New York in a Minute – Touchdown in the US

We’ve finally arrived in America! It feels good to be back in travel mode and it feels even better to be travelling here in the US.  It’s been a while since we set off with the sole purpose of simply exploring and soaking in a  new country,  but that’s exactly what we intend to do for the next three months, starting with the Big Apple.

Enjoying a New York Pretzel

Returning to New York

Although this is Andrew’s first visit to the US, I took a brief college trip to New York when I was just 18, only a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Besides endless hours of wandering the freezing streets with my neck craned upwards, taking pictures from the top of the Empire State Building and eating Lucky Charms straight from the box, what I remember most from that trip was visiting Ground Zero.

Manhattan skyline, New York

I remember the wall of missing posters and standing on a wooden platform overlooking the wreckage. This experience had a big impact on my 18-year-old self, who was just beginning to realise that the world wasn’t quite the innocent place it appeared to be and that life is indeed finite. Now I’m back again, 13 years older and relatively wiser. On the ride from the airport I spotted twin pillars of light shining up through the darkness in the distance, a reminder of the past and how things change over time.

Discovering Brooklyn

We were lucky to be staying with Christine and Pam, Andrew’s relatives, in Brooklyn. We immediately fell in love with their quiet neighbourhood with its coffee shops and wide, tree-lined streets,  huge mansion houses with flights of steps leading up to the front doors and apartment blocks with fire escapes zig-zagging down the sides.  Christine and Pam live in a beautiful old carriage house with lofty, open spaces and a wooden deck with a ladder leading up to the roof.

One, World Trade Center, WWII Memorial, Statue of Liberty, New York

It was all exactly as I’d imagined New York would be; being here feels strangely like stepping onto a living movie set because the city and its streets, skylines and parks have been burnt into our consciousness through film, TV, books and stories all of our lives. New York feels familiar but new and I see in it echoes of other cities I’ve visited; Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, Taipei.

We started our three-month trip to the US in New York, where we had just a day to explore, visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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New York in a Day

We’ll be back in New York at the end of our trip in November, but for now we had just one full day to get a taste of the city before we headed off to Boston. Despite the jetlag and exhaustion, we felt energised with excitement to explore; the skies were clear and the sun was shining as we caught the subway to Battery Park for a boat trip to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

The Statue of Liberty, New York

It was surreal to approach the Statue of Liberty across the water, to see such a familiar, iconic figure in real life. As we wandered around Liberty Island and craned our necks up to gaze at the statue, we listened to the audio guide and imagined what it would have been like for those immigrants who sailed across the world to build a new life in America, what it would have felt like to catch a first glimpse of the statue and realise that you’d finally arrived.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York

We spent hours in the excellent immigration museum on Ellis Island; as we read and heard the stories of people who left their homes behind to build new lives in the West, carrying aspects of their own cultures with them, I couldn’t help but think of the mass migration that’s occurring at the moment into Europe and how similar the issues are. It was a fitting start to our trip to visit the place where so many people began their lives in America and to understand the origins of the country.

Registry Room in Ellis Island Immigration Museum

For the next week we’ll be exploring Boston, a city we have already fallen for, before we pick up our rental car and begin our New England road trip – stay tuned!

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17 thoughts on “New York in a Minute – Touchdown in the US

    • It definitely has been a great start and things just keep getting better – we love it here! It was so nice to stay with relatives too, we really felt welcomed to the country.

  1. We went to the Ground Zero Memorial last summer – it was so emotional since it was the first event like that where I watched it on the news and actually understood what was happening. But I can’t imagine being there just months after…wow.

    We didn’t go to the immigration museum so might need to go back! 🙂
    Dayna recently posted..How to Not Kill Each Other When Travelling as a CoupleMy Profile

    • Yeah, the immigration museum was really good. We have tickets to go to the 9/11 museum when we get back to NYC, I’m sure it will be really emotional.

    • Thanks Victoria, Andrew loves it so far! A trip down the west coast sounds amazing too, we will have to come back for that one day.

  2. I went to New York in 1992 .Sadly i had trouble breathing the air because of the polution.I never new i had a bit of a respitory problem and years later i was diagnosed with a thyroid problem .At first i couldn’t handle the traffic and everyone bipping their horns.Eventually i started to like it more.i went to the Up town area some modern buildings looked pretty cool.Loved the Museum of natural history.And went to the top floor of The Empire state buiding to look at the views of the city.Talk about sky scrapping buldings.My cousins wouldn’t let me go up into the Statue of Libberty.They said the area was small and wasn’t worth it.I also saw the twin towers.My favourite bit was Central Park because i loved the squirals and they were so qute.My uncle decided to take me mid town ,which was alright and then he said ,Now you are going to see the real New york that tourists don’t see.He took me to the outskirts of the Broncs .Rather a rough area ,seeing young teenagers dealing drugs and the housing commission buildings needed alot of repairs.So who wants to see A guetto anyway.When ever i arrive in a place where i wasn’t quite inspired,i will not leave the place ,until i find something i love and i deffinately achieved that .I went with my cousins to Shanghai reds which is a restaurant in New Jersey ,right near the water and over the other side of the water ,you could see the sky line of New york and at night time ,It gave me a wow factor.New York city is so spectacular at night,with all those lights on .The restauarant food was pretty good and the servings were so huge and at the end of the night me and my couins had belly acres because we ate too many cakes.At the end of my visit I felt satisfied .I also liked how all the electricals were so cheap.We went in the beginning of spring where not much was happening.During the summer the streets are full of entertainment,such as people sing and juggling in the streets.That would give New York a fantastic atmosphere.Best of luck at Boston ,Love Louisa

    • Hi Louisa, thanks for sharing your experiences of New York, it sounds like you saw a lot of different sides to the city. We are also finding that the food portions are pretty big which is good because we can share meals and save money.

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