Travel blogger and photographer,Chris Stevens, shares his highlights from New York City as well as how you can chill out in the city and his thoughts on Ground Zero.
Visiting America’s famed “Big Apple” is something that should be on everyone’s travel to-do list; regardless of whether you like big cities or not.
I’m a country boy but New York has always intrigued me. Perhaps it was the lure of the bright lights and glamour, or maybe the endless streams of movies centred around it. NYC was on my mind and I jumped at a chance to head there and explore.
I found a chaotic city where every turn is a scene from a movie yet it kept me thoroughly entertained and greeted me with it’s new yet familiar embrace.
I spent just over a week in the Big Apple, for most people it’s a week or long weekend break destination but there’s so much to see and do you barely touch the ground – whether you want to too or not!
Here are some of my highlights from a week in NYC:
Standing on the cross roads of Time Square might not seem like an adventure but it really does feel like the movies. Try the classis shot of spinning around with your arms out and your head back while a pulsating crowd from across the globe rush by. You know the scene; Persona arrives in New York, overwhelmed by everything, the beating music, a spinning camera shot as they gaze across the crowds before cutting to them falling asleep exhausted on their hotel bed.
Why not have your own little slice of movie goodness?!
The Empire State Building
The Empire State is without a doubt my highlight, especially as a photographer.
Standing on the rooftop and gazing across the expanse of concrete squares which make up the iconic city is everything you could hope for. You can get a good sense of the size of NYC on the ground but to truly get it into perspective, you need to get up high.
I would definitely recommend visiting the Empire State twice, once in the morning and once at night. Seeing the city lit up during the dead of night it mesmerizing – the sirens fill the air whilst the heavy glow of street lights, cars and apartment blocks create a patchwork amongst the silhouette of this great city.
If the hectic hustle of the city is getting too much, head to Central Park where the chaos melts away among the huge open spaces, trees and couples eating picnics. Its’ a world away from the icon it sits within and you can clear your head, enjoy the space and stroll away the stress of a hard days shopping!
If you can’t tear yourself away from the city that never sleeps then the next best thing is to recoup your thoughts local style – over a coffee and a bagel! New York’s cuisine is as varied as the people that call it home and you’re never too far from a good place to taste the local specialties and rest your feet.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when visiting Ground Zero and I didn’t know how it would affect me.
A a visit to Ground Zero gave me a sense of the scale of that fateful day – something that has become familiar through the media but you can’t quite grasp without going there in person.
I’m not too sure how I feel about “disaster tourism”. I opted not to visit the Killing Fields whilst in Cambodia and I haven’t visited the Holocaust Museum either. I left Ground Zero with more feelings about the tourism that surrounds the site than the event itself and felt confused over how people are cashing in on the tragedy that has highlighted this corner of the city.
If you’ve always fancied the Big Apple, then now is the time to bite! We’ve got New York holidays in May and June from only £649pp with direct flights with Virgin Atlantic. Whether you’re looking for a luxury NYC break or a bargain in the city, we’ve got it covered. Deal ends March 31 2013.
Chris is a surfer, photographer, traveller and writer from Devon in the UK. He ditched 9-5 life and headed off to backpack the world. When he’s not in the water catching some waves he’s busy exploring with his camera or blogging over at BackpackerBanter.com and Top 5 Travel