New York’s Manic Manhattan

You can’t but help to be caught up in New York’s manic Manhattan – an energetic epicentre for entertainment, culture, shopping, art, and of course, finance.

What to expect

As one of New York’s 5 boroughs, Manhattan is the most densely populated.

Manhattan, New York, USA, North AmericaOffering a tireless and endless array of entertainment, restaurants, and theatres – Manhattan is not known as the city that never sleeps without reason.

Manhattan is electric as it is vibrant. Its 24/7 perpetual awakening is exhausting, as this sprawling urban expanse swirls around you and dwarfs even the tallest of buildings.

Still, it’s not my first time on Manhattan Island but this time, it’s part of an amazing sailing trip down the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie to New York.

Each visit ensures a new experience or offers a deeper intimate snippet of genuine local life.

Manhattan’s shopping is second to none and world-famous for this favourite past time. If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll crash and burn with exhaustion whilst run off your feet, trying frantically to visit the plethora of exclusive boutiques. I’m not a shopper.

Instead, I would much rather just absorb what this city throws at me each day.

Manhattan

Founded back in 1624 as a trading post by colonists of the Dutch Republic, its name was New Amsterdam in 1626. The English arrived and changed the name to New York in honour of the Duke of York.

Manhattan, New York, USA, North America

More battles ensued, the American Revolution in the 1700s, then the amalgamation of surrounding cities to form New York in the late 1800s also included Manhattan.

Although congested, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and Central Park are Manhattan’s most famous and top attractions.

Exploring this metropolis leaves you breathless from the deluge of choices for activities.

Getting there

Whether you’re staying in expensive Manhattan itself, close by in popular Brooklyn, quieter Jersey, or on picturesque Staten Island, getting to Manhattan is easy using regular trains, buses, and ferries.

Tips:

  • Take the Staten Island Ferry for a gorgeous trip across New York’s Upper Bay, whilst passing the Statue of Liberty. Absorb the past whilst contemplating the over 12 million migrants that arrived on Ellis Island, during a 60-year period from 1892 until 1954.
  • Once on Manhattan Island, take the Subway for the best and fastest way to travel if you don’t feel like walking.

Wall Street

Claimed as the “leading financial centre in the world”, and dating back to 1624, infamous Wall Street is a must on your visit – if only to wander its hectic pavements.

The sheer number of Pierre Cardin, Louis Vuitton, and hideously expensive designer suits will leave you feeling rather underdressed.


You should stumble upon a couple of groovy sculptures along your walk.

Grab a relatively cheap bite to eat at one of the few available carts, to help them along in this expensive neighbourhood. I can only imagine what rental price they’re paying for a piece of concrete in Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Street

Strolling along Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street district, news reporters, protestors, and thousands of people congregate to protest.

This movement is described as a “left-wing protest against economic inequality”.

I’m not sure if this is an apt description, but perhaps it depends on who’s telling the story?

The Occupy Wall Street slogan is “We are the 99%”.

If you’re deeply passionate about changing something…

…then why not take the time to demonstrate solidarity for a cause? It is a democracy after all.

9/11 Memorial

I remember visiting this site in 2008, when it was bare massive holes in the ground with its extensive area fenced-off.

Now in 2011, the transformation into the 9/11 Memorial is remarkable and tastefully incorporates the names of the thousands of victims.

The only thing I don’t like and have to mention is that for me, the Memorial shop is quite tasteless, considering what occurred at this site.

Ground Zero tours are also available at a price.

Little Italy

If you’re a coffee or a pasta snob like me, then by far the best offered in Manhattan is in the ethic neighbourhood of Little Italy, in Lower Manhattan.

Only Italian restaurants and stores grace the streets.

Step into any cafe in Little Italy and you’re thrown back into an Italian scene of friendly rowdiness, lingering coffee aromas, and wonderful sweet pastry scents.

As Little Italy is close to China Town, then check out this neighbourhood also for great Asian delights.

Empire State Building

Visiting Manhattan without visiting the iconic Empire State Building is like visiting Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Completed in 1931, this 102-storey building stands at a still imposing height of 443.2 metres – views are stunning from this height.

Urban madness…

…and a perfect spot to watch the sun kiss the horizon.

Grand Central Terminal

New York’s majestic landmark Grand Central Terminal covers 48 acres, consists of 44 platforms, and is not to be missed.

Love observing the movement and franticness of commuters, whilst relaxing from a quiet corner – this building never sleeps.

The terminal has always been one of my favourites in Manhattan, especially to just stop for a while and people-watch.

Spend a day exploring the many levels and areas made famous in many movies over the decades.

Central Park

A perfect place to relax and collect your thoughts whilst visiting manic Manhattan, Central Park is great also as a picnic spot…

…or just to play.

