Krispy Kreme donuts, yellow cabs and Starbucks coffee. These I will forever associate with New York.
Of course, first on the 'must see' list for any tourist is the Statue of Liberty, and I was no different. Booking a tour will guarantee you a spot, otherwise get there early, take a book and be prepared for a long line. If you are short on cash, the Staten Island ferry carries commuters across the Hudson River and is free, but I’d recommend a visit to the island as it’s only when you stand at the feet of Liberty that you appreciate her size. With the combined ferry ticket we also visited Ellis Island. Ellis Island was used as an immigration port between 1897 and 1938 and has an interesting museum detailing the function of the island, the lives of those who passed through its gates, as well as current statistics and contemporary concerns surrounding immigration in the US.
Back in Manhattan we wandered down Wall Street – a money district of banks and businessmen dressed in coloured blazers. I felt quite out of place in my jeans and hoodie - like a private school student who forgot the cancellation of mufti day. But I felt reassured that I didn’t look as ridiculous as the NY police patrolling the area. Though intimidating with their large guns and batons at their side, their three-wheeled golf buggy patrol vehicles made them look like sidekicks in a Charlie Chaplin flick.
Times Square is incredible. It’s bold, brash, vulgar - and yet somehow incredibly beautiful. It’s a crayola world of bright colours, flashing lights, spinning billboards and television screens. It’s a space occupied by yellow cabs, brides, busloads of camera- toting Japanese tourists and homeless beggars. You feel like you have been dropped into the set of Who Framed Roger Rabbit - a Toontown world where cartoon characters walk side by side with humans. Fittingly, the Broadway theatre district is next door to Time Square. We splashed out and bought Chicago tickets for $50 (which was fifty percent off the box office price) from the TKTS booth on Duffy Square. Fabulous cast, great songs and risqué costumes. Well worth the splash, even if you have seen the movie.
The HI- New York in Manhattan is large, central and chock full of facilities.