It´s funny, but NYC has been long time on my “Black List” for cabin crew destinations. Too loud, too crowded, too much. But like everything else in life, tastes and personal preferences change like nature changes seasons.
2015 marked my personal Manhattan-Revival. And in my opinion, New York City has never been better as presently. It is a fantastic destination for discovery, adventure, style, fashion and taste. And it´s an absolute highlight to visit during the golden October, when the days slowly become shorter and the low autumn sun dives the city into a romantic and even a little mysterious light.
Jersey City is the perfect offspring for my Manhattan city walk. The hotel lies very close to Newport PATH station and there is no better way to begin the day than with the amazing view onto downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River that you have from the Waterfront Walkway. Sitting on one of the benches with a large “No foam Latte” and either my Starbucks Berry oatmeal or a delicious sandwich from Fresca Gourmet Deli while watching the whole scene can be described as almost spiritual.
PATH connects Newport with either the World Trade Center or 33rd Street. I am heading for the Museum at FIT which holds the “Fashion Underground – The world of Susanne Bartsch” exhibition. The Museum is located on West 27th Street and only a few blocks away from PATH´s 23rd Street station and admission is absolutely free! How cool is that? If you are interested in fashion or simply seek some visual inspiration, this place is absolutely worth visiting. I loved the spectacular outfits and spend altogether almost two hours walking around. Here is a little collection of some of my favourites!
Another place that I seriously have never been to in 17 years of being a flight attendant is Grand Central Station. So this amazing sunny day could not be more perfect to pay finally visit to one of New York´s most popular sites around. From the Museum at FIT it is a little walk over to Park Avenue and then further up to 42nd Street. My head is almost the entire time up in the skies. The sun is reflecting in the trillions of windows, creating almost the impression to walk through an immense gemstone. I personally like Park Avenue much better than the rundown, overcrowded and touristy 5th Avenue. And the view? Well, see for yourself:
And there she is. As I step inside, at first I am a little disappointed by the actual size of the hall. It always looks so huge on photographs and in movies. But as I stand and stare at the scenery in this marvelous architectural masterpiece, my mind gets carried away. I close my eyes and listen to the many sounds around me: The voices of rushing travelers talking on their mobile phones, the clicking of high heels on the historic stone floors. Magical. It´s like traveling back in time and I am very glad that I finally came here after all these years. And before I move on, I climb up to the first floor and enjoy the panoramic view from the gallery upstairs.
Time flies when you´re having fun! So I am not quite surprised that it is already past noon when I leave Grand Central Station and my stomach is making weird sounds already. Looks like the right moment to grab a little something to nibble on. And there we go: Urbanspace Vanderbilt. This market style food place holds various food stands with something for every taste! The atmosphere is relaxed, the crowd quite diverse, yet typically New York stylish. As I am looking just for something small I end up at Red Hook Lobster Pound. And yes, that Lobster BLT is simply to die for! Hmmmmmmm….
My next destination is the Citibank Building on 53rd Street. Park Avenue is particularly gorgeous on this section and you should not miss a quick visit to the lobby of the world-famous Waldorf Astoria hotel. Besides the Citibank Building, walking down E 53rd Street towards East River makes you pass other architectural highlights such as the Lipstick Building, for example. From here it is only a few blocks to the United Nations. And if you walk down 3rd Avenue, you will find plenty of cool cafés and restaurants with outdoor sitting.
When I arrive at the United Nations, I realize that the last time that I have stood in front of this New York icon was when I was a small boy. It is tough times at the moment. The world is shaken by war, terrorism and refuge. Standing outside the headquarter of the UN makes me for a moment at least believe, that everything is going to be fine one day. Might sound strange to you, but there could not be a better place for taking a deep breath and sending a wish to the universe for peace, could there? And as I hold in for a moment, my new iPhone slips out of my hand, crashes to the ground and leaves the display shattered. So much about good thoughts, right?…
From here it is only a stone´s throw to the beautiful Chrysler Building. I am not staying for long though. Time is running and it is already early afternoon. I have only a few hours left until I have to be back at the hotel and get ready for the return flight home, so I continue to walk down Lexington Avenue to 34th Street. Here I change back over to 5th Avenue, enjoy a glimpse of the beautiful Empire State Building, one of my favourite skyscrapers in the world, and stroll down until Madison Square Park with the gorgeous Flatiron towering above. A cool place to grab another snack or simply a drink is the Belgian Beer Nomad Café nearby. Otherwise, the Argo Tea Cafe right inside the Flatiron serves also great illy coffee.
With aching feet and another hot and delicious coffee in my hands I finally settle for a few moments on one of the benches in Madison Square Garden. This downtown park is a beautiful lunch break hideaway and also a popular social meeting place for various events. And while I let the day pass in pictures in my mind, a country band is rehearsing on the small stage for their gig later that afternoon. I don´t like country that much, but listening to the beautiful voice of the lead singer fits just perfectly into the scene.
It´s only a few blocks from here back to 23rd Street PATH station. And though it has been an intense and tiring day, admittedly, I sigh with delight and full of beautiful impressions as the crew bus drives direction to Newark Liberty airport a few hours later. New York, you just have it all! Thanx for being great! See you soon.