“If I can make it here, I”ll make it anywhere…” Moving to the land of opportunity was not on a whim. My decision to move was based solely on pursuing my career. Finding a place to live, setting up a home all by myself alongside busy work schedules, while I was still understanding the nitty-gritty of the new location and getting accustomed to a new environment, and enduring the pain of losing a loved one during the process was not easy. Two months into the grind, when I sit down to record my experience, I can’t help but ponder – if I have made it thus far, I can make it anywhere. I believe every experience teaches you something which helps you become a better individual. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have been showered with and want to make the most of it while I am here, both personally and professionally.
I’m a girl consumed by wanderlust, and it’s highly unlikely I am in a new place and don’t explore. I was only waiting for the weather to improve to be out and about and I couldn’t think of a better place to start with than New York City!
Luckily, I live pretty close to NYC, an hour’s train ride from where I live takes me to New York Penn Station. I don’t have to plan and book my tickets or a hotel in advance. So, the idea is to pay a visit as and when I can and explore the entire city at leisure. On my first visit, I met a dear friend of mine at the Penn Station, and we decided to cover as many places as possible by foot. It was nippy in the morning, we grabbed our coffee and started walking towards WTC via High Line. The stretch covered was from High Line’s northernmost entrance at 34th Street to southernmost entrance at Washington Street (~2.5 km). High Line is a linear park built on a re-purposed railroad. One can still see the original railway tracks integrated into the park’s design. The park’s attraction includes views of NYC’s sprawling real estate, site-specific artworks, and a delightful view of the Hudson River. Walking the entire stretch was nothing less than a hiking experience.
Our first pit-stop was at the One World Observatory and Oculus terminal (PATH Station). It’s one of the poignant memorial ideas honouring the victims of 2001 terror attack. Visitors to the September 11th Memorial are greeted by twin pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers, which also happens to be the largest fountains in one place. It’s a feat of engineering, the technology used to keep the water from freezing induces awe in me. The Oculus terminal, the bird-like structure echoes the Greek Phoenix myth of rebirth from the ashes, symbolising life triumphing over death.
After the memorial we made our way towards Wall Street, passing through Broadway, admiring the city’s contemporary art and skyscrapers.
Charging bull or the Wall Street bull, a symbol of prosperity is both a popular tourist destination and one of the most iconic images of New York’s financial district, drawing tourists who flock to it for photos. It was impossible to get a decent picture clicked with the bull. People believe rubbing the Bull brings good luck! This year another bronze sculpture of a little girl facing the charging bull, hands on hips and seems to be staring it down was added for International Woman’s Day. I was more excited to see the ‘Fearless Girl’ than the Bull! While the people who commissioned the statue of the girl look at it as “the power of women in leadership”, the sculptor who created the Bull thinks it’s an insult to his work and wants it removed. I’m not sure if it is going to stay there or moved elsewhere. I’m only happy to have got to see it, while it was there 😀
Next up, we walked towards Battery Park. Why the name I wonder and learnt by a little bit of research that the park got its name for the artillery batteries placed in the days of yore to protect the settlement. Now, what on earth are artillery batteries you may ask, they are the unit of guns and missiles grouped to facilitate battlefield systems – all in the naval context on warships. Many years ago, Battery Park was the world’s first immigrant depot! Millions of newcomers arrived at The Battery from Europe and elsewhere. Having learnt that, the placement of artillery batteries now makes perfect sense. Today, ferries dock at its shore to pick up visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I have planned a separate visit to explore Liberty Island and shall be writing about it in a different post. All we did at the park was take a stroll, attempted to snap the Statue of Liberty from a great distance, grab some quick bites and rest my tired legs. It was lunch time, and I had little or no energy left to walk back, so we took the subway to 23rd Street. That way I got to ride the subway as well! If you are planning to visit NYC multiple times like I, it is advised to buy a metro card, which can be used as many times and top up as and when required.
From 23rd Street station we walked towards Lexington Avenue for lunch, which has an array of Indian restaurants. En route we stopped at Flatiron building, a triangular 22-story steel-framed building, unlike other skyscrapers is one of the most iconic and an archetypal symbol of New York City.
Walking around Madison Square Park and Lexington Avenue we could catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building from almost every corner of the street. Again, my visit to Empire State Building is for another day.
After treating ourselves to a delicious Indian meal, we started walking towards Times Square, one last stop before calling it a day. I don’t know how many blocks we walked through to get to Times Square. Every possible company has its corporate presences in the area. It’s also the hub of the Broadway Theaters.
Times Square is the locus of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, attracting over a million visitors every year and making it the most visited place globally. It’s alive; it’s intense; it’s inspiring, every step of the way. For me, this was the vibe of the city I had read about, watched in movies, and heard from friends over the years. THIS is NYC!