One of the perks of having an exchange program in Philadelphia is that it is very close to major US cities like New York, Washington DC, etc. Naturally, as someone who has limited time in the US, I had to visit these cities. So, last weekend, I took a day trip to NYC!
New York city is less than two hours away from Philly by bus. There are also several other means to get there, but on this day, my friend and I took one of the bus options after purchasing tickets days earlier. It is advisable to get tickets well ahead of travel date as prices begin to increase when getting close.
The bus left from center city at 9am and before 11am, we had arrived Manhattan. The first stop on our itinerary was the Brooklyn Bridge. We decided to take the walk of about 20 minutes to the bridge in order to take in the view of New York streets and scenery. My first impression of the city is that it is very bustling, and busy; there are a lot of people, and everyone is doing something or going somewhere. This was even more evident when we arrived Brooklyn Bridge: there was a multitude of people going to and coming from the Bridge. It was great to see the bridge in person and walk it. Moreover, it offered a very nice view of New York’s many high-rise buildings, the skyline, and the sea.
The entrance to the bridge was filled with several small stands selling New York souvenirs like keychains, postcards, among other things. While walking the bridge, several photographers approached us to take pictures of us and claimed it was for free. After agreeing to this and taking a number of pictures, they demanded payment afterwards and charged unreasonably for it. As a newcomer to New York, I clearly was not aware of this, but I have definitely learned from this experience. You could also keep this in mind for your visit to New York.
The next stop on our list was Central Park, but before that we stopped to get the popular New York slices from a Pizza shop around the corner and I would say, it tasted really good! For the journey to the park, we had to take the subway because it was a bit farther. For the most part, New York, reminded me of Philly, just bigger and livelier or more fun, if I may add. Central Park is a very large area of land with many sections. I was not aware of how big it really was, and because we had been walking for a long time, we only saw a small part of it and eventually stopped at the Umpire Rock in the park to sit back, rest and take in the view of the city from there.
I was excited to see the famous Times Square, and when I did, I was not disappointed. The route we took towards Time Square passed through Broadway and we stopped to see around it. Times Square is everything it has been shown to be: the neon lights creating a very boisterous and fun atmosphere, the swarming in and out of people making it never empty, and the tall buildings around all add their spice to the entire ambiance of Times Square. Exploring Times Square just implies walking around, taking in the bustling nature of it, and capturing the moments in pictures and videos. There is not exactly a place to stop and watch; it is a space, and you just keep walking, literally 😀
Times Square was our last stop as it was approaching time for us to catch our bus back to Philly. I really enjoyed my visit to New York, and my expectations of the city were met. You know when they say that once you have seen New York, something keeps bringing you back? Well, they are right. There is, of course, still so much to see and do in New York and who knows? I may just hop on the train next weekend to New York City again.