3 days in New York – Third day
Third Day in New York
The New York Metro
Today the alarm is mandatory. It is the last day in New York and we still have to see a lot of things that we have set ourselves! So wake up early, breakfast on 8th Avenue, direction: Subway. Take the stairs that lead to the station on 42nd Street and…
is this the famous New York subway? Above, the city appears sparkling with all new or under construction skyscrapers, and below… is that so??
The New York subway does not do justice to the rest of the city! It is evident that it is dated and that it is used by thousands of people every day! The stations are “Vintage” but not well cared for as one would expect, the Metro wagons have some ailments due to the years of service and the thousands of passengers that take them to Manhattan every day. In any case, it is extremely functional.
We have decided not to do the Metro Card because there are few routes that we have opted to take on the metro and not on foot but, compared to a 57$ Uber to do from 42nd Street to Chamber Street, the 3$ per person are more that well spent!
Quokka recommend: in New York you can walk very well and you can see the hidden and less touristy sides of this city! Use the Metro only for long journeys, so consider whether to make a subscription or buy single travel tickets. The best compromise, if in doubt, is to buy a MetroCard Pay Per Ride that is nothing more than a rechargeable card, usable up to 4 people at the same time, with a minimum discount on the single journey (2,75$ instead of 3$) and a 11% bonus on every top-up (with a 10$ top up you will have a credit on the card of 11,10$).
With the metro we arrive exactly where there was Ground Zero and, as soon as we get off, we find ourselves in the middle of a construction site. Today is Monday and the New Yorkers work, and it shows! The construction site of the Two World Trade Center is a ferment of workers who are busy! We immediately understand that we have arrived in the right place! Behind the building site and almost above our heads, the first tower finished in 2013, the One Trade Center, built in place of the Twin Towers, destroyed in the infamous 9/11. As we get closer and go beyond the construction site, we understand that the One Trade Center was not built instead of the Twin Towers, but next to it: in fact, in front of us, there are two huge craters, where the Two Towers first stood .
Here you can breathe a strange atmosphere … around even if it is full of tourists, you can hear quite silence… all bring respect for the place and for the victims of the now distant, September 11th. We approach… instead of the Towers two enormous Fountains have been created that give the feeling of ending in a vacuum, just like the one they left. Around these fountains was placed a black marble frame engraved with the names of all the victims of September 11th, both of those present in the towers, and of the unfortunate passengers of the hijacked planes, which made them collapse.
On tiptoe, we decide to leave this place full of memories and not to go to visit the 9/11 Memorial, dedicated to the disaster, which was created there in two steps. Instead, we move towards Wall Street to see the New York that works, that of high finance that drags the rest of the world!
Financial District e Wall Street
Wall Street and the Financial District are a stone’s throw from the New World Trade Center and can be reached easily on foot. Arrived on Wall Street what we see is a little different from what we would have expected to see: the tourists are the masters and the workers, whom we thought we would find so much, are not seen!
The entry of the New York Stock Exchange is controlled by Metal Detectors and Armed Guards.
The entire financial district is almost exclusively pedestrianized. If you want to get in the car here, you have to pass double checks: the roads are blocked by mechanical barriers that are manually opened by the guards on duty. In short, we thought we would find an anthill of workers in suits and ties, and instead we found only policemen on guard and tourists who make Selfies with George Washington and the Federal Hall in the background.
We decide, therefore, to be tourists too and to take the usual photo with the Wall Street Charging Bull, located at the beginning of Broadway, on the corner of Bowling Green Park. We hope that it will really bring us money and luck too !!
Battery Park e Liberty City
Next stop: Battery Park, the pier from where all the boats that take you to Liberty Island for the Statue of Liberty Tour and Ellis Island depart. Before arriving at the pier, we come across Battery Urban Farm, another green lung in Manhattan that manages to make this city a human size.
Unfortunately we don’t have time to do the tour to Liberty Island by boat, our next goal today is the neighborhoods of Chinatown, SoHo, Tribeca and being able to get to Brooklyn to make the bridge towards Manhattan at sunset!
Supreme Court of New York
We therefore decide to leave Battery Park and head towards China Town. On the way we do on foot, we go back to Broadway, Wall Street and reach out to see the Federal Reserve. We arrive at the New York City Hall (New York City Hall) that looks like a mini White House in the middle of the Jacob Mold Fountain Park.
From here we can see the goal of our day: the arrival of the Brooklyn Bridge! We continue on Center St and end up in Folley Square where the Supreme Court of New York and the Federal Court overlook, this theater also of numerous police TV series like Law & Order.
We continue our journey and, having turned the corner with Worth St, we end up in the middle of Columbus Park, and the landscape suddenly changes again!
ChinaTown & Little Italy
Without even realizing it, we are in China Town, a strange neighborhood/ghetto for us who come from Genoa where the Chinese are scattered all over the city. Here the Orientals are all concentrated in this neighborhood; you no longer hear English/American, but Chinese. The shops change offering oriental food, Buddha souvenirs and jade statuettes. The signs of Shops, Hotels and Restaurants are in Chinese ideograms. It’s a bit strange to think that the best lawyers in New York are only a few steps away from the Federal Court!
We pull straight for Mulberry St skirting Columbus Park, where Chinese elders relax in the shade and young people play Basketball in the equipped camp and arrive at Canal Street.
Exactly at this corner, ChinaTown becomes Little Italy: behind us is the Vietnamese restaurant “New Xe Lua” and, in front of us, there is the baker “La Bella Ferrara” !!
