24th November 2014
So this one’s a bit late. By a bit late, I mean these pictures were taken 6 months ago.
My excuse is that 100% of my spare time (outside of a demanding day-job) has been taken up by my work with Google, keeping this post in limbo until now. Back in May I spent 7 days exploring The Big Apple. It marked my first time in the US and my first time in New York.
There’s no way I could ever explain everything I love about New York in just a single blog post. So instead, here’s a simple selection of my favourite photos from the trip, with a brief note here or there.
Grand Central Terminal
I arrived at Grand Central at 17:00 on a Monday. Rush hour in New York is a perfect introduction to such a restless city.
This station became my home base for the trip. It’s easy to find and in close proximity to the spots you’ll want to see most in Midtown. Head to the Apple Store on the East Balcony for the most reliable free Wi-Fi.
If you’re staying in New York for any stretch of time, grab a MetroCard and use the $19.05 rule to outsmart the MTA and avoid having leftover funds on your card. I used the New York Subway App to find my way around – the route planner even works offline and underground.
There are two types of Subway service in New York; Local Stops and Express Services. Local Trains stop at every station on the line, while Express Trains only stop at major stations.
That can be a bit more complex than it sounds at first, and first-time visitors often get confused between the two. Here’s a simple way to differentiate between them: Local Trains typically run on tracks that are closest to the walls of the station.
So if there are four tracks, the two on the outside will run the Local Trains and the two on the inside (either side of the platform you’re standing on) run the Express Trains. If in doubt, poke your head inside a carriage on a stationary train (do this quickly to avoid getting guillotined by the doors) and look at the maps above the seats. If certain stations aren’t lit-up on the map, that’s an Express Train.
Yellow taxis and grey asphalt – New York’s signature colour palette.
The beating heart of capitalism.
There’s an Armed Forces recruiting station in the center of Times Square, adorned by a giant neon version of Old Glory.
Only in New York.
Go to Times Square at any time of day or night and it’ll always be packed full of people – great for grabbing a slice of Pizza and people-watching. Avoid being a clueless tourist by not taking pictures with the people dressed up in costumes. They only want your money, and from the looks of things, they’re not happy if you don’t pay up.
The true origins of the modern advertising agency.
This is the area where I stayed, a stones throw away from the Chrysler Building, 5th Avenue and enough hipster coffee shops to keep you caffeinated for a lifetime.
The High Line
A great space with a fascinating history, the High Line is a park in the sky. Reclaimed from a formerly long abandoned one and a half mile stretch of elevated rail line. The beautiful branding was created by the legendary Paula Scher in 2001.
MoMA is probably the best and most famous museum in New York. Set aside a couple of hours to enjoy as many of the exhibits as possible. Walk straight up to the top floor and go down from there before finishing up in the Sculpture Garden.
Interestingly, Paula Scher also worked on the MoMA identity system.
Museum of Natural History
Get there early and know in advance what exhibitions you want to see.
You know why you’re here. Head over to Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles and thank me later.
Google New York
I stopped off at Google NYC to visit the team. The New York office is huge (2.9 million square feet) spanning an entire city block in Chelsea, with Chelsea Market running directly underneath. It’s easy to get lost here.
The interior is a beautiful mix of modern office space and authentic NYC architecture. The exposed brickwork and giant freight elevators make this a really fun place to be.
Checking out the new YouTube Space New York.
Apple Store, 5th Avenue
Pristine and minimalist on the outside; a chaotic, sweaty mass of tourists on the inside.
It’s open 24/7, so go at night to avoid the insanity.
World Trade Center PATH station
I discovered this stunning passageway completely by accident while trying to find a quick route through the area, which was heavily congested by construction work.
Uniqlo, one of my favourite brands.
This huge sculpture of a contortionist Kate Moss (designed by Marc Quinn) was temporary placed outside Christie’s Auction house on the Avenue of the Americas.
An excited man stood in-front of it screaming “Yeah, baby!”.
Welcome to New York.
Trump Tower. Power.
It doesn’t look it in the picture, but it was the hottest, sunniest day of the year when I came here. I got to experience the awesome Flatiron Food Market and ate half my bodyweight in Gelato at Eately.
Empire State Building
Tip: when they say “Zero visibility”, they mean it. I waited around 40 minutes for the weather to clear up before enjoying the view from the Empire State Building for the first time – it was worth it.
To get the full experience, go once in the morning and once in the evening, early and late.
Top of The Rock
The Rockefeller Center is awesome. If you plan on visiting the observation deck, go just before midday to get the best view of Central Park. Make sure to visit Blue Bottle Coffee on your way out.
There’s actually a ton of concentrated green space in New York. Central Park is insanely huge and more like a forest than a park. It took me over 2 hours to walk across it.
It’s so large that once you’ve walked for a few minutes, you forget you’re in a big city. It’s a truly beautiful, serene space. I’d love to run from one end to the other someday.
I love this place. Surrounded by skyscrapers, it’s a calm and quiet space to grab coffee and breakfast in the morning and a loud, energetic place for relaxing in the evening, with different free events on almost every night.
When I visited on a Wednesday evening, there was free salsa dancing. Strangers danced around the fountains together while a Mariachi band played in the background.
I walked across this beautiful beast in the pouring rain, stopping every now and then to gawk at the incredible view of the river and Manhattan’s skyline. Like Central Park, this one’s gotta be run on.
New York, New York
If you love big cities like I do, New York is the ultimate playground. It’s a truly incredible city, one I don’t think I could ever get bored in. I’d love to live here someday. Until then – see you around, New York!
If you want to see more photos from the trip, check out the full set on Flickr.
p style=”text-align: center;”>Thanks reading. You should follow me Twitter, here.