Established in1857, this urban parkland spreads over 778 acres whilst still constrained by the walls of the city’s buildings.

Central Park draws many artists wishing for a quiet space just to create, in the frenzy that is Manhattan.

Rambling below central park, we stumble upon a flea market selling bric-a-brac, clothing, art bits, and curios in a closed off street. Many markets are held under cover and outdoors on the island, which are another way to experience a local flavour.

MOMA

Today sees a visit to the Museum of Modern Art as we can’t possibly pass up one of America’s most famous street photographer Vivian Maier’s exhibition.

Maier’s candid work is fabulous and MOMA is a wonderful venue in which to host any exhibition.

Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum Complex

A slightly different encounter on Manhattan that you may not have heard of is the the Intrepid complex, which is both educational and fascinating. Children love this spot and its interactive activities.

Visiting the U.S.S. Intrepid craft, which was built during WWII is awe-inspiring and the history lesson is eye-opening. You can even overnight on the Intrepid just like enlisted sailors did, for a different Manhattan experience.

James A. Farley Building

Formerly named the General Post Office Building, this famous commanding Corinthian-design landmark was built in 1912, and now occupies 8 acres – two full city blocks.

The building’s famous inscription is hard to miss: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

A great spot to rest for a while on the many aged steps.

The post office’s 24-hour service ended in 2009 with upcoming technology, and is now used as an Amtrak train station.

Apple Store

Today is when the announcement that Steve Jobs passed away hit the global arena.

And, although this is not the reason for visiting the Apple store, I’m surprised at the hundreds of post-it notes with commiseration messages.

This store is impressive as it is opulent and innovative.

Don’t expect a discount at this store, as typically prices are fixed as always with Apple products.

Manhattan Vibes

Roaming around at a leisurely pace offers unusual streets scenes that perhaps you’ve never seen of Manhattan – not all are wealthy on the island.

Buskers belt out their craft in the hope of earning a few dollars. Stop and listen for a spell, they’re usually excellent. Leave a little something for the privilege of being a part of this free art.

Locals go about their daily jobs…

…and some, just relax the day away.

Not quite the Abbey Road album cover, but I liked this scene.

Taking a break from shopping…


R.I.P.

Leaving Manhattan

It’s time for yet another little side-trip by bus and head to Boston for a few days before flying back to Peru to continue the South American jaunt.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on USA at Image Earth Travel.

Central Park, New York, USA, North America
Photo credit: Neil Lintern
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54 thoughts on “New York’s Manic Manhattan

Add yours

  1. Stunning! I loved New York when I visited with my best friend about 5 years ago. The 9/11 memorial museum is possibly the most moving I have ever visited and I agree about the shop. Your black and white photos are my favourite. Feel like I was transported back in time to before colour. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a few posts on Poland, which may help. It’s such an easy country to travel in and so beautiful, albeit the history is tragic as you know.

      I also visited another site in Lublin (not a popular tourist destination) Majdanek State Museum.
      (Just noticed that all my formatting is out since changing to a new WP theme – so annoying as now I need to go back and re-format all my posts.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could go to New York!!! This read just made me want to go even more! I love how you gave me the history of everything along with a brief description. It pretty much laid out a check list for me! Also beautiful photography! Great read!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have such fond memories of Manhattan Nilla. Having family there makes it even more special. I never did get to see the 911 memorial though. I have mixed feelings about visiting the site. Something to think about for the next visit I suppose. Gorgeous photos too 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s great to have family in overseas places as you’re always shown the non-touristy places.

      I was the same Lorelle but thought I’d see it whilst I was there anyway. And apart from the shop, the shrine is tasteful and hope that it’s kept this way in the future, as the real estate in Manhattan is so valuable.

      Thank you for your feedback 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the post, Nilla. You refreshed the memories from a time when I visited there. You know I have pictures taken of the WTC Towers before they were brought down. So tragic! Loved your detailed pictures and tips.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Rachna, many thanks for your comment.
      That is so sad and yes, extremely tragic, which changed our world forever. It’s hard to look at the site without imagining the towers still there….

      Like

    1. Yes, and it’s great for short-term travel but it doesn’t take long until it breaks the bank when long-term travelling.’t that
      That’s what I usually do these days but airbnb wasn’t around in January-March 2008, it started in August that year (I think).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great shots as usual. Im not a shopper either. Loved Central Park. Theres always so much going on there. Glad you mentioned Vivian Maier. I have her book and saw an exhibition of her work in Paris a couple of years ago. Ironic that she didn’t live to see her fame.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for the great feedback!
      Yes, love Central Park and it’s a great place to escape and relax.
      I love Vivian’s work and she’s very underrated, but then again many female artists seem to not get as much exposure. It is ironic and also tragic although many great artists never lived to see their fame.

      Like

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