had a grand time. What have you decided about school? Happy travels.

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