We continue within this caricature of our country and Chinese food shops have given way to “Italian” restaurants with evocative names like “Caffè Palermo” and “Pellegrino’s”. The atmosphere for us Italians I think is nothing short of surreal, the neighborhood is extremely touristy and to our astonishment all the restaurants are full of customers. It will be that we, when we are around, prefer to taste the local cuisine, rather than go and eat a “Da Nico” pizza.
So we quickly continue to this neighborhood continuing straight to Mulberry St to Broome St and turn towards SoHo, yet another world!
SoHo – Cast Iron District
The structure of the SoHo district certainly reminds of the industrial district of the department stores, now remembered only by the exposed brick buildings and the external fire escapes.
SoHo is also called Cast Iron District. The whole neighborhood has been progressively redeveloped and, to date, is a destination for shopping for exclusive brands and the residence of many celebrities. We have not seen anyone famous but we believe in the word!!
Fatigue begins to be felt, and our stomach reminds us that we have been walking for hours with only breakfast on our stomach, so we decide to look for a place to eat … but we ended up on Canal St! It’s not really the best! It is an artery that connects the Manhattan Bridge with the West coast of Manhattan crossing the whole island. Few shops and few restaurants! Then we decide to move to Brooklyn already!
We take the Metro A to Canal St, southbound, and, after a short stretch, we descend to High Street – Brooklyn Bridge, at the edge of the Cadman Plaza Park.
Brooklyn Shake Shack
Once off the metro, we head towards the Dumbo Ferry Terminal, almost blinded by hunger, which now makes us see very little of what surrounds us. But, as soon as you arrive on the pier, the skyline of Manhattan on the horizon forces us to take pictures! (we had doubts ??) Unfortunately (or fortunately!) our strength is short and we decide to go to Shake Shack, the second one opened in Brooklyn, at number 1 of Old Fulton St.
Guys go there is definitely one of the 5 best Hamburgers in the USA !!
This Shake Shack has kept the original structure of the typical Brooklyn restaurant with the brick interiors of the old factories, which occupied this neighborhood. Plus you will be able to eat a great typical New Yorker Hamburger with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge (or rather under the Brooklyn Bridge!) Without having to spend a fortune, as it would be to go to the nearby and elite The River Cafe!
Brooklyn e Dumbo
We leave satisfied with our afternoon snack, but we decide to wait a little longer before making the bridge towards Manhattan. We take the opportunity then to take a tour of the Dumbo district! Here, nothing has more to do with factories. The neighborhood has been totally re-qualified and now hosts two parks: the Empire Fulton Ferry and the Main Street Park, with Pebble Beach in the middle that offers a magnificent view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge. Come here and relax with the East River that will be your soundtrack (or if you are lucky like us with a percussionist who is shooting his promo video!!) admire the Brooklyn Bridge and the Jane’s Carousel just below!
Well, now that we have refreshed ourselves and relaxed, we resume the journey towards the Bridge along Washington St, a ritual photo on the corner of Water St with the Empire State Building framed by the arches of the Manhattan Bridge as in Once Upon a Time In America.
We continue on Washington St up to Prospect St, where there is the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and we start from here about 2 and a half kilometers walk!
Don’t let the numbers scare you, once you get on the Brooklyn Bridge you won’t notice the steps taken and those that are still waiting for you! You’ll start taking pictures at every step, at every change of perspective of the bridge and the skyline! If you are lucky like us, you will also be able to see the Statue of Liberty in the background!
The sunset is upon us and the Manhattan Skyline is even more fascinating from here, absolutely a must if you plan to come to New York, even for just a few days like us!
Quokka recommend: beware of cyclists! The pedestrian bridge is raised above the lanes dedicated to cars and buses but is shared with bicycles. The gangway is divided between pedestrians on the right and bikes on the left (going towards Manhattan) and inexplicably it seems that cyclists do not have the use of brakes, so be careful not to let you invest while taking pictures with a nose in the air!
Satisfied by the sight that is enjoyed from the Brooklyn Bridge, we find ourselves again in Manhattan, from New York City Hall where we were a few hours before. We decide to stop for a few minutes to regain our strength, the day begins to weigh on our legs, but we decide to continue and make one last stop: the Grand Central Station!
Grand Central Station
We go down to take the Metro at City Hall – Brooklyn Bridge, exactly at the bridge’s arrival, Metro 6 northbound and get off at the Grand Central stop – 42St a few meters from the station entrance; in reality there is also the exit directly inside the station but we have not taken it to the first one, but perhaps it was better this way, because going out on Park Ave you have a decidedly better impact!
We leave the metro station, worn and a little dirty and we find ourselves in front of the Grand Central Station! Mastodontic and anachronistic, in the midst of modern buildings in Manhattan, it has kept its charm since the early 1900s. But don’t think it’s just a piece of history from old Manhattan, this station is teeming with passengers, probably due to the time when the we visited, which coincides with the commuting home. Entering, the Grand Central Station is even more magical: soft lighting, in an atrium a group of classic dancers is shooting a video and in the central Hall the classic ticket offices are still used and have been modernized with LED panels but with traditional characters.
Old New York City
Right off the Grand Central Station, absolutely in style with the station, we find three shoe polishing stations! As in the 1930s films, the lucky customers can sit on comfortable leather armchairs and have their leather shoes polished by experts! New York always manages to amaze us!
Unfortunately we are really tired, so we return exhausted from the day to our hotel, passing through Bryant Park which, at this time of night, comes alive. You can sit on the lawn with a towel and enjoy a movie show, like tonight, or several live shows on other days.